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Convincing a cumstomer to pay for a landscape plan.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by keithslawnc, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    Old thread that was brought back up yesterday. But I'll add my two cents on how I handle this. I do the initial design consult at no charge, basically the walk around with the property owners to see what they are looking for and give my recomendations. I also get all the measurements and most importantly their budget (along with gauging their interest and likelyhood they will increase their budget. I then show them sample before and after pictures along with sample design printouts. I like to show them the before picture then the design so that they can imagine how the landscape job cameout. Then I show them the after photos so they can see how close it is to the design. Along with that I also show them a materials list for the job and calculations (without pricing), so that they see why the design is important. I find the clients are far less likely to question my design fee after doing the above. I do make sure to show them a simular design but nothing too close to their property.
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    GIA, I love your signature line!
  3. Executive Landscape

    Executive Landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    Papercutter has given you almost exactly the same advice that I would, and we have alot of experience with $100,000+ installs. The fact is that designs that cost thousands of dollars are, for the most part, a thing of the past, especially when that client is not a referral from another client. Dont get me wrong you should be paid for a design every time, but this situation would require your client to be convinced that YOU need to design/install their project in order to pay what you are asking. The business world has changed, technology is better and competition is stiffer, and you and your LA are trying to approach it from where our industry was, not where our industry is. Your LA should of had a portfolio of designs and ideas that blew away your client and justified the design cost. People will not spend thousands on something they dont know that they will like, and that is completely reasonable. It sounds like during your 3 hour appt. your client did not buy you and your LA, it is important to know that your client is never buying a design, they are buying you and what they perceive to be your abilities. In this case you should suggest changes to the design(overall design, plantings, is it to scale) that they have and find out if they are happy with it, if your suggestions make sense to them then you are back in the game. We all learn these lessons the hard way, you will be better prepared the next time and that is a very positive thing. Keep in mind that your client hired you to do maintenance and therefore views you as a maintenance company, your competitor is probably specializing in design/install and that is how your client views them, that alone is a very steep hill to climb. Most clients would not hire their maintenance company to do a design/install of this size, that is also a reasonable thought process. If you want to be a design/install company then you need to make sure your clients are very aware that is your specialty and market your company accordingly. Best of luck to you, focus on one thing and be great at it!

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