About the Landscape Juice Network

Founded in 2008. The Landscape Juice Network (LJN) is the largest and fastest growing professional landscaping and horticultural association in the United Kingdom.

LJN's professional business forum is unrivalled and open to anyone within within the UK landscape industry

LJN's Business Objectives Group (BOG) is for any Pro serious about building their business.

For the researching visitor there's a wealth of landscaping ideas, garden design ideas, lawn advice tips and advice about garden maintenance.

Charging for sourcing plants

HI all,

I set up as a sole trader two years ago (one week before lockdown...) so am still very new to this.

Increasingly I'm being asked to source plants for clients - eg evergreen shrubs to fill 12m of border, plants for sunny 10m planter etc etc

This all takes time - its part design, part selection and collection work. How do you charge clients for this, to ensure you are covering your time and don't end up losing valuable hours on the computer/driving to and from the wholesaler?

Thanks a lot in advance for your advice!

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Votes: 0
Email me when people reply –

Replies

  • We do a lot of planting, it helps to make a margin if you're vat registered, which assume you aren't?

    We use a very local nursery who are primarily retail but give us 25% off the retail price but includes vat, we charge the client the full retail before discount and plus vat, EG plant retail price £8 Inc vat less our 25% equals a cost price to us of £6 Inc vat, we claim the vat back so it's cost us £5 ex vat. The plant costs the client £8 plus vat so we have a profit on that plant of £3.which covers our design and time to fetch, obviously there's another profit to be made from the planting.

    When we use a true wholesale nursery where the plants are ex vat, we charge the client double the wholesale price Inc vat and then plus vat. EG wholesale price £3 plus vat equals £3.60 client pays £7.20 plus vat..

    If you aren't vat registered suggest you use your cost price plus 40 or 50%

    Hope that helps

  • PRO

    We also do a lot of  planting, and our nearest wholesaler is 35miles away, or we order deliveries.  We pass the cost on in 3 ways;

    • we charge for time, collection & delivery min £25
    • we add it to the design cost
    • we add it to our price for each plant

    Additionally when we order bulk, we buy extra, for future sales.  Of course we need to water, protect & care for the plants, and we charge for that.

    We  currently  have approx 800 perennials & 150 shrubs.

    With a few exceptions e.g aquatic plants we supply from stock.

    It would be useful to have a trade nursery nearby, but they don't exist.

    • PRO

      Find a good plant nursery who's plant quality you can trust and get them to deliver to the site or if its nearby or you can collect . 

      We have a trade nursery 50 mintutes away so its a no brainer if its a large order they will deliver direct . 

      £40 suppliers delivery charge compared to what you would have to charge for sourcing and compensate for loss of your productive time works out better all round .

      • PRO

        Another approach i have learned to use is to have a plant list i.e plants and shrubs which work together in similar gardens right plant / right place sites which is almost a blue print only quantities differ often works out well to buy a bigger pot and you can split the plants three ways . 

        Simplifies things when pricing and placing your order with your supplier . 

        A customer made me think recently when she casually asked me to pick up a bag of jacks magic compost from her go to garden centre where its only £4.99 a bag . 

        It meant a special trip taking 45 minutes in total , I wondered if because she pointed it out that she would still expect to pay me £4.99 for the bag of compost ?  I worked out that cost of fuel and percentage of my productive time total should be £27 + £4.99 = £31.99 

        Then it struck me is there a case for customer service and going the extra mile ? 

        I find though when it happens too many times it falls into the category of customer fatigue which is not a healthy state of mind so find its important to have a system which enables you to prepare for it happening again .

        • PRO

          John

          i would have pointed that out to the customer; collection, delivery ((which would include fuel cost) would be added to the cost. If you were already going there for a plant order for them then it's a different story.

  • I grow my own! That way you keep 100% of the profits and clients know that if any fail within a couple of months (apart from not being watered!) I'll replace them FOC. Also means I get to keep & recycle the pots, and getting paid to plant them. It's also a low-energy way to get ancillary income. 

    • Hi Dominic,

      sounds great! How do you set your prices? Especially plants that you have been growing for a few years - how do you make sure they are worth it? How much space do you need to make a sensible stab at growing your own?

      Thanks a lot!

  • I charge for time plus 20%.on plant prices as a minimum

    Unless it's quite a few bigger stuff I usually just put £1000 on for time and hassle

  • PRO

    I used to go and buy things in my own time and add a mark-up. But now, I make a point of buying it in their paid for time, and still adding the mark up. My feeling is they wouldn't expect a plumber to use his time to go and buy a part, and there's the extra fuel (especially at the moment) and plant selection - IE, your skill in selecting something good, that isn't pot bound and so on. I go for trade nurseries but I'm lucky to have one near where I work most of the time.

  • thanks everyone - really useful advice, especially  the tip about buying a larger plant and dividing - hadn't thought of that!

    I have opened a few trade accounts, and charged the full amount to the customer - feels good to know that I'm making a decent amount of money on something that did actaually take time and skillls...

    Now I'm wondering how to log this in my records - any easy answers?!

This reply was deleted.

Industry Jobs

Landscaper

Are you looking for an exciting job where you can experience the great outdoors and have a meaningful impact on UK conservation? What better way to mitigate climate change and benefit wildlife than planting trees and helping to create biodiverse habitats. As the UK’s most experienced ecological consultancy and contractor, Ecosulis is  currently looking to

ARBORIST/GARDENER opportunity

Opportunity for work experience in Arboriculture/Tree Surgery + Gardening/Landscaping. Based around Kings Lynn / Wisbech. Variety of work,mainly domestic,suitable for pre- college,or similar. Contact chris; hennelly@tiscali.co.uk        or       07940 759 121.

Arborist/climber

We are looking for an arborist/climber to join our small team for our our well established gardening, property and tree services company. We are looking for someone on an initial trial basis of 3-6 months which may lead to full time employment after this. We would also consider someone part time for 3 days per

Experienced gardener wanted

We are looking for a gardener to join our small team for our our well established gardening, property and tree services company. We are looking for someone that has the potential to move up to Head Gardener/Team Leader within a year. This means we require someone with ambition, enthusiasm, experience and a good knowledge of
PRO Supplier

The team responsible for maintaining the incredible Logan Botanic Garden have noticed several benefits since investing in a wide-range of Pellenc battery-powered equipment.

Regarded as Scotland’s most exotic garden, Logan Botanic Garden is…

Read more…

Trade green waste centres

LJN Sponsor

Advertising

PRO Supplier

The team responsible for maintaining the incredible Logan Botanic Garden have noticed several benefits since investing in a wide-range of Pellenc battery-powered equipment.

Regarded as Scotland’s most exotic garden, Logan Botanic Garden is…

Read more…
PRO Supplier

A range of SISIS synthetic turf maintenance equipment is helping to keep the ‘Wembley of South Wales’ in excellent condition.

Merthyr Town FC is a non-league team from South Wales. It is a 100% fan owned community club that play in…

Read more…