When looking at carrying out landscaping and gardening works on more of a commercial basis, then you need to get things a lot more organised. Ideally there needs to be a contract with definite agreed works that will be carried out, that not only protects the client from unsatisfactory service, but helps the contractor carefully plan and resource things.
So maybe there are external grassed and planted areas around offices or an industrial estate, in addition to ‘hard’ areas like car parks and access roads, which may require things like litter picking, sweeping, and weed control.
But even after you have agreed the specification and what exactly will be done, there’s still an important question to answer concerning the timing if things.
The Frequency of Visits
Now in one sense, the timing is to do with how long each visit might take, which will depend upon what the specification is but also what people the contractor has to do the job. So they might allow an hour or two for two people to carry out the agreed grass cutting and litter picking, plus maintenance of any planted areas and say hedge trimming.
But then you need to look at how often they come to do this, namely the frequency of visits. Surprisingly, we see this often forgotten or not correctly clarified.
And the best way to do this is in two stages.
Phase One - Basic Frequency
Firstly, roughly see how often you will probably need this doing. So maybe at least every month for general landscaping, however, this may need to reduce to at least fortnightly in order to keep on top of grass growing, and even weekly or every few days if there are aspects such as litter picking to deal with.
The specification will dictate this, and what exactly needs doing and when. It’s important as well to compare this against what the client’s expectations are, as the higher they are then often the more you need to do this.
Phase Two - Annual Adjustment
But then the second phase is to adjust this to what is required on an annual basis, taking into account the different seasons and therefore needs of the outside areas.
It sounds obvious when you mention it like this, with summer times generally needing more attention with things growing faster, however, this can be forgotten in the agreement of any commercial arrangements.
So, one popular way to agree this is a basic twenty visits per year, period. This means you can work out the total annual cost based upon these number of visits and the rate per visit.
You can then agree how often these are paid, which may be the same rate per month on average rather at just per visit and, therefore, get paid more in summer for more visits but less in winter with reduced ones.
But back to the twenty visits, this basically assumes a monthly visit during the winter months, but then fortnightly in the spring, summer, and autumn ones during the growing seasons.
So if you take four months for the winter, say from November to February, this adds up to four visits.
For the remaining eight months of they year, if you assume every fortnight then this is roughly sixteen visits based upon two every month, however, watch out for extra weeks cropping in there somewhere.
But roughly speaking, four plus sixteen is of course twenty visits in total. Now although these may all require different tasks, so maybe more basic grass cutting in summer and pruning in winter, it’s still a popular way to help knuckle this down to an annual basis.
The 20 Visit Gauge
Therefore, as you look to agree a regular landscaping and gardening contract on a more substantial and regular basis, this simple way of taking it on an annual cycle can help agree the number of visits needed in order to agree and cost things.
So rather than just taking say twelve monthly visits, or twenty six fortnightly ones, this can be a helpful compromise that accounts for less visits in the winter but more in the summer.
And although the nature of what is done at these times will vary, it’s helpful for everyone to get these planned in now and costed to just the right basis.