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Surviving on just installs

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by flascaper, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Is anyone else outhere trying to make it on Installs alone with no contracts. I live in fla and i have been full time at this since May and its going well except I still get nervous if I am not landing at least 3 jobs ahead of the present one I get worried. And of course its the law of averages on estimates.
  2. ewmesko

    ewmesko LawnSite Member
    Messages: 78

    My second cousin owns a big landscaping company up here and all he does is installs and he makes a killing. Check out landmasterspa.com he pretty much only does the big expensive jobs and is very selective on clients, ive been helping him now that things are slowing down maintnence wise. Its nice cause I get a lot of the maintnence work from the projects he does.
  3. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Does he have alot of downtime because I may do one job a week and it takes 2-3 days. I have three guys part time because I get done a job and need time to get materails. Off days I work on designs and catch up with new bids. Then I go back into the dirt next week with another job ect. Its a cycle. I need to get my guys full time and I cant seem to do that with out some maintenance contracts I guess to fill in.
  4. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Cool web site. I do not get big jobs like that. In fact most are middle income. www.advantagelandscapeflorida.com is my crappy web site I built myself. Mostly all landscaping and some simple paving projects that my customers can afford. I want to get more of those Hardscape jobs. what design software does he use? and does he sub out anything?
  5. yamadooski

    yamadooski LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    Im over in Tampa and do the same thing. Its all about marketing. We do some mowing on the side.
    Dont take this the wrong way but by the looks of your web page you need to be able to enlarge your pics.
    Your jobs even though they are not high end customers need to look like they are high end jobs.
    You need better plant selection and make it more full. To get that high end customer with deep pockets it takes time.

    We are actually heading to Orlando in few months to do a customer of mine that used to live here.
    She was afraid I wouldnt come over that way. BUt she has seen my work and wouldnt use anyone else.

    It just takes time. I did small jobs for a long time before I landed that first big one and boy was I nervous the first time. Thought I bit off more than I could chew.

    In those small jobs you did, dont be afraid to add more big stuff like trees and palms.

    On one picture I saw several spaces to add an extra tree or two.

    As far as the hardacaping goes I would master landscaping first. Nothing like fudging up a hardsape project and have to start all over again.
    Find a good hardscape buddy and exchange work.
    We almost do a paver job at all our jobs its called up selling. Then my buddy and I both roll up. He does his job and I do mine. I make him put my signs over his logo on his truck cause I got him the job. Then I do the same for him when he lands a job and it calls for landscaping.
    Keeps us both busy year round.

    Good luck.
  6. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,498

    Landscape construction.........thats it.
  7. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    I can handle the opinions of others thats why i am here. I do alot of middle class homes and they can only afford so much. I have done some pretty upscale jobs but still need to negotiate the price too much. I would like to do larger plantings but it seems I get soo many small jobs like the one I have infront of me now. I mean its just enough to fit maybe two yards of mulch to give you an idea of the size. they all want the same low maintainence and basic foundation plantings. I do have a great customer response they all love my work and never had a complaint just the initial crying over the price. Alot of the jobs like some in my home page, are customers who want me to just move crap around and re-plant adding only some new plants. Its a struggle sometimes to get people to empty their wallets for me.
  8. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Recently also I go to a guy who starts out wanting me to re do his front overgrown yard. I start taking pics and he starts talking about ripping it out himself. I instantly say we can do that for you. He says I know but i am trying to save some money. Ok fine then I will design something for you and install it. then he thinks and says well I can do that as well. i actually get a little pissed and say so what exactly am I doing here?
    Now its down to me just giving him a design and delivering the plants. Well wippty friggin do. I really feel like sitting in my office doing a design he won't pay enough for and hoping i can get away with making some money off of buying the plants and upselling them to him for a profit. Thats the kind of crap I get.
  9. E LAND  Inc.

    E LAND Inc. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    flascaper, didnt read all the comments, but do you ever talk budgets
    with your clients. Try to get a budget $$$$ up front then you know where
    they stand instead of playing guessing games, not knowing whats going to
    happend next. If they have a large budget and you can install install something for that price do a good design, if low budget give and few quick
    ideas and get out of there. Sometimes its best just to cut your losses
    and move on to the next client who will pay top dallar
  10. yamadooski

    yamadooski LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    I know exactly where you are coming from. You are targeting the wrong areas of Orlando.
    These people dont seem to middle class to me. They sound more between middle and lower.

    Orlando is huge area, actually last year alot Tampa people moved to Orlando.
    You need to find these nice neighborhoods.

    Take for example in the Tampa area I get all my high end landscape jobs coming from one particular part of town yet that same part of town has some of the cheapes lawn care in the state of Florida.
    And on the other side of town I get good pricing for lawn care and very little to no landscape jobs.
    For me it would be great to stay in one area. I love to mow in the lowball area cause of the rain factor and clay. The rain or irrigation doesnt soak into the ground as fast there for much greener grass during the dry season.

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