Hardscape Ideas for awkward area

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by rarieta, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. rarieta

    rarieta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    The pad is in 6 sections and is heaved in the center from our PA climate changes. I didn't take any elevation shots, but can visually see the differences in height. I have about 6" to the finished surface of their covered concrete porch. I have seen others put pavers over concrete, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with the results over time. I don't know the install procedure over concrete (base stone & sand or just sand?) the only drainage they have are gutters on the roof that exits on the driveway.

    No exact amount was given for the budget. I said I would gather some ideas and present them with a dollar amount.
     
  2. rarieta

    rarieta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    The 3d model was fairly quick. I think I have about 1 1/2 hours between measuring and making a model, but certainly understand your point (Papercutter). With that said, how do you handle customers. Do you establish a price off the bat and design to that or do you "draw" them in by showing designs that WOW them in hopes for that big project?

    I'm still learning the sales end of this business.
     
  3. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,938

    1.5 hrs for that, an hour to meet with them, "I like it but it's too much" so another hour drawing, an hour meeting again... it adds up.

    I'm design and consulting so I don't draw anything without a signed design agreement and a deposit, but I worked design-build for years where that wasn't the case. Bottom line you have to make sure they're worth the effort you're expending. On something like you're doing I'd at least throw out some ballparks. Demo will likely be around X, new patio between Y-Y+1000, water feature is Z, so you could be looking at a project in the neighborhood of $___, does this make sense with what you've committed to this project?

    Your biggest waste of time is designing for someone who won't give you a budget. I had one woman (many years ago) give me this list of things she wanted that was all but gold plated and carried in on unicorns. I told her it would be pricey and asked a budget and she said "oh I'm not worried about budget and I don't want to limit your creativity with #s. I want to see what you come up with!" Of course it was a six figure job, and of course she later admitted she HAD a budget - of $15,000. Who was the idiot in this scenario? Yep.
     
  4. rarieta

    rarieta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    I take advice well and I must say that makes complete sense to me. I could use a lot more experience doing hardscaping and design, so my confidence level is no where near the work that I have seen on your site (beautiful work btw!). One with much experience and knowledge can easily come in and say I want $x amount for design, $y amount for construction and $z for everything else.

    This is much like my ability to do remodel work and give a solid number and walk away if that doesn't fit the budget. Would I ever do that if I needed experience? Maybe not.

    The question to myself would be: Do I sacrifice my time for experience? Some say yes, others say no. Thanks for your valuable input.
     
  5. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,938

    I had assumed you're not at a point yet where you can necessarily sell your design services. but your time still has value. Don't let someone waste it by not giving you a realistic budget.
     
  6. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,272

    Is that house on Hametown rd in Copley?
     
  7. rarieta

    rarieta LawnSite Member
    Posts: 55

    No. Lehighton.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,406

    At the end of the day, you will have about 8 hrs total just in the design (meeting with them, designing, fine tuning, etc).

    You always need to ask a budget.

    And people will try to weasel out of giving you an answer.

    Always be very cautious with your time. Whether it's design or no design involved.

    A few months ago I spent a lot of time on a nice design for a $40k hardscape. All the vibes were there, people well qualified, yadda yadda yadda. Meet with them, they find a few minor changes they want, and are ready to rock and roll. 2 days later he sends me a text saying they had a financial matter come up and they will re-visit next year and to hang on to everything. I didn't charge them for the design. Foolish me. About 10 hours wasted, along with 2 trips to their house.
     
  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,406


    "Wowing" them and *hooking* them are two different things. People can be/are easily wowed without involving money.

    Sure you can do a nice design that they may like.

    But if they don't have the money, yeah, you wowed them all right.

    But you didn't reel them in.
     
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,406

    Most of this is learned by first hand experience.

    But you may find reading my posts and threads to be of some benefit to you. I have written extensively about the art of selling and the behavorial science of customers. Along with the art of telling clients to go pound sand.
     

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