Yard work is an ideal way to earn cash, but if you're good at what you do, you may be able to turn it into a career. There's more than one type of yard work. The hourly rate you can expect depends on factors such as the difficulty of the work, the going rate in your area, your experience level and the degree of skill required.
Average Hourly Rates
Professional grounds maintenance workers make an average hourly rate of $11.53 per hour, according to 2012 numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Landscape architects, who have a college education and who offer expert input on landscaping, average $30.86 per hour, according to the BLS.
Areas with higher standards of living generally pay more for yard work. Likewise, neighborhoods in which landscaping and a well-kept lawn is a status symbol typically pay more. Areas where yard workers do the bare minimum pay less. Local pricing websites can help you compare average prices in your area. You'll then need to scale your price up or down based on your experience, skill level and similar factors.
Difficulty and Intensity of Work
Work that is physically or intellectually demanding typically costs more than easy projects. A yard worker who pours cement around a flower bed or who totes huge bricks across a yard typically can charge a higher rate than a person who simply mows the grass or waters the flowers. Likewise, a project that requires you to select the right flowers and the right location typically will yield a higher rate than a simple flower-planting job.
Skill and Expertise Required
Work that requires advanced training carries a premium rate. An arborist who consults on which trees to cut down and a professional gardener who provides input on which flowers are ideal for your climate will charge more than an inexperienced person paid only to plant flowers. Your rate also will depend on the specific expertise and skills you bring. With an advanced degree or years of experience, you can charge more than if you're just starting out.