Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I have just started a "side" business where she does residential landscape design (the "garden" type) and I build the furniture and other wooden garden "accessories" should the customer desire them.

Until recently, she worked for other companies where she did designs, presented them and if the customer accepted the design, a contract was signed and an installation performed. Occasionally, they would provide a customer with just a design and charge a flat rate for doing just a design. They did not require a contract to perform this work and there was one incidence where a customer got a good understanding of where the design was doing, then "decided" they could do it themselves. In other words, the customer got the design concepts, then opted not to pay for the design or have the design work completed. This resulted in the company not getting paid.

My wife is now doing designs on her own where she'll be working strictly with reasonably affluent residential customers who wish to do their own installation, but need someone to do the landscape design. We've been discussing how to insure she gets paid for the design work without running into a situation described in the previous paragraph.

What we'd like to know is what most landscapers do in a "design only" scenario. Do you folks get a signed contract or do you simply do the design, then get payment on delivery? Do you provide an estimate the customer agrees to by signing?

Also, what is the typical method you use to charge for design work? By the time it takes to do the design or a flat rate charged based on the design difficulty? Not sure if this helps, but she's doing designs that involve plants that the standard homebuilder contractor does not use, but that folks who want their yards to be a "garden" want to have.

Thank you for your assistance,

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,573 Posts
I would suggest a contract. How you work the terms of payment is up to you. Hourly? Flat fee? Per square foot?

The contract can be a loose one if for design only, IMO. Also get a down payment.

I often use Photoshop to redesign a person facade of their home. I do this when they are not sure how a various color of siding will match their roof or visa versa. I get 100% upfront, and ask a flat fee. Usually around $150 for a single concept. I only mentioned the price so you could see where I stand in relation to your fees.

Keep in mind I am no designer and some of the other true designers that post in this forum. Their advice may be worth more to you. I am only telling you how I do it in my situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
DaveDixson said:
My wife and I have just started a "side" business where she does residential landscape design (the "garden" type) and I build the furniture and other wooden garden "accessories" should the customer desire them.

Until recently, she worked for other companies where she did designs, presented them and if the customer accepted the design, a contract was signed and an installation performed. Occasionally, they would provide a customer with just a design and charge a flat rate for doing just a design. They did not require a contract to perform this work and there was one incidence where a customer got a good understanding of where the design was doing, then "decided" they could do it themselves. In other words, the customer got the design concepts, then opted not to pay for the design or have the design work completed. This resulted in the company not getting paid.

My wife is now doing designs on her own where she'll be working strictly with reasonably affluent residential customers who wish to do their own installation, but need someone to do the landscape design. We've been discussing how to insure she gets paid for the design work without running into a situation described in the previous paragraph.

What we'd like to know is what most landscapers do in a "design only" scenario. Do you folks get a signed contract or do you simply do the design, then get payment on delivery? Do you provide an estimate the customer agrees to by signing?

Also, what is the typical method you use to charge for design work? By the time it takes to do the design or a flat rate charged based on the design difficulty? Not sure if this helps, but she's doing designs that involve plants that the standard homebuilder contractor does not use, but that folks who want their yards to be a "garden" want to have.

Thank you for your assistance,

Dave
Dave,when dealing with hi end type clients charging for design should not be an issue, just how much and how to charge i.e. percentage,hourly,or by scope of project. My wife worked in a corparate design center that billed outside clients,and inside work at rates exceding $120 an hour. You may be able to come close depending on your wifes training and credentials. You could offer a free design but not release drawings until you recieve a fee for design or contract for project. Another option would be to charge a flat fee of say $250 to $500,but only give customer partial design docs. until you have a signed contract for work. You can credit design fees to contracts but include the cost of designing as part of your overhead when estimating.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top