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  • FIRST POST
    • Nathaniel Essex
    • By Nathaniel Essex 7th Apr 18, 9:19 PM
    • 116Posts
    • 62Thanks
    Nathaniel Essex
    Does anyone else have trouble finding a gardener?
    • #1
    • 7th Apr 18, 9:19 PM
    Does anyone else have trouble finding a gardener? 7th Apr 18 at 9:19 PM
    I just have to rant. For almost 3 years I have been looking for a gardener. I have tried mobile apps, Facebook, RatedPeople and so on. The most recent attempt was an ad in a window and like the rest before them; responded in good time, arranged a meeting but failed to show up.
    I have been in contact with no less then 10 people and it's always the same.

    I am not even including those who I sent pictures to only to quote almost £100 to cut a small front garden and hedge.
Page 2
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 10th Apr 18, 7:14 AM
    • 2,905 Posts
    • 3,259 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    I do a little gardening. I just charge a small fee, I try to keep it to people that I know.
    I do any jobs that make me and the dog feel welcome. I don't think people know where to look for gardeners, its no longer the newspaper, but its now facebook and social media.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Word of mouth and google/my website get most of my enquiries.
    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 10th Apr 18, 8:28 AM
    • 3,558 Posts
    • 6,100 Thanks
    martinthebandit
    If finding a gardener is anything like finding a cleaner, i feel your pain!
    Originally posted by halogen
    If your willing to pay a fair wage then cleaners are relatively easy to find.

    If you only want to pay minimum wage (or less when travel costs etc are taken into account) then good cleaners are as common as hens teeth.
    Politics -
    from the words Poli, meaning many
    and tics meaning blood sucking parasites


    (thanks to Kinky Friedman (or Larry Hardman) for the quote}
    • bertiewhite
    • By bertiewhite 10th Apr 18, 8:45 AM
    • 1,198 Posts
    • 1,341 Thanks
    bertiewhite
    It's easy for me to find a gardener - she's usually sat in front of the TV.

    Seriously though, the going rate round our way is £15/hr.
    • halogen
    • By halogen 10th Apr 18, 10:40 AM
    • 116 Posts
    • 148 Thanks
    halogen
    If your willing to pay a fair wage then cleaners are relatively easy to find.

    If you only want to pay minimum wage (or less when travel costs etc are taken into account) then good cleaners are as common as hens teeth.
    Originally posted by martinthebandit
    If you say so... would £10/hour be considered fair?
    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 10th Apr 18, 2:17 PM
    • 3,558 Posts
    • 6,100 Thanks
    martinthebandit
    If you say so... would £10/hour be considered fair?
    Originally posted by halogen

    Would you do it for £10 an hour?


    Me neither.
    Politics -
    from the words Poli, meaning many
    and tics meaning blood sucking parasites


    (thanks to Kinky Friedman (or Larry Hardman) for the quote}
    • halogen
    • By halogen 10th Apr 18, 2:33 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 148 Thanks
    halogen
    Yes. I would. If i was physically capable of it. I'm not though.
    What would be fair then?
    • martinthebandit
    • By martinthebandit 10th Apr 18, 3:00 PM
    • 3,558 Posts
    • 6,100 Thanks
    martinthebandit
    Yes. I would. If i was physically capable of it. I'm not though.
    What would be fair then?
    Originally posted by halogen
    Ah, it's not a question of how much is 'fair' it's a question of how much a cleaner is worth on the open market and if you are having trouble getting a cleaner then you need to increase the rewards you are offering.

    If you can get someone who will do a good job for minimum wage then well done you.

    If you can't, then it's simple economics, you need to increase the pay you are offering.
    Politics -
    from the words Poli, meaning many
    and tics meaning blood sucking parasites


    (thanks to Kinky Friedman (or Larry Hardman) for the quote}
    • halogen
    • By halogen 10th Apr 18, 3:11 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 148 Thanks
    halogen
    hmmm I think thats missing the point. Everytime I've tried to look I've always said payment negotiable but I've never even got anyone to the point of having that discussion.
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 10th Apr 18, 3:20 PM
    • 425 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    bobwilson
    I just have to rant. For almost 3 years I have been looking for a gardener. I have tried mobile apps, Facebook, RatedPeople and so on. The most recent attempt was an ad in a window and like the rest before them; responded in good time, arranged a meeting but failed to show up.
    I have been in contact with no less then 10 people and it's always the same.

