Monday, September 29, 2008
On September 23 and 24, I participated in a teleseminar hosted by Chris Heiler of LandscapeLeadership.com. If you are interested in downloading the recordings, click here. It was an interesting experience and an opportunity to meet Jeffrey Scott. Our topic for the first night was "Understanding The Value of Design." The second night was entitled "Surviving in a Struggling Economy."
Over the course of the two nights we discussed a number of things. One that is a hot spot for many landscape designers is that of charging design fees. Can you charge them? How much? Do you rebate? All tough questions with no black and white answers.
For the majority of my professional life, I have charged a pretty healthy design fee, at least compared with other design/build companies. But it was never enough to fully cover the time spent. We never rebated. It's a matter of principle. But it's also more complicated than that. It will take several blog entries to cover.
As a small company, doing fairly complicated projects, we couldn't whip out a decent design in an hour or two. When you have 30, 40, 50, 60 or more hours in a design, you can't afford to give it away. But how much can you charge? That's a tough one. If you are design/build, the goal is to build it. There is a pain threshold that cannot be ignored. If you do, sure, you may get your design fee, but you may alienate the client and lose the installation. At least that's the way I view it.
It's not a black and white issue, and there are some creative ways to go about putting a value on your time, getting a commitment from your client, and maintaining a professional image. More later.
Posted by Tim Thoelecke at 2:52 PM