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Hourly rate for a gardener


nemltd
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We have 6400m in the Gers and the gardening costs are a strain. We are paying 21 euros per hour without the use of machinery and 31 euros per hour with machinery, i.e. Mower, strimmer or weedkiller.

Does this sound about right?

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If you add fuel and repairs to Loiseau's cost you come to a similar minimum of arround €21.

Many registered jardiniers and peysagistes travel some disstance to work and have repair, maintenance, replacement and fuel costs before making any money for themselves.  Add to this social charges, tax and insurance and €30 per hour worked is not unreasonable.

Grumpy

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I have had 4 different gardeners visit and offer cost estimates in the past 10 days.  Our garden is about 2800 m2 and I wanted a price for mowing, strimming, weed killing (in the gravel driveway) and seasonal trimming.  All the companies are registered.

A couple of the estimates were outrageous.  They tend to hike up the prices by telling you you can deduct 50% (up to 3000 euros) on your French tax return (they call it "Service à la personne").

The other two were simply expensive - in the 30 to 40 euros per hour range.  They do bring all their own equipment and are totally self-sufficient, but the prices are really high round here (Provence).

I did have someone offer to do it for 15 euros per hour.  They are not registered.

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We've had someone look after our similar sized garden for the past nine years.  He is now 71, but still as fit as a fiddle and works full time for a neighbouring commune and also at a local chateau.  Each year he gives himself a pay rise and we now pay him the princely sum of 14€ an hour, plus travelling and materials.  Nevertheless, our French neighbours think his hourly rate is too high!
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Would you say an annual contract should be cheaper?

In my experience in other fields, so to speak!, contract/regular work results in a reduction in charges. This is generally because its regular, reliable work.

If anyone could recommend a gardener near Eauze or Vic Fezensac, I would appreciate it.

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[quote user="nemltd"]

Would you say an annual contract should be cheaper?

In my experience in other fields, so to speak!, contract/regular work results in a reduction in charges. This is generally because its regular, reliable work.

[/quote]

Out of preference, I would always go for a smaller concern or even better an individual that comes on personal recommendation.  Our experience is more with property management in the UK, but it's a sad fact that when many tradesmen feel that they have got their feet under the table, as a longer term contract often leads them to believe, the quality of work and reliability will fall away. 

Why not try posting for a recommendation in the geographical section of this forum? We certainly have found useful contacts that way, albeit in a diferent area to you.

Best of luck.........

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Lori - my friend in Carpentras gets me and my wife to come down each May/June for a month and we wrestle with his 2 acres of jungle and we do it for free!

I am beginning to feel the strain however so next year I plan to go down in April/May before the weeds have reached biblical proportions......

Looking at the other posts here I reckon I should be a millionaire by now!

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I pay 21 Euro per hour to get  7000 square metres of grass cut and strimmed, with the gardener using his own equipment and fuel etc. When we first bought our place - in Lot et Garonne - I naively imagined that we'd find a teenager from a neighbouring house who would gladly keep the grass down for quite a bit less, but it didn't quite work out like that! We've cut back on the number of times we get the grass cut now, which means that our first day after arrival is always spent mowing and hacking down the new growth.
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We no longer charge by the hour, but by the job - we have a large Kubota that cuts and collects around 3000sq m an hour, so have to ask what would you be happier paying ? 30€ an hour or 60€ a cut?

Steve

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Too bad I can't post the quotes here.  One of them broke down to 240 euros each time they mowed/strimmed the garden.  Not sure who pays those kind of prices.

Yes Tony, perhaps you can get registered here and make some big bucks !   :-)

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I'm talking about our garden in England here but....... a local husband and wife couple look after our garden. We happened to be there last month when they came. They worked (hard) for three hours (and it was hot in early July in East Anglis) .

They charged us £30.

Oh, yes, and they brought their own lawn mower because they prefer it, and all their own tools as well as binbags for the rubbish.
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[quote user="nemltd"]That seems to be about what we are paying, it seems alot doesn't it?[/quote]

Not quite sure which reply you're responding to, but no it doesn't actually, 25-35 euros for a registered gardener using his own tools isn't a lot, they have to make a living too and far too many Brits want French/Brits to do work for them cheaply, classical supply and demand thing going on here.  If you really want to save money, cut the grass and maintain the garden yourself but if that's not possible, you have to pay what you have to pay.  If you have a maison secondaire here it's just one of the costs involved surely? 

