TAG: profiting from design

Do you charge nuisance fees?

September 4, 2014By

Q: What’s your take on charging clients an initial consultation fee before meeting with them at their home? I’ve never done it before but have heard other design/build contractors do.   A: There are various theories about how to properly screen clients so you’re focusing on solid leads and not wasting your time with “tire kickers.” One way is by... read more

Turn HOA blues into green

July 2, 2014By

Q: We do a lot of maintenance work for homeowner associations (HOAs). Do you have any design advice on how to generate more revenue beyond mulching and adding seasonal color, maybe even some design/build work? A: Good timing with your question. I’m working with a landscape contractor right now who’s trying to do the exact same thing. We just finished... read more

Rebuttal: When do you disclose design fees?

May 5, 2014By

Editor’s Note: Mark Carlson offers this rebuttal to Jody’s Shilan’s March 2014 Profiting from Design column: “When do you disclose design fees?” I agree with Shilan’s general sequence of steps toward meeting with a prospective customer, but I don’t agree with how limited this approach is when it comes to charging a fee for services. First, I believe that as... read more

When do you disclose design fees?

March 12, 2014By

Q: Do you tell clients on the initial phone call that you charge a design fee for your drawings or do you wait until you meet with them? A: My short answer is yes and no. How’s that for hedging? When a client initially calls I use a screening process to determine if he or she is a good fit for me... read more

Do more sales calls = more sales?

January 14, 2014By

Q: I worked with a consultant who told me the best way to improve my design/build sales was to go out on more sales calls. What are your thoughts? A: I’ve heard this theory for many years and used to believe it— it seems to make sense. But let’s assume on average you meet with 30 new clients a month and close... read more

The last proposal you’ll have to write

November 7, 2013By

I have a process for everything I do, and you should too. I have standard operating procedures (SOPs) or best management practices (BMPs) for screening customers on the phone, managing the initial meeting, my landscape design process and even how I color render my drawings. Why? The better and more defined your processes are the more organized your projects will... read more