I know there's another thread right below at this moment but I want to run something by all of you and hear your opinions. First off, I've been in business for about 20 years. Mainly in the landscape management part....maintenance, small installs. I would install for other designers but would be frustrated when they insist on planting Green Giant Arbs against the house ....15 ft blue atlas cedars 3ft off a picture window! Yeah, it's happened and I'm ashamed to put my name on this work, but the money was good so I would do it. I would always suggest an alternative to the customer and most of the times they would listen. But it gets me when they have some designer from a nursery who's never worked the field behyond the point of sale(plants to customer) and they take their advice as gold! Bottom line is I'm tired of dealing with "designers" who never work the field and never consider what the job will look like down the road. My neighbor had a 400.00 design drawn up by a large nursery here and they placed 3 Hemlocks in his back yard where the view of a new 400 acre lake was going to be! Nice!! block the water view and add some trees that are currently being destroyed by the wooly adelphid! What a waste of money...okay...no more venting!! I purchased Pro Landscape 13 and Horticopia about 6 months ago and have been doing alright with the program. I've got it down enough to design and show new customers what their project will look like. I'm going to take the class PL offers when they come back around Atlanta but for now I'm teaching myself. I'm very happy with both programs so far! So my questions? Starting out without any portfolio of designs of my own how should I charge? I was thinking of offering some designs for free at first to build up a client base. I did this once already and was burned! I told myself walking into it that this could happen so I kept my AR-15 in the safe after I found out I had been used! LOL ;-) It wasn't all bad because the quote got my feet wet with the presentation side of the work. Anyway! How would you all go about starting in this situation? Another thing is I've found most people expect a "free design" as part of their free quote! Blows my mind people would expect this, but it's the way it is people want everything for free. How do you get the budget out of them? I asked one couple about their budget and was told 8-10K for a job that I know was going to run close to 20k with irrigation! I told them they were unrealistic and decided not even to get started on the quote. Thanks for reading and any advice!