need advice from estate gardener/manager

Passion4Gardening(5)February 27, 2012

Recently had a call from a potential client who needs something along the lines of an estate manager to manage all aspects of landscape care. He is a busy executive that travels out of the country frequently for work. He is looking for someone to manage all landscape care as he has no time. He got my name and number from a current client of mine. It's a new house and is close to being move in ready. He wants me to manage the landscape care including: garden bed maintenance, lawn care, snow plow, irrigation, arbor work, bedding annuals and seasonal containers.I can do all the garden bed maintenance, irrigation, bedding annuals and seasonal containers. The rest of the lawn care, plowing, tree work would need to be subcontracted out. I know several companies who do great landscape maintenance work, but how would I charge him for this kind of service?? He essentially wants to have one contact for all landscape care and only one monthly bill to pay. I've never had to manage an entire property before, so this is all kind of new. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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essentially, if you agree to work with this potential client, you will be acting as the general contractor for all grounds related services. Some of these services, as you delineated, will be performed by you, and others will be contracted out to specialists.

If this were me, I'd add a percentage to the bill before passing it on. If you think 10% makes you too much of a bandit on the mowing, make it 5%, or a dollar figure that you can live with. Because if there's an issue, it's up to you to make it right, spend three days on the phone to get someone to come out for a twenty minute touch up, or to pay the bill from the sub and wait to get reimbursed from the owner. Which means, for the snow contract, that percentage gets upped, cuz spring always leaves surprises.

Otherwise, use your standard hourly rate to cover the administrative costs of managing the work contracted out. In the end, either way will probably work out about equal, one is more directly proportionate to the time/costs involved, one is a lot less headache and bother for you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Thanks for the help strobiculate! I'm definitely leaning towards adding 10 % to the bill.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Use both, your standard hourly rate to cover the managing, and a reasonable mark-up (10%) on the subcontractor rates...they are your contacts, your intellectual property, and its you who are now taking some degree of responsibility for the work they do, given your description of your client who is frequently out of town.

Worst case hire someone and they screw up, the owner now comes after you for damages, and the sub isn't returning your calls. Or your sub doesn't get paid, and they come after you, the contractor.

You'd better have a contract drawn up covering all the bases, or you are risking levels of exposure you may not be familiar with.

I've had gardening clients ask me to do the same, I just recommend names, and tell them its up to them. I am a gardener, not a property manager, that's my comfort zone.

It sounds like this is an important client. Get a contract, don't risk mucking things up.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:01PM
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ebeth(z8 FL)

I mark up what my subs charge me a minimum of 20%; more if I know a particular sub is needy.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Thanks ebeth.

Anyone have contract wording/contract they could share that would cover me if the subs screw up or the homeowner doesn't pay up?

I'd like to get more property management clients like this, but the liability issue for subs is a big concern. So far I've only checked that they have appropriate insurance and licensing and are respected in their fields for quality work at fair prices.

Thanks for any help!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 10:38AM
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