How much to Charge for Designs?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by One Degree, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. One Degree

    One Degree LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I was wanting to get some feedback on how much I should charge for a custom landscape design on CAD software. It would include digital image before and after, birds eye view of landscape, list of materials, outdoor lighting image at night, and consulting with the customer. I have seen on the internet that prices range from $500-$1,000 for this service. The designers live 1,000 miles away and I figure they landscape out of a book with a zone map. With me I live in the area and know what does well in our transition zone. Plus I have a B.S. in landscape Design.
    Please let me know what you think. PS I have no competition in this area that does it on CPU. Thanks
  2. ConPro

    ConPro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    How long does it take you to do all that? Will you be doing the install? If not, you could sell the job to a Landscape company also. I ussually do mine for free with the installation. But, my experience ussually give a bad design on paper. Thanks for your response on my digital CD post.
  3. Tim Canavan

    Tim Canavan LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 218

    I normally charge about 10% of the total price of the install for the drawing. I don't know if it's easier to do it on with the software you have or drawing it. Have you done both? Which is easier? Anyway, I usually tell them I will take the price of the drawing off of the price of the install if they go with me. I'll make it back in the bid somewhere.
    What are you using? How much did it cost?
  4. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Messages: 270

    We charge by the job, no set price. We're not selling or manufacturing cars. Our design / work is custom to suit the clients needs.

    Typically, our charge is based upon recovering overhead / expenses for the task; meeting, email, copies etc. This is not discussed until we do a comprehensive screening of the customers wants. Then we discuss our costs and their budget.

    If we see someone racing ahead to get our design fee and will not imply or share with us what they anticipate spending (not their budget). More often than not we kick'em to the curb. Those whom are not familiar with the process, a job or location we want, or are just plain nice folks... we work with them a little further, to see if the project can be salvaged, or if we need to do financing or work in stages.

    We don't use software any longer, its too cold, most (programs) of it lacks any character whatsoever. When prospects see quality hand designs, they see creativity and effort, thus realizing the costs of such design. Many clients have told us that's why they chose our biz, they think the computer does all the work AND specifies the plants (bet you haven't thought about that, I didn't, the plotter was sold the following week, since then our close ratio has increased by nearly 40%!)

    I don't know the market your working, or if you even doing the install, however, if are no other designers close, it doesn't mean you can charge LA rates. For what its worth... I would establish a T&M rate for the design; changes; site visits; email & consultations. Separate rate for copies of prints ands plant spec's. If you can provide install spec's, charge for that too. All you need to do is determine your cost of sales + expenses (overhead) + profit = design fee. Good Luck. With Regards, devildog
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,779

    It is like everything else, you can only charge what someone is willing to pay for it. There are many factors - who else is doing it, what are they charging, how many people are seriously interested in investing money into a plan, why do they want to pay you over someone else, will they need to find someone else to build it, ...

    That is the nature of the design business. A good design can be drawn on a shopping bag. It all depends on what the demand is and what the competition is.

    I draw with CAD, but my plans are not worth more because of it. I am a registered landscape architect, but my plans are not inherently worth more because of it. People pay for my plans because I work for a company that has been around for twenty years doing high end work with a portfolio that backs it all up.

    They deal with one company from start to finish and pretty much know what kind of job they will get. If I were on my own, a lot less people would be having me draw plans.

    We have a well established client base. Even in this situation we can't thrash them for a fortune because they do not see the plan as the end product. The landscape is and that is also where our biggest profit lies. The main goal is getting the jobs that produce the work that leads to good solid profits. If you rub the billionaire the wrong way by front loading design fees while the competition appears to be more reasonable, you will not get the chance to do a half million dollar job.

    Charge close to the same as the people that you are in true competition with and you'll be fine. If your plans look better, that might be the difference that gets you the job.

    Make sure that you do not value the plan more than the consumer and you will be alright.
  6. turfman59

    turfman59 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    I have recently had my landscape designed by a Landscape Architect, she previously was a computer software designer. It was a really interesting process. She previously had designed landscape and hardcapes at the Detroit Rennascance Development and had just finished Rich Devos plan it was 55 an hour she is retired and a stay at home now the whole master plan was 550.00 bucks a steal in my opinion

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