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estimates & quotes or the cost of a garden

on tv for the right reasons

on tv for the right reasons

You want your garden and your contractor to be on television for the right reason.

Before you start anything, develop a very general idea of what you want and how much you wish to spend. Select your company carefully and do please ensure with your choice of company that their staff/ horticulturist is qualified and experienced. A good standing in the industry is very important so please, please [that’s twice!] ensure the company is registered, fully insured and is a member of a recognised repuatable association [eg. the landscape contractors association of Ireland]. You do not want an estimate or a prediction and you certainly need some assurance of standards.

Similar to most horticultural tasks, there is no golden rule that suits all when it comes to doing a garden because no plant, garden or lawn [for the purpose of this analagy/ example] will ever be the same in height, age or appearance. Pricing and the calculation of that time will therefore follow a similar route.

If you were to cut your lawn, how long would it take you? Now muliply this by a rate per hour and you should have a cost. The second point is that anybody can cut grass, the question is how well do you want it done and do you want to supervise or will you have confidence in walking away knowing respect for your property and a quality finish will be given at all times.

With regard to landscaping another famous analagy is required. Assume you’re in a supemarket, you have fifty euro and you wish to cook a meal for ten people. Is it possible? and what standard of meal do you want to serve? If you buy two sausages [at 50 cent each] and it takes one hour [at 5 euro per hour] to purchase and cook them – then thats your equation and your garden will cost 6 euro – simple. For your garden, if you choose to get fifty plants and the labour will take two days then the only variance should be the standard of labour and the plants selected. One should understand that plants are sold by pot size, height and how difficult they are to propagate, therefore there is always a ‘cheaper’ price possible when you wish ‘to get some plants’. You must decide the standard you want at more than one level and with that if it suits your budget.

My article, the three quotes rule will also prove very useful here. Whatever you decide, as always, remember you only want to do this once and cheaper can more often be more tearful than cheerful. My advice, if you don’t [and be honest] know what you’re looking for and/ or how it works, then employ a horticultural consultant and pay for the advice. It might be sixty five euro – but it could save you a lot more.

Whatever you decide love your garden and as always – enjoy!

feedback?

all smiles in your garden...?

all smiles in your garden...?

For part of the Quality Award system, a well needed accreditation that Bord Bia introduced to the landscaping industry I [peter donegan] tried to introduce an option to allow customer or even general public give feedback, their thoughts or even complain easily to the finest landscaping company in Ireland?!! We have had varietions of this in the past but a friendlier more simple ‘form’ were one could add comments if preferred seemed the route.

We failed this part of the award accreditation so far because we had no complaints over the telephone. We had one or two emails [more to say thank you] asking if something could be adjusted or tweeked but none sofar a complaint.

Maybe it’s an Irish thing not to complain? or maybe we have the mix spot on!? but when in an audit situation and the auditor is saying ‘no complaints?’ One kind of starts to wonder?

Garden centres and nurseries have an option to have a customer feedback form – but I know from doing my research for this part of the ‘best practice award’, most people referred to when in a hotel style situation and after filling in the customer feedback form, they wondered if the person behind the counter will take the form out and read it as soon as they leave or else if theirs is the only one in there. In essence to criticise or complain because of service you would have preferred may be embarassing, frowned upon or even considered impolite.

So now, not so much where we are going wrong but more how to I make my company improve every day – and as Irelands most famed Corkman would say – we can always give more than 100%.

the vanashing trailer act

where is that trailer...?

where is that trailer...?

To some of you this article will prove worthless. I [peter donegan]hope it proves of benefit. I wrote this for the farmers journal in 2006 but as is life in the editorial world sometimes it just doesnt enter the publication. I thought it was a great article and an email from my editor some time after confirmed that too. I should put it to some benefit I suppose.

