With a national average pay of $17.02 per hour, landscapers fall below average when it comes to compensation and overall job satisfaction. Although the industry itself is growing, these factors do show that there’s a problem with the field overall.
However, there are a few different things to consider when it comes to compensation, such as the position of the individual and the region in which they work. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at these factors to determine where is the best place to work in landscaping (and where you should avoid if you want to make a proper living!).
Positions & Pay Rates
Where an employee fits into the overall hierarchy of the landscaping company has a direct effect on their yearly compensation, so let’s take a look at how big the difference really is.
- Laborer – Landscape laborers receive the lowest compensation out of all the landscape workers, receiving only an average of $13.11 an hour (or $31,390 per year). The irony of this is that laborers often do most of the “heavy lifting”, such as working with hand tools and performing manual plant installs. Some laborers may also be allowed to operate riding mowers, but generally, this requires some form of tenure within the company, so many employees start out underpaid and overworked. This may explain the overall low job satisfaction rate throughout the country since landscape laborers make up the majority of the workforce.
- Foreman– Landscape foremen make out better overall than the laborers, averaging $16.74 per hour (or $42,000 per year) across the nation. However, individual foreman compensation is largely dependent on their experience. A foreman who’s held the position for over 20 years can reasonably expect to make $20 per hour, whereas someone with a year or less of experience may be paid as little as $13.84 per hour.
- Owners – Determining the average annual income of a landscaping company owner is a bit more complicated since it largely depends on the size of the business, the number of clients, and the price per contract. However, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, average owner salaries can range anywhere from as little as $54,000 per year upwards of $115,000 per year.
Location & Region
Next, we’ll take a quick look at the best and worst places to work in landscaping around the United States.
Pacific – The Pacific region pays fairly well for landscapers. The lowest paying state in the region (Oregon) still pays a respectable $48,350 a year on average. In the middle is California, with an average yearly salary of $50,419. Coming out on top is Washington with an average compensation of $54,030 per year for landscapers around the state.
The Rocky Mountains – The Rocky Mountains region has a pretty wide spread of landscaper salaries so you’ll definitely want to consider the average annual pay before you pick which state to work in. On the low end is Idaho, with an average yearly salary of $38,355 for landscapers. Next up is Wyoming and Montana, which pay $46,510 and $52,710 per year respectively. Towards the upper end comes Nevada, with an average compensation of $51,900 per year, and Utah at $53,630 per year. The best state based on pay in the region for landscaping is Colorado, where landscapers receive $53,880 per year on average.
Southwest – Landscaping does not pay as well in the Southwest as it does in other regions. Arizona has the lowest compensation overall, with workers only receiving $30,641 per year on average. Oklahoma bumps it up to $41,440 per year, then New Mexico comes in second, offering an average salary of $47,900 per year. The best place to work in the Southwest region is Oklahoma, where average annual salaries reach $47,900.
Midwest – The worst places in the Midwest to work in landscaping are Indiana and Kansas, which only offer $33,720 and $37,651 respectively per year. On the other hand, North Dakota offers excellent compensation at nearly $60k per year! Compensation in the rest of the states varies from Illinois at $37,737 to the $52,330 average salary of Wisconsin.
Southeast – Southeast is another region with a wide spread of pay rates. Mississippi is the lowest paying state in the region, offering an average of $35,930 per year to landscaping employees. Florida, a popular state for landscaping, is mid-range at $43,790 per year. The best pay rate is offered by Delaware, where landscape workers can expect to make an average of $56,340 per year.
East Coast – Offering an annual landscaping salary of just over $30k per year, Pennsylvania is easily the poorest-paying state on the East Coast, followed by Maine with an annual salary of $41,600. Vermont offers a big salary increase at $50,320, but the best place to work on the East Coast is Massachusetts. “The Old Bay State” offers landscaping employees $56,430 on average, making it an attractive option for workers in the region.
Wrapping It Up
How does your current compensation compare to the statistics we’ve listed above? Remember, a higher pay rate is often available simply by switching companies, so be sure to consider multiple employer options before choosing a company to stick with. With a bit of research and the right location, landscaping can definitely be a prosperous career choice: you simply have to know where to look!
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