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ATC1983

Ambitious gardening project - advice

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Well instead of sitting on your backside over the long weekend, youve earnt yourself £300 plus a bit of experience, Well done. I have read all the previous posts and i can assure you they are well meaning (especially on your rates) good luck for the future.

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ATC1983, glad it all went well for you. Couple of comments:

 

1. your saw shouldn't be going blunt so quickly. Look more carefully at what you're cutting and make sure it's clean - no stones, no nails/wire, no soil. It will make a massive difference.

 

2. sharpening chains isn't rocket science. Get the correct file and guide, read instructions or this forum, and do it yourself - instant saving of £25 for a few minutes work. And good experience.

 

3. re landscaping options - there is a company around here who offer 10 different designs. I don't like this way of working at all. It's better to look at the space/area you have and sketch down different ideas and see how they will work. Different planting suits different gardens, different materials for paving, terracing etc. suits different gardens, and customers all have different tastes. Sure, get some ideas that can be repeated, but trying to work to a formula can be very restrictive.

 

4. Got any pictures? It is nearly always worthwhile getting 'before' and 'after' shots - that really does help with ideas for other jobs, and also with showing future customers what can be done.

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Pictures - brought my camera for the last day - but forgot to get triple a batteries in - would have liked to have got a photo up here to show the work I got in. The before and after would be unbelieveable - particularly considering I just started out. It was literally overgrown in every direction, ivy round the sides and back, weeds everywhere and brambles, bushes, thorns, you name it.

 

Re chain sharpening - I really am useless at this. I tried it in the field with my file - but without a clamp or vice. I basically stuck the chain break on and held it between my legs and tried to get in 5/6 runs at each cutter, but it was still blunter than a plastic fork when I fired it up. I will need to do a bit more studying for this - I will still include a cost for this in future, but if I'm doing it in my own time, it still helps me justify a pricing cost to the customer.

 

Re stump grinding. I was researching earlier the price of a grinder and note they're around 3.5K to buy, and £130 to lease per day. Is there any way to grind without one, or should a surgeon draw up a separate pricing structure for grinding a stump and a separate price for merely felling it and site clearance? If I left 7 stumps, at £130 a day to rent, I would need to be charging around £15 a stump I reckon to make good money ie £245, but this would seem prohibitely high for most customers.

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Stump grinders cost from a couple of grand up to well in excess of £10k. Saying a grinder costs £3.5k is like saying a van costs £10k. There are so many variations of 'van' you can't just put a single price on.

 

Grinding a stump is usually charged by the inch (£3 per inch for example would be £36 for a foot diameter stump) with a minimum charge or call out fee. However be careful as it is much easler to do 3 12" stumps next to each other than 1 36" stump.

 

My local hire place do a push along grinder for £35 + VAT per day. Don't forget that they need fuel, transporting to and from site and there is your wages and insurances to cover. Based on your £130 hire cost the £245 you would look to charge would be bare minimum unless you could get more work in on the same day.

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I did this with about your level of experience, except I'd done quite a bit of labouring on Spanish building sites so I knew how to make a mix. Posted to encourage you to go for it and keep learning.

 

My labour on this was about the same as the materials cost, If it had been double materials cost it would be about right.

 

Lots you should know but one big tip. Never slab or deck up to a house without being 2 courses of bricks below the damp course. You then take your falls for run off from this height. Go above this and you can cause probs with splash and damp..insurance and even house value.

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I think that ATC has done a great job. For himself. He has set himself a target, with an end idea in place, at a budget. He has learned a lot from this project, and he has tried to improve his lot. Yes it is a big learning curve, pricing more accurately will come, skills and aptitude will come. Next time you do one, make sure you photograph it, build your portfolio up, love your work. If you have an iphone, ipad or modern smatphone, get some apps on there to help you. And good luck with the future.

We bang on and on about how lazy people are, how Brit workers dont like to get their hands dirty and so on, about how foreigners are taking all the work. Here we have someone who is trying to improve his lot, trying to make a change, and trying to make someone elses life better at little expense. ATC will learn as he goes, but in the mean time, I applaud his endeavours.

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I think that ATC has done a great job. For himself. He has set himself a target, with an end idea in place, at a budget. He has learned a lot from this project, and he has tried to improve his lot. Yes it is a big learning curve, pricing more accurately will come, skills and aptitude will come. Next time you do one, make sure you photograph it, build your portfolio up, love your work. If you have an iphone, ipad or modern smatphone, get some apps on there to help you. And good luck with the future.

We bang on and on about how lazy people are, how Brit workers dont like to get their hands dirty and so on, about how foreigners are taking all the work. Here we have someone who is trying to improve his lot, trying to make a change, and trying to make someone elses life better at little expense. ATC will learn as he goes, but in the mean time, I applaud his endeavours.

 

One of best posts on this from andy

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I did this with about your level of experience, except I'd done quite a bit of labouring on Spanish building sites so I knew how to make a mix. Posted to encourage you to go for it and keep learning.

 

My labour on this was about the same as the materials cost, If it had been double materials cost it would be about right.

 

Lots you should know but one big tip. Never slab or deck up to a house without being 2 courses of bricks below the damp course. You then take your falls for run off from this height. Go above this and you can cause probs with splash and damp..insurance and even house value.

 

Thats very clever the way you did the steps

Interesting visually and practical.

They just need to spend dosh on some planting for the rest of the garden

To note- the two brick thing is building regs for new houses- there are times when this can be ignored. Lets face it in driving rain the wall is getting wet anyway.

Personally I would like to see all houses built with disabled access style doors as steps are a pain for everyone not just disabled:001_smile:

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Albedo, nice job. We do loads of that sort of work with sleepers - far nicer than brick and much quicker too! However we would never dream of using the top handle on the ground for cutting the sleepers ;)

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