Why £20 Per Hour is Cheaper Than £8 Per Hour

Most professional gardeners do not charge by the hour. Instead they will discuss with you what you want from your garden and assess the maintenance requirements. You will then get an annual price, divided in to monthly instalments.

However, for the purposes of this discussion, let us assume that a professional gardener has a rate of £20 per hour in mind when quoting, and compare that with the odd jobber/handyman who charges £8 per hour.

1) The professional will supply all his/her own tools.
The odd- jobber will use your tools. You will have to supply them, service
them, make sure they are safe to use (you will be liable if an injury is sustained, because of a
faulty tool) and you will have to replace them if they break.

2) Professional tools are much more efficient and will do the job much quicker.
Your tools, though adequate for domestic gardens, are slow in comparison. Are you really
going to pay upwards of £600 for a mower that will only get used for an hour a week?

3) A professional will supply all the pesticides and fertilizers needed.
With an odd-jobber, you will have to supply and store any chemicals that are needed.

4) The professional will be qualified to use pesticides safely.
An odd-jobber, most likely, will not be qualified and it is illegal for an unqualified person to
use pesticides for hire or reward.

5) A professional will be able to take the waste away.
The odd-jobber will leave it for you to deal with.

6) A professional will have insurance.
An odd jobber may not. Who is going to pay if a stone goes through a £500 patio door, or
worst still, some body’s eye.

7) A professional will know what are weeds, what to prune, how to prune and when to prune.
An odd jobber may have some basic knowledge, but not enough to get the best out of your

When you add up the expense and aggravation of all these intangibles, £20 per hour starts to look quite reasonable indeed.


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  • PRO
    All too often I hear people bemoaning the price of gardeners and landscapers and yet compared to many other professionals, we come very cheap. As an industry, horticulture (in its broadest sense) sells itself cheap and many professionals feel guilty about charging too much. I don't think a dentist or chiropractor would think twice about a reasonable hourly rate (or unreasonable!) given the training, special tools and experience required. Neither should a good gardener/horticulturalist!
  • I have often thought it would be interesting to make someone pay the same rate for the services they receive as for the services they sell. A bank manager would thus perhaps pay £160 per hour for someone to cut his grass a garage owner £75 per hour and what about a barrister or football player.
    Ted Heath had he continued in power in 1974 was committed to continue with a relativities board which broadly was a system to put an actual value on a job rather than to let it be determined entirely by the market. I think that the results would have been very interesting, we might have ended up with a £200 per day dustman and a £10 per day footballer, in terms of value.
  • PRO
    As i read this, I am collating and preparing information which i need to pass on to my solicitor, who has told me that he will then write a letter for me.

    The price for writing the letter, based on the information and work i have done in preparation, will be exactly £ 500

    I have to accept that i can do the preparation and fact finding, "leg work / donkey work" but the Legal final document is what really counts, and of course has to be right.

    If i had the time, inclination, education, books, experience and knowledge to "write the letter" myself it would be a gamble and long time in the writing stage !

    On the brighter side, I am glad i am paying the fee's for a solicitor, rather than a footballer :-)
  • Hi Cesare,

    Totally agree with all of your points, and most made by others.

    I my own strand of Horticulture until recently we had a pay structure for those in Nursery work, not only setting a minimum wage, but also offering a career structure. If you get to the next level, your pay will increase, etc. etc. I know when I joined Horticulture in 1980 this structure said to me that my work was appeciated, and if I worked hard, I would be rewarded.

    Sadly, the current ramshackle coalition have abolished our Wages Board, despite having no mandate to do so.

    So in their desire to drive down wages of hard working people in Horticulture, I believe that Gardeners, Landscapes and Garden Designers salaries will go the same way.

    I for one do not believe that Nurseries will lower their prices as they are now allowed to employ cheap, unskilled Labour. Instead the Nursery owners will use this to increase their profits, giving no benefit whatever to their customers, well perhaps offering less of a service with cheap, unskilled, labour. I write as a Nursery owner, but I do not agree with this half-wit policy!

    So my questions are:
    Do we want to "dumb-down" what services our Industry can offer, or should we be raising our standards and our level of service?
    How can we attract young people into Nursery work, with no reward for wanting to learn and get on?
    A Nursery Worker has the same, if not more, skills and talents with plants than a Landscaper, and most earn less the £8 per hour, is that fair?

    Keep up the good work Cesare, raise the standard of our industry as a whole, and do not settle for second best.

    All the best

  • Many prospective clients will end up opting for the odd jobber rather than the expert. Some have 2 separate gardeners!

    Yes you can often see that the odd jobber doesn't have any knowledge of pruning and planting

  • When confronted with that old Chestnut I say to (prospective) customers just work out how much the window cleaner charges, how long he is there and what knowledge, tools and plant he provides!
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