How much can a landscape designer sell in a year?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Earthscapes_Inc., Sep 21, 2006.

  1. Earthscapes_Inc.

    Earthscapes_Inc. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I am trying to plan for next year. Does any one know how much $ a full time desinger can sell in a year in the midwest (cold winters)? Or where to find such infor or averages?
  2. lawnboy

    lawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    lol, that all depends on your business and your market. Mine does pretty well though.
  3. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    As much as they can? Is this like the woodchuck chucking question? :confused:
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    The idea is to sell the same as you can build. If the design is good, and the designer can gain client confidence, and you have a good portfolio of built work, and you don't have a bad reputation, and your team can build the design, and a solid market exists where you are, then you should max out to your ability to get and manage help. When that begins to happen, you have to balance the sales with your capability. Hopefully that will be from increasing prices to the point that your design/sales staff is filling your capability, but having to work to do it due to an enormous profit margin rather than the deteriation of quality because you lost your command and control.

    Never overlook the fact that there is a limit to how much you can grow through sales. The vast majority of landscape companies are limited by the owner's ability to manage help over every other factor including sales. A designer/salesperson is limited not only by his own design capabilities and the confidence he can build with the client, but also by your reputation, portfolio, the impression people get of your entire company, and how they value that to the price your charging.

    It does not end there. No matter how good that all is, it only takes one other person to demonstrate better value because there is no second place in closing a sale.
  5. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,112

    I have been asking this question for a couple years. When I studied landscape design we talked about this a lot. It mostly depends on salesmanship, experience/education and reputation. I do not think you are going to find reliable industry standards because there are so many people operating at such various levels. On the other hand landscape architects are more standardized and there are reliable statistics.

    Selling design work is complicated because very few customers consider the design before they call me. Many are receptive to incorporating design but it seems each customer needs a different amount of design. In school we mostly studied the complete design process, in business, I am finding that I have only had a couple of complete design customers and that most of them need only some components of design.

    I try to get customers to hire me for design during the winter, it has not been easy, people want what they want when they want it. It does not seem to matter to them that they will get a better design for less $ if they have me do it in January.

    Each year I do more and more landscape design work, it is not the kind of work you can do a lot of all at once. It takes years to learn what works where and why. When you create a design it takes years to recognize the faults or weak aspects of a design.

    Earthscape, how much design have you been doing? Decide how much you want to increase it and make that your aim.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,855

    You're considering hiring a designer to work for you FT, are you?

    Because I might suggest an alternative. Find a designer who isn't totally swamped with work. One that is good and yet somewhat affordable. One that is looking to grow. And use the designer as an independent contractor. She does all the design work for your company. She is your company's "designer". But she charges the customers on her own for her design time.

    We pound out dozens and 50+ designs each year. But all of them are via an independent designer. It works like this, I go to a job, I recognize the need for a landscape design, I talk the customer into the need and benefits of having a professional design done, and then once they agree, I tell them that our designer will be calling them to arrange a time to come get started. So then I call her and she calls them. On her first meeting, she explains that although she works for us, the design fee is to be paid directly to her, not us. And then she explains that the completed design will also be forwarded to us when it is complete. When it's done, she gets a check from the customer and we are provided with a nice design. Within a few days, I bid the job out, based on the design, and forward my bid to the customers. So we get all the benefits of having a FT designer but without any of the hassle of hiring her or paying her at all. Of course, the designer gets 80% of her designs from us, so she talks up our company to the customer and that helps too.
  7. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    I'll second Jim's way of doing things. As an independent designer, I work with about 10 different installers that bring me in when the jobs need a complete design or maybe, just a consultation. Sometimes I bill the client directly, others, the installer absorbs the cost of the design with their installation and pays me, not only for the design, but my assistance throughout the project. I have done everything from complete designs with hardscaping, pools, plantings and every other landscape amendment, to an hour consultation with suggestions and a can of marking paint. Everyone has their expertise and working together can increase the value and quality of your work as well as increase the price of your jobs.


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