Despite having taken care of commercial grounds and domestic gardens since 2001, there is one question I always dread.
How much do you charge per hour?
That’s not because I am concerned about our prices, or harbour any doubts about the excellent value our service represents to our clients.
It’s because gardening, like many other trades, is often judged purely on price, with value and expertise being overlooked.
Let me explain that a little more.
Being a responsible business owner is important to me.
It’s what allows me to sleep at night, confident in the knowledge that our VAT is paid, our customers are protected and our staff are well looked after.
But achieving that comes at a price and believe me when I say I value my beauty sleep. That’s why we never cut corners.
In the simplest terms, you get the professional services of an established, reputable business with the knowledge to look after your grounds or gardens properly.
You will be well looked after by a happy, well-mannered workforce.
You will be left with the warm and fuzzy feeling that your grounds, or gardens, have been well cared for by people who respect the wonder of nature.
In practical terms that means;
· The pay and conditions of our staff are such that you’d want your own friends and family, including competitive pay, workplace pensions, paid holiday and other benefits to reward their efforts and loyalty.
· We use professional tools and equipment that is regularly serviced and replaced every 12 months - one of our mowers recently cost more than £700 to replace.
· Our staff wear company uniforms.
· Our staff are trained.
· We use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
· We are properly insured, including Public and Employee liability insurance.
· Our company vehicles are insured and well-maintained.
· We hold a waste carrier licence and have an account with a green recycling company.
· Our VAT and other taxes are paid in accordance with HMRC guidance.
The problem with making decisions based purely on price is that you don’t have the luxury of factoring in what sets the different price points apart. You lose the ability to make a decision based on things that matter to you.
In any aspect of life, we all have values or standards that are important to us and they are usually what drive our decision making. If you aren’t bothered about quality, then cost is more likely to be your driver.
This image always springs to mind when I’m asked if we can do a job cheaper.
A few years ago, I was asked to provide a quote to prune and tidy a beautiful, mature garden. From memory I think the price was around £200 including VAT.
On receipt of the quote, the homeowner took the time to contact me and tell me how expensive my quote was, and how they would be finding someone cheaper. (All feedback is gratefully received 😉.).
About 2 weeks later, the same lady phoned me, absolutely distraught, asking if I could take a look at what was left of her garden and advise on what she should do.
Suffice to say, she had hired someone who was indeed cheaper than us. However, the only tool in his kit was a chainsaw! I will let your imagination picture what had happened to the beautiful, mature garden I had so recently admired.
If you have ever shopped for plants, you will be all too familiar with how costly even young plants can be. So, it’s not hard to work out how expensive it was to replace a whole garden of mature plants – not to mention how long it would take for some of them to reach maturity and restore the garden to its former glory.
For that customer, buying based on cost had been anything but good value for money.
You wouldn’t trust an unqualified plumber, electrician or hairdresser, so why would you risk your beloved garden to the care of the lowest bidder?
So, the answer to that dreaded question is, when you choose to engage our experienced team, you will be billed £55 per hour, per person, including VAT.
And we are confident that our team is worth every penny.
After all, you get what you pay for.