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View Full Version : On of our recently completed landscape Job


musician/lawnman
11-19-2008, 06:05 PM
This one was a relandscape of the house, Original bed was 3ft deep off the front of the house & only ran to the corner. Had to shovel old rock out, then pull up sod to create new beds down the side of the house, & on either side of the driveway, added stepping stones near the driveway with rock, then mulch to the other beds. All new plantings, with exception of transplanting the 3 living hibiscus bushes from the front to the side of the house (the jurys out on weather they will survive the transplant especially since it was near freezing here last night & supposed to be colder tonight).

We used realatively young plants & trees to save costs for the client but it came out pretty nice. Pictures below, whataya think?

justin_time
11-19-2008, 06:10 PM
Nice job Chuck, I wish I knew how to do that kind of work, hopefully I will get into that in the future.

Steve
11-20-2008, 09:26 AM
Very nice work Chuck.

Can you tell us how the drawing helped you sell the project?

How long did it take to install all of this?

Also for newer lawn care business owners, what price range would you suggest they charge if they were to offer a similar service?

musician/lawnman
11-20-2008, 11:03 AM
The design drawing gives the client a visual for plant placement, I also give them photos of each type of plant. This way there are no suprise "oh I hate those, TAKE IT OUT!" or " "I don't like that there, can you move it 2 feet to the left?" problems after the job is completed.

It's like a blueprint to build a house, If a builder gives you a design & you ok the design, & sign off on it, you can't ask him to make the living room 2 feet wider than it was on paper after the house has been built. That's what you wanted, we agreed on a price & that's what I delivered. I can changed it now at an additional price (this is called a change order). It's a good way to CYA.

For this job we spent about 2 hours picking up all the materials, + 8 hours on the job on day one + about 4 hours on day two. If you add in travel time we had about 15 hours per man with 2 guys, a total of 30 labor hours for the project.

As for the pricing, well due to some of my competitors being on here, I'm not saying what I got for this job. I'll say a general rule of thumb is often around 2x the costs of the materials. A $7 shrub is often around $14 bucks delivered & installed. If you are doing a lot of new plantings it might be a bit less. You also have to consider the other tasks you'll have to perform that don't require new materials like pulling weeds, removing sod, pulling out old curbing, removing old plants, in this case we transplanted a few plants & dump fees (+time to dump) don't forget the dump fees!

legendlawn
11-20-2008, 11:24 AM
Cool Looks Good...It also looks like this customer could use an overseed on the yard. Did you try to sell that service to this customer?

Steve
11-20-2008, 11:36 AM
The design drawing gives the client a visual for plant placement, I also give them photos of each type of plant. This way there are no suprise "oh I hate those, TAKE IT OUT!" or " "I don't like that there, can you move it 2 feet to the left?" problems after the job is completed.

This is really interesting. I'd like to walk through this, especially for the newer business owners. When the client calls up, you visit their home and create this drawing of what they want? Do you let them keep the drawing at the time? Are you afraid they will take it and have others put a bid on that drawing you made? Do you suggest a lawn care business owner charge for a site drawing like that and then refund it if they purchase the landscape project?

musician/lawnman
11-20-2008, 05:19 PM
Well most of the time the client has a vague idea of what they would like at best. Often times it's like "what do you think we can do with this?" or "God, we need to get all this crap out & try to give it some curb appeal." "I want some color". They are begging for guidance & ideas. I take reasurring control right from the 1st meeting. They want and are willing to pay for your expertise. Become an expert that can deliver! You are essentially the equivilent - "Exterior Designer". The same way people call an interior designer & say something vague like "I want this room to be modern sheek, what do you think?" The designers 1st statement should be something like, Yes I have some great ideas! But, I need to know what kind of budget you have set aside for this project?". You should do the same. If your client has a $3,000 budget for the project & you don't ask, you may well come up with a conservative design with smaller & less plants or species that aren't as nice because you didn't want to blow the unknown budget. Even if they except the cheaper job they may not ultimately be happy in the end. If you ask & they say $3,000 & you come up with a gourgeous design, install it perfectly & end up $200-$300 under budget you are a hero! They are happy & their home looks as good as it can for the money they WANTED to spend.

