How many times will you go out for a quotation?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    If a customer calls inquiring about landscaping, you go out, they discuss what they'd like, you leave, email or mail them a quotation right?

    What do you do if they'd like to meet you again to discuss the quote, review what will be done, make changes or additions etc?

    I think at least 50% of the time this happens, we go out expecting the deposit for the job which is half up front, only to find out they want radical changes, additions etc that i must re-quote. Many times you re-quote with all of the changes and then the price is too high suddenly and they decline the work, you get no job.

    I try to avoid this since most past clients we've spent "above average" time with up front chose not to do the work and we've made no money from them. I understand they may have questions, but does it really require us to come back out, fuel and my time for this a second time still without a deposit for ANY work yet?

    Situation is totally different with a prior deposit for the work and then they want to add something. Ive been told "we would like to use your services" only for them the following week to never mail their required deposit to start a job because they've added so much at the end, they either cannot afford it or choose its too much or start price shopping again for a cheaper price after all of their details of the job are in writing in their quotation from us? whats your opinions?
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I always make my first consultation free. After that they get charged 20 dollars if they doink around having me come out more than once.

    If I can tell the customer is going with me then I won't charge, But if I can tell they're trying to con me down, then I charge them for it.

    They usually make a decision pretty quickly after the charge.
  3. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    I had a guy last year, met with him once gave him a price....winter came, re-quoted the work (without a re-visit, just adjusted the price accordingly due to material/gas/expense increases), he got two other quotes which I found out about after I had driven out there to get what I thought was a deposit. I sat in this guys living room, he was a nice guy for about an hour explaining all the perameters of the jobs while hes telling me hes got a lowball quote then another one thats $25.00 then mine. I was kind of proud of myself being the high end price. So he threw out the lowballers price and we went back and forth, hes like Jeff your such a nice guy you've spent a lot of time disucssing all this with can go $25.00 less?(It might have been $50 or something I honestly forget it wasn't a butt load, but I wasn't gonna budge cuz you do it once and all of a sudden your doing a million free extras) Long story short I walked away with out a deposit and didn't get the job. Oh well I moved on. Most of us have a sensibility to know if a person is just interested in acctually asking a few intelligent questions or is looking to work on the price. I couldn't be bothered traveling back in forth if it were more than 15 mins. If its in town or 10 mins. away ill run over if its worth it.

  4. LawnVet

    LawnVet LawnSite Member
    from SE MI
    Messages: 220

    I hate it when customers drag their feet then change the whole plan.
    I've got a good one for you. So I quote a cleanup for a guy who's neighbor owns a junkyard and had overstepped his boundaries for something like 5 years before the client got the courts to step in. Long story short, I bid the job he goes to court with my quote (last fall) and "keeps me informed" as he and the neighbor go back and forth to court, neighbor does some work, customer wants a new bid, etc. I'm thinking, okay I'll give a new bid but I'm going to have to charge a thing I know his lawyer issues me a supeona (sp?) to show up in court next week. Mind you the situation has changed like 5 times and I plain old don't feel like having my bid put on trial. What would you guys charge for court fees and such a hassle bid?
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    I don't promise free estimates, but most are free. The first one that is.

    What you mentioned came up this week. A guy and his wife did part of the work, and wanted another quote for the rest.

    Simple I wrote back - it's our minimum consulting fee of $80 paid in advance.

    Sometimes if it's a very simple change requiring no visit, I can quickly name a new price free of charge. The sort of things that take like 30 seconds or less to figure out.
  6. nylan8888

    nylan8888 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    When you meet with the customer the first time , you should be selling your company based on references, before and after photos etc. If they have a design, bid it for them. If they don't have a design, SELL them one, we do it with the agreement that the design price will be deducted from the job if they wish to proceed, then build the discount into the price of the job. Your work, including designs, should never be free. All designs should be marked as being the property of ------- and not to be used without permission and compensation. Do you think Landscape Architects work for free? There is a difference between a free estimate and a free DESIGN! Make the customer set a budget. I can install $30,000 of landscaping in a 2500sf yard or $2500. If the customer can't set at least a budget range, then I don't even know where to start.
  7. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    Yeah, sometimes you feel like your talking to a wall :/ And it just SEEMs most times these people are 15-20 minutes away or more so it sucks up at least an hour and thats just if your really picking up a deposit or not staying long. Some of us dont have an hour here and hour there all the time of the week.

    That sucks, whatever you'd loose per hour to go there, ~40-$100/hr. Some courts take 3-5hrs to process your case. just HOPE after all that, the guy doesnt get more bids after the fact and then not use you at all,, that surely would be the craps.


    You sum it up great. I think many times, the client is all over the place with questions, ideas, or "lack" of ideas etc. Rarely do they ever have designs or such. We usually have to work up a drawing by hand, computer, spec sheet for items to install etc. Most HOA require some of these ahead of time to approve the homeowners request to have the landscaper do the work. I've never been great yet at selling the designs or putting my foot down for advance payment fees for designs, consultations, ideas, lists etc. We definitly need to work on that better this year, since gas is getting ridiculous, i dont need to loose $10-15 each time i have to go visit someone now ...
  8. Summit L & D

    Summit L & D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    We do a free initial consult. After that ANYTHING bills out at our design and consult rate. I normally pick up a deposit at the end of the free consult. In most cases, the client doesn't even see a job price until they've agreed on the design. I have found that this cuts out so many tire-kickers, clients that I can do without.
  9. daysel

    daysel LawnSite Member
    from TEXAS
    Messages: 140

    That's the kind of crap that is pushing me more into mowing only. So much less BS.
  10. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    Whenever I do a design, starting out from scratch, I always over design. This way if the client wants to take stuff out, its fairly simple and doesn't take alot of time. On occasion when the client has wanted a complete design change, I build the extra design time into their new estimate. I also tell them that I can keep making changes until they are happy--but 99% of the time they're happy with the revision, and we can move forward.

    Of course there are those people who do want to just waste your time, or negotiate, or whatnot. I believe getting around those people has alot to do with gaining experience and learning how to read people.

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