When paying for the service, you’re often left with the doubt of being overcharged. For a layman and an outsider, it’s pretty tricky to figure out how much a specific service costs or should cost.
It’s only logical to assume that a professional would be in it for the profit but are they unfairly overcharging their services? Are they lying about how much they’re spending on supplies?
This knowledge can help you avoid getting overcharged but also reveal how much it would cost you to handle this without professional help. With all of this in mind, and without further ado, here’s how landscaping cost is estimated.
The critical thing to remember is that there are different ways in which the cost of landscaping is estimated. Now, to avoid counting every drop of gas a mower uses, every bottle of pesticide, and the total working hours of shears (compared to their cost), here’s a brief categorization of costs.
Cost Per Square Foot
Some landscapers charge their work per square foot. The average landscaping cost per square foot is between $4 and $12. This, however, is only true if you want basic landscaping services. If, on the other hand, you’re interested in design and remodeling, the cost could go up to $40 per square foot.
This method is similar to what you’ll deal with in any other exterior decoration project. For instance, if you decide to go for cladding for your exterior walls, chances are that you’ll be charged per square foot.
This is the simplest way to calculate the costs, as well as the least biased method. Later, we’ll estimate how much some landscapers charge per hour, and you’ll see why.
Less honest landscapers could drag out their working process to charge you an extra hour or two. On the other hand, 100 square feet are 100 square feet, no matter how you decide to look at it. If anything, the landscapers will be incentivized to wrap things up as soon as possible.
Cost Per Hour
The average cost of landscaping per hour is between $50 and $100. This is the cost for a crew of two (a standard setup), whereas each additional person on the team may cost $25 to $50 more. The reason why you would take this route is to get things done quicker. Also, a specialist in advanced landscaping may charge you as much as $200 per hour. It all comes down to what you’re looking for.
The reason why some landscapers charge per hour is so that they have an easier job quantifying their labor. This way, if they have other employees or manage the operations, the payroll gets simpler to calculate. Remember that labor makes about 80% of total landscaping costs, so it just makes more sense to charge your clients by the hour.
Also, this is a model that most clients are familiar with. After all, the majority of services you’re paying for (like cleaning your home or the pool) will be charged by the hour. You may be charged by the hour, even with contractors, plumbers, and electricians.
Cost Per Project
A flat cost per project might be the simplest way for the client to budget their landscaping.
- You want a tree trimmed? It will cost you $75.
- You want a pond installed in your backyard? That’s $1500.
- You want your landscape designed by a professional? That’s $3,000 for you; thank you very much!
Sure, you need to keep a few things in mind here. First, you’ll rarely need just one of these services. Usually, it’s not just trimming or removing the tree. There’s usually an additional task or two there, as well. Second, these prices vary significantly from one landscaping agency/expert to another.
So, you should list tasks you need completed and then try shopping around. This way, you can make your table of costs and compare what different partners offer. Remember that most of these landscaping services may maintain your property for years. The right decision now means saving a small fortune in the future (cumulatively).
Cost of Materials
You must also understand that not all materials are the same. Regardless of how honest and forthcoming landscapers you get, stone pavers are several times more expensive than gravel (per square foot). In other words, there are many instances where the material dictates the project’s cost.
Lawn turf, landscape gravel, lawn replacement, landscape boulders, etc., all have their costs (per square foot or ton). The problem is that the value of these may vary locally. This is why it’s so crucial that you start shopping around as soon as possible.
Internet research is an excellent idea, but numbers won’t necessarily be adjusted to your local economy. The cost of materials often depends on local availability and purchasing power parity. The only way to get a definitive answer is to ask directly.
For this, it’s vital that you know exactly what you want and starts looking up your options. During our last project, I wanted to tidy up the area around my pool. So, I lead to find the best pool landscape designers near me. This kind of search is far more specific and indicative of the service that you need.
Comparing to DIY
The best way to figure out if hiring professionals is worth it is to consider how much this would cost you on your own.
- How much would you have to spend on materials?
- How much time would it take you?
- Do you have the necessary tools, or would you have to buy equipment?
- Even if you did buy the equipment, how often would you use it (ROI)?
So, unless we’re talking about regularly mowing the lawn, chances are that you will fare better with specialists.
Also, keep in mind that your own time has value. You need to decide how much your work or free hour is worth and compare it to what you would pay to a professional (alongside other expenses).
Knowing what you’re getting into is the key to being a responsible adult. This goes double for homeowners. This is why the list of costs and methodology to determine the price of a service is useful even outside of landscaping. It’s a simple system to help you get your money’s worth.