1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Big Deal

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Chris J, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Need some help from the big boys:
    I've got an upcoming proposal to do on a very large marina/2nd phase to a very upscale neighborhood. The developer got my name from one of my customers in the neighborhood, and he tells me they are very interested in using me. They already have my proposal on a 12k renovation to their subdivision entrance lighting system, but now want me to bid on this extremely large project in this next phase of their property. They want to tie in the entrance cost with the 2nd phase costs, but the 2nd phase cost should be around 150,000.00 minimum.

    Here is the question: I don't normally provide proposals of this caliber for free, but the developer is asking for "bids". This is going to take quite some time to figure out, but I don't want to cut my foot off by telling him that I need a deposit to create a design. If I provide my design time for free, and it all works out, this could be a nice job not to mention another good relationship with another developer..........What should I do? Put the time in now and hope for the best? Tell him I don't wan't to design it without a fee and risk being cut out of the loop? (He's never even heard of me except from my customer, who speaks highly).
    I've always been one to walk away from these kinds of bid wars because it's just too much work for little reward.
    No offense to anyone, but I don't need opinions here. I ask that only those of you who handle large jobs like this respond.

    Thanks in advance.

    Chris J.
  2. Dodge Truck

    Dodge Truck LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 86

    Tell him you need some money to design it for him, and tell him the reasons you just stated, if he doesn't understand that do you really want to do business with him?
  3. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Let me reiterate this just to be clear. This a is huge developer, and I'm sure he has many, many sources. He does not know me at this point. He only knows that one of my customers is very happy. I have not met him yet to discuss my plans. As I said before, I don't need uneducated opinions on this matter. What I need is true experience from true professionals. Thank you none the less.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    Go meet with him and feel it out. Be sure they know if they use you the "consultation fee" will be credited to thier acct.

    if he finds someone to design a 150k system with no commitment to work I seriously doubt they will be happy with the end results of that system.

    I would just state on projects of this size you collect a $XXXX consultation fee to begin the design and specification process. When you hire a lawyer to represent you its not uncommon to have to pay a retainer fee. I dont know any home designers that are designing for free.

    I would have to say take the Gambino approach to this. If they refuse then its up to you to put together a bid if your still willing.

    I know im not one of the big guys you speak of but I have done projects in other industries that were multi million dollar projects.
  5. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    I have dealt with developers quite a bit over the years with very large waterfall and landscape projects. Here is how I approach projects like this.

    1. You need to ask the developer if he has an existing set of plans for the lighting design that is to be done. (I am sure he does not)

    2. Explain to him that if he is to gather "bids", he needs to make sure everyone is bidding on the same apple, if you know what I mean. Otherwise obviously numbers are going to be all over the board and all that is going to do is muddy the water. Everybody has a different set of design criteria. Where one guy might put one light, I may put 4.

    3. Most developers initially are only looking for a ballpark so they know what to set their budgets at. If you are comfortable doing so you may tell him, "I would forsee this project ranging between a minimum of 135k up to as high as 160k depending upon final design and overall difficulty of the project. (or whatever parameters you think is going to cover it).

    4. He may want to see what you can do. Show him some of your work or better yet do a demo on a portion of his project so he can see how you operate and the kinds of effects he can expect to see.

    5. If he is comfortable with your price range, tell him you can then design the lighting project for him on paper to get the numbers a little closer. Usually if you design it you will be installing it too. This design should be done with a good CAD program so you look very professional when you go over it with him. You will want to get the current landscape plan from his architect in a CAD format so you can see what plant material to highlight in your design.

    Chris, on large projects like that you have to leave yourself some room for creative license. As you and I both know, things drawn on paper don't always translate across acurately to the actual product. You may need to add additional lights you were not expecting to. This is why it is important to use ranges in pricing on larger projects like yours. Explain it to him like this and he will understand.
  6. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I agree with Billy. Feel them out and see what direction they want to go. I would not design it for free, I did one free and had the landscaper get the job to install my plan (275 fixtures). It takes alot of work and it takes you away fom other profitable things you could be doing. I would charge him a design fee and credit it back if you land the job.
  7. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Chris, I forgot to add on point 5 you will want to set a design price per hour. I Charge around 120.00 per hour for all on site and CAD design work. I wouldn't charge an initial consult fee with this guy, homeowners are one thing, but developers expect you to cater to them a little bit if they are going to hand you an enormous contract. However, don't waste time designing until you give him the ballpark numbers he is looking for, otherwise you may just be wasting a whole lot of time.
  8. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    geeez...OK, I agree with Tim too. You guys are a good!

    [Tommy scribbles notes]
  9. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    Thank you for the info. This is something that I can relate to. I'll get back with you shortly.....
  10. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    Tim, very sound advice.

Share This Page