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  #21  
Old 04-27-2014, 11:49 AM
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alldayrj alldayrj is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Shed Landscaping View Post
I was wondering how you guys handle the all the calls from people wanting to get estimates/proposal for landscaping, going to look at their yards, doing the proposal and finding time to do the field work?

Do you get to a certain point where you just say that you can't come for a while or not going to look at their yard until you are somewhat caught up? Right now I have work into August and have been telling people I wouldn't be able do the job until then but that I can come look and get them a proposal.

Right now I am spending lots of time on looking at places and doing proposal but not being able to do the actual jobs yet. Does it take you guys a while to get an estimate back to them? The majority of my estimates take 4-8 hours each and have 20 to currently do, it takes a lot of time.

I have been charging more this year and have been getting more of them that I thought I would. Right now its only me until school it out when I get a guy for the summer.

I called a electrician a couple years ago and they said right away that they couldn't or wouldn't look at what I wanted done for at least 4 months so said ok and called someone else. I feel like that is not a good thing to do but maybe necessary?
You need a full time guy with some skills you can meet on the job and he already has stuff out and set up, or leave him at 2pm to cut, sweep, clean up and grade etc. this kind of work cannot be done alone at any real scale.

Next, i will talk to people for a few mins on the phone. They want a walkway? Great i would love to come look at it. Its about 20x4? Awesome thats around $2k in concrete.
Answer A You want brick and have $1500? Sorry call me in the future have a great day.
Answer B that fits in your budget? When are you available to meet up and take a look at it.
A walkway you should be able to price out on the spot barring they want some exotic material. If is a patio, walk, stoop, grading, planting and you need some time, tell them theyre looking at12-17k does that work? At this point they decided they like me and they have that kind of money, give me a deposit and i will design it. Never spend 8 hrs on a job you dont have or won't most likely get and certainly not on EVERY SINGLE ESTIMATE.

I dont claim to have it all figured out, many here will tell you i dont myself included. Im out at 6 am and home at 8pm after working all day and doing estimates but this year has been great and im getting more nice jobs with less work and hours wasted.
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  #22  
Old 04-27-2014, 06:00 PM
mrusk mrusk is offline
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75% of my leads come in through email now. It could be a referral or a call from my advertising, chances are I get a email. I have yet to find a correlation between email vs phone leads.

I do not waste hours and hours designing projects hoping I get them. I very rarely build any projects anymore that don't start out drawn by one of the 2 Architects I work with. If someone calls me and it sounds like a real juicy job I schedule a meeting with them, myself and my architect. Design fees start at $1500 and go as high as $6000. People pay.

You guys need to try and elevate your businesses and get away from the free design mindset. Often we sell a design and then the people do get other prices on it. But you know what? I build 90% of the projects that me and my architect sell a design for.

I have a good business and build nice projects. But I do not run around doing estimates like a chicken with his head chopped off. I know what type of jobs I want to build and go after just those! Out of the 6 jobs I have signed to build this year 4 of them include all the following features: outdoor kitchen, fire feature, pergola, and at least 50 landscape lights.

Find a good architect to work with and elevate your business!
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  #23  
Old 04-27-2014, 08:15 PM
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DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrusk View Post
75% of my leads come in through email now. It could be a referral or a call from my advertising, chances are I get a email. I have yet to find a correlation between email vs phone leads.

I do not waste hours and hours designing projects hoping I get them. I very rarely build any projects anymore that don't start out drawn by one of the 2 Architects I work with. If someone calls me and it sounds like a real juicy job I schedule a meeting with them, myself and my architect. Design fees start at $1500 and go as high as $6000. People pay.

You guys need to try and elevate your businesses and get away from the free design mindset. Often we sell a design and then the people do get other prices on it. But you know what? I build 90% of the projects that me and my architect sell a design for.

I have a good business and build nice projects. But I do not run around doing estimates like a chicken with his head chopped off. I know what type of jobs I want to build and go after just those! Out of the 6 jobs I have signed to build this year 4 of them include all the following features: outdoor kitchen, fire feature, pergola, and at least 50 landscape lights.

Find a good architect to work with and elevate your business!
Where was "free designs" mentioned?
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  #24  
Old 04-27-2014, 11:25 PM
Red Shed Landscaping Red Shed Landscaping is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alldayrj View Post
You need a full time guy with some skills you can meet on the job and he already has stuff out and set up, or leave him at 2pm to cut, sweep, clean up and grade etc. this kind of work cannot be done alone at any real scale.

Next, i will talk to people for a few mins on the phone. They want a walkway? Great i would love to come look at it. Its about 20x4? Awesome thats around $2k in concrete.
Answer A You want brick and have $1500? Sorry call me in the future have a great day.
Answer B that fits in your budget? When are you available to meet up and take a look at it.
A walkway you should be able to price out on the spot barring they want some exotic material. If is a patio, walk, stoop, grading, planting and you need some time, tell them theyre looking at12-17k does that work? At this point they decided they like me and they have that kind of money, give me a deposit and i will design it. Never spend 8 hrs on a job you dont have or won't most likely get and certainly not on EVERY SINGLE ESTIMATE.

I dont claim to have it all figured out, many here will tell you i dont myself included. Im out at 6 am and home at 8pm after working all day and doing estimates but this year has been great and im getting more nice jobs with less work and hours wasted.
I have dreamed of having at least one good guy who has common sense and take on some responsibility in the 11 years of doing this. Being physical and seasonal work doesn't help the situation.

