18 is the number that my friend Adrienne was told it would take to do fall clean-up of her lovely but tiny townhouse garden. And at $50 an hour, that's 900 bucks right there, before you add the cost of the mulch.
So she took a pass and sent me a desperate email: Could she hire me to do it with her? There was a hesitancy because she knows I don't hire myself out as a manual laborer. Got that, everyone? But she's one of my bestest friends, so the rules don't apply.
Cut to the townhouse this past Sunday, a glorious sun-shiney day. When I arrived Adrienne's car had been topped-off with 10 bags of mulch, the limit of its capacity. Before spreading it there was - I'll admit it - a whole lot of weeding to do, yesiree. And maybe 30 minutes of pruning. But 3 and a half hours later it was all done and doing the math, that's 7 work-hours, in this case 7 women-in-their-50s-hours.
So the question is: Is it us? Is it them? Or is this landscape contractor ripping people off big-time?