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Landscape Design Contract

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Mowmoney00, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Mowmoney00

    Mowmoney00 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    I'm in the process of researching and creating a Landscape Design Contract.

    Does anyone have the content information or even a copy for us to look over. I want to pick it apart and use the best ideas to create ours. I'd like to see how you laid the contract out and what are some of the best issues that you addressed. I'll have our lawyer look over our new contract and post it on here to get everyone's opinion.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Look at the AIA (American Institute of Architects) contrat guidelines, if you can get a hold of them. There is a lot of good CYA material that is also applcable to landscape design.
  3. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    You should have a standard Appendix that is attached at the end that covers the following:

    COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES:This would be a breakdown of pay rates for various services that may be asked of you or necessary that go beyond the contract. Things like drive time, clerical work, and other things that may be performed by anyone in your firm.

    Things like postage, filing fees, subcontracted specialists, ....

    When you get paid and interest rates and actions if the terms are not adhered to.

    INDEMNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY: Basically, who is responsible for what (mostly, what you are not responsible for).
    USE OF DOCUMENTS: Who owns the plans, whether or not they can be re-used on a similar project, etc,...

    TERMINATION OR SUSPENSION: Terms if they should fire you, or you decide not to continue on the project. Basically, insuring that you get paid for work you have done whether or not they have you finish.
  5. Mowmoney00

    Mowmoney00 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    Great info guys ... can't wait to post the finished product.

    Any more suggestions?
  6. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Johnathon, the important aspect to a contract is, you getting paid in a timely manner for the work you perform. The clauses that AGLA has added are imperative. Make sure all your expenses are covered, including those that may arrive unexpected. I especially like the Termination or Suspension clause. This insures you get paid for the work you do, whether the client is able to make up their mind or decides to change their direction. While not being a fan of contracts, unfortunately, their are unscrupulous folks out there that will cheat anybody and everybody.

    Include a basic timeline, a general description of services and how and when you will be compensated. If you fulfill your promises, than they are obligated to fulfill theirs.

  7. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    One thing that I like which our attorney had us add to all our contracts is placing this line right before the customer signature line:

    By signing below the signer represents that he/she has the legal authority to bind the Owner/Tenant to this contract

    Short and simple. He had me place it in there because I was dealing with some condo associations and groups with multiple members.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    One of the biggest problems with landscape design contracts is closing the open endedness that some clients seem to think is their right. You have to put in a mechanism that gets your clients to be decisive. As contractors, you should care less about making money on design and more about getting the design done and closing the deal on building the landscape.

    What do you do when you your client sees your first rough draft of the plan and they start saying "I think the patio should be much smaller" after they told you they want to put a 6 person patio table and three chaise lounges on it? What do you do when they just look at you and say revise it without giving you adequate information to do little more than guess and try again next time?

    You have to use your contract to force them into being forthcoming and making an effort in working with you. The best trick is to define how many meetings you will have and how many revisions and that any additional meetings or revisions will be billed hourly (have the hourly rate in the contract - a scary one is a good thing). Then they want to do everything they can to avoid that hourly billing. You ask questions - you get answers. They dig deep in their minds to get everything out there in order to wrap the plan up without going into that hourly rate. It works amazingly well.

    This is more important than any other thing in your contract.

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