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tractrpowr45
06-01-2006, 11:18 PM
Hi, I am fairly new to the landscaping business, so I won't say I know everything about landscape design, but I had a guy call me today and he told me he needed the front of his house landscaped, and that he had just removed the existing plants and shrubs. I told him I could come out the next day and give him an estimate and draw up a landscape design plan. When I told him I charge $150.00 for a design, he said "I'm not paying for a design; just tell me what it costs". I told him I couldn't just look at the site and tell him the cost without figuring out how many trees/shrubs/etc. would be needed depending on space and site conditions. I also told him any landscape professional would charge upfront for a design, and he told me I'll find someone else. I told him go ahead because I don't work for free. Do you think I was wrong in the the way I worded it or am I charging to much? I want to get jobs and don't want to scare potential clients away. What do you other landscapers do? Thanks:cool2:

procut
06-01-2006, 11:43 PM
What a lot of companies are doing around here is charging about $250 for the design. Then, if the cusomer wants the work done, the $250 is credited toward the total job.

You were probably smart to pass on this one. He wanted an 'estimate' but in order to come up with that you need to do a design. No sense in working for free.

olderthandirt
06-02-2006, 12:08 AM
Once you been doing it for awhile you can look at a property and give a ball park figure in a few minutes. If there's still interested I carry some plans they can choose from with prices, substitutions can be made simply. Anything more and they buy a custom design that they can shop to every LCO they want. If they hire me the cost of the design is deducted.

Most important thing is getting them to sign while your there.
So you need something to show them.

topsites
06-02-2006, 12:48 AM
What a lot of companies are doing around here is charging about $250 for the design. Then, if the cusomer wants the work done, the $250 is credited toward the total job.

You were probably smart to pass on this one. He wanted an 'estimate' but in order to come up with that you need to do a design. No sense in working for free.

That is smart, very smart.

Learn something new every day, up to now I've always started out with smaller jobs until the trust is built, just because of the reason you mentioned. Fact is, a lot of these folks just want a written estimate so they can call another Lco and play us off against each other.

And that would be the reason most all of my estimates are verbal, but I like this $150 or $250 semi-refundable design fee.

Wonder if I can do this for a grass-cutting estimate, when they want it in writing, 20 dollar semi-refundable gottathinkofityet fee.

sheshovel
06-02-2006, 01:17 AM
In my state you can't sell landscape designs unless you are a licenced Landscape Architect. So you have to do it like for an hourly rate.The job sites vary so much around here it is almost impossible to have pre-plans for them to choose from.
I usually charge for three hours at 45.00 each and like the others if you hire me for the project then I credit that amount back to them.Written estimates are free and you can sure do an estimate for work requested without giving them a plan with it.
You DO have to see the jobsite first and get inpput from the potential client about what they want , what they like , irrigation needed site specs , access , soil conditions , any hardscaping needed ect , ect ,.
Without that info you can't give them a good close estimate. I NEVER give a price over the phone without evaluating the site first .
ALL my estimates are in writing I keep one on file in my computer and give a paper copy to the client. If they do not hire me for the work any plan I made is going to be billed for.

emil35
06-02-2006, 02:52 AM
I'm glad to hear that you can charge for a drawing/estimate. My question is I have a few drawings I've just done and spent some good time on them...think I can charge for them if I don't get picked? I didn't say anything about it but can I just charge for it in the end if needed? Thanks

AGLA
06-02-2006, 07:51 AM
There is a point where a simple design should be part of your estimate. That point is when the value of the actual plan to the homeowner is less than the value taking the time to price out the job.

I would expect that a quick sketch on the back of an envelope showing the house and 10 circles for plants could have gotten the job done and it would not have been a big investment in time. That said, it does seem that you did not value trying to get this job enough to do that. There is nothing wrong with that unless you needed the work.

It is the time you, as a contractor, invest in a quick plan that you measure the value of a plan. To the homeowner, it is only the value of the content of the plan that impacts them. If they only want a few shrubs, they have no added value from the plan and they won't pay.

