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Opinions needed on new LS Job

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Florida Gardener, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Ok, so I recently did one of my customer's landscaping and it came out amazing. A neighbor on his street dropped a note in his mailbox asking who did the work and they got my number, called, i met with them etc.

    I gave them my ideas, did the drawing and showed it to them tonight. They love the ideas and think everything is great. The wife told me she was planning on spending about 3k, but the project that i presented to them is easily 10k+. They seem like they have the dough, like the ideas,etc. The husband never brought up price, but she was like let me price it out.

    I am an optomist. I will shoot for the big job at the high price. How would you guys handle the situation when the actual estimate is shown to them? Meaning, what would you say to get them to bite on a job that is 7k+ more than they initially thought.

    The thing here is that we kind of have to go "all the way" for the job to come out awesome. I will do what they want b/c i wont turn away the business, but 3k is asinine considering we will be using cap rock and some pricey palm trees......

    looking for input here guys. Thanks
  2. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    One of my most important pre interveiw questions is what is your budget for this project.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    What I do at that point is to split up the project. Try to do one area at a time or split it into half. I've got a couple of properties that I've got some weird end points on my edging, knowing I'll come in there and continue it someday.

    9 times out of ten the client goes for it. It also helps to keep customer retention, which leads to doing maintenance for them.

    I haven't had any luck on asking people what kind of budget they have. They tend to seem offended when I ask. So, I come up with a plan, if they like it, I give them an estimate and go from there.
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    I assume that you listened to what they were talking about as far as the extent of the landscape rather than just going nuts on your own. If that is correct, you absolutely have done the right thing so far - you listened and delivered the best design based on their input. You did not disappoint them by cutting back from what they were asking for.

    Now you price out the job as it is designed. The ball is in their court to reduce the design to fit their budget or to step up the budget. If they are clearly troubled by the price tag, you need to make suggestions on what can be done to that design in order to make it work (reduce the size of plants, change hardscape materials, reduce something else, or elimiminate something). This takes the onus off of you because they contributed to the build up of the design - now they are in the position to compromise it instead of having you dismantle it. Don't take back the plan and totally redesign it. Make them reduce it with you. It sounds silly, but it is a huge psychological difference that has a big impact on how they perceive you, your plan, and how they will move forward.

    Definitely, do not reduce the price without reducing what is on it. The first thing is that it shows them that they can play you. The second thing is that it makes it look like you price subjectively - as if you try to see how much you can squeeze out of them and fall back to the real price. That makes them distrust you. Make the plan the entity that defines the price instead of you looking like you decide the price.

    Your client controls the plan. The plan controls the price. You become the facilitator to help your client get that plan under control. That is what they want out of a designer and what makes you and your company valued by them. That is what gets you the installation contract and keeps them from thinking it would be good to try to get someone else to do it cheaper.
  5. Thanks for the input so far guys.

    I always feel, if your going to spend money, especially on Landscaping, do it right. These people(the wife mainly) saw what I did at my customers house and were really excited to do their house and were ready to go right away. Most of the time, a homeowner is very narrow-minded when it comes to landscaping meaning they won't think of things that a landscaper will that will take the project to another level. They never said this is what we want to spend when I first met with them letting me know that they wanted to do it right and they didn't mind spending some dough. I will always present a customer what I think is going to look the best and give them the most satisfaction out of the job. That is what I presented to them(and they both liked it a lot). The husband NEVER asked what is all of this going to cost and the wife said a few times this is more than what I had planned. I think they have the money. If I am reading them correctly, the husband doesn't care as much on how much is spent and the wife does. I am going to give them the price for what I presented and let them make the decision as to what to remove if anything. What I showed them though is going to make this whole thing come together and the only thing I can see doing is using some cheaper palm trees, not really taking anything out.......
  6. AGLA

    When I 1st met with them, the wife told me what she wanted to do and I did go with that, but also added some stuff. This project is around their pool, and I felt that having a flowing bed around the whole pull would open everything up and add another dimension to it. They didn't suggest this, but they both thought it was a great idea. So I did listen to what they(she mainly haha)were looking for and added my knowledge to that.
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    I think you did exactly the right thing by enhancing their vision. The only time you don't want to do that is when it radically changes the scope of work or if you put in a relatively expensive added feature that drastically changes the flavor of the budget.

    I never ask about budget. I go with what they tell me they want. There is enough discussion to let me know when I'm in bounds or out of bounds. You should always aim to please, so enhancement should be done within reason. The great thing about developing a plan is that you can always change it to suit.

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