Design fees

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Ocutter, Jul 21, 2000.

  1. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    I have been reading about some companies charging for landscape design fees. I am smaller and people have not seen alot of my work. My question is how can I charge this fee without scaring off any potential customers. A fee would run $250 - $600 depending on amt to be scaped. Thanks
  2. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Hello,<p>One good way is to charge a initial design fee and then give a 'refund' on design work if the customer takes the job.<p>Heres an example.<p>You go to a house and the people want a complete package, including front walk/rear patio, foundation/island planting, etc.<p>What I do is this. I say I want to do a design and that the cost of the plan is $400. If they want one done, I ask for half the cost up front (200) before I start anything. This is a great idea because what it does is 'scare' away those annoying homeowners who ask you to come over 4 times to talk to them and then decide to have someone else do the work.<p>After getting the deposit check, I then do the design and upon completion take it to the homeowner. Here, I give the homeowner 4 choices. <p>1. they like the plan and decide to go with me for the work - what I do then is say that because I am doing the work I will not charge them the extra 200 for the plan (even though I figure it in to the overall cost anyway) and everything is well.<p>2. They like the plan, but want changes - I will make any changes necessary for no charge as long as they want me to go ahead with the work<p>3. They like the plan, but don't want me to do the work - Here, I then sell the plan to the homeowner. I will only leave a plan at someone's house once a check for the second 200 dollars is received.<p>Here is a problem. A lot of guys do plans and then let the homeowner 'review' it for a couple of days. Bad idea. Remember one homeowner who took the plan, copied it, and then said he didn't like it and wouldn't pay for happens. Which leads me to the 4th option.<p>4. Homeowner decides to be a SOB and not want the plan or the work. Well, if after some 'polite' talk with the client no ends can be met, then you may end up not getting anything. At this point, you leave the client, take the plan, and at least walk away with 200 dollars for your troubles. <p>Most of my work is referral, so I never really had any problems getting money or having anyone have a major problem with my work/design. Have had some problems while designing for other companies, but the point here is this.<p>Always get money up front before doing any plan.<p>Unless you are absolutely sure the deal is done, (like working for your mom.....) and you won't get shafted, don't even start thinking about doing anything till the check is in your hand.<p>maybe of some help.<p>steveair
  3. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Ocutter,<br>Thanks for the great question that I didn't even know I had!<br>Steve,<br>Thanks for the great solution. There's nothing worse than telling a customer how to do a job and then watching someone else do the work that you suggested for them. I will be using your approach from now on.
  4. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    I have used the same basic approach as Steve for many years. As a designer, the product that I'm selling first is my knowledge and creativity. Hopefully they will buy the install, too, later. Think about what you pay other professionals for -- their expertise. So don't be afraid to charge for your own expertise. People realize (but won't admit) that professional advice is worth what they pay for it. So if you want to be taken seriously, you have to do the design process in a professional manner, even though you may see it as a means to an end. <br>The only thing I do differently from Steve is make people pay the whole fee up front if its only a small job with a small fee.<br>And Steve is right, charging a fee helps qualify the serious customer and gets rid of the lookers and dreamers.
  5. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    Steve- Thanks for the answer. Earlier this year I did a design for a customer and it was his idea to pay for the design (I delivered the plants and he installed).<br> I wasnt quite sure how to approach the design fee for others. This will be a standard practice from now on. Thanks all!

    FIREMAN LawnSite Senior Member
    from n.j.
    Messages: 318

    I always charge for design now, was burned once, left a plan with a customer for review and not even a week later the guy had installed my design himself. I guess my plant list helped him .. this jerk even tried to get my wholesale prices at the nursery. Thankfully the the cashier at the nursery knows me and my guys and told him that if his name and id were not on my authorized signer list he would need to bring me in for an addition to the list. then she called me to check....i went to his house and asked him why...he said his wife put him up to it...I told him to stay away from my supplier(using my name at least).

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