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realhuntin
09-02-2008, 11:26 PM
Hello All

It's been a while since I was here to post anything new so I thought I would stop in and show a project we completed this past July. We completly renovated the back yard bringing in 25 tons of top soil and grading a slopping yard to have some level areas where the kids can play and adjusting the grade where the pool contractor intalled the pool to high. We also installed some Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon) "white" along the fence for a privicy barrier, relocated a few trees and installed 6 tons of 1-1/2" river stone along the pool, installed approx 400 sq ft of patio pavers and a small retaining wall to give the customer as much level yard as possible. Hope you enjoy the pictures and if you have any question please feel free to ask I will be happy to answer.

Steve
09-03-2008, 04:54 AM
Oh that looks fantastic!

How long did that take to construct?

Did you find anything about this job that was unique and you learned from it?

What was the toughest part about doing this job?

realhuntin
09-03-2008, 09:03 AM
Hi Steve

This project took us 8 days to complete the patio, retaining wall and grading.

Another day for the landscaping.

The hardest part of the job was keeping the elevations correct. The base for the wall and patio had to be just right so the steps would work out to the correct elevation to the pool and the existing wood deck. Steps should be comfortable to walk up and as a rule should have a 7" rise and 11" tread and stay with-in the local building codes.

Seems I get the tough and unique jobs. This customer had seven different bids I wasn't the lowest or the highest. (2nd highest bid). The customer told me they hired me because I took the extra time to be more personable with them and explained the details of the project. We finished the project 1 day ahead of my schedule. I learn something different on every job because every job is different and unique.

Steve
09-03-2008, 10:14 AM
That is really interesting!

How do you know how many bids the homeowner had and where you stood? Do you simply ask? If so at what point is it ok to do that?

Also when you find this information out, how does it help you? Does it make you want to shoot for being the highest bidder in jobs in the future or is the 2nd highest ok? What range do you shoot for?

realhuntin
09-03-2008, 02:16 PM
I ask if they (the customer) are accepting other bids and from who upfront and right off. Most will tell you if they are or are not and who it is. After I am awarded the project I ask where I stood and why they chose me over the others.

This helps in many ways;

1. You know who your main players are. (competition)
2. Where you should be in your pricing for those jobs. (Don't want to leave any money on the table).
3. Knowing who is playing the game helps me put on my creative thinking hat.
4. The customer feels a little more at ease and brings it to a different level, it makes it more personal. Them knowing I'll be there everyday all day is a plus.

As far as where I rank in the binding doesn't really mater to me. After I know who is playing I know right off I'm not going to be low bidder most of the time. So I do what I'm good at and that is SELL the job, never lie and lead to false hopes. Do what you say you can do and make darn sure you can if you say you can. You can point out to the customer that a Company that comes in with a low bid isn't always the best choice, if another company came to the table with a $8 - 10 per sq ft bid on a job that myself and 1 or 2 others were in the $28 -32 per sq ft then there is a problem with that low bid. Most of the time if there is a difference between us and someone else it is only a $1 or 2 per sq ft and that's where I seem to step it up a notch with selling us over them.

Steve
09-04-2008, 01:55 AM
Very interesting!

When you were called to this customer's house initially, how did you go about bringing this design image to life? With the multiple levels and all, I would think it would be hard to visualize what the final product would be without some kind of design.

It also had other elements as a part of the design.

How much of this was you giving them ideas and how much of it was them telling you what they wanted?

Were all the contractors bidding on the same exact design or did each have their own variation?

realhuntin
09-04-2008, 07:14 PM
No I find it easy to visualize and I try to put everything into layman's terms so it is easy for the customer to follow.

At first they just wanted a better lawn grade than what the pool contractor provided. I made a few suggestions and bang they where on it like a duck on a June bug.

They used my concept (design) for others to bid on and from there they called on us to do the work. There was some variations but not much to speak of. Mostly stone types/colors/and manufactures. We used my design totally with no variations to it at all. Other than the customer wanted the lower patio a little larger than I planed it went right down to the "T".

I think I earned their trust right off and that is as important as any part of the project. 2 others had been there before me.

The patio, wall and pool edger with river stone was my idea. All they wanted was a nice yard with some grass, it had been about 2 months tore up from the pool contractor and they just was tired of seeing dirt out the back door.

Steve
09-05-2008, 09:21 AM
How much more do you think you were able to profit off this job with your added creativity? 10% or 20% or more?

Is this something other lawn care business owners should do? Add as much creativity to a design as possible and then let the customer scale it back to fit their budget?

realhuntin
09-06-2008, 10:54 AM
How much more do you think you were able to profit off this job with your added creativity? 10% or 20% or more?

Is this something other lawn care business owners should do? Add as much creativity to a design as possible and then let the customer scale it back to fit their budget?

Actually it was 17.667% more.

Yes always go extreme and be as creative as possible, let the customer make the decisions. You just never know if your leaving money on the table, if you don't go in there full force then they will just think "well heck I can do that much" and most will or at the least try to.

Most of the time I found it is easier to just ask the customer what their "BUDGET IS" and work from that.

Remember never GIVE the customer a completed design or drawing, you can show them the design or drawings but never leave it with them, this is a good way to lose a job from "SHOPPING" or the wonderful "I THINK I CAN DO THAT MYSELF" and you now have time invested into it and no money in return. If the customer is just looking for IDEA'S then it's up to you to make it perfectly clear to them "DESIGN WORK" has a price.