Customer Budget

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by M & D Lawn, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. M & D Lawn

    M & D Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    When you are meeting with a potential customer, do you ask what
    their budget for the project is? If so how do you get it out of them?
    In my experience, everytime I ask for a budget people get weird and
    think I am going to rip them off or take all of their money. The landscape
    industry has such a bad reputation, it's like people automatically don't
    trust us.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    I try to pull a budget out of them.

    Yep, they "get weird".

    So I also explain that the sky is the limit. We can do $3500 of work or we can do $56k of work. I also use an analogy of the real estate industry. I tell them "if you're in the market for a new home, you'll have to tell the agent how much you can spend. This way the agent can show you homes within your price range".

    Also, as the client leafs through my portfolio of jobs they say "oh I love that". I'll respond "to give you an idea of cost - that job was $15k back in 2005". Then they'll either say "oh my god, i had no idea, or they'll say we really like that, lets do that in our yard".

    On our website I have have a paragragh or 2 explaining the importance of the client providing us with a budget.

  3. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    I know you started this thread in Hardscapes, just wondering what it is that you do. What services do you offer. Landscape Design/Install, Landscape Maintenance, Hardscapes? And how long you've been doing it.
  4. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    They definitely get wierd. Sometimes they will say something like "as little as possible", and at least then I know to RUN!
    Seriously, I tell them that it helps me a lot to be able to offer them something that they will want, and what type or brand of material will be within the price range.
  5. M & D Lawn

    M & D Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    We have been in business for 15 years, we started just mowing and snow removal. We really got into hardscapes about 7 years ago. We've laid about 100,000 sq ft of pavers over the last 4 years.
  6. csl

    csl LawnSite Member
    Messages: 235

    since there is such a variety of material and a huge difference in price, i wait for the homeowner to tell me what they like in our portfolio, then ask "so did you have a budget you would like to stay within?" its not too forward, and we usually get a great result, sure some people wont tell you, but they always have a number in mind, just gotta find out how to get it out.

    hey dvs, what is your website anyhow??
  7. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    Good response DVS.

    I get this all the time if they can't be straight with you on there budget then how can you put together a design. I had a guy a few years back saying if I tell you my budget you are going to make sure you spend as much of it as possible. Other times I knock on the door come in and they say I need this this and this I cant spend more then XXX.XX. Everyone is different.
  8. Twitchy

    Twitchy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    I hear that frequently. I have had people state it to me hastily, and I have had people state it to me very politely.

    When people tell me they're not going to divuldge a budget becase they *think* I'm going to take advantage of them - I respond with:

    "Business relationships are about trust. We BOTH must trust one another to have a successful relationship........."

    On the other hand - many of our weathly clients really and truely have NO budget. They know what they want done, and they get 3-4 estimates, and usually go with the lowest. Again, they wont give you their budget because they don't have one, and because they have every full intention of going
    with the lowest quote. These type of people are very self-rightous. They have huge egos. They don't understand all the logistics of a hardscape job done right. They think they can screen the contractors and they truely believe they're selecting the right guy. When in all reality - they're looking solely at dollars.

    I have had 2 or 3 people say (not about the same contractor) "oh our neighbor referred us to company that mows his lawn. They also service his company's grounds maintenance. They're a big company, so we know they'll do us a nice job". Little do they know is that the company is probably mowing his lawn for next to nothing because he awarded the grounds contract at work to them.

    Ok, great. So now you're going with mega size company that will NOT focus on quality or personalized customer service. They primarily do maintenance work, plant beautiful flowers at the entrances to the corporate campuses, and you're going to trust that they know how to drain the water away from your dwelling and new patio???? And the home howner is so confident when they tell you they're going with the Mega company. Uh-huh...sure...good luck to you. It's funny because after 14 yrs in the residental hardscape business - I've heard it all, seen it all, and I know who all the good contractors are and I know who the bad contractors are.

  10. JRSlawn

    JRSlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    DVSHow about this one

    I need to get your budget for this project so I can come up with a respectful design to fit you need and budget.

    Ummmmm I was thinking I could trade you my car for the work and material

    She was dead serious can you call the bank and say hey instead of making my house payment I am going to give you this car I took in on trade:hammerhead:

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