landscape designers

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by yardfaery, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. yardfaery

    yardfaery LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    who knows what 'trained' professional designers should make per year?
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    ummm ok. Depends on how go you are. If they were unemployed I wouldn't think they'd be making alot. :cool:
  3. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Here is a quote from this site, maybe it will be helpful.

    " With the right amount of education and experience, an eager young landscape designer is more likely to feel satisfied with the beginner’s salary. If you have the credentials and know what you’re doing the opportunity for growth will come a lot more quickly. However, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Median annual earnings for all architects were about $39,500 in 1996. The middle 50% earned between $30,200 and $53,900; 10% earned less than $23,900; and 10% earned over $65,800. In 1997, the average annual salary for all landscape architects in the Federal Government in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions was about $53,300. "
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    There is no definition as to what a landscape designer is, there is no standard of what they do, what education or experience level they have, therefore their is no standard as to what they get paid.

    There are tons of people from tons of backgrounds that are or hope to be landscape designers. That is great because there are tons of different expectations of clients, so there is a place for all and a demand for all.

    The trick to earning money as a landscape designer is to be valuable. More often than not the trick to being valuable is less on how great a designer you are and more on how well you can make someone money. In other words you will make more money by selling landscape jobs than by selling design services.

    If you work for a landscape company getting more profitable jobs directly from your ability to design and sell or a nursery that is moving more material, they will make sure you are taken care of. They are unlikely to throw money at you until you have proven yourself. Once you have, you can make over $50k in a good market for a good company.

    The down side is that most landscape companies are small and can not produce enough to support a full time designer/sales person. In which case the owner usually doubles as the designer. Many of the larger companies stay out of design all together and bid on jobs designed by others.

    To sum it up, you can make a lot more money working 40 hours a week doing designs billing $40 per hour for 20 hours and making $100,000 sales than you can billing $100 per hour selling nothing but your own hours.

    If you are a contractor looking to make extra money by designing that is a two edged sword. Design takes time away from you doing other things. It is also your sales tool. If you charge too much, you'll lose potential clients that you would have made a lot more money from by getting the "build' job. If you go after design work and get it, you'll lose time from running the other aspects of your business especially if you are not going to get the "build" job. In my opinion, a small contractor should design only what he has a high probability of building, he should charge enough to cover costs and disuade tire kickers, and should limit how much he takes on. The value is what you make from landscapes well tailored to your abilities and profit margins - you make more money.

    If you are an independent designer, you are in the toughest place. You are trying to make a living at it, so you need to cover costs and pay yourself through only design fees. That means that you have to charge the client more than the others to make the same wage. That makes you less attractive to a client. You also are not able to produce the built landscape or an actual proposal with an actual price for the client, or an actual time frame of when the work is scheduled. That makes you less attractive to the client. It is a competitive disadvantage with very many people wanting to do it.
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    agla posted this...

    "There is no definition as to what a landscape designer is, there is no standard of what they do, what education or experience level they have, therefore their is no standard as to what they get paid."

    Maybe that's why a previous chairman of an Oregon State green industry license board referred to designers - as an associated group - as "an illegitimate child" a few years back. That was at a meeting of designers.

    Anyhow, agla's post reminded me of the meeting where that came about.
  6. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I don't look at designers as little bahstards. I don't fear them. I don't view them as illegitimate. They are valued by those that hire them and most should be proud of their work.

    There is simply too wide range of skills, knowledge, and abilities to put assign a specific pay rate to.
  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    If there is no standard, definition, or identifiable pay, that can be a lot like not knowing the ancestry of someone.

    I think the trade, in general cultural vocabulary, can be described.

    The average person, experienced in home and landscape ownership, has little difficulty describing what a landscape designer is.

    The pay rate can be indicated. Many landscape designers list their approximate fees on websites.

    The poster of this thread might consider visiting a few designer's sites via a web query to see which ones list rates. A few sites list the hourly rate.

    Some list estimated project totals. The sky can be the limit for how much time and detail can go into a plan, but in general, for an average home, even a fairly big yard, 3 to 5 days accumulated time should be more than adequate to deliver a substantially complete final plan.

    Some sites may indicate length of experience to show how long it took to reach a certain plateau.
  8. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    I charge seventy five an hour. Dont know if that helps
  9. Keith Howells

    Keith Howells LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    There is a standard for landscape designers. Go to this site: It's the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. They have a certification process that is fairly difficult to get through. They also have to be re-certified periodically. They also have a list of professional standards that they adhere to.

    They are a very active group and they meet several times a year. There are designers that I have met at their conventions that do nothing but design and seem to make a decent living. A lot of them got their start in urban planning.
  10. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    Ditto!!!! The man speaks the truth


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