Four Seasons Landscape

The Cost of Maintaining Your Own Lawn and Landscape

Should I hire someone to mow my lawn?

The truth is, hiring a professional to mow your lawn and maintain your landscaping can feel expensive. When you hire a professional to perform a task is likely to cost more per hour than you earn in an hour. When evaluating your options, it is easy to underestimate the costs of performing the work yourself. What do you want your lawn to look like? Can you produce that result on your own? How much equipment will you need to buy and how much of your time will it take to find the equipment, keep it fueled up, and maintain or repair it? Are you going to have time to mow the lawn, weed the landscaped beds, trim the plants, trees, and shrubs, put down fresh mulch, clean up any debris, and keep up with the weeding and trimming on a regular basis during the growing season?

Economists use the term “opportunity cost” to explain what you lose when you spend time or money on something. When you buy something, you give up the chance to buy something else with that money. When you spend your time on something, you give up the chance to spend your time another way. You hear people say time is money. You also hear people say time is the one resource you can’t get back. Time and money are both resources, and how you spend them matters.

What is the value of your time?

Let’s begin with the pay you earn on an hourly basis for work. If you are an hourly employee, that is simple, so let’s use a salaried employee as an example. According to the US Census Bureau, the median income per person for Harford County was $45,023 in 2021. If you work a 40-hour work week, that gives you $21.65 per hour.

Performing your own lawn and landscape maintenance is a task you would be completing outside your normal working hours. If you decided to work instead, making overtime pay, that would mean you would earn $32.48 per hour. Or, maybe instead of working additional hours at your full-time job, you have a hobby that earns extra income for you, meaning you not only earn the money but also enjoy the use of your time as well. If an hour of your hobby will earn you $50, plus the job of spending time on your hobby, your earning potential for that time is even higher than the pay itself.

But what does performing these chores yourself cost you?

Assigning a monetary value to your time is usually straightforward and comparing that to the cost of hiring a professional is the first comparison many homeowners make. This causes some homeowners to hesitate if the cost of paying the professional is higher than what they could earn is they used the same amount of time working. This argument convinces many that they would be better off doing the work themselves rather than paying that fee for the service. But what about the cost of losing that time spent with loved ones? Perhaps you have young children who want to spend time with their parents when everyone is home from work and school. Maybe you have friends with equally busy schedules and don’t see each other as often as you’d like. If you are also running kids to sports/activities, you find your free time is reduced even further. We know time is a limited resource and one you can’t get back. So, what is the real cost of giving up that time to perform a chore you could hire someone else to do? Time you will never get back.

The conversation would not be complete if we didn’t also look at the monetary cost of hiring the professional. We discussed the comparison of a company’s hourly rate compared to what the average individual earns in an hour. In addition to paying the individuals performing the work, the business has taxes, insurance, equipment, and other operating costs. If you’ve tried to reach a company and haven’t been able to talk to a person or get an answer to your question, you know the value of having an office staff member to answer phones and emails and provide the customer service you want to experience. All these operating expenses are part of that difference in what you may earn per hour and what the company bills per hour.

What are the benefits of hiring a landscape company?

First, you no longer have to take on the expense and work of maintaining the equipment needed to perform the work. Have you ever added up the expenses of purchasing a lawn mower and weed eater, filling them with gas, and maintaining them? All these tasks add more time to the cost of maintaining your lawn and landscape, in addition to the monetary expenses. Hiring a small, local business to perform the task also means you are helping employ other members of the community. Small businesses hire locals and support the community in many ways, so hiring a small business is an investment in your community. The professionals are also able to perform the work more efficiently and produce higher quality work than you would likely be able to do yourself.

So, now ask yourself. What is your time worth?

Do you want to spend your free time mowing the lawn, taking care of the landscaped beds, buying gas for the mower, and maintaining the equipment you had to buy to perform these tasks yourself? What could you do with the money you get by selling your equipment? What could you do with the money you’ve been spending on the gas to run that equipment? More importantly, what could you do with that time? Who could you spend it with? Or what money could you earn? What are you costing yourself by performing the work yourself instead of hiring Four Seasons?

Four Seasons Landscape & Construction Services is a woman-owned and certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE) company with the goal of providing reliable and knowledgeable property maintenance to allow our clients to spend more time enjoying their outdoor space. Our clients know they are hiring a family-owned and operated business with deep roots in the community, allowing Four Seasons to develop long-lasting relationships with our clients built on trust. The Four Seasons maintenance contract makes it easy for you to customize your contract with the services you need and combine all services throughout the year into an even monthly payment. Knowing you won’t have any surprise charges means it is easy for you to plan your budget and enjoy a well-maintained yard all year.