Enjoy

peter

Two months ago I purchased a ride on lawnmower, but it has never been used on any contract. I tried to buy a trailer to go with it but I couldn’t be sold one. Eventually I did buy one and it was such a nice feeling to hand over such a large amount of money for such a simple and well-built invention. The tailgate allowed us to drive up onto the back straight away but what happened to my latest acquisition? It evaporated, into thin air. I parked it at the back of the house and when I got up the next day, you guessed it in one – it was not there anymore! Magic? Mystery? I don’t think so.

When through my research for this article I put ‘trailers – stolen’ into a web search to my surprise the ‘theft of a 40-foot white box trailer and tractor unit, which was stolen from outside Irish Ferries at Dublin Port at the weekend’ was one of the headlines. Through my own sources two firms had informed me that they could not supply me with trailers of any size or form as their place of business had been cleared out of almost forty trailers within two weeks between them. It’s possible that this rapid transpiration of steel framed attachments was becoming somewhat of an epidemic. It seems the only way to prevent the theft is to make yours the most difficult to steal. Sources in the UK tell us that Trailers are being stolen to order. Logically, the obvious primary steps include installing a hitch lock, a wheel clamp and a driveway security post, but my opinion it that this is only a deterrent and that we need to go one stage further.

In the UK for any size of trailer (or anything of value to you) a system know as Thiefbeaters which involves applying a unique comprehensive identification including electronic transponders and microdots to hidden and visible locations on the trailer has been put in place. Each trailer is meticulously identified in up to 50 locations by various techniques and each location of the unique TB number is recorded. A record of the entire ID is kept along with six digital photographs. Furthermore, a registration document is produced complete with two colour photographs of each trailer they have identified.

With a 24-hour database service, this allows any police force to make necessary enquiries. A prospective purchaser of a trailer with a Thiefbeaters marking can also enquire to ensure the trailer is not reported stolen prior to any purchase. The estimated cost of which is approximately Three hundred euro.

John Friel of BDF Trailers estimates that “at least four trailers a day are taken in this country” of these John also points out that “most of the ones stolen in the south go north and vice versa”. John who with his wife Kathleen manages a business in North County Dublin also added that at present there is no company that install this tracking system in Ireland” that he is aware of.

Stolen trailers are almost impossible to recover with the main problem being that they are notoriously difficult to secure and may often have to be left unattended for long periods. It is recommend by some English insurance companies that trailers be fitted with a stolen vehicle recovery system such as ‘tracker’Tracking systems work via an electronic homing device which, when activated, emits a silent signal to dedicated equipment fitted in police cars and helicopters of every force in the UK. There are two different versions available: TRACKER Retrieve where the owner discovers the theft and TRACKER Monitor which will alert TRACKER HQ directly of any unauthorised movement, allowing them to quickly contact the owner and begin tracing. In January 2002 one UK insurance company reported their first theft of a trailer fitted with Tracker. The trailer valued at £30,000 and only 4 weeks old was recovered completely undamaged. Recorded CCTV pictures showed that the thieves entered the locked compound at 9.00pm and left with the trailer 45 minutes later. A Police aeroplane the following morning, 40 minutes after the theft had been reported, detected the Tracker signal. This trailer has since been stolen and recovered again by Tracker, 200 miles from home.So where does this leave me. I had a trailer. I now have no trailer. If I buy another trailer I could end up right back where I started. There used to be a time when a trailer could be left in a driveway or on a premise until the next time you needed it. It now appears this is something that can no more happen.

Peter Donegan, Landscaping Garden Design Awards, Ireland

donegan, landscaping dublin, garden awards

Peter Donegan MI Hort and Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd won its first award from the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland in October 2006.

The Award of Merit in best private garden category (over €13.000) was awarded to Peter Donegan Landscaping Ltd as contractor and Peter Donegan MI Hort as designer of the fifty-five acre private garden set on the estuary of Donabate in North County Dublin.

It had taken two years to reconstruct the one famous eighteenth century gardens of Newport Farm. Donegan Landscaping was only one of thirteen companies in Ireland to receive award in 2006.