For the smaler residential jobs, I do not currently charge a design fee, though I've never lost a customer once I got to that point. You confidence makes them confident you're the guy they want to do their home.

musician/lawnman
11-20-2008, 05:20 PM
No I have not attempted to sell an overseed of the yard, I should though!

ABurlison
11-20-2008, 06:51 PM
Do you use a virtual landscape software or similar type program, and if so which program do you use?
Or maybe you only use your hand written design?

Yeah, that lawn sure looks like it could use some help as well.

musician/lawnman
11-20-2008, 07:17 PM
I do all my designs by hand, I like the artistic (although primative) touch it adds. Some I do in color also. Depends on the client.

Yeah that lawn needs help,but what you may not know is many of the area lawns are just sand & whatever grows in it. Don't get me wrong I have some really gourgeous manicured lawns but I have alot of these sandlots too. It would take a load or 2 of clean topsoil to give many of these lawns a chance to really improve.

legendlawn
11-21-2008, 08:33 AM
Yeah...bad soil makes it tough, and it can get expensive for the homeowner to get that great yard....I hate developments that don't take the time to put some nice soil down on top of their trash....haha!

Steve
11-22-2008, 10:00 AM
I do all my designs by hand, I like the artistic (although primative) touch it adds. Some I do in color also. Depends on the client.

Do you advise creating the design on the spot with the customer or is this something you should say ' let me design this and get back to you.'

How long do your average designs take?

I also noticed you had a measuring wheel in one of your photos. I am thinking you would advise everyone to get one of those as well to help with creating the designs?

musician/lawnman
11-22-2008, 11:32 AM
Yeah Steve, I use that measuring wheel alot, definately comes in handy.
Not only for getting the measurements & making a rough drawing of the existing beds on the fly to reference later.

Off Topic:
But sometimes I also use it to measure a property in front of a potential client while doing a lawn care estimate. If a property is bigger than normal or an oversized lot. If I charge X for a typical 80x125' lot to mow it & their lot is 100x130' well that's 30% large & thus 30% more money. It's easeir to justify if you can show them in real numbers after they just watched you walk it off.

Back to our topic:
I complete the designs at home & get back with them, often sending the drafts via email for the clients reveiw & make revisions as needed. Residential designs usually take less than an hour for me to complete.

Steve
11-24-2008, 07:03 PM
That is awesome!

Chuck, do you ever show your customers other previous designs you have drawn and then shown the final outcome? Would that help sell more? Would that potentially help you even sell more than they were planning on?

What if you created a design portfolio book that also included a testimonial from each customer after their final install?

Also, have you ever considered helping the customer in a sense finance a project through you? Like say they wanted a bigger project than they could immediately pay for, would you let them pay it off over time? Would that be potentially profitable?

musician/lawnman
11-24-2008, 08:28 PM
Steve, yeah I show potential clients recent work, designs & pictures...? Of course man? I don't use a portfolio, I built the website so I don't have to carry one!

I have not "financed" anyones landscaping as of yet. Though looking at my accounts recievable you'd think I was financing serveral clients freakin' lawncare tabs. I'm in a wierd mood tonight & some clients are really starting to get on my nerves.....

I'm done talking about it for now, gotta go!

Steve
11-26-2008, 01:13 PM
I have not "financed" anyones landscaping as of yet. Though looking at my accounts recievable you'd think I was financing serveral clients freakin' lawncare tabs.

This brings up another great point! How should lawn care customers be billed for landscape projects?

What advice do you have on this? Should they pay the entire project up front? Maybe pay half down at the beginning and the rest upon completion? What's your advice on this?

musician/lawnman
11-26-2008, 07:14 PM
[QUOTE=Steve;42900] Maybe pay half down at the beginning and the rest upon completion? QUOTE]


That is exactly how I handle it.

Steve
11-26-2008, 07:29 PM
That is exactly how I handle it.

Is there a down side to this? Do the people tend to put off paying for quite a while even after the job is done?

What would you advise new lawn care business owners to be wary of?