First Big Landscaping Estimate

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by drsogr, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,275

    I did my first estimate for a commercial building Yesterday. It was around the $10,000 dollar range. I have never done an estimate quite that size. Anyway I spent quite a bit of time preparing this estimate, and finding prices for the exact plants he wanted. I got it all together, we had revised a few things and I turned it in yesterday. He told me that I was "in the lead" and that he would get back with me. My question though is...whats my next course of action? Should I give him a call back and make sure that he doesn't have any more questions? When should I do that? Or should I just sit and wait? Or should I just send him a thank you note through the mail, letting him know that if he has any more questions to give me a call?

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,430

    Do a 'follow up' call 72 hrs after you submit the proposal.

    Then based on your conversation, maybe do another call 72 hrs after that.



    Did you obtain a budget from him before you did an estimate?

    Did you ask how many other prices is he gettin?

    Did you meet with both the husband and wife? She's the one who always has final say in who does the work!

    Did he thank you for your time? From 15 yrs in business, I have found that when people say "I'll get back with ya, thanks for all your time".......I never hear back from them. I have found that people that plan to use us....don't thank me for my time.

    - Don't look too anxious.

    - After 2 'Follow Up' calls, if you get no where, then you need to move on and focus on generating other sales.
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Hmmmm, I thank people for their time a lot and now that you say this it makes me wonder if when I say that, it means I don't intend on using them, lol...

    Interesting you noticed this, never thought of it that way myself...
     
  4. Freshcut Lawn Care

    Freshcut Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    Not sure if he'll get back to you or not, but I would wait a few days and follow up explaining you are preparing your work schedule and wish to schedule his work in (should you win the bid).

    He should be able to make a decision a few days as he must have some type of idea of what he wants and is willing to spend and if you are really in the lead!

    People are funny though! I quoted a trimming job recently and the lady said it seemed expensive and I told her that she had a lot of work and it included clean up and disposal.

    It was a very big job and I knew we would have a couple of guys there for the afternoon.

    I bid $400.00

    Women "Well the last guy we had, did it for $100 - but he died last year"

    Me (In hindsight using poor taste) "Maybe that's why he died from too much stress because he wasn't making any money"

    Whoops!

    I left and told my son she wouldn't call back. I even thought of calling back later that afternoon and was thinking about dropping the price to $350 as we had some free time due to dry conditions.

    I didn't and ....

    Surprise, her husband called the next morning and gave us the go ahead!

    They were very pleased and she later stated, well we haven't had them done for quite some time and they were much bigger that the last time they were done!

    I feel we made her very happy and she realizes now what was involved and I suspect she may call us back when they need to be done again, but there is never any guarantees!

    If he keeps holding you up, move on!

    Good Luck! :waving:
     
  5. Mountain Gardener

    Mountain Gardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 79

    drsogr - In my over 20 years experience in this business if you did not bid from a spec sheet w/blueprints, you probably wasted a lot of time unless you are the lowest estimate. Price is almost always the determining factor on commerical jobs of any kind. It's about the same on non commercial. You being told that you "were in the lead" sounds like You are being let down easily.

    We refuse to get into design and price contests. Unless the client is willing to pay a refundable consultation fee up front or has a bid (specification) list and plan that we can bid from, we don't get involved. Let me be clear on this. We will be happy to submit a bid from spec sheets but refuse to do free design or layout work without a contract. Sound uppity? Sorry bout that.

    I consider myself as having only 1 thing to sell. It doesn't matter how many trees, pavers, shrubs, or anything thing else that goes into a landscape. That 1 thing is TIME !! There are 168 hours in each 7 day period. A certain # of those are reserved for sleep, family, ect. I don't give my time away to price buyers, brain pickers, or anyone else that hopes to gain from my expertise for nothing.

    If this helps somebody that is struggling with a way to handle estimates in a timely manner -I'm glad.
     
  6. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,430

    Mountain Gardener -

    You and I have the EXACT same feelings and procedures towards pricing work as well as designing work!

    As well as the fact the we landscapers sell "TIME". So many contractors argue and disagree with me on that, but I stand firm that we sell TIME.

    Our consult fees are $35 - $50.00. refundable if we do the work.

    Design fees, done by a landscape architect start at $400 and go up from there. Not refundable.
     
  7. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,275

    I did quote per the landscape design that was drawn up by the architects. Let me tell you it was a doozy! Still no word yet. I expect to hear some word tomorrow. I know one of the law firm partners fairly well, and I am doing some work on their yard tomorrow. Unfortunately its the other law firm partner who seems to run the show. I think that I priced what he was wanting, but he is having regrets about going so strict to the landscape design that was so overly complicated.

    Who knows.

    I wish I could charge a consultation fee, unfortunately I am new to the business as well as landscaping. I am teaching myself as I go, so everything is slow in the learning. No one would pay for my services until I start to make a name for myself.
     

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