Landscape billing

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lawn-Scapes, Jul 12, 2001.

  1. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    When billing for a landscape job, do you itemize everything and then have a labor charge at the botom? Or do you just say landscaping and have a total?

    Thanks for the help...
     
  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    tsg, ill give u an example of what one of our contracts sound like:removal and disposal of exsisting/unwanted shrubbery, area to be prepped. installation of 3 cu. yds of topsoil, one weeping cherry, 3 goldthread cypress, one thundercloud plum, etc., etc. ----------, deposit---------, balance due upon completion------ we never itemize. they r paying for the entire job including the time it took u to design.
     
  3. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    Appreciate your response bobbygedd!
     
  4. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 543

    If your billing time and material then itemization is okay. Also leaves alot of room for people to second guess your labor rates and prices and markup. I like billing a total job. One downfall is that if you try to run an itemized summary of what you've sold and labor at the end of the year its a little more difficult. Estimates are the same but if you itemize it makes it easier to cut two of these add two of that etc...
     
  5. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,389

    No itemizing....50% down....50% due upon completion of the job.
     
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    My invoices have either as much detail as my proposals, or less. And my proposals spell out everything we're going to do ("2-18 yard truckloads of topsoil, 3 Goldflame Spirea, 15-18"), but I never itemize, for the reasons SCL mentions.

    I just give a total project price.

    At invoice time, same deal.

    As for collecting payment, I do that differently than most:

    20% at contract signing

    50% the day we start

    30% invoiced upon completion, net 15.

    All my cash flow problems went away when I switched to this method.
     
  7. eskals

    eskals LawnSite Member
    Posts: 210

    Stonehenge:

    Do you have many problems getting customers to agree to your pricing plan? The reason I ask is that they have paid you 70% of the total cost even before you start work. But I gotta admit, it would be the way to go if you can swing it.

    I usually do 50 before, 50 upon completion.

    No itemized price either. Just what will be included. i know of one guy that does itemize. He lists all the plants, topsoil, mulch, etc, and the price for each. He also has itemized line for labor, which is usually very low. He makes the $$$ in the materials.

    Eric
     
  8. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    I've never had anyone put up a fuss. In fact, some have even commented that they like being able to have it broken into 3 payments instead of 2.

    Well, I did have one put up a fuss, but they also wanted to know what % of price was labor, what % materials, what things they could do to make the job less expensive, do I offer payment plans....So we didn't end up working together.

    I think that once you've built a good reputation, the payment plan I use is seen as just the way things are done, and it isn't questioned.

    Now, we also work on smaller projects (5-20K), so that may be part of why it works. If we were doing $100k+ projects that setup probably wouldn't fly.

    And you'd be amazed at how that payment plan improves your whole frame of mind. All my costs are covered the day I start, so I feel freer to go the extra mile, throw in extra square footage of pavers, or throw in some mulch or some shrubs, because I know that collection later won't be a problem. Or if it is a problem, it's a small one at worst.

    I can always make all my payments for everything on time...It has just removed all kinds of stress from my life. I wouldn't do it any other way now.

    And if people ask what you asked: "You'll have 70% of our money the day you start", I simply agree, but also tell them that much of the material has either been reserved or paid for, so while you don't see my expenses when we pull up Monday at 7am, I've also already incurred expenses. Plus, I try to make a point of having a lot of the materials either already there or arriving on the first day. I think it helps alleviate some customer stress, because they see that we have spent $$ on their materials.

    But again, I think it comes down to reputation. I'm getting close to the point in my market where everyone I meet has either seen us or knows someone who has had work done by us. If not, I have a long reference list with thumbnail photos they can call. Once they're confident that you won't take their $$ and run, this payment plan becomes a non-issue. And they still feel good because they aren't paying for all of it up front. They still have some power with the remaining 30% that's due upon completion.
     
  9. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    :)
     
  10. Leila Losik

    Leila Losik LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I have a customer that refuses to pay a bill as he is asking for an itemization. I gave him an outline of all charges for irrigation and broke out drip, PVC, Values & clock, irrigation parts, and labor. Each piece had a price beside it and a total at the bottom. It was agreeded upon and work commenced as he was suppose to send a deposit. His deposit was 3 weeks late and $400.00 short, but I finished job anyway and billed for balance which was agreed would be paid at end of project. He still insist of a itemize. I don't normally itemize any more than that. What is my rights to collecting this payment due. Thank you so much for your help.

    L. Losik
     

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