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Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by mggreen, Jan 7, 2009.
practice makes perfect
I agree with everything said and would add that if they are hedges that are no taller than you are, dont get a split boom hedge trimmer but get a smaller, and more maneuverable trimmer. I suggest astron, echo, shindaiwas, and tmc
Good luck with your high end client
Don't prune like most maintenance guys do. Do it the right way. Read Ortho's "All About Pruning" and Sunset's "Pruning" books. "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" by Michael A. Dirr. Study them. Read them often until they make perfect sense. Another big reason I land most all of my pruning jobs is because when people walk around and begin to ask testing questions like "and how would you prune this shrub? What is this called?" I can answer them with confidence and answer correctly every time. The client always feels confident that I know my stuff. And it's sad to say, but most maintenance guys don't.
I always prune flowering specimens after they have blossomed. Cut evergreens back so that you are only taking off the new growth, stop once your into the dark green. Cut back most shrubs and hedges to their existing shape, and make structural changes by cutting at the laterals(crotches).
I would write down how long each job you get takes. Then you need to catergorize by size so that if you get to a site that has 200 2' shrubs and 135 4' shrubs and 20 15' tall deciduous trees, you will know how long its going to take you based on past experience with specimens of similar sizes and foliar types.
I trim hedges all the time. I like aluminum A frame ladders for their light weight. Get a good extended length trimmer thats what I mainly use. Also a tarp to keep leaves outta flower beds or pools.
cpel2004 made great points. Account for everything and whatever your estimation is, double it. Hedges are a big PITA. If you stay on top of the trimming though and are going to be doing it continuously, it won't be nearly as bad. Good luck.
If these shrubs sit in some sort of bed, it is very important that you sell them on a mulch or pinestraw installation at the same time. It is a pain in the rear to get these little leaves out of mulch and almost impossible to get them all out of pinestraw. If you sell them on both then after you trim the hedges you clean up just the big stuff and lay the mulch or pinestraw on top of all the little leaves. This will save you lots of time and you can make a couple of extra bucks on the add on service you just sold. Mulch installations are very profitable if priced right.
Just a little trick of the trade. Hope this helps.
i use a hand shears not power. why you ask: i think it looks better iwth hand shears, yeah it takes longer but it looks better in my opinion. i have a few coustomer with shrubs that i trim they dont have a lot of shrubs but they care about what thier shrubs look like more then their grass. remember you cant put back what you cut off!!
Trim just a little off at a time... you can always cut more... you can't glue it back on.....
The way I figure for shrub pricing is by counting all the shrubs then pricing each individual shrub from $3 (high as your shins) to $10 (need a step ladder to trim). This price includes laying down sheets, trimming, dumping sheets into garbage can, taking garbage can to truck...repeat steps. I like this better than trying to estimate hourly. You'll always run into shrubs with a hornets nest...this will kill your hourly if you don't have spray!!!
Visualize, have a steady hand and don't hit the hard wood!
$25 per man per hour w/free haulaway of debris.. most of my customers like this... of course you have some that want to know how long it will take.. I simply give them a "range".. it could take an hour... it could take 2 1/2 hours... only had problems with one customer not wanting to pay in all of 08 when it came to pruning... oh.. the laying down of tarps to collect the debris in my opinion is a waste of time... when you prune, cut off little pieces at a time... then use one of those nifty little echo leaf suckers and suck up all the clippings.. works wonders in pinestraw beds where raking out the debris would remove half the straw...