Can customers "cherry pick" plants?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Proscapes, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. Proscapes

    Proscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Does anyone have a policy where customers approve of a design, then once the plants are in the ground, decide they don't like certain ones? You can't return plants to the nursery for a refund just because the customer doesn't want them.

    How would you handle this situation?
  2. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    This is what I do. When The customer wants a lot of plants or shrubs I have them meet me at the nursery and let them pick out everything.Of course I charge by the hour to be there.
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    I would have a contract signed and it states what I'm planting and the customer would have signed it agreeing to the plant selection.

    If after planting/placing it they decide they do not like it I would make out a change of work order with type & size of what they want and cost, and have them sign it.

    If the nursery absolutly refused to take it back [this why you build a good working relationship with ALL your suppliers ] I would suggest using it somewhere else in the design and the substitution would be at normal price.
    I would explain that the plant was approved by them and that in my professional opinion its still the best choice. If someone else did the design work and its not the right plant the customer need to be told to take it up with the designer.

    Contracts most important tool you can have
  4. Proscapes

    Proscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    Yes! They rec'vd scaled landscape plan, plant list (botanical names) w/ sizes, and photo-image of what the design might look like grown in . I broke down the quote in phases- very thorough but I forgot to have them sign it:hammerhead:Change order advice very good. You wanna trust people but there's all kinds out there and some of them actually hire landscapers!
  5. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    Signed or not you have a deal, if they wanted to pick the plants they should have researched the plants that you listed, but it sounds to me they bought the plant that you delivered, did they pay a deposit? If so that is consent to contract. In any event you cannot be responsible if a customer just decides they do not like a plant. Sure work with them till they are satisfied but they reject the plant at their own cost. Give them a price break on the replacement and move the plants they do not like, and while you are at it see if they have any interest in more landscaping, if you can get more business here that starts to make the problem diminish for both of you.

    I try to make sure I use plants that the customer likes. I have gotten stuck trying to walk customers through plant selection it is not a good idea. I tell my customers that all plants have their own positives and negatives and the combination is what is most important. To be appreciated plants and landscapes need to be enjoyed over the course of several seasons. The plants as they appear fresh from the nursery never look as good as they will when they fill in, if you made good plant selections.

    By the way what plant do they not like? And will the plants that they do like grow well in that location?
  6. georgiagrass

    georgiagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 970

    Good advice, Mark. I have a plant book that I made up with clear pictures and descriptions of the plants that I frequently use. I go over the designs with the customers and have them approve the plants at that time. I've not had many problems, but I've changed out a few plants when asked. All in all, it's a small price to ensure that the customer is happy.

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