Plants + do you charge?

miss_rumphius_rules(z6 NJ)June 19, 2005

I know that this has been discussed before, but I would like to hear from designers who also sometimes supply the plants w/the contractor planting them.

Do you keep the charges separate, or do you include the installation in the plant mark-up to the client? The common mark-up in my neck of the woods is 2.3 or 2.4 X wholesale. This final price includes installation. There is one company who marks up 3 x wholesale. My question is, using this scenario, what % of the mark-up should go to the contractor who is planting the plants? Should it be the .3 or .4 or should the split be greater?

I spend a lot of time coordinating plant orders and grouping jobs together and finding/ordering plants. I don't want to shortchange myself for the time spent as well as care/water while they're waiting installation, nor do I want to shortchange the contractor for labor.

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Although I don't do it often, when I supply the plants, I include them in my billing at a straight markup to retail pricing (right around 3x's). The contractor, if there is one - lots of my clients are DIY'ers - charges his own fee for installation.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 10:24AM
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I bill for my time to source the plants at my normal hourly rate. ( faxing in bid sheets, tagging plants at the nursery, arranging the deliveries, sometimes doing the plant loading and deliveries myself on smaller specialized plants that don't meet the minimum del. from the nursery ect... )

I bill the client for the plants with my mark -up on the plants only.

I bill the client for the time to do the plant placement on the job site.

All of this comes under the heading " Plants" on my invoice.

My partner Miguel , the contractor, does all the soil prep , helps me unload my truck and or the delivery trucks, assists me in schelpping the plants into their planting places, plants, stakes, fertilizes and installs the irrigation system and mulches the area.

At the end of the job I give Miguel a sheet of paper that lists the quantity of the plants and their sizes.

He bills the client for his planting labor time from this plant list.
Example _
20 - one gallon plants - $ 8 each = $ 160
six - five gallon plants - $ 18 each = $ 108
2 - fifteen gallon plants - $ 50 each = $ 100
1 - 24 inch box tree - $ 175. each. = $ 175.

Total Planting Labor = $ 543.00


This price break down is explained in our contract.
So if the client wants to add more plants than what was originally designed, we have no problem with that, we simply bill the client on a per plant basis.
She knows that if she asks for 10 extra one gallon size plants to be planted she will be billed the planting rate of $ 8 dollar per plant

So the client is receiving two invoices at the end of the job.
One from me for the plant sourcing time and plant placement .

One from Miguel for the Demo, Grading, Soil Prep, Planting Time , Stakes and Fertilizers, Irrigation, Hardscape work , Mulch.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 1:08PM
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cris(6b RI)

I do just what Mich does when it comes to plant material and billing. I bill for the time it takes for me to locate, pick out and drop off the plant material at the client's house. I then space the plants out where they are supposed to go in the design. I usually buy the plants for clients who are DIY'ers and I actually have a lot of them. I typically don't plant stuff for clients unless they are going to get working with me. Then I fill the role of gardening mentor where they will learn how to plant correctly. That time is billed as well.

I mark up the plants separately since the place I usually buy plants from is a re-wholesaler and will sell to the general public. I know what the company's mark up is and then I bill the retail price accordingly.

If there is a landscaping company installing the project, then they are on their own for locating the plant material. The company is more than welcome to call or email me to ask where they might find the material or if there are any substitutions to make.

I don't mind getting plant material for people because one can make some good money...but it can be really hard to do so sometimes because I just don't have the time to vanish for hours on end shopping this time of year.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 1:10PM
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lnscapr(z7 VA)

I design for both contractors and homeowners. The contractors generally purchase their own plants--this is where they make a good portion of their money. If a homeowner/do-it-yourselfer wishes me to provide the plants, I will go to a local wholesale nursery and handpick the plants, add a mark-up of 80-100% and arrange for delivery by the nursery (client pays delivery charge). If it's a large order I'll include a site visit to help the client place them in the landscape. I love the opportunity to do's great fun and quite profitable!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 10:56PM
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As Cris notes, the time involved is why I don't perform this service often. You can take an entire day driving around to various wholesalers selecting and tagging plants, then loading them up (or arrange to have them delivered) and transporting them to the jobsite for just a single client. I simply don't have that much time at my disposal.

Fortunately, I also work at a high end retail nursery with an excellent selection of plants. Typically I just suggest to my clients they bring the plants schedule and meet me at the nursery to view and select the plants. I help them find and select the correct plants, they pay for them on the spot, the nursery delivers them and life is wonderful. I also will help them place or spot the plants if they are DYI'ers, but that is far less time-consuming on my tight schedule. Yes, I lose the mark-up if they buy direct from the retailer, but this process works best for me.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 10:03AM
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happyhoe(z6 OH)

If you are having a contractor do the planting get a quote from them first and then add 25% on top of that for your proposal.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 12:12AM
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