Builders and Realtors!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by TPnTX, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    I swear I'm going to stop giving them quotes. By the time a builder gets to the Landscape his tail is on the line and the budget is about maxed. A Realtor generally has to spend money out of their own pocket for things such as landscape. The Question is do you stop bidding knowing they freak out that you might make money off them or just keep bidding until one hits. I've just started bidding high, what the heck.

    Use the ole' "take away" car sales trick. "I'm sorry. You apparently can't afford this model"
  2. cpritch

    cpritch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    I come from a loooonnnngggg line of builders and realtors. And you are right, by the time it comes around for landscaping, the builder is typically overbudget and behind schedule, depending on how the weather has been, the fluctuations in pricing on materials, subs, etc. The trick is to figure out which builders actually budget for a decent landscape and which ones the landscaping is more of an afterthought. And you have to educate the builders, otherwise, you'll never get the job. I spent a YEAR in my Brother's ear about his landscaping budgets, and finally, this year he has budgetted in a respectable amount for landscaping. :hammerhead:

    That being said, he is way overbudget on his starts this year because of material costs increasing, changes to the original plans, problems with subs, etc., so he's already overbudget, and the landscaping is an area that is going to take a little bit of a hit because of it. While I think most builders realize that the scaping is what gives the home that "wow" factor, sometimes their lender is like "um, yeah, sorry, No more money."

    I have yet to meet a builder that has ever priced something out and gone with a bid that was more expensive than another. They're trying to keep their costs down too, and unless you really sell yourself and what you can deliver for your price, in their mind, you're just another sub-contractor, you're no different than the painters, the electricians, the framers, etc. Just another contractor.

    If you really want to work New Construction, you need to get in with those guys. Join the HBA in your area, start taking them out for a beer every now and then, get to KNOW the builders. Then, as you start building those relationships more, getting more work with them, you can start giving them some direction when they are in the planning stage, of what they are going to need for the landscape budget. Be reliable, be there when you say you're going to be there, do it for the agreed upon price and they'll be very loyal to you. The goal is to make them realize that they can't live without you. That you do everything that they expect and then some, because they usually don't get that from ANY of their subs.

    (It should also be noted that I have never done work for a Builder, including my brother. I have been around builders and realtors my entire life so that is 100% where this opinion comes from so feel free to blast away!) :waving:
  3. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    First off I would see what their budget is and try to work within that. If you can't then just walk.

    IMO real estate agents and SOME builders can be scum sucking slime.
  4. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    I work with a builder but it is based upon referral only, that is he plugs me and my company to the new homeowner, I present a bid for work desired, homeowner pays me direct. long before and by the time we get to the payment for services rendered stage the builder is completely out of the picture.
  5. cpritch

    cpritch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    Very true. But then again, you can find people like that in any industry.

  6. start2finish

    start2finish LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 497

    We have done lots of work for builders, I have found the key to builders is SCHEDULING.....!!!!!!>!!!!!!, they need to know they are the top priority in your schedule. They are behind at this stage and as soon as the site is ready they expect to have their work completed. There is not as nice a margin with these customers, but volume. We usually have a set price for a yard and pick up a few add ons. I save time estimating. After working with you on a couple they call with a lot number and you do the work and invoice. Another thing to keep in mind they can be slow paying sometimes.
  7. CAG

    CAG LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 344

    i have a Realtor who is a great customer.. he never asks ways to cut corners and insists on perfection, and will always pay top dollar no ? asked... builders on the other hand!!!! well there money is still green...
  8. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    Great info, thanks guys. I have to keep at it. The is so much construction around here. Somewhere in the top 10 in the nation and was #1 for a while last year or so in growth.

    I'll keep plugging away.

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