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How do you respond to a client’s budget?

Hotty Toddy

LawnSite Senior Member
Little Rock
I met a potential client today to take a look at her flowerbeds. Its the front flowerbeds only but they are pretty sizable. Pretty much everything needs to be replaced. This will include removing about 20 to 30 Azaleas and loropetalums. She wants a new plantings which would include a couple of small trees and shrubs.

I recently did a very similar project in the same neighborhood. I charged that customer $2800. The customer was very happy with that and the product.

Today this lady mentioned several times not wanting to spend much money. So I asked her what her budget was. She said she wanted to stay under $1000.That would barely cover demolition and disposal !

I simply responded that that would be very hard to do but that I would put something together for us to take a look at. I think I want to put together a proposal of how it should be done and present it to her and just see what she says. But how would you respond when a client gives you a budget that significantly less than what you know it will cost? Do you just say no? Do you do something like I did? Other?


LawnSite Fanatic
Memphis TN
Tell her what you can do for the $1000. Someone else's budget is no concern of mine as far as if what we price the job at doesn't hit their budget they need to find someone else. I have zero problem saying no. Do they go into the grocery store with $400 of groceries in the cart and tell the checkout person it needs to only be $200 because that's what their budget allows? No
They need to take half of what they have in the cart out.


LawnSite Bronze Member
melbourne au
I would say that what you are asking for will be at least double that and be happy to walk away, I'm not going to most likely waste my time doing a proposal when I'm not going to be able to do it for anywhere near their budget. I mean if I'm thinking at least $2000 and they want $1000 I'm not going to be able to shave even $500 of my price and still be happy with my margins


LawnSite Senior Member
Owasso, Oklahoma
I’m with @kemco, I would have no problem saying no, and explaining that figure would not cover the items you mentioned.

in discussing it with her, ask what she’s thinking as far as end result. If the discussion is stalling on the price, overcoming it may be more of a time waster.


LawnSite Silver Member
Sometimes people just don't know what things cost. When she said under 1000, I would have educated her on what you know your labor is likely to be just for rip out, and if you know the kind of plants she wants, what kind of cost they will be as a ball park.
I would still likely come up with a plan for her $1000 if that is truly all she can spend.
I've got a job to install 26 firepower nandinas and 4 Japanese pencil hollies at my church. Plus some soil and a drip hose. $1000+ and my labor is free. My pastor already did the rip out work last week, so I just need to get plants, mark and dig holes, and spread mulch.


LawnSite Senior Member
Hilo, HI
Pretty much everything needs to be replaced. This will include removing about 20 to 30 Azaleas and loropetalums. She wants a new plantings which would include a couple of small trees and shrubs.
Is it your judgement that "Pretty much everything needs to be replaced" or is that the expressed wish of the prospective customer? Might she be happy with just a clean up and a couple new small trees and shrubs?