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Message Board - Cricket: Grounds maintenance costs

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Phil Hogarth
Posted 23 Jan 2008
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I am the Groundsman for a village cricket team. Our pitch is owned by the Village, and run by a playing fields committee. The cricket club maintain the square (9 wickets) and the outfield, doing all end of season renovations and keeping the outfield cut all year round. Football is played on part of the outfield. The club nominally charges £500 pa for doing this work, taken against the rental charge for using the pitch. The village has had a new pavilion built, and is looking to review the rental costs charged.

The purpose of this message is to ask if anyone can give us a realistic valuation of what a professional groundsman/company would charge for undertaking all the work cricket club do. I am not looking for a quote, just a ballpark figure.
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zoid
Posted 23 Jan 2008
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Hello Phil

I play my Saturday cricket at a village club who operate in a very similar way to yours. I also provide unrelated services to a larger city club to maintain two grounds.

As I'm moving from employee to contractor status for 2008, I'm trying to establish a fair rate but having nightmares dealing with the variables. ie who provides what equipment, what volunteer labour is available etc.

I do know that another (large) city club is serviced by a local contractor at a rate of £400pw (in season) for two grounds and they provide pretty much everything apart from the roller.

Our village club charge a fee of £800pa for the cutting of the outfield and this is offset against our rent there. So your charge looks low.

I can't really go into more details on a public forum but if you have any specific questions, please feel free to private message me.

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vid
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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ballpark £40 per outfield cut, preseason preparation and 25 hours preseason rolling + fertiliser +weed spray for square @ £400, in season preparation @ £120/wk (repair outcoming wicket measure, prepare, water, rolling, mowing, marking and mowing the square), renovation at the end of season done by contractor £1200, spiking and tending through winter @£700.

if total no. cuts to outfield would be 30 and the season is 20 weeks the total is going to be £5900. This assumes machinery is supplied, contractor does outfield and renovation and labour is a conservative £8 /hr to account for 'local' labour. Fully costed at market rates it would be a lot more - this is an attemept at a local cost for 9 strips - hope it helps
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Aintgottaclue!!
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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I may cut grass, but i'm not green !!

Gee's our contractor charges £18,000 per annum, uses our pitch mower and roller, brings his own triple mower and supplies the top dressing, seed and fertiliser just for the square AND turns up when 'he can' (feels like it)!!!!!!!!!!
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dave r-b
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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im now an ex groundsman but hey old habits die hard

Phil,

im not sure you would or should tell us what your annual rent is as you dont want a price over the price of your rent.

What vid says is a fair reflection of things, not sure if the cost of matterials are included into that price, if not you can easily add £1000 to that price.
other things to take into account are who owns the machinery, wicket mower, roller, scarifier, outfield mower etc, as servicing and running costs have then to be taken into account.

Having said all this you have to bare in mind that a lot of small clubs have to look after there own grounds and rely on the good will and hard work of the members. so you need to think carefully as to what you want to charge to off set your rent.

£500 is cheap but you cant go and increase by 10 fold in 1 year.
good luck
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Phil Hogarth
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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Thanks for all the advice. We are not really looking to hike up our charges by a huge amount. I was just interested to see the real value of what we do, and to give our landlords a realistic valuation of the service we provide.

As with most arrangements of this kind, I assume our charge will be raised in line with our increase in ground rental.
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zoid
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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Groundie

Yours is a more realistic cost to vids for an all-in contract for two grounds and to provide a top class service.

If you only have one ground and don't get a service, I'd give him the boot!

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Speckledhen
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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ste

I carried out an exercise to cost the maintenance of a bowling greens annual maintenance cost about 4 years ago and it came to near as damn it £5000.
From memory I think that was everything apart from machinery purchases, not cheap if you go by the book.

