What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Our typical process starts with a phone call. This phone call makes sure that what the customer is looking to do is something that we can help them with. The nest step depends on job scope. All landscape design leads are scheduled for initial landscape consultations, which are held at our office in Upper Marlboro. Before the meeting, a designer takes preliminary photos of property to use during meeting. If it is a good fit and they sign up for the process, we go out to the property to perform a site analysis. The next meeting is a concept review and then followed by a final plan review. There is also a budget and contract review that can be scheduled in person or online. All estimates are pre-qualified and then a member of the team schedules a time to meet with them on-site (travel distance dictates if there is a fee for estimate). The estimator creates a design (fee may apply depending on job scope) with a proposal. This can be discussed online or in person.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Our office staff have attended college; most have a bachelor's degree in their related field; head designer has a master's degree in his field. The staff continues to educate themselves through certifications (ICPI, NCMA, other industry specific courses). They also watch webinars, visit trade shows, read association newsletters, and learn about new products and services. Our crews continue to train with yearly "refresher" days; this makes sure that everyone is performing consistently and correctly on all job sites.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
Yes and no. Our landscape design process and fees are computed hourly on a standard worksheet based on job scope and plan choices. Prices are set at initial meeting and we do not charge more if the hours go over agreement. Full landscape design plans range from $2000 - $5000. All landscape project costs vary depending on job scope. We do not believe in change orders,and are only added when a client requests additional work.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
Bill started mowing lawns in his neighborhood when he was in middle school. He loved being outside and making money - a kid's dream job. He continued offering lawn and yard maintenance services throughout high school. When he graduated, he started learning more about the industry and began installing small hardscape projects. The company was incorporated in 1998 after many years of education and certification; and continues to grow through the years.
What types of customers have you worked with?
We have worked with a wide range of clients - in fact most of our clients continue their relationship with us, by doing an extra work or referring us to family and friends for their projects. Our clients live in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
We are fond of all of our projects. Most recently we helped a client create a backyard stay-cation. She runs a business form her home and also has 5 small dogs; this prevents her from travelling for vacation. So we brought her vacation to her backyard. Her new backyard now has a large water feature with lighting and plantings. New flagstone patio with outdoor fireplace and additional paver patio under the deck. She also has a small putting green to practice on. It took about a year to complete the project and looks fantastic.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Do your research! Not only into the project you are looking to start, but also into the company you are looking to hire. For a company - check their license and insurance; ask for references; check reviews and online sites; ask to see previous jobs; and ask about their company (background, education, etc.). For your project - know about materials, measurements, pictures of other projects, time frame, and budget.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
What exactly is the scope of the project you are looking to do?
What is the budget?
What is time frame for starting and/or completing the project?
Is this a project to complete all at once or in phases?
How long will you be in the home?