I do need to get some general jobs figured for price ranges to give them right away. Yes if it a simple walkway or patio I will do figure up a price while I am there and let them think it over. I am precise so it is hard for me to come up with a ballpark price unless I do all the calculations. I don't want to be too low or outrageously high.
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  #25  
Old 04-28-2014, 06:08 AM
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alldayrj alldayrj is online now
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I just know what i need to leave the house with the truck and equip. Add x for each guy. Two man, one day jobs i need to get y otherwise ill just stay home. Doesnt matter if im doing their laundry or building a wall.

You could find a young guy with some responsibility who wants to learn and train him. Sometimes youre better off finding someone with no "skills" from their previous hack employer
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  #26  
Old 04-28-2014, 11:19 AM
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DVS Hardscaper DVS Hardscaper is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrusk View Post
75% of my leads come in through email now. It could be a referral or a call from my advertising, chances are I get a email. I have yet to find a correlation between email vs phone leads.

I do not waste hours and hours designing projects hoping I get them. I very rarely build any projects anymore that don't start out drawn by one of the 2 Architects I work with. If someone calls me and it sounds like a real juicy job I schedule a meeting with them, myself and my architect. Design fees start at $1500 and go as high as $6000. People pay.

You guys need to try and elevate your businesses and get away from the free design mindset. Often we sell a design and then the people do get other prices on it. But you know what? I build 90% of the projects that me and my architect sell a design for.

I have a good business and build nice projects. But I do not run around doing estimates like a chicken with his head chopped off. I know what type of jobs I want to build and go after just those! Out of the 6 jobs I have signed to build this year 4 of them include all the following features: outdoor kitchen, fire feature, pergola, and at least 50 landscape lights.

Find a good architect to work with and elevate your business!
Matthew - this thread isn't about you, it's about a guy whom is more or less a one man show out in a small town in the middle of nowhere. So working with architects won't help him.
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  #27  
Old 04-28-2014, 12:13 PM
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P.Services P.Services is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVS Hardscaper View Post
Matthew - this thread isn't about you, it's about a guy whom is more or less a one man show out in a small town in the middle of nowhere. So working with architects won't help him.
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I think a lot of what rusk said can transfer over to even a small one man show. I read a few lines and said " yeah I need to stop doing that"

But if you are his father then continue to scold away.
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  #28  
Old 04-28-2014, 12:44 PM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrusk View Post
75% of my leads come in through email now. It could be a referral or a call from my advertising, chances are I get a email. I have yet to find a correlation between email vs phone leads.
not saying there's anything wrong with email leads. My issue is with folks who aren't invested enough in getting an awesome project to spend 10-15 minutes talking with them on the phone about it and making sure that my company is a fit for what they hope to accomplish.
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  #29  
Old 04-28-2014, 01:20 PM
Red Shed Landscaping Red Shed Landscaping is offline
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That is correct where I live is in a rural area in the middle of nowhere pretty much or as Jason Aldean's song says in a fly over state. The biggest city close to us is about 20,000 people. Really nice, fancy houses are around $200,000 to $500,000. Getting them to spend $15,000-$25,000 on landscaping isn't that easy. So having someone try to spend even $500 dollars on a design is hard to do. I know there is people that will spend good money on a design but the vast majority won't.

I have charged for designs before but for the most part have given them away. After thinking of all the time and effort put into them and reading on here that I am starting to charge for my time accordingly. I will still give them an estimate free of charge but they will have to pay for a design.

Being that we are 2 hours away from either Des Moines or Minneapolis it is hard to get young people to want to live here. Most everyone from leaves once they graduate high school. The whole area is suffering from the lack of workers. Every trade jobs is many months backed up. So much work to do but no one to do it. A couple other landscape companies in the area just closed last year because they couldn't get good help.
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  #30  
Old 04-28-2014, 08:27 PM
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xtreem3d xtreem3d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zedosix View Post
There are a few things I've learned and like a bunch of the veterns on here no doubt, is that you need to sort thru the waste (for lack of better words). You need to direct your energy to the clients that are:

1.Not afraid to give you a budget, I mean how can we design a back patio and sidewalk if a budget $3,000. This comment alone will save you countless hours of design-estimation work.
2. Not asking you to list all details and cost breakdown,(reason here is obvious) Some want the job process spelled out in detail so they can attempt on their own. I've seen this countless times and have wonderful pictures of their attempt as proof. You can see this in the "hardscaper hacks" thread.
3. Not be afraid to tell them exactly what your intentions are. I tell my customers to expect a quick email with a quick breakdown of what I'm giving them. No detailed plan dropped off at their front door, no breakdown. I write a line in my work that says "as per ICPI specs". Its defaulted along with a description of how I lay my walls and bricks. This is all they need to know IMO.
4. Try not to get too many subs involved in your work, ie paving, electrical, carpenters etc. If you do, you will be liable for their actions and screwups if any arise on the job.

You are not alone though in your frustration, I've been at this on my own with no outside help since 87' and trust me if I would of taken all these points in consideration years earlier I would have less grey hair than I now have.
I'm curious to know your response to item #2 especially if they are persistent..what exactly do you say to them?
Steve
PS or anyone else reading this can answer
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