AAELI
06-02-2006, 06:36 PM
Hi, I am fairly new to the landscaping business, so I won't say I know everything about landscape design, but I had a guy call me today and he told me he needed the front of his house landscaped, and that he had just removed the existing plants and shrubs. I told him I could come out the next day and give him an estimate and draw up a landscape design plan. When I told him I charge $150.00 for a design, he said "I'm not paying for a design; just tell me what it costs". I told him I couldn't just look at the site and tell him the cost without figuring out how many trees/shrubs/etc. would be needed depending on space and site conditions. I also told him any landscape professional would charge upfront for a design, and he told me I'll find someone else. I told him go ahead because I don't work for free. Do you think I was wrong in the the way I worded it or am I charging to much? I want to get jobs and don't want to scare potential clients away. What do you other landscapers do? Thanks:cool2:

Show up to look the place over, listen to the prospect to determine what he is really looking for and build the design costs into your estimate. The more elaborate his desires the higher the costs right? Make a design for your records and make your bid estimate based on your design. Make a presentation of your proposal and give him the opportunity to accept or decline. Do not leave your design unless he is willing to pay for the design. At least then he can make an intelligent decision about hiring you for your expertise or comparing with other bid proposals.
As a homeowner I usually have my own idea as to what I want done and I do try to get competitive bids for work on my property that I do not care to do myself. As long as all are bidding on the same apple or orange I am assured of getting competitive bids. I assume you are not the only game in town so you should consider there will be competition and treat this like a bid on the job. If this is all too much work then raise your price in order to make it worth getting the job should you be selected.

Just my thoughts.

dKoester
06-02-2006, 10:13 PM
Don't put up with customers like that! Get rid of them. You might want to consider going to school for landscape design. It will help out a great deal.

AGLA
06-03-2006, 08:29 AM
It sounds like this could be a small house with a clean slate and the homeowner only needs a plant list and description of work to sign the contract. If that is the case, a scaled drawing is not necessary for either you or the homeowner. In that case, it would only take ten minutes to measure the front of the house and five minutes to sketch it on graph paper - who wants to pay $150 for that? There is not a whole lot of creativity at stake here. This type of plan is not an investment in creativity and unique applied knowledge, so they are not paying for anything more than a support document for your contract.

Still, it is a matter of whether you want a job like this or not. If the job is as simple as I described it, I'm sure someone came out and gave him a plant list and price without charging $150 and got the job.

I don't think there is anything wrong with you refusing to do this without a plan and to charge the $150. But, I don't think it is unreasonable for the homeowner to not want to pay for a service that another landscaper won't add on. Neither is outrageous.

Brianslawn
06-04-2006, 02:17 AM
arent you a desperate lawnboy? 99 out of 100 lawnboys around here would rush over and start licking his balls trying to land a job that theyll lose money on.

you were right. now teach the other 50 billion lawnboys nationwide that luv to work for free. they been doing it so long, the customer expects you to work for free.

just give the @$$hole an hourly rate and tell him to take a phukin guess how long itll take.

all free estimates should be done on the phone in under 2 minutes. if you cant do that, then you need to go back to taco bell.

Brianslawn
06-04-2006, 02:24 AM
Don't put up with customers like that! Get rid of them. You might want to consider going to school for landscape design. It will help out a great deal.


why spend the extra money on school for design. he'll never be able to charge for his extra services. too god dam many stooopid lawnboys running around working for free... 40,000 of the members on here even (cause they too thick headed). so who wants to mow my yard for free this week? ive gotten this far into season with free lawnmowing from scr#bs. just take a # to hop in line to get screwed.

tthomass
06-04-2006, 11:54 PM
simple sketch i don't charge but to all out scale it, color and shade etc..............its gonna be $100+ depending on how much i'm designing........one bed vs a while property and it goes towards the install if they go with it, if not then into the bank

you have to make customers realize that your time is valuable and you can weed out the ones that you wouldn't get anyway because if they dno't want to pay the $ they prob have no interest in having you put it in

Dreams To Designs
06-05-2006, 07:42 AM
If your sketch or design has no value to you, then don't charge for it. If on the other hand, it took time and effort for you to create a unique design for the client, you should value your work and therefore charge for it. What other services that landscapers perform do you do for free?

Kirk