Harrison Wolfe operates a residential landscaping business in an affluent suburb of Atlanta. In an effort to provide quality service, he has concentrated solely on the design and installation of upscale landscaping plans (e. g., trees, shrubs, fountains, and lighting). With his clients continually requesting additional services, Wolfe recently expanded into lawn maintenance, including fertilization. The following data relate to his first year’s experience with 55 fertilization clients. Each client required six applications throughout the year and was billed $ 40 per application.
Two applications involved Type I fertilizer, which contains a special ingredient for weed control. The remaining four applications involved Type II fertilizer.
Wolfe purchased 5,000 pounds of Type I fertilizer at $.53 per pound and 10,000 pounds of Type II fertilizer at $.40 per pound. Actual usage amounted to 3,700 pounds of Type I and 7,800 pounds of Type II.
A new, part- time employee was hired to spread the fertilizer. Wolfe had to pay premium wages of $ 11.50 per hour because of a very tight labor market; the employee logged a total of 165 hours at client residences.
Based on previous knowledge of the operation, articles in trade journals, and conversations with other landscapers, Wolfe established the following standards:
Typical hourly wage rate of landscape personnel: $ 9
Labor time per application: 40 minutes
Fertilizer purchase price per pound: Type I, $. 50; Type II, $. 42
Fertilizer usage: 40 pounds per application
Unfortunately, Wolfe’s new lawn fertilization service did not go as smoothly as planned, with customer complaints being much higher than expected.

1. Compute Wolfe’s direct- material variances for each type of fertilizer.
2. Compute the direct- labor variances.
3. Compute the actual cost of the client applications. (Exclude any fertilizer in inventory, as remaining fertilizer can be used next year.) Was the new service a financial success? Explain.
4. Analyze the variances that you computed in requirements (1) and (2). a. Was the new service a success from an overall cost- control perspective? Briefly discuss. b. What seems to have happened that would give rise to customer complaints?
5. In view of the complaints, should the fertilizer service be continued next year? Why?

  • CreatedApril 22, 2014
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