If you're one of the tens of thousands of contractors who has to not only work on your business but also in it, how do you determine what your salary should be?
Much like the methods used to estimate and price work, the manner in which landscape contractors pay themselves is all over the map. So is the amount that they pay themselves. That's for good reason, to a certain degree. Markets vary, as do services offered and the structure of the landscape companies themselves.
Ultimately, as the owner of his own company, it is the contractor's decision as to how much he pays himself. Many are just happy to be making a living doing what they love to do. But most would agree that they'd hate to be selling themselves short.
Consider the following statistics regarding salaries in the landscaping industry, but be sure to take them with a grain of salt—because your personal situation is yours and yours alone.
According to the website payscale.com:
- The average salary for a landscape contractor in the United States is somewhere between $24,468 and $92,972. See how much this can vary?!
According to May 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- There are roughly 659,520 people employed in the landscaping industry. The average wage is $14.61 per hour, or $30,400 per year.
- Top executives earned an average wage of $42.88 per hour, or $89,180 per year.
- General and operations managers earned an average wage of $41.50 per hour, or $86,310 per year.
- Landscape architects earned an average wage of $27.48 per hour, or $57,160 per year.
- Foremen (first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers) earned an average wage of $20.61 per hour, or $42,870 per year.
- Crew members (landscaping and groundskeeping workers) earned an average wage of $12.07 per hour, or $25,110 per year.
According to the website salaryexpert.com, average salaries for landscape contractors do vary by market. Here's a look at some of the bigger markets across the country:
- Los Angeles – roughly $78,000
- Atlanta – roughly $75,000
- Dallas – roughly $60,000
- Chicago – roughly $75,000
- Miami – roughly $60,000
- New York City – roughly $78,000
According to a landscape contractor peer group workshop attended by Green Industry Pros in 2009:
- A contractor with roughly $860k in annual sales was paying himself $43,000
- A contractor with roughly $750k in annual sales was paying himself $45,000
- A contractor with roughly $535k in annual sales was paying himself $60,000
- A contractor with roughly $1.9m in annual sales was paying himself $73,000