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How Much Do Landscapers Make

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How Much Do Landscapers Make

Landscapers, or landscaping technicians, maintain the grounds of a property. Landscaping is an almost exclusively outdoor job, and it is physically demanding as most of the work requires manual labor. Occasionally, however, landscapers will have to work in an office, meeting with clients, drawing up layout designs, and maintaining records. Landscapers work with a variety of equipment, including but not limited to lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, weed whackers, leaf blowers and other power equipment. Additionally, landscapers work with shovels, spades, rakes, hoes and other handheld tools. Landscapers’ common jobs include mowing and edging lawns, clearing areas of debris and leaves, planting and watering flowerbeds, removing weeds and unsightly plants, cleaning pathways and sidewalks, pruning and shaping bushes and trees, determining the correct usage of pesticides and fertilizers, and other general maintenance.
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

Landscapers are generally hired by clients and travel to the home or property that is to be maintained, and they usually schedule multiple clients per day. Because most landscapers work on various job sites throughout the day, the ability to travel is generally a requirement. Some companies, such as golf courses, hire dedicated landscapers who do not travel to other locations, but instead spend the day maintaining a single property. Before selling a property, a client might hire a landscaper to increase the property’s curb appeal. In other cases, a landscaper may be required to perform basic construction and destruction of various structures.Landscapers can work in a variety of environments, and for a variety of people. Many companies hire teams of landscapers who travel to job sites together. Landscaping is a field that encourages small business ownership, therefore it is common to report directly to the company’s owner. In larger teams, a landscaper may report to a horticulturist, landscaping specialist, or general manager.
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

Landscaper: In the most general sense, this is the type of person who installs and maintains plants, flowers, trees, sod, and other natural materials like rocks and mulch. Lawn care often is part of the landscape maintenance professional's menu of services, plus he or she may also offer basic design services (a good eye and an equally good design software package make it possible). Finally, landscapers may offer add-on services, such as sprinkler installation or hardscape construction, to stay busy. We'll discuss the numerous ways you can pump up your business a little later. Most states require landscapers to be licensed. Check with your state's department of licensing, labor or contracting board to find out the requirements.
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

The role: “Our job is making things look pretty,” says Jeff Pope, owner of Rakes & Ladders in Vancouver. He said being a landscaper is not just about planting flowers and seeds, though. Landscapers need to know what plant species will grow together, and in which plant hardiness zones, to ensure the garden they’re working on stays lush longer. “It’s tying everything together,” he says. Landscapers also need to be able to plan for the long term. A sapling needs to be situated in such a way, for instance, that it’s still going to be in the right space as a mature tree decades from now.
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

Surpassing the national average by 20 percent, Landscapers in Seattle receive some of the highest pay in the country. Landscapers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is Norcross, which sits 29 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Workers in Houston and Port St. Lucie earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (29 percent less and 28 percent less, respectively).
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

Pay Difference by Location Denver▼-14%Baltimore▼-24%Alexandria▼-24%Lenexa▼-25%Sterling▼-25%West Palm Beach▼-27%Houston▼-29%See fewer citiesNational Average: $26,855Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.Learn about cost of living by city » Surpassing the national average by 20 percent, Landscapers in Seattle receive some of the highest pay in the country. Landscapers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is Norcross, which sits 29 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Workers in Houston and Port St. Lucie earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (29 percent less and 28 percent less, respectively).
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

Denver▼-14%Baltimore▼-24%Alexandria▼-24%Lenexa▼-25%Sterling▼-25%West Palm Beach▼-27%Houston▼-29%See fewer citiesNational Average: $26,855Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.Learn about cost of living by city » Surpassing the national average by 20 percent, Landscapers in Seattle receive some of the highest pay in the country. Landscapers will also find cushy salaries in New York (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is Norcross, which sits 29 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Workers in Houston and Port St. Lucie earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (29 percent less and 28 percent less, respectively).
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How Much Do Landscapers Make

The price of all this freedom and body contouring is relatively low-so low, in fact, that many new lawn service owners and landscapers use their personal credit cards or small personal loans to fund their new businesses. Once you invest in the tools and toys you need to manicure lawns or install landscaping professionally, you're generally set for years. You don't need much in the way of office equipment, either, and you can set your office up in a corner of the den or a spare bedroom rather than laying out extra cash for a commercial space.
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Keep in mind, while they can help you decide placement of a pond or the types of plants to purchase, some landscape designers will not help with the installation. Landscapers and groundskeepers can do the heavy lifting for you, and some of them can do general planning, though rarely at the level of landscape architects. You get what you pay for, so make sure you do your research and get references — regardless of who you choose.
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Industry SnapshotAccording to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), an international association serving lawn care professionals, exterior maintenance contractors, installation/design/building professionals, and interiorscapers, there are an estimated 10,000 individual lawn care service providers and approximately 12,000 landscapers in the United States. These run the gamut from independent operations to franchises and divisions of large corporate chains. It's believed that the number of businesses could actually be significantly higher because there are so many people doing lawn and landscape maintenance informally and on a cash basis. What is known for sure, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-2007 (U.S. Department of Labor), is that almost 1 out of every 4 landscaping, groundskeeping, nursery, greenhouse and lawn service workers is self-employed and provides maintenance services directly to customers on a contract basis. Of these, about 1 out of every 6 works part time.
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Landscapers come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, but they all share one thing in common: a genuine love of the outdoors and growing things. It's what drives them to spend most of every day on the job covered in dirt. It induces them to learn the Latin names of plants, shrubs and trees-on purpose. And it makes them gleefully haul around 45-gallon containers (and the redwoods sprouting from them) like it's child's play rather than actual work. Sound like fun? Then you've come to the right place.
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Interiorscaper (aka interior landscaper): You can build an entire business caring for plants in office buildings, shopping malls and other public places. Interior landscapers are usually contractors who provide general maintenance and care, as well as give advice about the types of plants and planters that will complement a building's interior design the best. Interiorscapers often give advice about plant selection, supervise and/or set up or tear down holiday decorations, and offer other services that are loosely related to interior design. While you don't need a design background to be successful, it helps if you have an eye for color, shape, texture and form and can translate that into green focal points that will complement beautifully arranged interiors.
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But you can also figure out how much the market will bear by calculating the size of your own lot and calling a few of the lawn care companies in the Yellow Pages for an estimate. (Typically, owners of lawn care services calculate their prices based on the total square footage of the lot. They can usually estimate roughly how much of a lot is landscaping.) Then recruit a few family members and friends to call for quotes on their lawns, too, so you can get a feel for prices on lots of different sizes. This will help you determine the acceptable price range in your community, and then it's easy to figure out where to price your services. This method works especially well if you're doing business in a community with uniformly platted subdivisions or other similarly sized lots.
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Estimating JobsWhether you're providing a simple service like pruning bushes or you're installing an elaborate three-level deck, people will want to know upfront how much a job will cost. As a result, it's imperative to develop good estimating skills right from the start. The trouble is, estimating is a science, and it's easy to make a misstep that could cost you plenty in terms of time and resources.

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