A Labor of Love: Landscapers Put in More Overtime Than Most People Realize

Labor of Love

Dear Readers:

I’m so busy at the Landscape Writer that I don’t have time to put together a blog for September. Danielle Higley was kind enough to share her insights from TSheets by QuickBooks. I hope you enjoy this post!

With the end of the summer approaching, it’s common to hear the question, “So what will you be doing all winter?” Innocent in nature, this inquiry is based on the misconception that landscapers are seasonal workers only, making all their income during the warmer months, then sitting on their hands while the snow falls.

But as most landscapers know, that’s not true at all. And now, data is here to prove it.

According to a recent analysis of timesheet data by the time tracking software company TSheets by QuickBooks, landscaping is often a year-round gig. By analyzing the data of 981,641 anonymous timesheets, the company was able to isolate trends and get a better understanding of when landscapers are on or off the clock. Here are a few of the insights they gleaned from data taken between January 2015 and April 2018.

Wintertime overtime

New to the landscaping game? Don’t book that month-long December vacation just yet! According to timesheet data, most landscapers are still putting in an almost-full week of work, even in the wintertime. On average, most workers put in around 32.3 hours per workweek, with 31 percent of the workforce tracking over 40 hours. That means nearly 1 in 3 landscapers was working overtime in the winter over the last three years.

And here’s the craziest part — those individuals who put in overtime in the winter actually logged more overtime hours per month than they did in the summer. On average, these landscapers put in 10.4 hours of overtime in December, compared to 10.3 hours in May.

Some of that could be due to larger teams on staff during growing time. With more plants to tend, some companies might take on more employees for seasonal help. In the winter, fewer hands means more hours for those who are still on the payroll — hence the chance of working 50-hour weeks or more.

April showers bring more hours

For less experienced landscapers, it may come as a surprise summer is not the busiest time of year. In fact, that title is held by the month of April, when non-overtime workers put in an average 40.3 hours per week. Among those who could earn overtime, the average was an additional 10.3 hours on top of that.

And here’s the difference between spring and winter: While nearly 1 in 3 workers put in overtime in December, 58 percent of the workforce — more than half — had overtime in April.

August was the next busiest month, with 43 percent of the workforce putting in 40.3 hours a week. And average overtime? Fifty-seven percent of landscapers logged around 10.1 overtime hours per week.

Landscaping is a labor of love

Few people realize just how hard landscapers work. The kind of detail clients expect takes time — more time than a 40-hour workweek allows.

On average, landscapers work 9.4 overtime hours per week. In an industry of 912,360 employees (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), around 529,168 people are working four consecutive 50-hour weeks. In other words, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and overworked, you likely have good reason.

But don’t let long days get you down. There’s a lot to love about landscaping, from the opportunity to turn a once-drab space into a garden oasis to the chance to get a little sun and some fresh air while others sit in a stifling cubicle. That said, it’s good to be appreciated, and having the data behind you to say “I work hard, no matter what time of year” can help others empathize with your challenges.

Wondering how many hours you put in each week? Why not check out a time tracking app like TSheets? What you could learn from your own data might surprise you.

Danielle Higley is a copywriter for TSheets by QuickBooks, a time tracking and scheduling solution. She has a BA in English literature and has spent her career writing and editing marketing materials for small businesses. She recently started an editorial consulting company.

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