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New - unsure what to quote to start out, pics included

8616158672?profile=RESIZE_710xHi there

I'm qualified and have many years experience so have decided now is the right time to start out. I'm finding quoting the hardest part!

I have a price in mind for this but wasn't sure if I was going in too low. It's to clear the beds of weeds and prepare the soil for planing. The pampas is staying. The job is around 40 mins from me but is in a city which I think I could get a good amount of work (this is my first actual quote!)

What would you quote? (It's 2 beds)

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  • 8616160661?profile=RESIZE_930x

  • Well done on getting the lead but to my mind seems a long distance to travel for this kind of job. You might be better suggesting they get someone more local to do it cheaper as you would need to factor in travelling time and mileage etc. But definitely allow a day's work including travel if you do take it on

  • PRO

    There’s definitely a hard days work there.

    I am sure you are experienced enough to know it’s all matted together. If you quote what it’s worth the potential customer will probably laugh at you.

    • PRO

      If there is couch grass in those beds then your estimate should aim to reflect the method and time it will take to eradicate it . 

      The planting pockets look shallow so any weeds look as if they can just be teased out . 

      Is there alot to clear from around the pampas grass ? that can be a messy  job as you will know . 

      Travelling 80 minutes in total not a problem if its reflected in the price and the area has potential , Sometimes taking a small job at a fair price but ( not at a loss) can be regarded as exploration in a new area if you are trying to establish a round . 









  • You say that you are qualified and so must be experienced enough to know how long it will take you to complete the task. So you need to decide what your hourly rate is and times that by how long it will take and of course include the travelling time and fuel costs.

    Are you supplying the plants too? If so you would need to include the time taken to go and buy them.

    A note of caution. As I have said many times before- Do not quote your hourly rate to the client. This is absolutely critical. Your hourly rate is something inside your own head that you merely use to calculate the price. Price per task always. You also need to build in a margin for error. So if you think it will take you three hours it’s better to quote the price based on four hours.

    Also, don’t be too keen to take on the really difficult work that most of us would walk away from just to have a task to do. As you are new to self-employment this can be a pitfall, as is quoting too cheaply just in order to get the work.

    I haven’t done this kind of gardening for many years now. But my approach [for what’s that’s worth] would be to wait until the growing season starts properly and then spray it off. You can easily be selective and spray around the plants that you want to keep. Come back two or three weeks later and hoe away all the dead weeds. I would then fluff up the soil with the hoe or cultivator [I have a sharp hoe that only has a bar attachment on one side that would be perfect for this job].

    I think on that basis, if it is just the one rockery shown, that it is only a three hour [on site] job at most.

    I would then plant each new plant in a hole large enough to put new compost around it. I think that with a rockery like this that that is all you could do.

    If you tell us what price you were thinking of we could tell you what we thought. It’s not like we want to know so that we can rush in and undercut you. As implied, most of us wouldn’t take on this sort of work. At least not those of us who mainly concentrate on grass cutting and hedge cutting.

    • PRO

      I'm in Vic's camp - would probably charge £150ish (plus Vat) to spray off first and then come back to tidy/plant. The plants would be in addition to this. We would also look to make a margin on the plants which would cover out time to select them from the nursery.

      • PRO

        Its important with a job like this to try and estabkish if planting will be required after the preparation , it helps to give you a bit of wiggle room . 

        Often i find with similar jobs the first estimate becomes the ceiling and that figure becomes a bargaining chip to get the price down . 

        £150 sounds about right for the preparaition 

        • i would imagine the soil in the planting pockets between the rocks has become a solid mass of roots and maybe best scooped out as best one can then replaced with a soil based compost ready for new alpine plants etc. Totally dependent on what the client is prepared to pay to how far you go with it. And there will be a fair amount of waste to remove if that's the case. Also good gloves will be essential for working around that Pampers Grass as that stuff is like razor blades. Sounds drastic but the pampas grass would benefit from being cut hard back with a hedge trimmer now so it re grows nicely

  • PRO

     There's a lot of work there, I bet there will be weed roots under some of those rocks - so the rocks will need moving. Also the soil in the pockets is in likley need of replacing... can you dispose of the waste on site, or do you have to take it away (££).

    As has been said you need to decide on your hourly rate and (not wanting to patronise you  in any way) then charge that rate. Its fiddly work, as I am sure you appreciate.

    I agree with Billy bop - the pampas should be cut back hard - it will thank you for it in a month or so - and make the job easier in the long run.

    Good luck

  • PRO

    Lots of aquilegia I can see. If trimming back existing alpines and hard prune pampas to keep bed from looking messy and weeding I'd quote  a day so 8 hrs x £20 ( a fair rate to start out on snd attract new clients) + £40 for waste removal 

    so £200 would be my quote not including vat assuming start up  would be not vat registered. We will all travel further afield to fill our diaries early on so no problem from me for you doing the travelling. 

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