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Need advice - hiring designer

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by McFarland_Lawn_Care, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,445

    Okay, so I have been mulling this over in my head and run all kinds of scenarios trying to come up with a good agreement for this and finally decided to check with the guys on here to get your valuable feedback.

    My business has been focusing on all aspects of property maintenance and light landscaping but no designing services. This season I was very fortunate to find a highly skilled employee to hire whose wife works at a nursery nearby. His wife has a degree in landscape architecture and design and makes okay money, but really doesn't like the atmosphere at the nursery (for good reason). There a bunch of my customers that I know would be interested in having some landscaping design done (mostly gardens and similar layouts, no hardscaping) and my employees wife has asked about doing some free lance for me on the side. I could sub out the designing work to her and then my company could provide prices for the project. I wish I had enough work to hire her full time, but the growth/demand is just not there yet for this. So the question is how to handle the money? Obviously I'm doing most of the selling and finding and just sending her to the clients when they request it. Should I sub her out, or have her deal directly with the clients and charge them for the design work? I suppose my reward is getting more business from the projects she designs, or should I get a "finders fee" for sending her work? I just want to be fair that's all. Also don't want this to get dirty - her boss said they don't mind if she does a LITTLE side work on her own, but I know they could get upset if she ends up recommending my services more and more and the nursery less. But to be fair, it's not like I'm stealing THEIR customers, this is work that I have found or has come to ME for help. I'm sorry for being long winded or confusing. Any ideas are welcome. Maybe it's too complicated and I should just scrap the whole idea.


  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    A designer needs to attend the clients property to conduct an interview and perform the many detailed measurements required, along with a bunch of digital photographs.

    As a designer I would not be comfortable if some-one gave me measurements and information. They can be incomplete.

    The designer really has to be in control and have a good understanding of the scope of the assignment.

    Perhaps have a contract with her, that includes a no competition clause.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  3. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,445

    Yes, I was intending to give any interested client's info to her and she can set up all the meeting she needs to and do whatever has to be done. Thanks - so you are advising to sub her on per job basis w/ no compete clause? thanks
  4. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,805

    pay her hourly for her time invested in your project. There is a local designer who works this type of deal for $45 per hour.
    1) qualify your leads
    2) set up PAID client consultation where you AND designer visit the client and property together
    3) allow her to design what she hears the client say
    4) work your bid off her design
    5) You and designer revisit client to present the site plan and your bid. Get paid for her drawing and your time
    6) accept signed contract if it goes that way. If not, you got paid for a consultation and a design. Mark up her hourly rate and you all win, even without getting any work from the bidding process
  5. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    I don't like the "finders fee". The customer as you said has come to you for help, you have to be the point of contact for that customer.

    I agree with most everything Efficiency said, I've seen some things like that where the cost of the "design" is deducted from the total job fee if you are hired. Otherwise they just pay for the time that she's spent.
  6. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,445

    @ Efficiency - Thanks for your time and the steps you laid out. That seems like an excellent plan on how to handle it. In this case she would be classified as a part time employee. Thanks again, that sounds cleanest and simplest.

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