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Need Help ASAP! How to go about getting designs on paper?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by cards1, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. cards1

    cards1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    I just came across the job that could put me in the business full time. I've been cranking out retaining wall after wall after wall all summer.
    I just received a call on landscaping a swimming pool so i went to the site to see what they wanted. What they want is several retaining walls, a waterfall going into pool, a outdoor kitchen, and then a wrap around wall on the backside of the pool.
    Ok guys my dilema here is that They want the layout on paper!! They said there willing to pay Xamount of $'s just to see my vision come to life on paper. I have "Master Landscape Pro" but i don't have the college degree needed in order to run it.
    So any advice as to other software or who i could go to to pay for it to be done would greatly be appreciated.
    Don't know bout where you guys live but this seems to be a growing thing in my area where people are dumping $80,000-$125,000 just in landscaping there pools!
  2. newtostone

    newtostone LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 681

    Call a full time professional LA and don't even mess with it, your not a drafter, you build walls. Do what you do best and let them do what he/she does best. Sometimes for the best work to be done you have to know your limits, and theres nothing wrong with that.
  3. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    You could call a Landscape Architect or better yet, a Landscape Designer that can draft, either by hand or better yet with CAD based software. Likely there are designers in your area. One organization to check through, would be the APLD, the are an organization specifically for landscape designers.

    You may also be able to work with a local contractor that has a designer on staff and may wish to work with you on this project. Sounds like your prospective client is looking for a master plan that will encompass not only the walls you will build, but the entire project. However you do this, make sure you, or whoever will create it, are paid for your design work. You can offer to deduct the design fee if you get the job, but get paid for the design work. A design with all that you need will likely take 15 hours or more to create and than you must meet with the client, sell it all and make changes. All this takes time, experience and knowledge. A good designer should be able to increase the scope of this job and make installation easier, and most importantly, create a trust and understanding with the client.

  4. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    Do you have a general sense of what you want to see accomplished, or is this starting from scratch with the elements you've listed?
  5. cards1

    cards1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Right now only thing i have a general sense on are the walls. We already have the stone selected, the design of how they would like it installed. Everything else comes in after the pool is brought in so that would be next spring into the summer.
    They just want the walls put in this fall!
  6. EagleLandscape

    EagleLandscape LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Garland, Texas
    Posts: 4,347

    Spend some bucks on a Landscape Architect, you won't regret it. They can even design some more frills on the plan to hopefully score you some upgrades/extra work with the customer.
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    I'd PM you but you don't have enough posts. Shoot me an email at dave [at] landscapedesignlab [dot] com and I'll give you some recommendations.
  8. cards1

    cards1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    I talked to one by phone today and they said it would run between $750-$1,000 to get started on it.
    My question here though is that if i decide to pay them and i do not get the job i guess i'm just out of the money?
    Or is there away to work out a deal that they get paid if you get the job?
  9. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    If you commission a design, it must be paid for. Too many folks think that design work has no value unless it is installed, and that is incorrect. A lot of time, effort, energy and knowledge go into creating a quality landscape design. Because of this attitude, I will not start a design until receiving a payment equal to or greater than 1/3 of the proposed final cost. You'd be surprised at how many folks want to cheat designers and architects.

    You should sell your client the design, even before you have it created and possibly deduct the costs if you get the job. If they need a full design, which is very likely according to the job you are describing, they should be willing to pay for that design. If they are not willing to pay for the design and are just hoping to collect a bunch of free designs and do it on their own, this is not a client that you will be happy working with.

    If you establish a relationship with a designer or architect, they may allow you to trade your services for their sketches and assistance, but a fully detailed master plan involves a great deal of time and energy, and should be paid for accordingly.

    The price you have been quoted sounds very reasonable. Convince your client the cost of the design is worth what they will pay, and that a "free" design is worth what they pay for it.

  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,943

    What Kirk said. None of us would want to gamble our billable hours on someone else's sales ability. I've had contractors approach it two different ways: either they get the client to pay them for the design I'm billing them for (whether they mark it up or not isn't my concern), or they pay me and consider it a cost of doing business. I've got a few who figure on me doing a couple designs a month, and factor me into their overhead. It all depends on what works with your client base and your individual skillset.

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