Jim, great thread.
Now, here's my take on the whole estimating scenario.
I have to lean towards Jim's argument. People just don't have the funds like they used to. Around here I always try to give people a range on what they are looking to spend. I also try AGLA's tactics in that I discuss products and the varying prices on products.
Another thing also, is that it seems is that 50% of the people I deal with only have short term aspirations with the home they live in currently, so those install budgets are focused on low-cost and curb appeal rather than the out-door living spaces.
Here's the quote I use.
" So, you want the world, I can give you the world. But, if you can only afford the moon that goes with the world, then I'll give you the best dam*&% looking moon I can give you."
Now, in AGLA's case (an clarify if I'm wrong please), his business focuses more on the landscape design aspect rather than the install work. So, the way I see it, the customer is going to already have a line item in the budget that includes the design work. So, there tends to be more funds available as a whole for the project.
So, I'm not saying AGLA is a god and just down right awesome and lands the big jobs just by pure will, it's his business model. And on top of it, I'm sure the region economics might have something to do with it also.
So, on both sides of the coin, my opinions lie mostly in line with Jim and his article. People around here are very budget minded. Most professionals and their higher budget lies in their short term goals with their 225k home with only 8k of yard at best to play with.
And on top of it, stupid DYI programs had to go ruin everything by making homeowners think projects can be cheaper and done faster than what most small landscape companies generally can do. I could easily knock out a 25K project in 4 days if I had 35 guys on a project, not to mention half of them being volunteers........
Jim. Also liked your FB page.
Don't be afraid to like mine. I'm three short of 300! LOL!