Free landscaping estimate template
A job well done and a landscape estimate price that matches the final bill are both keys to getting repeat customers. Using a landscaping estimate template improves the accuracy of your customer quotes and results in happier clients.
An estimate that accounts not just for materials and labor costs but for your overhead expenses and a markup as well, ensures that you run a profitable landscaping business.
So, a landscaping estimate template helps you consistently deliver accurate invoices — a win for you and your customers.
Table of contents
How to estimate landscaping jobs
Correctly estimating a landscaping project can be a lot harder than it sounds. According to Total Landscape Care, landscaping businesses only make a profit on approximately 60% of the jobs they take. On the remaining 40% of their work, about half are break-even jobs and the other half are losses.
Green Industry Pros estimates that at least 20% of a landscaper’s sales are needed for overhead. So, before you create a landscaping estimate template or even start pricing landscaping jobs, you need to know exactly how much it costs to run your business every day.
To do this, add up all of your monthly business expenses like your:
- Vehicle expenses — gas, insurance, maintenance costs, etc.
- Cell phones and office supplies.
- Advertising, utilities, and administrative expenses.
- Your personal salary.
You then divide the total by the number of weeks in a month (4) and the number of hours you work in a week. So if, for example, your overhead expenses are $5,000 per month and you work 50 hours in a week, your hourly overhead costs are:
$5,000 / 4 weeks = $1,250 per week / 50 hours = $25 / hour
Using this example, you would have to charge at least $25/hour to cover your operating costs on top of materials and labor costs. More on that below.
To run a profitable business, however, you also need to add a markup. Lawn and Landscape, a leading industry publication, recommends that landscapers aim for 10 – 20% profit margins. Ultimately, your ceiling is what the market will pay for landscaping work in your area.
The reason for breaking down overhead into an hourly cost is that you can add this amount to your hourly labor cost if you charge your customers by the hour.
There are other methods and factors landscapers use to estimate labor costs, such as those for tree trimming work, so let’s take a closer look at them.
By the size of the landscape
Quoting landscaping jobs by size is common among landscapers. This is typically done by the acre or by square footage and the total area is usually included in the landscaping estimate template.
Some landscapers may give customers a cost-per-square-foot or cost-per-acre discount for larger properties.
With bigger landscaping projects, your overhead costs decrease slightly as you spend less on gas and do not lose time traveling to another job site. However, it’s important to always keep an eye on your operating costs and not get caught up in making the sale.
On the other hand, smaller landscaping areas not only mean smaller jobs but may also mean a smaller and harder-to-access workspace. For example, if you don’t have the space to drive a Bobcat into the backyard, you’ll have to excavate by hand, resulting in more time and work.
By the type of landscape job
This factor has the biggest influence on the final price and, therefore, how you estimate a landscaping job. Landscaping work generally falls into one of four categories:
- Maintenance landscaping — examples include lawn aeration, pest control, fertilization, and tree stump removal.
- Softscaping — this usually refers to landscaping by planting or maintaining plants, trees, shrubs, grass, etc.
- Hardscaping — refers to landscaping that doesn’t involve plant life, such as building decks, patios, walkways, and retaining walls.
- Xeriscaping — is a landscaping project that aims to reduce water usage. This can be done by installing water-efficient irrigation systems, artificial turf, or landscaping stones.
The type of landscaping work being done will determine the:
- Amount of time it takes to finish the job.
- Material costs.
- Degree of difficulty and whether specialists and equipment are needed.
The more complicated the work and the more expertise needed, the higher your charge will be for the job.
For example, your lawn mowing price will not equal the cost to install a lawn irrigation system regardless of whether you charge by the hour, the square foot, or the job.
Determine your labor costs
Whether you do landscaping work yourself or not, you may also be paying office staff and a landscaping team. While your office team’s wages won’t be included in a landscaping estimate template, they should be considered part of your overhead.
Landscaping workers and subcontractors, on the other hand, are usually paid by the hour based on an individual’s skill level. Their rates and hours are included in landscaping estimate templates to ensure transparency and build customer trust.
To create a helpful estimate, you need to know how much time and how many workers are required to complete each type of job. Remember to add payroll taxes, benefits, and insurance, if applicable, to the labor costs in your landscaping estimate template.
This U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics page has information on how much the average American landscaper earns. The most current numbers show that the national average for landscaping and groundskeeping workers is around $16.00/hr.
However, the numbers vary depending on which state you’re in, so it’s worth validating your area’s average.
Landscapers make more in areas with higher costs of living which usually translates to higher landscaping prices for customers in these areas as well.
Consider your material costs
Having a good wholesaler is just as important as having a skilled landscaping team.
If you can get your cost of materials down, you can balance your markup between your labor charges and what you bill for materials to get you to your 10-20% profit.
