"On the job" design work


LawnSite Bronze Member
morristown, nj
Hello,<p>Seeing the previous discussion on how to charge for designs started me thinking back to a few other jobs.<p>I guess the question is do you figure in &quot;on the job&quot; design work?<p>My question goes back to a situation I had a few years back while working for another company. We were sub'd out by a landscape architect to do a simple sign/planting bed for a new housing development.<p>We got the design, did the work, and everything was fine. Now, heres the problem.<br>The design was so simple! It was basically a 20 foot stone wall with a basic planting around a 8 ft wooden sign. <p>I could of done the design work in my head in about 2 minutes, but a architect did it instead and after talking to him, found out he got $600 for his 'design consultation.<p>My question then asks if we should be charging for 'simple' design work. I've done a lot of simple jobs like this and find that most of the time I just describe to the client what I will do and that is plenty good. However, I never have figured in any money for this, as I figured the money I'll make off the installation is well enough.<p>So, should we be charging a 'design' fee on top of our usuall installation charges. Just a point that sparks my interest.<p>steveair


LawnSite Bronze Member
No.VA, zone 7
This is a &quot;soft area&quot;. If you do a lot of work for a company each year and they ask for this type of design help, you will probably just do it for the goodwill that it builds. Or to put it another way, don't rock the boat since you will get the work. There is a book by Joel Lerner where he talks about how to be flexible with your design fees while maintaining a professional posture. Sometimes you have to use wisdom and make judgements based on your knowledge of the client and the potential of the project. <br>I hope this doesn't sound like I'm contradicting my own post on the other thread. I guess that having an on-going relationship with an established, loyal client allows me to relax the fee requirements without risking too much.


LawnSite Silver Member
Steveair - I think you should figure the time your spending even on a simple design in somewhere. You don't have to charge them $600 - for a small plan like you described, but I'd imagine you can get paid for your time by tucking the cost in somewhere else on the job. And like Laneele says, if you know your not competing for the work, take good care of them, it'll pay in the end.....or on the next job of course!<p>----------<br>&lt;a href=&quot;http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/&quot;&gt;&quot;Guido&quot;&lt;/a&gt;<br>David M. Famiglietti


LawnSite Bronze Member
South Bend, IN
History is the best teacher. If you track all your time, and bill yourself or some fictitious account for the time and/or materials you give away during the season, you will have some way to judge at the end of the year whether you are being too liberal in the gifting area.<br>With my software, I can actually charge the items to each client each month, but it won't show on their invoice. Then during the winter, I can look at exactly how much of what I gave away and to whom. And then learn to control this in the future if it is excessive.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>North central Indiana


Lawnsite Addict
I have to go along with Lanelle on this one, use your own judgement. Sometimes if you put a little freebee in it will pay off many times more that what you might have gotten if paid! <p>----------<br>paul<br>


LawnSite Member
Recently did a fairly large job for a customer. As we were about to finish he asked if I could trench 60' for a electric line he was going to put in. I did it but when I billed him I forgot to charge for the extra trenching. I pointed it out to him and told him that he could pay for it with a few referrals. I could tell he appreciated it and I feel like it will pay off in the long run. I generally do not charge for design work unless customer plans to do work themself and hire me as designer. However time spent on design work is built into my price as Overhead. I have had customers take a design along with my estimate and do it themselves or have someone else do the work with a VERY similar design to mine.