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Charging For Designs

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by HolleysLandscaping, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Practice acts like that are utter BS, lobbied into place by scared little bunny rabbit landscape architects who don't like to compete. Such laws really do nothing to protect the public. I just interviewed a recent LA grad and she wants to work for me to learn how to design landscapes, and yet in GA she could charge for her services and I couldn't. How is that right?

    There's no standard for what constitutes a "landscape designer" and I'm ok with that. Yes, it means that the client needs to do some research and ask some questions to get the results they want. They should anyhow. They're buying a creative redesign of their biggest investment and it has to work. They're not buying a toaster. But there's nothing to be gained by overly regulating the profession because there are so many niches where everyone can find success. I do the whole thing from plantings to structures. One of my friends does landscape audits and feasibility studies. Another friend only does perennial gardens. There's plenty of room in the sandbox if you can find what makes you unique and you can successfully market it.
  2. Manorlawncare

    Manorlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I have a designer for my second company Royal Gardens Landscaping. We charge 249.00 for half a property up to 1 acre and full design 299.00 up to 1 acre. but in either case it basically is around the house and outlying areas. This keeps the design it for free people away, who usually don't hire us to to the install yet attracts enough people who will buy the install or at least pay for the design and install it themselves yes we waive the fee if they do over 2000 of work with us.
    We do advertise our design prices. It works very well in our area.

    We use dynascape design and color for our prints and a canon 610 large format printer.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    I have gone through the process to be licensed as an LA, but I fully agree that most Practice Acts are BS. Most are BS because after they say you need to be a licensed LA to do x,y, or z, they pretty much cancel it out by listing everyone else as exempt. I don't like rules that exclude capable people from working and agree that it is an attempt from some to exclude competition.

    I do like the idea of a Practice Act that allows LAs to do certain things, such as grading and drainage plans (usually limited to civil engineers) or limited structural design (architects) provided that the testing for the license in that state insures that ALL LAs in that state are capable of doing that.

    I went through the licensing process in order to gain a skill set that should allow me to compete with or out compete people with less education and experience ... if we are supposed to be so well trained, why do we need to keep someone else from trying to work?
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Well, AGLA, I just want to say I hope I didn't come off as too combative by disagreeing with a few of the things I mentioned. I do understand you are one of the few on here who actually make a full time living doing landscape design work. I respect you for that! You and I have very similar beliefs in regards to landscape designs. I just took issue with a few of the things you said in an absolute way. But I find myself agreeing with most of what you have said in this thread. I just wish more people took the design thing more seriously. Because under bidding or not charging for design work just hurts people. It doesn't hurt me. If anyone in my area wants to keep doing free designs, that doesn't impact my business at all. We're still doing fine. And we're still able to sell designs no problem. It's really just hurting them. And it lowers the bar for our industry. I've always been one to try to raise the bar. I'd be that guy who - if every one else was doing designs for free - I'd still charge for them and figure out a way to justify it and explain to my customers why they should pay - even if I was bucking the trend - just because that's the right way to do it. So it bugs me when I see people just following the crowd and continuing a bad practice when if they'd just work at it a little, they could change things.

    Anyway, I got a lot of respect for you and what you do.
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    Jim, I don't think you are combative at all. If anything, I think that the way I presented a few things made it sound like I meant something that I did not. I wish everyone charged a lot for design so that we all get paid for what we do. But a lot of these guys starting out or in a rut competing with too many people for too few jobs need to do whatever they can to keep some jobs coming in.

    Whether we like it or not, anyone we are likely to lose work to or take work from are our competitors. When that is not the case we are not competitors. Jim, you are not going to lose work to someone doing free designs unless they are already a competitor and neither am I. But there are a lot of guys out there who are losing opportunities because some potential clients will not deal with them when some other 'scaper is going to do a free design. It is a lost opportunity if you don't have any other opportunities.

    You and I are working for people who want more from a design than what they can get for free or really cheap. They have no choice but to pay because no one doing freebies is doing what they want. It is that simple. Look at what the free and $100-200 design people are saying. It takes them an hour or two to design a landscape - nothing wrong with that. But the plans that take 20 hours to do are not getting done for free or a couple of hundred bucks. It is not selling drafting to have something to price out. It is designing spaces and proving things out on paper which takes a lot more than arranging a few plants and tossing in a walk and fire pit in most cases. No one is doing it for free.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

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