What Do you Really Really Want?
Many times our clients need help figuring out the entire scope, so I always have an initial consultation to visit the yard and get to know them. I think it is super important to make sure we are on the same page with the direction of a project from the very start. Time is money and the initial consultation saves both.
The consultation isn’t the first time I’ve talked to a potential client however. The relationship begins with a telephone conversation about their yard, what they like and dislike about it, what are concerns they have and goals for the future. Because of Google Maps, I can usually look at their yards while we talk on the phone to really get specific. The conversation is an easy way to get to know if we are the right fit and to set a positive path for a future project together. By the end, we know if an initial consultation is in the stars.
I love to find out about their ideas and hopes as well as where their yard is driving them crazy! Everybody has problem spots from where it gets way too wet after rainstorms to places that are “just too shady to grow anything”. All of these factors play into figuring out a scope that is best for them. As we walk the site and talk more, I give advice about plants that can work in different areas, how lighting would open up a space and where sitting areas or flexible spaces could live. We look at structural items like old decks or badly damaged retaining walls & stairs and discuss what it may take to replace them. All of these specifics inform the master plan, but they aren’t the reason for this first visit. The real objective is to clarify all of the necessary parts for the master plan scope. It is when everything is defined that I can map out a realistic timetable and cost for design services.
I always send a follow-up email to the homeowners. It is to make 100% sure that we talked about everything that needs to be included in the master plan. In the email I will have a list everything we discussed. Even before the initial consultation is over, I can give them a range of what the design services will cost, but often owners forget to mention 2, 3 or 4 things that need to be added to the scope. After a couple of emails back and forth, I can create a proposal that is precisely targeted for them with a price for work. The proposal lays out all of the tasks to be completed, and any costs that may come from detailed drawings for construction.
With the proposal in hand, the fun can really gets going!