Charging for landscape estimate

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Scottscape, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Scottscape

    Scottscape LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 76

    I think I am going to start charging $15.00 for new landscape estimates for residential customers. I have ran into quite a few dreamers who want the work done and just dont have the money or they just want an estimate and ideas for there personal use, for them to do the work themselves. I have a guy today at 3:00 I am giving an estimate and I can usually tell when they JUST need to see what you would charge. What do you guys think? and Im pretty some of you charge for estimates
     
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Sorry my estimates are free..it's all a part of doing business.I do charge for my landscape plans though..is that what you mean?
     
  3. Scottscape

    Scottscape LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 76

    yes thats what I mean
     
  4. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    This has been talked about before and will be again, especially when gas prices hit 3 bucks a gallon again.

    It's really not a bad idea but it probably won't fly. Another thing that we've conditioned customers to expect for free.

    My mom's fridge is on the fritz. Calls Whirlpool. Whirlpool dispatches to a local company. They send someone out for a $55 estimate/diagnostic fee. If she wants it fixed, that will cost more. The tech arrived 2 hours later than the 8:00 to 12:00 window they gave her. The diagnosis took 5 minutes. "That'll be $55. We'll be back next Wednesday to replace the thermostat and that will be an addition $230."

    So, the fridge guy gets $55 for a simple diagnosis but my propective client wants me to drive 30 minutes across town, burn $5.00 in gas and tell them why their grass looks like crap. I've said it before, estimates are never free, people just aren't asked to pay for them.
     
  5. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    Everybody offers FREE estimates only an original thinker would think about charging for them. :)
     
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Well Scottscape you don't give them your plan at all tell they sign on the dotted.You can show it to them,like wave it in the air in front of them and point at it but don't leave it with them.A good landscape plan can run up to $150.00.
     
  7. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 640

    I charge $50.00 to come out and make an estimate. Some take 10 minutes, some take 2 hours: same fee, refundable if they choose us to do the work.

    Works really well. I live where you often have to travel to get to a clients' place. Some are an hour away, many are a half hour away. some are close. It's the way the landscaping business is (how it differs from mowing).
     
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    I have a bunch [10-15] of pre made up plans. [Most houses in the new developments are just cookie cutter homes.] I get a budget from them, show them some really nice plans and tell them we can change a few things to fit there budgets. Customers ofter can not visualize what the finish product will look like and they love to see the plan. If they sign up I'll redo a plan with any changes that they needed and the plans are theres at that point, they payed for them.
     
  9. LandscapePro

    LandscapePro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    Scottscape,

    O.K., so you burn up a tank of fuel and spend (X) hours walking 5 yards over the course of a week giving "Free" estimates. How much have you have you spent? You're out (X) dollars in fuel, (X) dollars in wear and tear on your truck, (X) dollars worth of your hourly labor wage, and what ever dollar amount your professional experience is worth. This all on a "chance" you'll get the work.

    That's not a money making proposition any way you look at it.

    Any time I pull into a driveway it costs $55.00 for a service call. That buys the potential customer a walk around the yard and listening to what they have in mind, offering a few suggestions, and pointing out any problems I see in the landscape. ( pruning needed, bugs, fungi problems, weed problems, etc.)

    If they want a design and landscape plan, I explain design time is $75.00 per hour with a $300.00 retainer paid up front and that 50% of the design costs will be credited against the final invoice. (does not include work done by subcontractors if they are required) Plans and estimate belong to the homeowner once the design costs are paid.

    While this method may not work for you, you've got to think of something to pay for your time. How much would you have made had you spent those hours on a landscape job? There's truly no such thing as a "free" lunch......

    Mike
    La. Landscape Contractor #2576
     
  10. mak2

    mak2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    i was talking to a consultant for hosptials today that makes from $150 to 700 per hour and he gives free estimates, what are you talking about? Sometimes I think people on this site are trying to reduce competition by throwing stupid advice out there. I mean that in the most respectful manner possible.:confused:
     

Share This Page