    I am not even including those who I sent pictures to only to quote almost £100 to cut a small front garden and hedge.
    Originally posted by Nathaniel Essex
    You're not alone. When I lived in south London, the only company to reply quoted me £hundreds for a small amount of work, but assured they'd send professional gardeners. They then sent around some hooligans with no gardening experience at all, who proceeded to completely destroy the garden (e.g. cutting edges with the wrong tool and ending up ripping turf off all the edges among other things). I had to run outside & lend them the correct tools from my shed & explain to them how to do basic gardening tasks.

    My point being, you are not alone. In the U of K we don't have such a good tradesmen culture like in other countries. It tends to be infested with hooligans with no real interest or skill in the trade who just want quick cash.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 10th Apr 18, 3:33 PM
    • 1,422 Posts
    • 526 Thanks
    sevenhills
    hmmm I think thats missing the point. Everytime I've tried to look I've always said payment negotiable but I've never even got anyone to the point of having that discussion.
    Originally posted by halogen
    It is the person doing the work that will decide the payment level, you are merely asking for a quote.

    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 10th Apr 18, 4:32 PM
    • 2,905 Posts
    • 3,259 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    Indeed... maybe a potential customer who thinks they pull the strings sends huge alarm bells ringing in the heads of a tradesperson. Maybe a customer thinking they can "negotiate" what I earn to pay my mortgage and support the future for my family is a customer who will always struggle to find a dependable gardener!
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 10th Apr 18, 4:37 PM
    • 38,892 Posts
    • 35,726 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    If you say so... would £10/hour be considered fair?
    Originally posted by halogen
    I'd say it was on the low side. No, I'll retract that, it's too low.

    Look at it this way: if someone is employed on the (alleged) Living Wage, they have tax and NI deducted at source, their employer pays some NI, they get paid holiday and their employer sets up auto-enrolment for them. If they're sick, they can at least claim SSP, if not some contractual sick pay.

    It's all done for them, takes no time at all. All their working hours are paid. If they need stationery or equipment, their employer will generally supply it, and if they need PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) their employer MUST either supply it or pay for it.

    If they are self-employed, they are responsible for their own tax and NI, if they are sick or take any holiday they won't be paid for it, and if they want a pension they have to make all the contributions. Outside their working hours, they have to sort all these things out, and pay for the privilege.

    It's unlikely they'll be able to work as many hours as if they were employed full-time, because each job will be in a different place, so there's the time and expense of moving from one job to the other. If they need any stationery, equipment or PPE, they'll be paying for it (OK, I know some cleaners expect the client to provide particular cleaning agents and use the client's vacuum etc, but not universally).

    So, how much more than Living Wage do you think a self-employed person has to charge, in order to make Living Wage for the actual hours they work? Obviously, it depends on the field of work, but I'd be surprised if many can make a living on £10 per hour.
    Still knitting!
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    • UK007BullDog
    • By UK007BullDog 10th Apr 18, 11:50 PM
    • 2,547 Posts
    • 1,394 Thanks
    UK007BullDog
    I am a PROFESSIONAL gardener going into my 5th year. I studied with the RHS. I know my plants and my worth. I know the difference of a weed to a plant. I know how to and when to prune. I love proper gardens with lots of plants in them. I have a waiting list.

    My charges are £50 - £60 for the first two hours minimum and £20 for each hour thereafter.

    There is no negotiation, no haggling. My price is my price. If the potential customer starts with haggling (even though I told them I would not haggle) I am no longer interested. Also I am not interested when the potential customer tells me how long it should take me to do their garden. I work fast but I am not going to run around as that's dangerous and I left the rat race in the city for a more evenly paced work balance.

    I price up one offs differently (more) as they are very hard work.

    I charge extra for waste removal. My time, petrol, wear and tear of my van, charged by weight, by the council for using the tip.

    If there is a large lawn for me to cut I charge extra for petrol, i.e my hourly rate is higher.

    I expect the customer to also pay for parking charges or supply me with parking permits if required in their area and they have no drive for me to park on.

    I visit each new garden I take on and walk the garden, looking for any access issues or anything which could endanger me or my tools. I used to accept pictures from potential customers but now insist on clapping eyes on the garden in person. I have learned my lessons the hard way.

    I charge to cover my costs and also make a profit as no one works for free.

    Van costs: Insurance, Road Tax, MOT, Service, Wear and tear, Petrol.
    Travel costs and time from garden to garden. My gardens are not close together.
    Tools: Purchase, Replacements, service and sundries. (Professional kit is expensive)
    Uniform and boots
    Professional Indemnity insurance
    Costs of the Accountant
    Business Banking costs
    Business mobile
    Website
    Business cards and literature

    I have to pay my own taxes, NI, Pension (savings), mortgage.
    I spend time with office work, invoicing customers, sourcing of plants (if I have to visit a nursery I charge the customer for that service (plants, compost, bark, fertiliser, stones, aggregate, pots, hanging baskets, etc).

