to charge or not to charge

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by mower-head, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. mower-head

    mower-head LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    :confused: I recently purchase a landscaping program,
    to do a before and after picture for my clients who are undecided about a particular job. now my question is should i charge the customer a set rate to do the before & after, or should i just add a surcharge to their bill if they decide to go with the job?also what would the going rate be for this type of service?
  2. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 509

    Welcome aboard!!

    Good question. I would definately charge for the drawing if they would like copy, otherwise you are designing for free for Joe the Husband or John the Husband's friend to install your design for a case of Rolling Rocks. I am new to the biz so I do not see how I could get away with charging for design.

    Mind if I ask what program you are using??

  3. mower-head

    mower-head LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    copy of there design, they just might have some one else
    do for them.

    them a MILE THEY WHAT 3 mile, but I also think I should be
    able to charge a certain amount for the intial inquiry
    wether I would get it or not,because time and materials
    aren't cheep.

    The program that I'm using instant Landscaping,It's something
    I'm trying out ,and if would take off I will up-grade to some
  4. On landscape designs, I use another landscape/nursery to do all my design work.

    They charge me, so I charge the customer a marked up non-refundable price.

    Even if we don't do the job they paid for landscape plans and design.

    If we do the job, the designing work is an extra cost.

    This way I don't loose any time, and still get paid for time I contracted out.

    So I guess to answer your question, charge them your hourly rate for the designing process. You are still spending time on the job. You're working right?

    The place I use charges me $60 an hour plus blue prints and I charge customers $75 an hour plus blue prints.

    They sit and discuss the layout, and I give bids off the finished design. I am not at the proceadings untill the design is complete.

    Good luck dude
  5. mower-head

    mower-head LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    thanks for you information lawngodfather. you guys on this site do one heck of a job, keep up the good advice.

    i use a basic landscaping program, where i take a digital picture of the customer's project and insert different landscaping ideas. this gives the customer a before and after picture to work with. i have been discussing the way to bill a customer with my family & friends. there have been many ideas. some of the ideas were:

    1- charge the customer for the design, if they hire you to do the job, then refund the design charge.

    2- do the design and if the customer hires you, then add the design charge to their bill.

    my idea would be to charge them a normal labor rate to do the design either way, if they hire me to the job or not.

    thanks for reading, your opinion would be most welcomed.
  6. Tim Canavan

    Tim Canavan LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 218

    I know you don't like to work for free. I charge for my designs and tell them if they hire my company to do the job, I will take off the price of the design from the total price of the job. You can always make that up in the cost of the job. Everybody's is happy. They get a great design and landscaping, and you get paid for all of the time you have put into it.
  7. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    The main thing that you want to avoid is giving the client the 'after' picture unless they have paid for it, handsomely. Also, if they want to just buy the picture, you should point out that the picture does not depict scale so installing from it may not lead to the desired results. The object of this whole exercise is to sell the installation. Using a rebate of the design fee is often a good indicator of how serious they are about hiring the work to be done. If they comment that they can buy the plants cheaper elsewhere, maybe you are too busy to take on their project.
  8. matt35

    matt35 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 5

    Your computer program didn't come free and if you give them the after design then they should pay for your time, labor designing it and the idea's you thought of. Nothing is free in today's market.
    if they hire you and you give the fee back as part of the job, you can always make it back up in materials or labor. Good Luck
  9. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    If your work is worth buying your services are worth charging.

    Remember, "you don't get what you don't ask for".
  10. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    I'm a big believer in charging for your time. My first consultation with customer is free. If I have to come back for design purposes (if I can't bid off of a straight-forward project, like a lawn install) I charge an hourly rate for all phases of design. I offer a discount or rebate on a portion of the design cost depending on what they install. This is all determined at the end of the project.

    I see your landscape program as a great sales tool. You might use it to convince them that you're designs are worth paying for. We use our portfolio of pictures and letters of recommendation and past client surveys to convey the message. A picture (particularly of their house) will speak a thousand words.

    I wouldn't give them your picture/mock up for free. But it might also be the foot in the door to having them pay for your professional design service. Could you charge $75.00 for a picture of the front? Architects/designers charge for renderings of the landscape plan. You could too. Only you're using it up front in your presentation... so I don't know how you'd work it into the price up front. Bottom line - get your money for it one way or another. Either figure it across all of your jobs as a selling expense (at another $10.00 an hour to your design fee) or charge them per rendering/picture. Or, use the picture to get a retainer of $500 for the upcoming design. Build the picture into the design cost elsewhere.

    I think you've got a great idea! Good luck. Let us know how it works out for you.

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