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Seasonal Bed Maintenance pricing

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by cleancutccl, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    I did a search and couldn't find much, anyway this is what I'm looking for: I am trying to come up with a square footage price for season long bed maintenance. This service would include periodic hand weeding or spraying of weeds, trimming of bushes and small trees, spring and fall fertilizer applications for plantings, spraying of weeds in sidewalks or driveways, and a spring cleanup of the beds (cut back grasses, etc.) Of course some properties would be more than others, but do you think a price of around .35-.50 a square foot would be alright. What I do now is just state in the contracts that bed maintenance is billed per man hour, but my problem is that I have customers that want to pay all up front so that they don't have to worry about any more bills. Please someone with some pricing experience in this area give some advice.
  2. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 218

    I would think for a service like that you would have to look at the specifics of each bed to work up a price.

    The amount of weeds will depend on how much mulch is there. If you have a license to apply herbicides, you could charge for applying a pre-emergent herbicide by the square foot.

    The amount of trimming will depend on the type and size or shrubs, if there are any. If they have a bunch of cloud pruned junipers it will be more work than a hillside of Blue Rug Junipers to prune.

    If you are maintaining a perennial garden properly including deadheading, dividing, deadleafing, etc. you are in for a lot of work.

    What is your frequency of service? If you say the gardens will look A1 all the time are you setting yourself up for calls to say there is a rougue weed in the gardens.
  3. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    So basically stick to a per man hour for services? It's a whole lot easier than trying to figure out how much time for pruning, and how many weeds might come up in each bed.
  4. Mancinioldhorse

    Mancinioldhorse LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    on an hourly basis...You just have to look at each one seperately and estimate it accordingly....That said however...my shrub trimming/pruning is billed seperately from weeding......2 different services.
  5. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    It really is a crap shot . We have a contract for "weeding only". ...around 300 man-hrs a month.

    I struggled with coming up with a quote but the first year we made the hours and are on the second year of a 5 year gig if we both are satisfied.

    Your per sq ft price sounds about right ..... Give it your best guesstimate and have a way out of the contract if you start losing your shirt.
  6. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    I agree, billing based on your time is the only way to gauge. Square footage can be tough depending on the property. Some small beds can be way tougher to maintain that big ones because of their condition/age/location.

    If you've been on the property & worked it in the past you can get a pretty good idea of the hrs. needed & how often it'll have to be serviced (e.g. 1.5 hrs./every two weeks OR 20 min. per weekly visit.....whatever works for you). If your clients are ready to pay for the season in full up front you probably don't have to worry too much about about the pricing - - in other words they probably want the job done as priority no. 1 and aren't concerned so much with price. I'll bet you've got a certain amount of trust built up.

    Having said that, you also want to be fair with them same as anyone else......but if over the course of a full season you're a tad bit "over" on your hrs. the job still got done (again probably their main concern) & everyone is happy. You could always refund or credit your client if you want.........whatever is satisfying to you. Maybe do a small planting for them for free in the fall..........maybe put in a few pansies or something. Or, just keep it and stay more profittable. Up to you.

    We all make a pricing mistake now and then, but recognizing some conditions/factors = all the difference in bidding.

    Aside from man hrs., look at your materials. If you're spraying weed control you can probably figure pretty close how many gallons it will take per application (this on top of your time).
  7. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    Thanks everyone, This past year I have been logging everything so on the properties that get full maintenance I know exactly how much time I've been spending. Other than that I will just have to compare similar props to other similar props. I will probably go with just billing my time, unless they are paying up front.

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