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How to charge for trimming shrubry

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Ol'Man, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. Ol'Man

    Ol'Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I do ok estimating for mowing and trimming but not sure about shrubs and hedges. Do you charge per shrub or on an hourly basis. Also how often do you trim? Any time of year? How much of the plant can you cut back?
  2. Allure

    Allure LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 426

    I would charge by the hour but more importantly i would read up first. There are a lot of factors to consider when pruning & many plants have different needs.
    Timing is important especially with respect to the bloom time of the plant.

    Some plants can take heavy pruning, others are very sensitive to any pruning.

    do your customers a favor & learn as much as you can over the winter.
    I took a one day class at Rutgers last year & i am taking advanced pruning techniques in march. I'm sure you could find something similar at a local school.

    I started reading 'the pruner's bible' last month. It gives specific pruning tips for for nearly 100 deferent species as well as lots of general tips.

    Horticopia is another source for plant specific pruning advice.

    Good luck
    KUMA01 likes this.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Try $30 / hour starting, work with that for some time, see how things work out.
  4. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    $30 an hour? That's probably a good starting point while you are learning. In our area, it is around $50 - 60 an hour inlcuding dump time. The best way I have found is to always add more time than what you think it will take to do it. That way, if it takes longer there is no problem. Also, you will be better off giving prices based on estimated time rather than charging by the hour. I always give an actual price of what it will cost, that way when I am done working my tail off & get done early I still get what I bid for the project.
    yukon202 and KUMA01 like this.
  5. metro36

    metro36 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,417

    I trim hedges for 30-40 an hour. If you have to dispose of the cuttings you put that in your estimate. Good Luck
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    no disrespect intended, but you really sound like you probably dont know what you are doing..... thats ok , just learn the proper way to trim bushes and schrubs

    dont do it till you learn first...when i first learned, in the 80's, i found the public library a GREAT sorce of information, then practice on your own plants for a while......

    this is an area where you really should have insurance also, if you where to accidently destroy an expensive landscape, it could cost thousands to repair.....:)
  7. grassmanak

    grassmanak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 792

    i charge 50.00 per hour to trim anything, but that also includes removal and cleanup.
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    This is a catch-22 situation, "don't do it until you learn," but how will anybody learn unless they do the work. Granted, take the easy, more straightforward jobs first. But, over time, one has to take more challenging jobs, or one would never progress and get better. We all started "someplace." And, many us probably didn't know much about what we were doing in the beginning either. And, in many respects, I still don't think I know very much. But, this is a topic just like many others, the more I know, the more I realize that I DON'T know.

    I applaud the action of getting books and reading. I will take that advice, and look into the two resources mentioned. I posted a thread many months ago asking for books, and did get a couple ideas (as well as suggestions to sub-out the work since I didn't know what I was doing, or to work with somebody else).

    I just finished four days of trim and cleanup work, work that I was not expecting. I'm not sure I did this job right, but did the best I could. The job was attempting to spruce up a large area of forcythia bushes, but heavily infested with flora roses and pesky tree vines. No, this sure isn't the right time of the year to trim forcythia, but the bushes had been neglected for years, were growing with horizonal branches and taking root into the ground, and the rose briars were 10-13 feet high -- way out of control. The owner realized he had a major problem, but didn't know what to do about it. The forcythia are trimmed out about 4 feet high, and the rose briars are cut off near the ground. He intends to attempt a full scale war in the Spring, with brush killer to rid himself of the briar bushes. There surely will be no blooms on the forcythia next Spring, but that was the least of his worries. I left him with three piles of debris, each about 12 feet across, 12 feet high. He will burn them at some point over the Winter. This was a very laborious job, heavy work with much pulling, raking, forking, etc, about 26 work hours. I don't know what else I could have done.

    Sorry, I think I have taken the thread off topic.
  9. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,282

    I charge per hedge. If you limit yourself to an hourly rate, you are really selling yourself short.

    Many guys on here seem to quote somewhere around $30-40/hr. Do you have any idea how many hedges can be trimmed in an hour plus the clean up?

    There are a ton of variables that make up any particular hedge trimming job.

    One word of advice, if your asking for pricing help your probably gonna bid too low at first, so bump it up a little bit. Get burned on a few jobs, then you will know exactly how much to charge.
    Cjames808 and Captain Mike like this.
  10. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,113

    I charge by the shrub, it's much easier to estimate it for me at least. I do anything small for $5, med for $7, large for $10, XL for $15 and if I need a ladder it's $25-$50 depending on size. The $5 size is a little bigger than a basketball...so if you can do 12 of those in an hour (including cleanup) you get $60/hour, plus I charge a dump fee $25 for a small job, $50 for a medium job, $75 for a large job

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