what is the suggested percentage markup for landscaping tasks and supplies?

on average, what percentage is considered appropriate for a small business landscaper, to mark up the materials, plants and services i provide. in the state of colorado

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Okay. I see there are no answers on this one, so I'll give it a try.

    I live in Aurora, Colorado and know several people in the landscaping business. One of them handles things like golf courses and stuff for the city.

    First of all, since you are a small business, you are not going to be able to get a lot of the discounts on materials and plants that larger companies get. Don't try to make your customers pay for that. Just charge retail.

    Secondly, this stupid water shortage has hurt nurseries and sod farms a lot. People are looking for xeriscaping and rock gardens. One of my neighbors put in Buffalo grass. It's really beautiful!

    Other people have put in TONS of rock and mulch, which I think is bad for the environment. This means that hard-scaping is in great demand here.

    So, the answer I give you, based on what my friends do is this:

    1. If you are somehow able to get a markdown on plants and products, good for you! Don't, however, charge your customers more than what they could get it for on their own. These people are not stupid and can go to the nurseries and hardware stores to get the same product themselves.

    2. The fact that these same people want to hire you means that they CAN'T or WON'T do the work themselves. According to an article in the Rocky Mountain News last year, they were having problems getting Americans to take care of landscaping/hardscaping for $10.00 per hour on many city/county properties and golf courses. A huge percentage of landscaping is done by Mexicans who are more than happy to earn this wage for hard, sweaty work. This is the least you should charge.

    3. Equipment - being a small business means you may not have access to equipment which will make the job go faster. You may not be able to get the job done as easily or as quickly as your competitors. Unless you are fortunate enough to have good, solid financial backing, be prepared to work much harder, for less money than those competitors. The average amount of time it takes a company to start making money is five years.

    4. Again, I have no way of knowing which area you are in. Prices fluctuate wildly from county to county here. DO join the Chamber Of Commerce for your city/county, as well as the BBB. Try to establish a relationship with builders, real estate investors and agents in your area.

    5. You are going to be hampered by rising gas prices. Start out by making contacts in your immediate area.

    6. Be prepared to bid on projects. People/companies accepting bids are going to be looking at two things: Time and cost. Be realistic about your capabilities. If you don't have, say, a backhoe, how much would it cost you to rent one? You need to factor stuff like that in.

    7. What are your credentials? If you have a degree in landscape architecture, naturally you may charge more for your services. Ditto with a landscaping engineering degree. My friend, Christine, holds a Master's degree in landscape engineering and works for the state of New Mexico. She makes a nice salary.

    ACH! This has gone on long enough. I hope you understand the many variables. Simply put, if you are doing lawn maintenance, charge by the job. Plan on making about $12.00-$15.00 an hour per job, but take off time for inferior equipment. Trimming a tree, if you have to go high up a ladder, tack on $100.00 - this is from a landscaping friend.

    Need more experience? Want to sub-contract? Contact your city or county.

    Need more info? Please e-mail me.

    Best of luck!

  • 4 years ago

    There is no legal cap on percentage, that is why you shop around. Your best bet is to take it to a shop like Midas where they give you a price breakdown estimate before they start any work. Usually they are within reasonable limits since they have to align the wheels after the parts are installed. Just remember you get what you pay for. If you don't like the estimate you can walk.

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