You look outside and realize your landscape needs work and you don’t want to tackle it yourself, so you decide to call the professionals for help. Once you have decided to call a landscape contractor, the quoting process begins. It is always a good idea to call two or three different contractors to get different quotes on your project, but if you call too many contractors, you may end up being confused by the end of the quoting process. When comparing quotes don’t just look at the price, but the overall value being presented. Although price is important make sure to compare quality of products, size of product used, and overall design elements being quoted. Make sure to choose a contractor that makes you feel comfortable with their quality and commitment to your project.
The quoting process always begins with the following questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? The “who” refers to the contractor or contractors you would like to call. The “what” refers to the project that you are looking to have installed. The “where” refers to the location of the installation, if you are not sure please check with your contractor for help with a design. The “when” refers to the timeline of the project, make sure your contractor can complete the job within a reasonable timeframe. The “why” refers to the reason you would like this project completed, this might help the contractor give you more bang for your buck. Finally, the “how” refers to HOW MUCH!!! Quite often this is the most important part of the quoting process.
When asked the question “what is your budget?” the most common answer people give is “I don’t know!” This is the single most important piece of information an estimator can have when starting the quote. Without knowing your clients budget, you can’t accurately quote the project. The budget determines everything, without a budget you can’t properly choose the right materials and products you’ll need for the job. If you present the client with a quote that uses a lower budget than is needed, the project may end up looking “cheap” and you won’t get the best results that you could have for that project. On the other hand, if you present the client with a quote that uses a higher budget than is necessary you risk losing the project before you even begin.
If the client gives you a reasonable budget to work with then you can begin to create an estimate. If a client gives you an unrealistic budget for the project, it is our job as estimator to explain what the project entails and why you need to increase the budget or why the job will need to be scaled down to fit this budget. The client shouldn’t have a problem paying a fair price for a job done right. And vice versa, a contractor should be confident with the final price submitted. A contractor should never over-charge for a project nor should they under value their work. It may end up costing someone, either the client or the contractor.
Hopefully this information will assist you to confidently call a landscape contractor for a quote on your next landscaping project!