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Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by midtnstone, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. midtnstone

    midtnstone LawnSite Member
    from mid tn
    Messages: 76

    do most of you do your own design and decide on what gets planted where. i am sure some of your clients tell you what they want. but like on new construction who decides how the beds are laid :sleeping out and where and what gets planted where. just wondering how everybody goes about this :sleeping:
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    It is a very diverse business. Some choose to mow grass, some choose to do installs, some choose to design, the list goes on and on. It depends what role you to play in this business now and in the future. There is nothing wrong or right or good or bad in how you define your role.

    But, if you want to become a recognized installation contractor, you can achieve that much easier if you do not let others define your capabilities. When you let your clients have full control over placement and selection, you are doing two things. First, you are letting yourself be defined as providing nothing except labor. Secondly, your ability to put a planting together is defined by how able your client put it together. Most of us are seen only to be as good as our worst job.

    Reputation is everything. You certainly can have a successful business by having a reputation for providing the labor, tools, and supervision to help homeowners get their landscapes done. That puts you in competition with a lot more people than if your reputation is that you put together a certain type of landscape better than others.

    We can buy labor from hundreds of companies, but we can only find a few that can take on entire projects from design to completion. Those guys are in demand. We will wait for them, we will pay them a lot, they will take care of the job without being baby sat, and we know what we will get for results. Compare that to a crew that is looking for the homeowner to give them direction. Which do you want to be?
  3. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    As stated earlier there are many different avenues you can take in the green industry. With these avenues there's one thing that should never change...you are a professional and should do the best job you can with everything you do. You will run into people that will demand certain things of you that are wrong and those are the jobs you don't want if they are that persistent about it.

    First off, in design build never just do what you want to unless this is requested from an established client who knows your work and reputation. Always listen to the needs and requirements of your client and then as a landscape professional transform their wishes into a reality. You need to explain to them the rights and wrongs of landscaping because most people honestly just don't know. It usually doesn't take much to talk these things through and in the end the client will only respect you more for doing what is right for them. You first need to establish trust which can lead to the client letting you take complete control of what to do on their property. When you listen to the client and consider their thoughts and then transform them into the right thing to do it gives them a sense that they had something to do with the layout and end result of their landscape. This gives them a great sense of satisfaction and makes them feel as if you respected them and didn't just say I'm right and your wrong.

    We also do installs for landscape architects which can be very rewarding. These relationships are not always the easiest to establish but once they are you stand the chance of having alot of work come your way. At first they will be very cautious of what you do and nit pick your every move. BUT, once they see that you are doing the right job and making the right decisions they will let you do your own thing as far as exact layout of plants, beds, walks, etc. Keep a professional attitude and always be proactive when it comes to problems that may arise. If you find a problem on site find an answer and relay that to the architect, don't just say what should I do??? Some of these jobs we do last for a month, 6 months, and more common for us 3 years at a time for one job!!! Who would turn down 3 years of work for one crew? We all know the banks like to see that kind of business lined up.

    The previous response to your thread came from Cape Cod.......now I know that the guy who wrote that response knows all about the guys that are out there with a pick up truck and a shovel saying "uh okay i can do dat for you Miss Jones, i think it'll cost you sumptin like 10 dollas an hour for me an my helper guy over there." The Cape is littered with people that call themselves pros and all they do is make the people with degrees and actual experience look like they're charging too much. I'm sure you will agree with me depending on where you're from. (born and raised in Falmouth here)
    So keep your bearings, stay professinal and let Mrs Jones who wants a cheap job keep her guy with a truck and shovel
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    I'm not sure what you are trying to say at the end there, but the rest I agree with.

    I am in Falmouth and just got off of the phone wih a Ms. Jones, I am a Landscape Architect, and have just completed two plans for a bank. How coincidental is that?
  5. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    All I was trying to say is that there are alot of people out there that just say okay I'll put that lilac in full shade for you no problem. They give the people who actually have some common sense and know the right thing to do a bad rap because like I said Harry homeowner doesn't know crap about what should really go where. That or you have a guy who says he's a landscaper but will put no base under a wall or drainage behind it and charge next to nothing for the job. The homeowner sometimes doubts the guy doing the right thing because his price is so much higher. Kind of get what I am saying??? I was also implying you are probably familiar with these kinds of "companies" that call themselves professionals but all they own is a truck and a shovel. If Mom and Dad have money they bought him a bobcat too!!! I wasn't trying to say you were one of those guys who just own a truck if that's what you thought. Sorry
    So, are you really in Falmouth??? How's life down that way?
    Take care
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    That is what I thought you meant. Everyone is a landscaper after they mow one lawn around here. It is really aweful because the companies that can do good work can't get enough help because the better guys start their own gig and your left with fairly useless people. The bigger crews are now mostly Brazilians and Jamaicans. It has changed a lot in the last 10 to 15 years. The result is hundreds (no exageration) of small landscape companies and only a few larger ones.

    I really do work in Falmouth (BSS Design) during the week, Orleans (Crossroads Landscape and Pools) on Saturdays, and live in Yarmouthport.

    When did you leave Falmouth? Were you involved in the green industry down here?
  7. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Do you know the name Bob Griffin??? I lived in Falmouth from 1976 through 1994 or so. And yes I worked for Francisco Tavares for 2 years......and my sister worked for Bob Maffei for a while and currently works for Joyce Landscaping. I wish the Cape wasn't becoming so commercialized and overcrowded. MaYBE SOME DAY WE'LL RUN IN TO CONTACT ON THE cAPE....... I still miss it

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