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Landscaper's Challenge


LawnSite Member
I went to a client's house the other day to continue work on a design that they decided to resurrect after almost a year of not hearing from them.

During my initial meetings, there was no husband and wife, just him. In fact, I thought he was single. I had come up with simple, low maintenance design for the guy and he was ready to do it........... then I never heard from him again eventhough I made several attempts to contact him.

Now here it is, nearly a year later and he emails me to tell me he wants to pick up where we left off and would I come out and see him again. So I agreed..... when I got there it turns out he has a wife who nixxed everything that I designed and she wanted to start all over again. By the way, I never charged the guy for the design because he was a referred by a friend.

So now I'm talking with the wife....and you know what she says?

She said "I want this to be just like "landscaper's challenge" on TV and once I get your design I'm going to get other bids on it"

Well that turned me completely off and now I don't even want to do business with them.

I want to tell them since others are going to bid against my design, its only fair that I charge a fee for it.

What do you all think? Honestly, I don't even want to do business with them anymore...they are out of my service area anyway...as I said, it was a favor for a friend.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Cape Cod, MA
Tell them that you are too busy or some kind of nice excuse like that. Then tell the wife to contact HGTV for assistance.

Keith Howells

LawnSite Member
Cumming, GA
I never meet with a couple unless both parties are present - period. I had what you described happen to me only the wife was there and hubby was not. This has saved me a lot of grief.

Second, if we design, we install. We learned that lesson the hard way. We completed a nice design and the couple went to a different installer. They did not follow the plan. They used the wrong plants, didn't follow the bed lines etc. We figure our reputation is on the line with a design and I don't want some lowballer who can't read a plan doing the work.

Finally, we had some guy hit us with the "Landscapers Challenge" deal. Walked on that one. Told him he has a challenge all right. Finding a quality company that will go along with that premise.


LawnSite Senior Member
I'd say you'd do the design, but have to charge them for it IF they did not decide to use you for the install. This way, they have some edge to choose you, and if they don't, you still will get paid for your time to design the work.


LawnSite Member
I would like to tell people 'if we design, we install" but how do you tell them that? In the past I have done designs alone but I charged for it....now though, I don't even want to do lone designs even if I'm getting paid for it, because it seems to me to matter how much I charge them, its just not worth the hassles. They end up monopolizing my time...


LawnSite Senior Member
one of the nice things about owning your own business is that you get to do things your way.

If you want to design and install, and you got the work coming in, then just say 'no thanks' to those who want your design only.

another point.... you should feel good about the fact these folks want your design (even though they want to bid it out to others to install)..shows you have a creative eye and a professionalism that others in your area lack.


LawnSite Senior Member
I always charge for design. If its is a nice job I really want I tell them the cost of the design and tell them it will be put towards the job if they decide to go with me.

Team Gopher

LawnSite Platinum Member
Hi Georgiehopper,

I would like to tell people 'if we design, we install" but how do you tell them that?
Here is a thought. Maybe for this specific customer, charge for the design and then maybe deduct that charge from their final bill if they choose you to do the work?