Expectations and landscape designs

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Mitty87, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Jeff Merritt

    Jeff Merritt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    A lot of companies around here have a standard charge for a plan.
    Consultation is usually free and then the design part starts. You tell them your fee, draw the plan, figure out the estimate, and meet with the client. They can view the design but don't get a copy of it until they sign the contract or pay the design fee. Some companies just charge them a design fee up front and they can keep the plan. You can also offer a credit on that fee back towards the job if they decide for you to do the work. I don't know about the other post stating a 10% design fee up front - a lot of customers would shy away I think - on larger jobs particularly. The only way you can get that type of money is if you are a large landscape architect. They always ream you on their charges.
    Also even if it is a small job a design always will help sell the job and give your crews a visual outlay on what to do. A small foundation landscaping drawing should not take more than a half hour to draw up if you are experienced. A full scale plan that included the whole site, hardscape, etc. on the other hand may take several hours to design depending on how elaborate it may be.
     
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  2. rclawn

    rclawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,088

    You are way nicer than me... She would have been paying, if that were my policy. For landscaping, I haven’t done designs myself... But I started another company this year with my buddy doing decks and patios. He has an architecture degree and is very meticulous with that stuff. We have had success charging $500 for a detailed design on the complicated projects, and credit it to the final bill if they follow through. If they don’t want to pay, they don’t get a design.

    Around here, only certain clients are that particular, though.
     
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  3. zlandman

    zlandman LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 888

    Did a design for this old lady in the country long ago. Showed it all to her and she needed to think it over. Get package in mail with letter. She just can't see this installed at her house, its nothing like she wanted.
    Ok.... great wasted my time.
    Weeks later drive by, my design is installed around her house layout and planting almost identical.

    I was young and before I grew a pair. That kind of thing ain't going to fly with me today.
     
    Mitty87 likes this.
  4. LonestarLandscaping1

    LonestarLandscaping1 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 20

    This is certainly a wide spread of SOP's on here, seeming like it depends on geographic region, experience, size of company, and average size of jobs.

    My company is in Texas, it has been around about 40 years, average job is about 100k.

    It totally depends on the situation. The typical(if there is one) is a strong client referral from a past client. We would then set a meeting to introduce ourselves and explain what we could offer. Design fees start at 1k and go up depending on what the work consists of(i.E. commercial civil plans, grading plans, irrigation plans, drainage plans, hydraulic calculations, design details, hardscape, etc) for a cut and dry site re-do planting plan it would be about 1k for a new client. we would require a house survey to scale, if we create from scratch then it would be a bit more.

    if a feature in the plan requires engineering then we draw the feature and send off to engineer. We usually mark up professional fees about 10%, we are more focused on getting the project.

    If it is a past client or an existing maintenance client then we do not charge design fees. A enhancement design for a small bed only, we can take a picture and overlay plants to show what it will look like,(takes us a few minutes) this is free to the client.

    The other area that it can get tricky is charging design fees without the landscape architecture license. Don't do that. It should be called some type of consulting fees for the laws eyes.

    There are many more possibilities, but that should answer your question from my perspective.
     
  5. LonestarLandscaping1

    LonestarLandscaping1 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 20

    This is certainly a wide spread of SOP's on here, seeming like it depends on geographic region, experience, size of company, and average size of jobs.

    My company is in Texas, it has been around about 40 years, average job is about 100k.

    It totally depends on the situation. The typical(if there is one) is a strong client referral from a past client. We would then set a meeting to introduce ourselves and explain what we could offer. Design fees start at 1k and go up depending on what the work consists of(i.E. commercial civil plans, grading plans, irrigation plans, drainage plans, hydraulic calculations, design details, hardscape, etc) for a cut and dry site re-do planting plan it would be about 1k for a new client. we would require a house survey to scale, if we create from scratch then it would be a bit more.

    if a feature in the plan requires engineering then we draw the feature and send off to engineer. We usually mark up professional fees about 10%, we are more focused on getting the project.

    If it is a past client or an existing maintenance client then we do not charge design fees. A enhancement design for a small bed only, we can take a picture and overlay plants to show what it will look like,(takes us a few minutes) this is free to the client.

    The other area that it can get tricky is charging design fees without the landscape architecture license. Don't do that. It should be called some type of consulting fees for the laws eyes.

    There are many more possibilities, but that should answer your question from my perspective.


    Edit: The price is based on the contract, NOT the plan. We provide a detailed contract along with the plan. If something is on the plan but not contract we can show the homeowner and ask if they still want it.

    Estimating/ Pre-Production is so important to cover yourself and your client. Changes require change orders signed before completed. We fight this everyday, it is a difficult road to not upset clients, but still cover ourselves. We have found the more detail on what and why, both upfront and during the project, really helps.(i.e. any condition underground was a unforeseen circumstance and might be charged more for)
     
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  6. OP
    OP
    Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,430

    thanks, any of you guys have any good design software that would work well for basic small residential plans? I know I can search too, but I'm asking.
     
  7. LonestarLandscaping1

    LonestarLandscaping1 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 20

    DynaSCAPE, a bit pricey and maybe too robust for a small plan, but it has helped us a lot with designing and detailing. It is about 1/5 the time from hand drawn designs, and about 1/10 the time for revisions by hand.
    It can also overlay(once designed) irrigation, hardscape, drainage with the click of a button. We like it a lot, but there are others out there too.
    Sketchup is also very commonly used in our area.

    The downside to DynaSCAPE is that if you are not familiar with autoCAD it might take about a week to learn, however there are many tutorials online and it will may dividends with time saved and professional presentation in the long run.

    We have had clients tell us that we are the most expensive, however they really like our plan(through DynaSCAPE) so they end up using us for the project.

    There are other options out there, and someone else might have a better idea for a more user friendly platform.
     
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