Discussing Budget With Clients

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    used this technique today, said I've done similar projects from 5k to 40k and they shot back 10k real quick. I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked, thanks!
  2. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    I hate when i cant get at least a ballpark budget from someone. Generally ill go low and then start upselling on the second meeting with accent borders lights diff materials etc. Perfect example this year was i couldnt even get a remote budget for a large job, he had a nice house and vehicles so i thought he had some money to spend. Quote came in at 24k, met with the homeowners to go over the plan and cost and come to find out they had a budget of 1k. Wth?? With all the stuff he wanted there is no way he could have possibly thought he could get a fraction of this project done for a grand. Thanks for wasting my time! All he would have said was were looking at spending a thousand and i would have worked up a plan that was in his budget.
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  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    That's funny. That's a pretty bad one.

    I had one like that just about a year ago. It was someone down the street from me. About 15 houses down. Everyone in my neighborhood knows I'm the local landscaper. We created a showcase landscape in our front yard and our yard is a corner lot that everyone drives by. So that helps. So this lady says to me, "Well, we love your yard and see your trucks all over town. So we thought we'd try to give you the business, since you're here in the neighborhood."

    She went on to explain what she wanted in the back yard. And from what she was describing, I was already thinking it was going to be in the $12,000-$20,000 range. Which I sort of suspected was maybe outside her budget. But you never know. Sometimes I think people don't have the money and turns out they have plenty of money to spend. So I just asked her, "So do you have a budget in mind for this project?" She says, "Yah. We were hoping to spend no more than $500.00." Right about the time I was about to laugh out loud, because I was sure that had to be a joke, I realized she wasn't joking. I said, "Um... Did you say $500????" She said, "Yah. We may have more work later. But that's all we have to spend right now." I was at a total loss for words. I was thinking, "Lady, you have no clue! I couldn't even get my clean-up crew over here and do a small clean-up for $500. You want a whole new back yard landscape for $500? That wouldn't even cover even a small percentage of the materials!" But I just politely explained that there wasn't anything I would be able to do for her for that budget.

    She seemed surprised. She asked me, "Ok. Well what do most people spend on a job like this." I told her she just seemed flabbergasted. She said, "People really spend that much on landscaping????" I was thinking "Duh! Yah! How else do you think I afford that nice house up the street?" But I just said, "Yes they do, ma'am." and we ended up parting ways. I've run into people with unrealistic budgets before, but that one was my worst.
  4. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    I should have used this tip the other day but i got too excited for a big job. Got a call to a nice neighborhood, house on the bay, insane view of the water and built on a hill. He starts discussing 20x20 pergolas, retaining walls, patios, steps. I price it out at 24k and hes like what can you do for 8? I said a third of what i quoted you. He said he liked me better than the other contractors and asked me to work up somethin cheaper. Not sure if I'm going to.
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  5. JBMohler

    JBMohler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    Thanks for the article, helps to break the ice with them like that.

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