Advice Please on starting up

Hi there Fellow members, I have just joined LJN and I am starting out with my new Gardening business in the next few weeks.

I come from a background of Professional Gardening at Stately Homes so gardening as a landscaper as my own business will be all very new to me.

I would be very grateful if you could advide me on what to charge in some way, I will be working near Fleckney Leicestershire.

Please advise on machinery also, I will no doubt need blower, strimmer, hedgecutter, etc, already have a small stihl shainsaw  but you guys and girls know what would be best - Im thinking a load of Stihl stuff.

As to vehicle, i am just starting out and have been advised that an old estate car is a good option as can go to tip easy. What do you think?

Would also be most grateful for your advice on things that i need to know but have not mentioned above.

All in all please help

I have 40 years gardening experience and am well qualified but only ever done peoples gardens part time.

Thanks David

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      • Totally agree with Colin, existing clients are the ones to work hard to retain. They can quickly get someone else if they're not happy, leaving you with a gap to try and fill (easy if you've got a waiting list, but unlikely for a new business).

        And NO HOURLY RATE JOBS!!! Unless you're happy bimbling for buttons. Just have a look at the garden, discuss what needs to be done, then say "£x per fortnightly/weekly visit, which includes....".

        • PRO

          Agree on the hourly rate but its a very easy trap to fall into , ''How much do you charge per hour '' ? is the question i get asked the most over the phone , It's very tempting to say x amount to save yourself having to go do a survey if it's maintenance work but as tempting as it is  it's a deadly habit to form , I wouldn't commit myself to offer a price until i have viewed the job , you don't want word of mouth recommendations just because you are cheap , you can end up painting yourself into a corner .

        • Like you say its a good idea to steer clear of hourly rate

      • Again very very useful information thank you

    • Thats very usefull information thank you

  • Hi, I keep hearing about not charging out by the hour. I have been in business thirty years employ one full time & one three day a week all year and work out most jobs hourly. One customer who has a full time gardener ask me for 9 hours a week , every week to help out . How else can you quote this other than an hourly figure plus extras - weed treats , fertiliser etc.
    Regards drew.
    • PRO

      I've changed from hourly to fixed rate this year (after joining this forum). I was charging £35 for 2 hours. I now mostly charge £35 for maintenance which mostly takes 40 mins to an hour. And other jobs I now earn around £25-35/hr sometimes more. I couldn't do that if charging by the hour, I'd have no customers

      It's only my second year. My old man did gardening the last 8/10 years of his work life, he only charged hourly, it pains me to think how much little he earned to what he could have 

      • I cant tell you all how important your advice is here

        Thank you all so much

        • PRO

          I suspect it depends on how much you charge per hour , i have seen potential customers jaws drop at the mere hint of a £15 per hour quote and asked why is it so expensive , Yet i know one very well established gardener who charges £50 per hour and is always busy . 

          I found when charging hourly it was easy to underestimate the length of time the job would take and i would end up working overtime to finish the job in order to honour the quote at great cost to myself , 

          Then there were customers who would follow me around chatting about everything but the garden which i found very distracting and could add up to 40 minutes on a Two hour job not to mention the time spent having to return to their garden to retrieve tools left behind due to being distracted and frazzled . 

          So many small things can nibble away at your pot and when you start to add them up sometimes it has actually cost you to go and do the work or you find you have earned as little as £5 per hour and always bear in mind this job can be seasonal and subject to adverse weather . 

          I try to charge a day rate now which takes many previously unconsidered costs into account , totally agree with Shell the forum helps you see things in a different light so you can fine tune your approach  . 

          • PRO
            I must be misunderstanding because you say when on hourly you ended up working for nothing because you had underestimated or got distracted but if on hourly it makes no difference as you are being paid by the hour. Surely fixed price causes this issue not hourly?
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