Turn-a-round time for plans

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by steveair, Apr 2, 2001.

  1. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    In the last couple of weeks, I have picked up a few more contractors who want designs/plans done for them.

    In the past, I have been able to turn a plan out in about a week, but this year, with the increase work load, am starting to think I will need 2 weeks.

    If you had a designer, would you be willing to wait this long?

    I have to say, that most of the guys have 'hot' and 'cold' periods. One week, they may have 3 jobs for me, then they may not have any for the next month.

    Right now, I just got hammered, and have 5 plans, 3 being complete sites. Its spring, and I expected this, but Its quite a load.

    I try to do what I can, but between my full time job and my own part time business, Its hard to produce plans much faster than 2 weeks, maybe even 3 weeks at this point. For now, I try to explain that I am booked, and tell them ahead of time how long it will take. Most understand, and since they have no one else, are kind of stuck waiting for me.

    The thing is, later on in the year, I may have a plan in 3 days for them, but now is just busy. Wish they would try to sell more jobs in the winter instead of giving me a list of people they had since last NOV to do plans for.

    Maybe time to bring on some part time help? Not enough hours in the day, especially at this moment in the year.


    [Edited by steveair on 04-02-2001 at 01:56 PM]
  2. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    If only we could get the customers to think about landscaping before springtime..... :)

    As for the time delay - Right now I'm at about 3 weeks. The largest competitors here (20+ employees) are anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. So is 2 weeks too long to wait? Not for this market.

    And there's a lot to be said for being the last guy to present your design. I think they call it a 'last look' in commercial work. I try to be the last guy.
  3. turfman99

    turfman99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    Two weeks should be acceptable this time of the year?? If they want it any faster, tell them to do it themselves...

    Have you though about digital imaging to speed up the process, add value and charge more ??
  4. EarthWorks

    EarthWorks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    That is a different spin on things Stonehenge. I always try to be first with my proposal to show that I am prompt and will get the job done. I can see where you are coming from though. Does it work for you?
  5. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    thanks for the words of encouragement, as I don't see myself getting these turned out any faster than 2 weeks at this point.

    One of the things that is a challenge is that I 'co-op' with some of the contractors. What I mean to say, is that we work together on alot of the plans. I have much to learn, so I try to get in with guys, more or less sub-contract out, that are excellent designers, but who are beginning to become too busy to sit down and design anymore.

    It seems to be working out pretty good so far, but a lot of time being spent. Kind of like going to school, only I am getting paid for effort with a little extra cash and a WHOLE lot of knowledge.

    Been working on this one tonight.....


    this one is only what I call a 'sells model'. The contractor who it is for has the job sold, but wants to try and get the people to go for a little more. Thats where I come in. I first draw a 'concept' plan, that gives a overall plan, leaving out specifics such as exact plant names, quatities, etc. I can talk them through it, and if they bite, then I go ahead and put the plan completely together. Works out well, as this way the contractor doesn't have to shell out my full fee if the client doesn't want it and I don't have to do all the 'dirty work'.

    As for imaging, I am looking into it more and more, as I few guys have asked about it. I may be adding it soon, but for now I want to save up and buy a plotter so I can put out full size plans with out cutting and pasting sheets together.


    [Edited by steveair on 04-02-2001 at 10:56 PM]
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    It seems to. When they're meeting with the first guy, they think of questions afterward that they may decide never to ask. Same with the second. The third guy gets to answer all of the questions they can think of, and also, by those questions find out what's important, and gear things toward those questions. Or, "I talked to another company that does things this way. Is that good or bad?" Perfect chance to explain why your way is better.

    Plus, if you leave a positive impression, you are the last person they see before they make up their mind. And, by that time, they're tired of the process, and want it to be done. They also have a sense of what it will cost, and you can find out what the others are charging (though maybe not directly), and if you have room to wiggle on your price, you can do it in person while asking for the signed contract, while the others can only hope that the customer likes their price. They may not get a phonecall to ask if they can go lower.

    I haven't kept track, but I seem to get more contracts when I'm last. Especially if I know the customer talked to 4 or more companies. If I'm the first of 6, at the very best, they'll have a hard time remembering my presentation. Like going to a parade of homes. By home 5 or 6 they all start looking alike.
  7. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Hey Steveair - if you're doing color renderings for each of these, they should be ecstatic to get them in 2 weeks. I haven't done one in a few years. Too bad, to. I like doing them, but it isn't worth the effort around here.

    I did a big one with landscaping and brick work, left it with the customer, and when we met again to go over plan revisions, she had to FISH IT OUT OF THE GARBAGE. I was so flabbergasted that I think I lost the sale because of it. I just couldn't believe she threw it out.
  8. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Yes, that is a real 'slap in the face' I could imagine going over it and saying "well, where this banana peel is was where I was going to put the jacuzzi, and over here by this water stain would probably be PERFECT for the pool now!

    Your not alone on that one though, I am sure of it.

    I have a similiar problem.......

    As I meet contractors who are interested in hiring, they are always asking to see some examples of my past work...

    the problem is, after I sell my plans, I end up sticking them behind the seat of my truck, cramming them in a tube with 100 other plans, etc. etc. and end up pulling out this 'plan' that looks like its been out on the job site for a couple of weeks. Luckily, they understand, but I got to keep a better file system for my stuff.

    I guess I am too busy thinking about what I am going to do next to care about what I have done in the past. Kind of funny that way.


    [Edited by steveair on 04-02-2001 at 11:30 PM]
  9. ianc

    ianc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

  10. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Very nice looking project. Which software did you use for that project? I like the symbol style that you've used. Also the paver area has a nice look without overwhelming the other features. I would think that most clients would be pleased with this graphic look.

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