First time landscape design for cheap client

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Victorsaur, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Victorsaur

    Victorsaur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    I do door to door marketing and was able to talk with a potential client about landscape design some time back. I've created a plan with CAD and other tools (compass, roller measurer, etc.) This may have been a mistake but I told him that the design itself would be free since it is my first one. The installation of course would be at full price. I've created the design for him and given him a complete bid document yet he still says things like "where is my senior discount?" and "I always want a cheaper price". Obviously he is on the cheapskate side of things but I'm not budging an inch. I only do favors for clientele that I can respect. He has two houses to boot. He told me that he would "think about it" which most likely means try to wait for me to call him and give him a cheaper price. I've already decided that I'm not going to call him back until he contacts me as the price is more than fair. I already get the impression from him that I don't need to explain myself. Any advice is appreciated. Also any similar stories are appreciated. It seems like we live in a nation of children that always want more for themselves. Children need to be disciplined. Maybe that sounds harsh but that's how I feel when dealing with such people.
  2. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,976

    Consider it a blessing that he hasn't called you back and pass on this job.
  3. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    You are going to have to deal with some BS trying to break into the design and installation aspect. At least until you can build a portfolio. Since you do door to door, you might want to consider charging a fee for designs. If you offer free designs, many people will be curious to see what their yard 'could' look like even though they have 0 intentions of ever hiring you
  4. rootytalbot

    rootytalbot LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    At least you got the experience out of it. Sounds like you put some effort into the design and he got that for free. Maybe he wants to see how much he can get out of you - maybe that's how he got two houses.

    Instead of giving up - go after that job. Hound him, professionally of course.
    Change "this or that" on the quote - omit or offer a cheaper option. Let him know that you gave him the bottom dollar price -
    there is no where to go on the money, but you can change the scope of work to lower the price -
    a lot of times that is what they want to hear -
    they have no idea how much it costs or how long it takes - they have to squeeze you to see if your price has wiggle room. "No, sir. Price is bottom dollar because I really want the job. But I can omit the weeping cherry and that would save you 500 dollars." Usually the reply is, " NO - I want that cherry tree" - this is where you just stand there with a blank stare.

    If he will agree to let you do the job - you are only halfway through this gruelling mess - called negotiation time.

    Next you got to get in his wallet and get some green. You need a deposit. You also need a FIRM start date (no excuses, on this, start when you say you say you will).

    If you do get him to agree to let you have the job...make sure you get paid some in advance, and STAY AHEAD ON THE MONEY!!! Or else your next thread is gonna be one of those "I can't collect" threads.

    If you can't get a deposit and have a draw schedule then you are not done negotiating. Most guys look at a signed contract as money in the bank, but it really is not and won't be (in your bank) if he decides not to pay you ( it might end up in a lawyers bank account, but not yours). So get paid before you start, and STAY AHEAD ON THE MONEY.
  5. 205mx

    205mx LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I agree with the mo ey. But I never give a sure start date. Too many variables
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. dantezsin

    dantezsin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I used to do free designs to try to get work, but it never worked out very well. Getting them to cough up a little money for a design is a good way to determine a customer's commitment level. If they won't comp you for the time it takes to draw up a design, then they probably won't want to shell out for installation. The thing is........never leave the design with the client until they pay for it, or commit to the project. what they will do is take your free design........that you worked so hard on in the hopes of landing a job, and shop it around to the low ballers out there, and eventually have their gardener do it for a fraction of what you would have charged them.
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Walk away and don't look back.
  8. Triton2286

    Triton2286 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    That right there.

    If I offered design I would only do it for current/past customers. Doing free stuff for a new customer tells them that they can get free stuff from you in the future.

    The first weekly mowing customer I ever picked up was a couple who just moved into the house and after two weeks they wanted to plant a tree. I gave them a quote which he thought was high (because he doesn't know anything) and he immediately said, "Can I get a discount?". :hammerhead:
  9. MasScape

    MasScape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    Does he have the design? Or did you just show him it? Unless I am paid for design or they sign proposal to have it installed they do not get it in there hands. I design for clients for free. I don't design for do it yourselfers and ppl that bid out for free.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Triton2286

    Triton2286 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    Gotta love guys who ignore their own threads. Especially when it shows that they are online.

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