An Easy Guide to Know How to Estimate a Landscaping Jobs

How to Estimate a Landscaping Jobs

As a landscaper, you have a wide range of tasks to perform. From installing playground equipment, rock gardens to planting, fencing, maintaining water systems, and many more. These involve a wide range of expenses and therefore making accurate estimates is essential to run a profitable business. Most of the contractors lose money due to a lack of experience in estimating the task, which reduces their profit margin.

Learning to make an accurate bid is a must, to survive in this competitive business world. In this article, you will learn all that you need to know about, how to estimate landscaping jobs. Keep reading!

Quick insight:

To answer how much to charge for landscaping we have done the research for you and have listed a few steps. Take a look!

Steps to Create an Estimate for Landscaping Jobs

Here are some basic steps that would help you to understand how to make a proper estimate for your landscape job. Check it out now!

Before moving forward get yourself acquainted with the full scope of work! Here are some basic questions that you must note down before moving on with the estimate:

  • What is the location of the job site?
  • How big is the area?
  • Figure out the property damage, safety hazardous, or accessibility issues, if any.
  • Is there any specific time frame?
  • What services are you providing?
  • Do you have any special client requests?
  • What materials do you need for the job?

Once all your questions are answered you can move forward with- how to estimate landscaping jobs. Let’s find out, how?

Visit the property and talk to your client

Visiting the property is a must as you need to plan out your job and need to list out all your requirements. Several factors need to be considered before you make your estimates and for this, you need to visit the site. Also, make sure you question your clients regarding the landscaping design and style as this would vary the price. Besides, consider the below points as well:

  • Location of the site
  • Soil type
  • Features that to be added, like, stone pathway or patio
  • Condition of the yard
  • Soil to be added or removed
  • Reslope the land or grade

Estimate the following

Besides visiting the site, there are other factors as well that cause the price variation. Hence, you must research well and consider all vital aspects before you make and quote your estimate. Let’s understand each point with an example.

Labor Cost

Add the hourly rate with your estimate if you are the only one doing the job. But if you have employees who will be working for you then calculate the hourly rate and multiply with the number of employees to get the total labor costs. The labor cost ranges between $9.21 to $19.74. Moreover, the labor cost widely depends upon the location. Research the ongoing labor cost of your locality before you make the estimate.

The labor cost will differ by states, hence we will consider a national average which is around $13.73. With this amount will add the tax which is around 20%. Though this amount also varies for different businesses.

Let’s now calculate the hourly cost:
$13.73×0.20= $16.47
Now, for example the total hours required to complete the entire work is 200 hours. Therefore, the total labor cost, $16.47×200=$3294

Material Cost

As soon as you visit the site you plan out your task. You can list out all your requirements based on the measurement of the site. Hence, you can figure out the total material cost as per your requirement. The material cost also varies as per the requirement of the clients. The more sophisticated the task is, the bigger will be the requirement list. Be accurate on this and always keep a room, so that you cope up with the sudden change in the material cost.

Chalk out a list of material that you may need for a landscaping job:

  • Timber
  • Fertilizer
  • Trees
  • Compost
  • Lawn turf
  • Cement
  • Floodlight, etc.
Let’s assume the material cost to be around $3400.

Subcontractor Cost

This is the simplest part of the job. As soon as you get the project and you visit the site contact your trusted contractor. Give them the project brief and ask them to quote their price. Add the price to the total cost and get your estimate ready.

Let’s assume that the subcontractor cost amounts to around $2000. This amount may vary depending upon the job type.

Overhead cost

Landscaping jobs involve a comprehensive price list for specific tasks. Every feature or service contributed to a particular project brings with it a particular set of requirements with a specific price. Among these expenses, it may be normal to miss out on overhead costs for newcomers.

Overhead costs include advertising, office rent, equipment repair, and maintenance, accountants and insurance, vehicle, gas, etc. To recoup the expenses you need to add your overhead cost to your estimate. If you miss out on this there is a chance that you may not gain enough profit even after adding the markup.

Let’s now understand how to calculate the overhead cost.

Calculate your weekly overhead cost. Let’s assume it to be around $1500.
Calculate the weekly labor hours. Let’s take it approximately 100 hours.
Therefore, hourly overhead costs, $1500/100=$15

As per our example the total number of hours=200.
Therefore the total overhead cost=> $15×200=$3000

Add Markup

Do not confuse this with your overhead cost. Add markup on your total cost which will get you a decent profit. This amount helps you to run your business smoothly by clearly additional business expenses. As per the general guidelines the margin various types of landscaping jobs are:

  • For residential landscaping, the margin of 15-20% is good enough.
  • Whereas, for commercial landscaping, it would be around 10-15%.
  • For maintenance landscaping, the margin of 10-12% is fair enough.

As per our example, to earn a 20% margin we will add 25% markup on the total cost.

Calculate Total Price

Finally comes the total cost. Add all the above expenses to get the total estimate. Do remember to add the sales tax amount with your estimate as well. Some places do not require sales tasks for service-based jobs like landscaping. Hence, research on tax expenses of your locality to be specific before quoting your estimate.

Total Cost= Labor cost + Material cost + Overhead cost= $3294+ $3400+$3000=$9694
Add the subcontractor cost (if any)=> $9694+$2000= $11694
Finally, add the markup, which $11694×1.25= $14617.5

And, here is your final estimate for the landscaping job.

What is a landscaping quote?

A quote is a professional document that states the total cost and the pricing breakdown of certain projects. A landscaping quote will show the average cost of landscaping and will include other details like services provided, client information, terms and conditions, landscaping hourly rate, etc.

Key points to remember when quoting:

  • Your company name, logo, and contact information.
  • Service description with cost per service
  • Mention the quote expiry date as the prices may fluctuate.
  • Add a service note to mention if you need a deposit for purchasing specific material or initiating a particular task.


How much does a landscaper charge per hour?

As per the on-going rate, the landscaping cost per hour is around $45 to $75. The amount remains the same for both new and maintenance landscaping. The amount may vary for physical labor and landscape designers.

How much does it cost per square foot for a landscaping job?

The current landscaping cost per square foot is around $5 to $35. The amount is variable as this depends on the types of landscaping installation to be done. The amount is low for sod installation whereas the price will shoot up to $29200 for designer and hardscaping.

How much does landscaping cost?

In the landscaping business, small maintenance tasks cost around $300-$850. Large jobs may cost up to $4000 and bigger installation tasks cost nearly $3000 to $16000.

This article gives a clear insight into the details of landscaping jobs and answers all your doubts regarding how to estimate landscaping jobs. Customized invoice templates of Billbooks gets your invoices done quickly and sends them immediately after completion of your job. Get Billbooks now!

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