    If I am sick or on holiday I am not getting paid. 2 to 4 months a year I do no work or very little, so the income from the rest of the year needs to cover my outgoings which are still there.

    If someone finds £10 or even £15 is too much then they better look for a pensioner who just wants to earn a bit of money on the side, who use their own car to take green waste to the tip for free and who use the customers tools.

    However be warned, if you hire someone to do your garden using your tools and hurts themselves you may find that your arrangement may be classed (by the courts) as you being their employer and your liable for them. They can sue you. Plus if they break something the cost can be quite high, for instance chipped patio doors, cut through power lines and telephone lines. They then may vanish never to be seen again.
    Last edited by UK007BullDog; 10-04-2018 at 11:57 PM.
    • UK007BullDog
    • By UK007BullDog 11th Apr 18, 12:08 AM
    • 2,547 Posts
    • 1,394 Thanks
    UK007BullDog
    hmmm I think thats missing the point. Everytime I've tried to look I've always said payment negotiable but I've never even got anyone to the point of having that discussion.
    Originally posted by halogen
    Because its not negotiable. Its hard physical work. It sends the wrong message. That's why no one wants to come round to see the garden. Gardeners can be picky as to who they are taking on.

    It may be different if there were more gardeners than gardens, but that is not the case. I took my mobile number off my website last year as I was inundated by people looking for a gardener. It was impossible for me to take on more work.
    • bobwilson
    • By bobwilson 11th Apr 18, 12:10 AM
    • 425 Posts
    • 113 Thanks
    bobwilson
    Indeed... maybe a potential customer who thinks they pull the strings sends huge alarm bells ringing in the heads of a tradesperson. Maybe a customer thinking they can "negotiate" what I earn to pay my mortgage and support the future for my family is a customer who will always struggle to find a dependable gardener!
    Originally posted by glasgowdan
    I agree with the OP, you're missing his point- even customers who don't think they can negotiate still find it close to impossible.
    • Nathaniel Essex
    • By Nathaniel Essex 11th Apr 18, 6:23 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 62 Thanks
    Nathaniel Essex
    Because its not negotiable. Its hard physical work. It sends the wrong message. That's why no one wants to come round to see the garden. Gardeners can be picky as to who they are taking on.

    It may be different if there were more gardeners than gardens, but that is not the case. I took my mobile number off my website last year as I was inundated by people looking for a gardener. It was impossible for me to take on more work.
    Originally posted by UK007BullDog
    I understand and respect this and expect to pay that if I had a large garden with plants that need to be taken care of. What's annoying is those who advertise "no job too small" only for them not to respond to your messages or not show up. I know the work I need doing is not specialist and is simply down to my laziness and coming across cat/fox droppings. With that said, if a job is too small simply just say so. I send individuals pictures prior and they agree to the work only to not show up. My old neighbor gave me the details of a gardener that was like 20 miles away. Thought it was too far but gave her a call and she said it was okay as she had clients up this way. She came to take a look, went away and I never heard from her. Chased and she said she was not interested in the job.

    Looks like I found a general handyman who is quite keen but the fact he offered to cut everything with a trimmer tells me he's not serious and will probably take a chainsaw to my hedge like the last guy, making the thing look worst than before it was cut. He also does not have his own tools but was the only one to respond from my latest efforts of trying to find a gardener through: Rated People, CheckaTrade, Facebook, Shpock, Google, shop windows, personal referrals and even the council worker cutting the communal grass outside.
    • jellie
    • By jellie 13th Apr 18, 9:45 PM
    • 836 Posts
    • 680 Thanks
    jellie
    My local Age UK has a list of recommended traders on their website, it includes garden services.
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 13th Apr 18, 10:59 PM
    • 2,905 Posts
    • 3,259 Thanks
    glasgowdan
    Try and keep an eye out for neighbours gardens being tended by gardeners and ask the neighbour if they'd recommend them.

    As above, there is more gardening work than gardeners in most areas. I turn down work on an almost daily basis from February through to December. The best customers are ones who do not send photos or try to assess cost before you even come out for a look. Just call/email, ask us to visit and say what you want done, and you should find a better caliber of response.
    • Lysimache
    • By Lysimache 15th Apr 18, 2:16 PM
    • 175 Posts
    • 64 Thanks
    Lysimache
    hmmm I think thats missing the point. Everytime I've tried to look I've always said payment negotiable but I've never even got anyone to the point of having that discussion.
    Originally posted by halogen
    Trying advertising a higher rate first and see if you get any enquiries.
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