Landscape proposals

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mario491, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. mario491

    mario491 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Just trying to get some input on proposals. When you write a landscape
    proposal for a complete landscape design and installation do you break
    down prices to show a labor charge plus seperate cost for materials, or
    do you list all products and labor as one lump sum???? Just trying to figure
    out the best way to get customers to sign up, with the least amount of
    sticker shock.

    Mitty87 likes this.
  2. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    If you separate out materials, people tend to go to nurseries and box stores to compare prices. It can put you in the position of looking like you have high mark ups, but more often gets the prospect to argue that they can buy the materials and you can plant them.

    Most contracts by others that I see will list the plants in groups, sometimes by bed area or general area of the site, or all of the plants and then a total price for them including the labor, materials, amendments, and warranty toplant them. That is also the way that I did it.
  3. yamadooski

    yamadooski LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    The way I do it is give them one price for the whole job. List everything that will be done.
    I give the quantity and group items but no price next to those groupings.
    If they say that is out of budget then I say if you go up on the budget a little I will come down a little.
    If they dont want to do that. I then tell them we can start taking out plant material and then warn them it wont look like the design. They can later add more material later when they have a surplus of money to spend.
    We just finished a job.
    Budget..3,000 and my price was 5400. I came down 400 and they went up to 5,000.
    After the job was completed they called me back the next day and we did the front yard also.
    They then called me again and said they wanted more in the back added to what we finished the first time.
    Now we are coming back a 3rd time to do sod.
    All said and finished they ended up spending 8,000. So they went from 3,000 to 8,000. They saw how thing added up and now they are the happiest people on the planet and got 2 more jobs just from them telling all of their friends to just do the whole thing all at once and dont get sticker shocked.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Some good posts in this thread.

    I've seen this topic debated a couple of times in the past.

    I break down everything into groups and price them individually. I haven't had the problem yet of people wanting to go get the materials themselves.

    In my estimates I have a disclaimer that all material price includes hauling and handling.

    If there is an issue with budget, then I try to work with them as much as possible to give them the best landscape for the budget.

    Ultimately, I'm trying to give my customers the best value for the money. With that I tell them that I take the time to hand pick materials to make sure they meet my quality specifications.
  5. PerfectEarth

    PerfectEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    Exactly- I think most of my customers understand that I take the time to hand-select the best material for their project. If they don't, or have a question about pricing mark-ups, I explain it to them.

    9 times outta 10, a customer is not going to have the time, knowledge, or resources to find the materials I list on a landscape plan. You can't exactly buy a 7-8' Foster Holly at Lowes... and they get that.

    As for an estimate or proposal, sometimes a drawing is included...but all include a clear write-up with LABOR, MATERIALS (hardgoods, soils, etc), and PLANTS.... Plants are marked up accordingly but that's obviously not shown. The labor segment includes the entire scope of work, a description of everything I'll do- explanations of preparation, soil work, planting, pick-up and deliveries, watering-in, everything! I try to be very descriptive in my LABOR section... just lets them know it's not just "LANDSCAPE FRONT YARD"
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Good post.

    I agree with the drawing or at least a write-up with the proposal.

    I use Pro Landscapes Image Editor for just about any job that I do that requires a renovation or new installation.

    I think the images definitively help sell the job, and everyone is on the same page with what the final product will look like. I think that is key to be able to show why you price your service the way you do.
  7. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    I try not to break thigns down too much, mainly for simplicity but also b/c I don't want to get into a discussion about high prices. I give a lump sum of labor and a lump sum of materials. I do tend to break down what the materials are, but not give them prices. Same thing with plants, a plant list, but no prices.
  8. glaciator

    glaciator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Yes, this is a good post. I also separate individual areas of the landscape project (soil prep for sod and sod, boulders, walls, trees, shrubs & perennials, mulches with pro fabric, etc.). I provide a total cost (labor and materials) for each item in the list. That way they can see where the costs are for each phase of the project.
  9. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    break the invoice down into labor and materials. There is no tax on labor so need to keep it separate.

    STRINGALATION LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    i break down as well. sometimes you have to be creative in your billing, to get your value without explaining why or leaving holes for opt outs.
    i use the term " soil preperation" to pay for the things i don't want to explain, they are gonna pay for.

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