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Landscape Design?


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:32 AM
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Default Landscape Design?

I have been thinking about this. It seems just like any other design business you would just need a sence of style. What goes with what so on and so forth. I am thinking it would play out as follows. Someone calls me to design there landscaping. I get er done. Submit some plans to them using one of the many design programs out there, get there approval then hire a landscape contractor to get it done. I don't see where I would need any licensing or anything for it. Dose anyone here do and design work? Am I missing something? Is it profitable? Clearly with no backing one would have to slowly make a name for themselves but that's not a concern of mine.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:44 AM
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I think the licensing requirements are a local issue. Some may require it and some may not.

One of the problems I think with design is it is time intensive. It takes you time to make the design and then once you hand it over to the potential customer how do you secure payment?
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:19 AM
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I agree its time intensive but the better you are the easier it should be and looking at what some people spend on there landscaping I am sure it could be profitable. Im not sure what the prices on this kind of thing are but lets say you did 3 properties a month at 10K each. If you charged 12k for the project 10 of that going to the contractor and 2 going to you you would be raking in 6k per month and your only overhead is at most a little time. The software is fairly inexpensive and even on top of that if you are a good artist a pencil and paper are even cheaper. As far as the implementation and permits or anything that is required it seems to me that is the contractors responsibility.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:22 AM
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I think the licensing requirements are a local issue. Some may require it and some may not.
I almost forgot. As far as licensing it seems to me all I would need is a general business license from the city my office is in, worst case would be a license from all the incorporated cities I work in but at $15 a pop with the aforementioned 2k revenue that's not a problem. I don't think however there is a state license required just to imagine up a design. The real money would be to contract the job myself but there are state requirements with the SLB here in California so I would not be able to contract it myself, that's why I would have a contractor on the sidelines waiting for my call to get started.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:44 PM
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When you brought this up, it reminded me of this couple I know of who had started this 'California Closet' type business. The concept of the business was you would call them and they would create this closet design for you with all these shelves and drawers and all this stuff to organize your closet. Then if you approved it they would build it for you.

What happened was, potential customers would call, get them to design the closet and then say they needed time to review the closet design along with the price. They potential customer would then call any low priced contractor, friend or family member and show them the design and say can you build this for me, if so how much. The other person would come in with a much cheaper bid and decide to not go with this original company who designed the closet.

After a short time, this couple closed up their business. It became too difficult for them to deal with. Spending their time designing these closets only to have their designs handed off and built by the lowest bidder. They planned on making their money in the construction costs.

Now knowing this story, how would you go about securing payment from a customer so they couldn't just take your design and shop it around and never pay you?
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:32 PM
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Well I suppose there could be some sort of retainer or something however I would not hand over my design. If they wanted to think about it then that's ok but they are not keeping my design or even seeing it first hand for that matter. Im sure they would understand.
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Old 08-27-2009, 02:16 AM
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You are missing something. You said you are in CA. If you are designing landscapes, any job you do that pays over $500 requires a contractors lic. C-27 to be exact.

Especially if you are trying to collect a percentage of the actual install. That would mean the work is going through your business. You do have a good idea, the same that MANY home builders do. They get hired to build a home, then sub all the work out to different contractors collecting 10% of the price. But they have to be licensed contractors to do this.

You can sell your designing, just be careful if you charge over $500.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
If you are designing landscapes, any job you do that pays over $500 requires a contractors lic. C-27 to be exact.
That is good information to know! Thanks!

Quote:
Well I suppose there could be some sort of retainer or something however I would not hand over my design. If they wanted to think about it then that's ok but they are not keeping my design or even seeing it first hand for that matter. Im sure they would understand.
What would you need to do to get started? Possibly put together an ad in craigslist? Something along the lines of 'Have you ever wanted to landscape your property but couldn't take the mental image you have and turn it into a design? Call 555-1234 and I will help put your dream design on paper.'

Maybe something like that?
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Old 08-27-2009, 10:52 AM
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I found all this out yesterday but according to the state licensing website its not the same as a Landscape contractor license but dose require at least an AA in some sort of architecture so oh well. Go figure California screws it up for everyone.
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