Regards

Steve
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jontaylor
Posted 24 Jan 2008 Last edited: 24 Jan 2008
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The ciderman rolls

I'm groundsman / secretary of a village club. We run one Saturday and one Sunday team. We look after the square and the parish council does the outfield. It's an 8 acre field, cut weekly throughout the growing season.
As we were CASC registered last year I kept a diary of my time spent doing the ground and secretary jobs. My total for the year was 427 hours, of which I think it fair to say >350 hours were ground related (includes things like hedge cutting and machinery repairs but also travel time to collect specialist equipment or to go to buy materials).
You can apply your own estimates for hourly rates, you will know how long it takes to cut the outfield and I hope your club accounts reflect what you've spent on machinery and grounds maintenance over the last few years.
I'm not sure that the village will buy it if you put forward the "professional rate" arguement. You run the very real risk that they say that you are not professional groundsmen, that it's a village sports field not Lords, and if you want pro rates of pay then tough luck. However, even arguing minimum wage, on my figures you come to >£1500 plus outfield costs.
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dave r-b
Posted 24 Jan 2008 Last edited: 24 Jan 2008
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im now an ex groundsman but hey old habits die hard

Jontaylor.

you can come and work for me at £1500 for 350hrs,
im not trying to be perdantic here but if you are going to argue minimum wage then figures need to be right

minimum wage is £5.52 per hour, so working on the assumption that you do 350hrs you should be looking at £1932

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Phil Hogarth
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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Hi jontaylor,

Thanks for the figures.

It was never our intention to charge a "Professional Rate" for the work we do. All we were trying to gauge was what was the value of the work if done professionally.

A quick guesstimate of the hours spent per year would conservatively be 300. So 300 hours at minimum wage would be £1656. We also pay for all maintenance, Fuel, Seed, Fertiliser etc etc

So i guess on those figures, £2000 pa would not be unreasonable. But, i imagine we will end up charging something approximate to the rental bill we receive, in the spirit of community.
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tomaz
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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Zoid is right to provide a top class service for 18k is about right but that would have to be a premier ground for that price. I look after a main ground with a second ground for 26k all in,with the main ground being a premier league ground.
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vid
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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I thought I was being tight on £8 per hour which is just below the recommended experienced groundsman rate. Please dont belittle our profession by underselling this work to your comittee they probably hold the industry in fairly low esteem as it is. Even at local rates minimum wage for this work is not a realistic price and will do you no favours at official level if they come to rely on your figures. My initial price was stripped down no extras and no profits but did include materials and an expectation that the club would do the matchday work, I as a contractor would not come and do this work for that price but is pretty much what the costs to do the actual work would cost, without adding in administrative costs, travel and profit.
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zoid
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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Exactly vid.

What amatuer buyers forget, is that contractors have a load of costs in excess of the pure labour rate. Costs that the council/employer would have to pay.

Anything less that £15ph, even without specialist machinery would in effect provide a subsidy.
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Charles Johnson
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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If you include basic attention to machinery, maintenance of the curtilage (eg surrounds, hedges, trees), and the major workload of pre-season prep and post season renovations, your hours seem a bit low.

For a single ground with a 12 track square my hours have averaged 640 in recent years.

You can't really prepare a square (1-2 cuts), new track (3-4 cuts, grooms, rolling, mark) and the outfield (1-2 cuts) for less than about 12 hours. Add 3 hours for each subsequent track in the week eg Cup/Colts/Sunday - at a busy club you are looking at 18-25 hrs per week including during the season.
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vid
Posted 24 Jan 2008
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Hi Charles, Phils post says outfield, square, 9 strips and village cricket what would your cost be for those specifications - then we have a comparison. Theres no mention of anything else so if you include it - it wont bear comparison

vid
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jontaylor
Posted 25 Jan 2008
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The ciderman rolls


Dave R-B. Whilst not wanting to be pedantic either, the > symbol in front of a number means "greater than". My >£1500 figure (plus outfield time) indicated an increase of a factor of more than three on what the club were already "charging". £1932 is > £1500.

Volunteer groundsmen rarely (IMO) pay national insurance or tax on their voluntary work. Most of us, myself included, do all these hours for not a penny, after we've done our day jobs. Those of you who are professional have an undeniable case for higher hourly rates. I just don't think that claiming professional rates will do anything to win sympathy from a voluntary group like a playing fields committee. Phil needs to make his own mind up on that one - he knows his committee.

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Phil Hogarth
Posted 25 Jan 2008
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HI Jontaylor,

Like you, i am a volunteer groundsman, who doesn't get a penny for his labours.

This was always a paper exercise, to see the true value of the work i, and my grounds team, do.

I have no doubt that trying to claim professional rates from our Playing fields committee, for the work we do, would fall on very stony ground. We will doubtless raise our charge in line with the raise in our rent, and harmony will reign again !!
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