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Me again - a lot depends on the type of kit the gardener uses. If for example you have 3000 sq m to cut, Matey with a brico machine turns up and charges 18€ an hour, but takes 3 hours to cut it them thats 54€. If I turn up and charge 25-30€ an hour but take 1 hour to do the same job then my hourly rate sounds expensive but works out nearly half price! Hence we quote per job nowadays. There are people who charge 15€/hr doing what we do, but we know they wont be about in a year or two as they cant make a living at that. WHat you need is someone you can trust to do the job without taking the pees and you can rely on.

Steve

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[quote user="Tony F Dordogne"]

[quote user="nemltd"]That seems to be about what we are paying, it seems alot doesn't it?[/quote]

Not quite sure which reply you're responding to, but no it doesn't actually, 25-35 euros for a registered gardener using his own tools isn't a lot, they have to make a living too and far too many Brits want French/Brits to do work for them cheaply, classical supply and demand thing going on here.  If you really want to save money, cut the grass and maintain the garden yourself but if that's not possible, you have to pay what you have to pay.  If you have a maison secondaire here it's just one of the costs involved surely? 

[/quote]

Hi Tony F Dordogne

Thanks for the input.

I was refering to Lori, posting that a cut was working out at 240 euros a time, for a similar sized garden to mine.

You think 25-35 euros an hour doesn't sound expensive, this is because he has to earn a living and too many people want the work done cheaply. I don't see those as reasons to justify a price.

On the other hand you say it is down to supply and demand. This situation would suggest he could charge what he liked, if the demand was there, i.e. a shortage of gardeners. Well he is at liberty to charge what he likes, but thankfully there isn't a shortage of gardeners.

There is an alternative to cutting the grass myself..... That would be to test the market, something I wouldn't deny anyone, Brit or French?

Chasing dreams isn't always cheap, but you have to at least try and keep a lid on things don't you?

 

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We live in the Gers too, and have about the same amount of land as you, which we cut ourselves. But it's a never-ending job, even with a siton mower.

Our neighbour (french) pays 20€ per hour for a man who brings his own machine, but it's a small machine as hers is a smaller garden.

You also have to factor in the distance the gardener has to travel. (Not sure if anyone has mentioned this.)

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I have to say, we need to compare apples with apples. Working on the black in the UK is around 5 - 10 quid an hour. Legitimately its around 12 to 15 quid per hour for gardening services, or a price per job - this is through a legit business. In France it is around 20 - 30 euros an hour and most of that is made up of taxation and social charges paid by the business, I reckon the owner will walk away with around 8E for their trouble! So what to do - do you pay someone in cash 10 - 15 euro and everyone wins except the French taxman. I have had this discussion with many French friends and none of them would pay an enterprise, they rely on the language of cash is king. The Cheque d'emploi works for some, but it is also supplemented by working au noir, that is the only way the French can survive in rural parts. M Sarkozy needs to reform his taxation and business system to stimulate small entrepreneurship. The queue at the local supermarket checkout is 10 deep because the supermarket wont take the risk of employing more people due to costs!!!! I have also noticed there is one price for the Brits/foreigners and one for the French too. There are two economies in France and Monsieur Sarkozy knows this.
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[quote user="Deby"] M Sarkozy needs to reform his taxation and business system to stimulate small entrepreneurship.

Has the auto-entrepeneur statute passed you by? 

The queue at the local supermarket checkout is 10 deep because the supermarket wont take the risk of employing more people due to costs!!!!

Do you really believe that? My opinion is that they do it in order to make the maximum profit and because the French will patiently put up with it and not vote with their feet, if they had more cashiers thay would just spend all their time saying "c'est fermé!" [:P]

.[/quote]

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AE is fine if your buying and selling on ebay for example - it cant be used for Artisans (soon run out of margins with materials) or even gardeners (according to MSA). What about those of us who want to expand our businesses ? We could but wont as the implications are just too great, so we struggle along 'giving' work away rather than emloying directly.

Steve

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