I wanted to get some input on an issue that probably pertains to just about everyone in the landscape industry, and possibly some who are not. Over the years we have, like many, recieved calls from potential customers regarding one project or another. In some cases I have shown up as a second, third or even fourth contractor, for those people who are comparison shopping for one reason or another. Every now and then, and more so in the past year or two, I have been handed a design by the customer who says "I would like to get an estimate for something like this..." Perhaps the customer has one or two changes to it, or perhaps not. Of course I take the design, look it over, talk to the customer, see if the design fits their needs, blah,blah,blah... you know the rest. If all looks good, I'll make any suggestions I may have, and then I take the design and put together my estimate. With a project pre-designed and on paper, a lot of time has been saved on my end. (thanks contractor #1, or #2, or #3). So I take the design, verify the measurements and off I go to put together my estimate. My main concern is, how often am I contractor #1 or #2, and how often are the plans I come up with or the designs I lay out, just given to the next guy? I am wondering, since at least on our end, we put a lot of time into some project designs. Graph it, draw it, and in some cases computerise it. As many as 4 to 10 hours have spent on designing some larger projects. On our larger projects which may have a lot of detail, elevation changes, patterns and what not, we like to computerize them to give the customer a visual of what the project will look like when completed. I find this helps people see it ahead of time, especially when spending a lot of money. I'd hate to think that my designs are then, just handed to the next guy for estimate comparison sake. Do think theres a way to protect these drawings, drafts, and other related documents? What is your take on this matter?