Designer/Estimator/Foreman

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Kent Lawn Care, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. Kent Lawn Care

    Kent Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    Howdy ya'll, I'm trying to get into the landscaping end of the business, I've been doing lawn main. for 9 years, and am ready to make the commitment. BUT!!! one thing i cant get over for a hurdle. finding someone to do my designing and estimating! i know lots of you are gonna say do it yourself, but i'll tell you this i have ZERO capabilities of designing, i can kinda do estimating, but not the hottest at it.

    my question is, for a company just starting out, is it easy or difficult to find someone that would work for me to do the designing estimating and possibly be the foreman for the landscaping crew?

    also would you pay this person off commission, salary or by the hour?

    and if I'm beating a dead horse sorry, just send me a link, and i'll go to that thread, but i cant find one to match in the searches.

    anyone want to come work for me?!?!?:drinkup:


    Phil:waving:
     
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,749

    Phil,

    It is difficult because you are looking for someone that basically has the skills to run his own company. There are not many with those skills that are prepared to take it on to make someone else the money.

    There are certainly designer/estimators out there with foreman (or better) experience. The older guys (or guys with high mileage) that are a little worn physically or exhausted with dealing with laborers are your best bet. You have to resist the temptation of turning these guys back into foremen. That is what they want to avoid.

    I left a very, very, good design/sales/estimator/and then some job last August because the owner kept creeping me back into the foreman role because I was far and away the most capable. Now he has a lot of laborers and none of the other roles being filled. If I wanted to do everything, I'd be doing it for myself again.

    There is not a lot of opportunity for these kind of guys to get the shovel out of their hands. I'm sure that you can snag one that has all the design/sales/estimate skills that wants to get away from dealing with a crew and a shovel. But, you got to stay committed to not driving him away by using him as a foreman.

    I know three guys, including myself, in their early forties that have arthritis from landscaping. There are plenty more and they want to put their shovels down and not chase unmotivated workers around that can't keep up with their crippled old bodies. Give one a place to roost, make money, and not deal with the things he does not want to. He'll be happy, and you will be too.
     
  3. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    When i started i was in the same boat as you were. I couldnt design anything hardly, but after looking at other landscapes, reading books, and just trial and error i can design pretty good now, and get better with each job. I would just start educating yourself and try to handle the jobs yourself because its less headache to attempt to do the jobs yourself and not rely on others.
     
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    When I started I learned from the guy I worked for, the trouble was he was a drunk and I ended up doing everything you described. That was a long time ago and times have changed but you can do it. your gonna screw up and lose $$ on a few but you will make it up on others. START WITH SMALL RES. JOBS till you get the hang of it. Or you can find the guy you want its just gonna cost you. Hey I'm avalable to travel if you got the dough I'm on the go,

    Merry Christmas
    Mac
     
  5. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,389

    Find a local designer in your area. Work out a deal with him. You pay him to do all your design work and in return he recommends you as the installer for all jobs he designs for his customers. It is a win/win situation for both of you. I used to do all of our design work but was fortunate enough to work a deal like this with a local designer.
     
  6. Groundcover Solutions

    Groundcover Solutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,254

    When we first started out our local nursery had a Design and build department. We had them do all of our designs and estimates and then they would charge us a fee for it but if we purchased our materials from them they would take the fee out of the materials cost so it actually saved us money to have them do all of the design work. It was a great deal for us and for them, try and see if any one in your area can work out the same kind of deal. Worked great for us, but that is just my two cents.
     
  7. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    If you've ever heard the saying you can get 10 ecomomists together and you will get 10 different opinions, the same is true w/ landscapers instead of opinions you have designs. Basically aside from your basic rules, there is no one set way to do anything in this business when it comes to designing.

    I likewise had no clue how to design anything and got thrown into design/build. I remember my first job for a friends dad that I basically pieced everything together almost one at a time (plants). Looked ok when I was done. The next year it seemed that I was getting more and more into it and a friend of mine had more design exp. than I did and helped me with a couple and I picked up on it very quickly and read and mostly learned everything I could about plants that I could.
     
  8. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 348

    Make me an offer. Ill work for ya
     
  9. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 348

    I would be happy to do your designs for ya on the side at a reasonable rate and can help you creat some fair estimates
     

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