Often we hear questions like, ‘Why is a professional landscape service more expensive than my local gardener?’ What often lurks behind this question is a misconception – the idea that professional landscape companies are ‘pocketing’ the difference due to bloated overheads and inflated profit margins. However, the truth is, professional landscaping is not just another service, but a comprehensive solution built around customer safety, quality, regulation compliance, employee welfare, and meticulous planning. This blog will shine the light on why these services cost more and why the price is justified.

Government Regulations and Compliances

Professional landscape companies navigate a complex grid of local and federal regulations to ensure their services are fully compliant. Taxes, such as the B&O, Sales Tax, and Real Property Tax in Washington state, for instance, can account for roughly 11-12% of your project’s total cost. Thus, a compliant service provider significantly reduces your exposure to tax liabilities or fines related to non-compliance.

Ensuring Safe and Reliable Mobilization

Professional landscape companies commit to upholding the highest standards of safety and reliability, especially concerning the operation of heavy machinery. Compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations is not just a legal mandate—it’s a vital responsibility that protects communal roadways. When landscape professionals transport heavy equipment, strict adherence to DOT guidelines ensures that every piece of machinery is safely secured and transported. This attention to detail prevents accidents, ensures the well-being of other road users, and maintains the integrity of our highways. By choosing a company that prioritizes DOT compliance, clients can have confidence in the safe execution of their landscaping projects, knowing that their providers contribute to the safety and reliability of public infrastructure.

Labor and Employee Welfare

Contrary to local gardeners, professional landscape contractors provide a range of employee benefits and actively ensure labor law compliance. These include labor and industry compliance, equal employment opportunities, employee development programs, health insurance, retirement plans, fair wages, etc. Although these account for about 4-8% of the project cost and an additional 8% for employee benefits, they promise a dedicated, content, and skilled workforce for your project.

At Classic Landscaping + Nursery, we take great pride in caring for our field employees. Unfortunately, some landscaping companies do not follow compliant practices, offering high pay rates without compensating for all hours worked or providing necessary protection in case of injuries, which are common in our line of work.

Service Quality and Planning

A substantial part of your landscaping project’s cost goes behind the scenes. Professional landscape companies invest in careful planning, infrastructure setup, construction sequencing, team communication, and subcontractor management. They also ensure jobsite readiness with required amenities, marking underground lines, and ensuring city code compliance. These costs, along with costs of assurance bonds and general liability insurance for risk protection, can make up an additional 3-4% of the project cost.

Post-Completion Warranty

Lastly, professional landscape companies don’t just leave you high and dry once the project is complete. They offer warranties and dedicated repair services to ensure your peace of mind as you enjoy your new outdoor space. This kind of security for your investment is almost always absent when going with a local gardener.

In sum, the cost of ensuring compliance, fair labor practices, precise planning, and providing a warranty can constitute as much as 30-40% of a project’s cost. Most of these costs are dictated by federal, state, and local regulations and are designed to protect homeowners like you from industry malpractices. When you hire a professional landscaping company, you’re not just paying for a service. You’re investing in quality, peace of mind, and a beautiful, lasting outdoor space. In the long run, isn’t that worth it?

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