Estimating landscaping jobs can be challenging even for experienced landscaping professionals. There are many factors to consider, and knowing how to price landscaping jobs in a way that is attractive to customers while still being profitable for your business means striking a delicate balance. Let’s take a look at best practices for landscaping estimates and invoices, including factors like pricing services correctly, factoring in labor costs, and utilizing the right resources. Creating effective estimates will make your landscaping business competitive and successful!
1. Visit the Landscaping Job Site For Research
Where to start? At the beginning: By visiting the job site with your client. This will help ensure you have enough information to provide an accurate estimate for your landscaping services. Assess the area, see what services might be needed to complete the project, and talk to the client about their expectations. Take thorough measurements to determine the square footage – an essential part of any landscaping estimate. Spending time with your client is also extremely valuable to gather relevant information that will help save you time in the long run and ensure that they’re satisfied with the final product.
2. Create a Project Plan That States the Scope of Work
Next, determine the scope of your project. This is essential when it comes to accurately estimating the costs of materials and labor hours. What is the customer asking for and what will you need to provide? Consider the following:
- Services needed – special landscaping features, pathways, retaining walls, etc.
- Materials needed – plants, ground cover, mulch, pavers/stone, etc.
- Site measurements
- Design style – will this be a simple or complex project?
- Quality of the current soil on-site
- Quantity of soil needed to be added
- Cleanup of the job site upon completion
- Equipment required to complete the job
- Size of the crew and estimated labor hours needed
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3. Estimate Your Overhead Costs
Estimate your overhead costs – all of the expenses that it takes to run your business that can’t be associated with a specific job. Common overhead expenses include office rent/mortgage, utilities, equipment repair and maintenance, legal fees, insurance premiums, payroll taxes, and employee benefits. Calculating these costs helps you set a realistic price for your landscaping services while still remaining profitable. Weekly overhead cost is the amount of money it takes to run your business every week, while hourly overhead refers to the amount needed to cover fixed costs per hour of production. Understanding these costs will help you make more effective decisions when it comes to pricing and estimating your landscaping services.
4. Estimate Your Materials Costs
Consider the costs of the materials you’ll need for the job, and be specific. This can include everything from:
- Lawn seeding and/or sod installation
- Sprinklers, irrigation, or misting
- Yard grading
- Hardscaping –any landscape construction with wood, brick, concrete, or stone such as pathways, retaining walls, gazebos/pergolas, etc.
- Softscaping – all types of plants including trees, shrubs, flower beds, vegetable gardens, etc.
- Other material costs such as lighting, mulch, pond installation, etc.
5. Estimate Your Subcontractor Costs
If you are estimating a larger job that’s more than your current staff can handle, you may need to bring in subcontractors – whether that means hiring a landscape architect for a complex design, arborists who specialize in tree care, carpenters to build a wooden pergola, or general laborers for tear-out, installation and clean up. Determine the average hourly wage for your subcontractors and include that in your estimate.
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6. Estimate Your Labor Costs
Calculating labor costs is an important part of any landscaping estimate. These are the wages you pay for employees who will do the work and can include hourly labor costs, salaries, weekly labor costs, and overtime. Tracking labor hours accurately is key here – you don’t want to underestimate how long it will take to complete a job, which will undercut your profit, and you want to make sure you’re paying a fair hourly wage as well. Understanding your labor cost can help you budget, plan, and create bids that make sense while still remaining competitive.
7. Add Your Profit Markups and Margins
When it comes to adding markups to your landscaping estimates, there are a few things to consider. Start by determining your desired profit margin before you set your markup amount. It is a delicate balance: Price yourself too low and you’ll lose out on potential profits; price yourself too high and you could lose out on business. Researching your competition can help you set realistic, competitive prices while also helping you gain an overall understanding of the market. Understanding the national and local average pricing will help you better adjust your markups to stay profitable and retain your competitive edge.
8. Calculate The Final Price
Finally, add up all of your costs to calculate the final price for your landscaping estimate. Be sure to include any necessary additional costs like sales tax.
Exploring a Landscaping Estimate Example
Here is an overview of what a landscaping estimate example might look like. This includes a 10% markup for general overhead costs and a 15% markup for profit margin. Those numbers are built into the final estimate so that all your client sees is the final job cost.
Landscaping Job Estimate
Client: [Client Name]
Project Address: [Project Address]
Date: [Current Date]
Scope of Work:
– Clearing and preparation of the site
– Installation of a retaining wall
– Construction of a paved patio area
– Installation of a garden bed with plants and mulching
– Installation of an irrigation system
– Seeding and sodding the lawn
– Final cleanup and debris removal
– Retaining wall materials: $2,000
– Paver stones for patio: $1,500
– Garden bed plants and mulch: $800
– Irrigation system components: $1,200
– Grass seeds and sod: $500
– Other miscellaneous materials: $300
– Excavation and site preparation: 20 hours @ $40/hour = $800
– Retaining wall installation: 30 hours @ $40/hour = $1,200
– Patio construction: 40 hours @ $40/hour = $1,600
– Garden bed installation: 15 hours @ $40/hour = $600
– Irrigation system installation: 10 hours @ $40/hour = $400
– Seeding and sodding: 10 hours @ $40/hour = $400
– Cleanup and debris removal: 5 hours @ $40/hour = $200
Materials Costs: $6,300
Labor Costs: $5,200
Total Estimated Cost: $11,560
Use RealGreen Software to Calculate Profitable Landscaping Estimates
As you can see, calculating and creating profitable landscaping job estimates can be a complicated and time-consuming process! It can help to use business software that will do the hard work and number crunching for you. RealGreen’s Service Assistant can help you with the estimation process, enabling you to create accurate estimates in just minutes. Schedule a demo today to see how RealGreen’s landscaping business software can help your company grow!
How much does it cost per square foot for a landscaping job?
The cost per square foot for a landscaping job can vary depending on many factors, including the location of the job, the complexity of the job, the cost of the materials involved, and more.
How much does it cost per hour for a landscaping job?
The hourly cost of a landscaping job will be different depending on the location of the job – labor for urban or suburban jobs will likely be more expensive than rural jobs – in addition to materials costs, size, and complexity of the job, equipment required, etc.
Is there a formula for landscaping job estimates?
Landscaping estimates should include costs for labor, materials, equipment, overhead, and profit margin. Once you determine your overhead costs and desired profit margin, you can apply those percentages to your final estimate.
How do you calculate overhead for landscaping?
When calculating overhead for landscaping, consider your fixed business costs including rent or mortgage, salaries, legal fees, insurance, equipment costs, etc.