These average national prices for common landscaping materials and supplies were found on HomeGuide.com and are what customers pay for them today:
|Landscaping material||Average cost|
|Composting||$25 – 33/yard|
|Grass pavers||$3 – 10/sq. ft.|
|Floodlights||$200 – 500/light|
|Landscape gravel||$20 – 30/sq. ft.|
|Landscape timbers||$5 – 7/linear ft.|
|Landscaping rocks||$0.05 – 0.30/lb|
|Lawn turf||$5 – 20/sq. ft.|
|Retaining wall||$15 – 20/sq. ft.|
Don’t forget about the value of your equipment
Your landscaping estimate template will include any equipment you don’t own that needs to be rented. But what about the equipment you do own?
A good rule of thumb is to charge about what it would cost you per day to rent your tools and equipment. This way, you’re not paying out-of-pocket to repair or replace them.
If you’re leasing or financing heavy landscaping equipment, any interest you pay should also be factored into this cost.
How much do landscapers charge per hour?
According to fixr.com, the national average for landscaping work is between $50 – 100/hr. These prices per hour are strictly the labor cost and the price range reflects the wide range of services that landscapers provide.
With job pricing affected by region, it’s smart to look at what competitors in your local area charge and adjust as needed.
How much does landscaping cost per square foot?
Here are some common landscaping jobs and the average national price customers pay per square foot according to Thumbtack.com:
|Artificial grass installation||$7 – 15/sq. ft.|
|Concrete patio build||$6 – 17/sq. ft.|
|Deck construction||$12 – 40/sq. ft.|
|Driveway paving||$1.25 – 15/sq. ft.|
|Fencing||$13 – 50/sq. ft.|
|Sodding||$0.30 – 0.80/sq. ft.|
How much do landscaping projects cost by the job?
Here are some sample price ranges for popular landscaping jobs:
- Lawn fertilization: $40 – 140.
- Stump removal: $200 – 700.
- Tree planting: $150 – 300.
- Sod installation: $2,000 – 5,000.
- Mulching: $150 – 400.
- Landscape curbing; $1,200 – 2,000.
Tips for creating an accurate landscape estimate and template
While price breakdowns for materials and labor costs are the areas of your landscaping estimate your potential client will be focusing on, other information is important to include.
The basic sections that should be on your landscaping estimate template include:
- Your company name, logo, and contact information.
- An estimate date and number.
- The customer’s address and phone number.
- Projected timeline for job completion.
Keep reading for a deep dive into the other crucial sections you should include in your landscaping estimate template.
Outline the exact services being completedWhen you arrive at a potential customer’s property for the first time, it’s important to ask plenty of questions while you inspect their current landscaping together. Finding out why they want to get a project done can uncover which services may be better suited to meet their goals. It’s also crucial to know their expectations before making recommendations and agreeing on the work to be done. Finally, during the inspection, you can let the potential customer know of any critical issues you feel are a priority. When you’ve agreed on the scope of the landscaping project, you should also be on the same page about how and when it will be completed. For example, if a potential customer wants an estimate for snow removal, your service’s start and end dates need to be on the estimate. All the information in your estimate must also be included in the contract if you’re asked to do extra work or there is a disagreement on another aspect of the job.
Discuss and include terms and conditions of the estimateAdd this section to your template to clarify that what you are providing is only an estimate and not a contract for services. You may want to include a disclaimer about material and labor costs or an expiry date on the prices in your estimate. This protects you if prices change between when you provided the estimate and when the customer contracts your services.
Identify and factor in your project risksYou may decide to include this information in the terms and conditions of the estimate. Identifying risks that could delay the landscaping project and increase the costs can help protect you from unforeseen circumstances. Possible delays can include bad weather, injuries, and conditions beneath the soil that wasn’t visible during the site inspection. Now that you have an overview of how to accurately price jobs and become a profitable landscaping business, it’s time to put it to use in a landscape estimate template.
How to create a landscaping estimate templateIt is possible to create a landscape estimate template using a customizable spreadsheet that automatically calculates all of the estimate costs. But one of the best ways to create a template is to use landscaping estimate software. By creating a template in a program designed for field services businesses like landscapers, you streamline your office and landscaping operations by eliminating double data entry and the mistakes it can cause. The right software tool takes the information you enter in the estimate template fields and imports it into a contract for services for a quick turnaround. Better yet, field service software makes billing easy by converting your estimates to invoices in just a few clicks.
Top landscaping estimate FAQs
Click on the links below for the answers to these top landscaping FAQs:
Is there a landscape cost estimate sheet?
This is the basic information that should be included in your landscaping cost estimates and your template:
- Your company’s logo and contact information.
- Customer details.
- Instructions and a detailed description of the work to be done.
- The materials to be used and their costs.
- Labor fees, how they are being billed, and a total of all costs.
- Warranties, job timeline, terms and conditions, and expiration date of the landscaping estimate.
How do you format a landscaping estimate template?
How you format a landscape estimate will depend on the services you offer and personal preferences.
Say, for example, you offer pricing by the hour, by the square foot, and by the job. You may want to use a drop-down menu that has all three options in the labor cost field of your template.
Image credit: Tomasz Zajda via AdobeStock
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