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View Full Version : Tip Of The Day - 3/7/06 - Lawn & Garden Consulting As Service


Sean Adams
03-07-2006, 12:12 AM
Has anyone offered this as a service for homeowners who want to do the work themselves but don't know exactly what they are doing. I spoke to a guy yesterday in Virginia and we discussed the possibility of him doing this. He said he has a lot of "do it yourself" people in his area who try hard to make their properties look nice but never know exactly how to do things the right way. The idea was to advertise a fee to sit down with them and see what they want, their goals for their property, etc... and then lay out for them a plan - equipment to use, how to use the equipment, how and when to do certain things, products to use, watering techniques, etc.... I think it is a great idea if you are tied down to an area where the people refuse to hire someone to take care of their property for them. Thoughts?

Az Gardener
03-07-2006, 10:03 AM
I am working on something like that for homeowner who wants to do their own maintenance. I already put out a newsletter that outlines the work we are doing at existing clients homes. I'm thinking a one time visit to catalog the plant varieties on the property and see the irrigation system/soil type. Then give this to the homeowner to refer to when they read the newsletter. Consult charge for this 75-100 bucks then the monthly service newsletter reminding them what to do this month how to adjust the irrigation controller what to fert etc. I'm thinking $30.00 per month. Billed monthly, 1-year contract, automatic withdraw from their bank account. Call it "Just A Little Help"

Sean Adams
03-07-2006, 10:10 AM
I think it will of course depend on demographics - some people do their own work because they cannot afford someone else doing it for them. Others do the work because they have a "green thumb" or they enjoy being outdoors and want the exercise.

I don't know how many people will pay an initial fee of $75 to $100 plus another $300 + for the year, but it is possible. Again, depends on where you are and who your target audience is.

I was thinking maybe something like meet with them, figure out what they want to do, and lay it out in detail - almost like a blueprint for the season. Have a pre-made "manual" to draw from and then customize according ot their needs. Hard to say initially - trial and error would be part of it I am guessing. But if this is a niche you can penetrate, you could have your cake and eat it too.

Dreams To Designs
03-11-2006, 08:11 AM
Sean, part of my service is consulting for homeowners. I get an hourly fee, first hour being higher to cover expenses, and give them notes and information only. Typically a consultation is about 3 hours. If they need more than that, which most do, the we roll it into a complete design and use those three hours as the initial information gathering meeting and create a concept and eventual full design with all the features and benefits. Some do want just some guidance, maybe "what should I do here", or "what is this problem and how do I fix it". If they need more than that, a full design price and schedule is put in place.

Kirk

PlantSolutions
03-11-2006, 10:12 AM
Sean,

I also offer this service. I have customers who only want a consultation on what they should do, types of plants, etc.. I charge by an hourly rate with the first being the highest. Most will turn consultation into a full design even if they want to do it themselves. One nice things about hiring designers is that the client is paying you to do the design whether you subcontract out the work, they do it or have their own landscaper do it.

I would not advise them to put in a patio, deck or do drainage work themselves or even train them on equipment. Definitely leave that to the professional. But, what, where and how to plant with watering needs, yes.

Sean Adams
03-11-2006, 10:20 AM
Interesting..... and makes sense too. I am also wondering if anyone thinks that consultation services for maintenance would work as well - how to mow, what height, watering, fertilizing (plants, shrubs, & lawn), mulching plant beds, bed maintenance, aeration, etc.... I don't know if the homeowner would go for it, but just like anything else, it is all in how you market it. I am confident that if someone sat down and created an approach with a nice hook, homeowners and do-it-yourself people would go for it.

Dreams To Designs
03-12-2006, 08:59 AM
Sean, the majority of my consulting is for folks that are either avid gardeners and need a little design help or some onsite advice, or folks that are trying to save money and do it themselves. For the do it yourselfers, I also charge a daily fee to be onsite for the whole day to help and bring some of my tools.

In the case of lawn or bed maintenance, I believe you may be able to get some consultation work and leave them with a pamphlet explaining the specifics, on mowing, pruning and irrigation. The rates have to be reasonable and the need there, but it would be worth a try.

Kirk

Critical Care
03-21-2006, 09:12 PM
A consultation service for maintenance in an interesting idea Sean. I’m not sure what such a game plan would look like, but I certainly would be curious to see how other people might set up such an endeavor.

When you think about it, you can find info on just about anything off of the Internet, and of course, people can simply go to the homeowners forum at Lawnsite and get all of the answers that they would need for maintenance. However, there are a lot of people out there who really need their hands held through certain processes. For example, give them the choice of reading the instruction manual on their irrigation controller or having someone show them how to use it and it’s a sure bet that many will choose the latter. They may not remember a word you say, but they still like having you there.

Critical Care
04-01-2006, 11:47 PM
One other thought...

How about coming up with an arrangement with your local landscape supply or equipment dealer that when you send clients over to them that both you and your client would receive a discount on purchases? For example, my clients would just have to say "Critical Care Landscape sent me."

This could be a win win situation for everyone.

Cahsking
05-07-2006, 09:28 PM
I'm wondering where the service would end? For those of you who do this already, do you have a line between landscape design, and DIY consultations?

Dreams To Designs
05-08-2006, 08:26 AM
My line is simple, for DIY consultations, everything is done onsite, for design work, I gather the information and return with a concept plan, extensive plant selection list, 3D imaging and after initial approval, a final plan with plant selections is created. All billed at an hourly rate, but design is many hours versus a consultation which is typically a few hours and over when I leave the site.

Kirk