View Full Version : Design & Consulting

02-18-2000, 12:59 AM
What does everyone charge for consulting with their landscape design?

02-18-2000, 01:45 AM
In the DC area, some companies charge for a designer to even go out to the house. Then the design fee is additional. I will go to see the site and meet the client without a trip charge because I have talked to them first to determine that they aren't just wasting my time. Many people are uneasy about paying an hourly fee. Why they trust a lawyer to charge more fairly than a landscape designer is probably a topic for a different forum. Anyway, I try to set a total design fee based on the size and complexity of the project, keeping in mind how much time is going to be spent. If the client wants to have several designs to chose from, I try to narrow the process somewhat so that this doesn't turn into an entertainment for them. They pay the design fee when they agree (in writing)that they want me to draw up a design. By asking lots of questions and learning as much about the client's taste and preferences as I reasonably can, I can usually present something that they like. How much to charge in exact dollars depends on your locale, credentials and what your clientele expects. Do they expect &quot;free design&quot; or do they think that they &quot;get what they pay for&quot;? If you encounter resistence to paying for a design, you can offer to rebate the fee if they sign with you for the install. That's the goal, right? <p>If you have a rough idea of the total cost of the project, you might figure 10% as the fee and adjust it if you think the client will faint at the # &/or you really want the project. If you are going to have to do a lot of research, pull permits, do separate drawings for several subs or excessively 'hand-hold' the client through the process, then adjust your fee up.<br>Hope that helps.<p><p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

02-20-2000, 12:02 PM
We do consulting and charge between $50 per hr up to $250 depending on the job, most times the fee is waived, because we get the install. I would just build in the cost for the job. The best idea is to copyright your plans, that way if they like your design they must pay for it or use you for the install. <p>----------<br>paul<br>

02-20-2000, 04:39 PM
Wow! Copyrighting is a great idea. That's why I like this forum so much. Ok, Paul, what's involved in doing it? Since you deal with gov. bodies they probably respect copyrights implicitly. I'm not sure that some residential clients would do the same. Of course this solves the problem of participating in design competitions and wondering what's going to happen to my intellectial property. (Some of the larger Homeowners Associations control so much land and population that they use competitions to select design firms. Power certainly has its place in this town.)<p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

02-20-2000, 05:31 PM
All that has to be done is place the wording copyright under the title page and spell out the useage that you will agree to.<p>----------<br>paul<p>

02-24-2000, 07:01 AM
hello all, I have just started in the landscape design and consulting business and have found that coming up with a price for my services has been rather simple. Too start, i work in Northern NJ and have found that my services are in great demand. I started by simply calling local contractors and asking if they are in need of design services. Many contractors, as i have found, either have no services, do designs themselves (if thats what you call a pencil sketch on a bar napkin), or employ the services of a landscape designer or even worst, a landscape architect (forgive me, but i have found that for most jobs a architect is definitely not the way to go).<br>Around me, the going rate for a design, say a complete landscape ranging from 30 t0 100k, is around $400. Many ldscpe architects charge upwards of 600 or even more. I have found for myself, that a minimum charge or $100, even if it is just to plant one tree, is needed when considering such things as drive time and the time spent with the client. <br>Being that i am looking to build a good, lasting relation, i rarely charge more than 250.00 for any plan. I find this to be a good rate for myself. This may be low, but i think it is a fare price. I currently work full time as a grounds manager at morristown airport and do this as a side job. I am not looking to make millions and do it because i really enjoy the work. I know i could charge more, but just dont find it fare. Most guys, who never had designs before, instantly think that its big money to have plans done, which is a shame. I like helping out the smaller guys and find it works out great for both of us. Well, dont know if this was any help, but i enjoyed talking to you all. <br>Steve<br>

02-24-2000, 02:32 PM
Hey Paul or Lanelle or anyone else out there - <p>This is more a design efficacy issue - I'm designing a patio right now that will have flagstone inlaid into the paver pattern - I've never done it, but saw some photos by James Chadwick (a LA in CA) where it was done, and had a very unique look, and I'm itching to try it. Does anyone have any 20/20 hindsight on an installation like that?<p>

02-24-2000, 04:36 PM
We did one like that last year only the main walk ways where large outcropping (6&quot; thick) with a transistion to brick. For yours I would install the brick first then set the stone on top, this way you can see what the stone will look like before you start making cuts. Trim your stone tight and look at it from different angles. What type of stone are you using? limestone, granite or blue stone? <p>----------<br>paul<br>

02-24-2000, 05:14 PM
With the colors of the other materials I'm using and the colors on the house a whitish limestone is going to coordinate the best.

02-24-2000, 06:57 PM
About that stone walkway inlaid with pavers.... I was on a job once and the people wanted to reuse and existing bluestone walkway but wanted to dress it up. The pieces were 2ft by 3 ft and of varying thickness from a half up to 2 inches. My first design was to do what you mentioned, and in lay the blue stone inside two soldier rows of pavers(bricks) with a row of pavers between each stone also. When thinking of doing this, i thought of many ways to approach the matter. One of the biggest problems was the blue stone itself. When doing a normal paver/brick walk, you usually have a level base to easily set the pavers on. With the blue stone this is a problem because they were not of all equal thickness.<br>The spots where the blue stone would go would have to be individually leveled out in order to keep the walk flat. This is not a extremely difficult matter, but a timely one. <br>Another problem would be how to do it (in case your wondering i'm talking about a dry installation with a 5A/stonedust, a wet installation may not be so bad, then again maybe worst). The walk patio would have to be started at one end and the work completed as you go from one side to the other, fininishing it as you move on. Another problem was how to work a walk that curved due to the fact the stone are rectangular and dont simply wrap nicely. A lot of cuts would be needed in either the stone or the bricks.<br>Finally, another proble would be compacting. I run a plate compactor over my finished paver walks to make sure they are solid, as im sure everyone else does. In this case however, i saw a problem with compacting the blue stone in the walk. They have a high tendency to crack so you would have to just use a rubber mallet/deadhead to set them. This may work but i had fears of the brick settling more than the pavers and nightmares of many return visits to reset the walk.<p>Overall, I wanted to at least try this myself, even with these problems, but pricing of the work didn't work out. When compared to just a solid paver walk patio, the price was quite more expensive, even with recycling all or the existing bluestone. The job is very labor intensive and expensive to have a contractor do. So, this spring i am installing pavers in the clients walks and patio with no bluestone.

02-24-2000, 09:08 PM
Steveair,<br>On that blue stone here is something that will work, build your base for the stone 2&quot; less than what you need, mix 1 part portland with 7 parts screenings dry install 2&quot; of this mix under the bluestone, install the stone then the bricks. The portland will setup and lock the bluestone and paver no need to tamp. <p>----------<br>paul<p><br>