We are often asked if we provide free landscaping estimates. The answer is both yes and no… Perhaps all you need is a quick estimate for a wall that needs to be replaced, or a little weeding and mulching done. We charge an hourly rate, so if we only spend 10 minutes going over your project, the cost is quite minimal.
If you have a larger project in mind, it is very important that one of our designers spends up to an hour or more with you to understand exactly what it is you are wanting done. We do expect compensation for this time spent, but always keep the payment as a client credit. Should the client hire us to do any portion of the work that has been estimated, the entire credit is applied to the first invoice. In that sense, it is free but works more like a rebate.
An initial appointment on your property with a designer, will determine how much further you want to take your landscaping. After meeting, our designer will create a custom draft specifically for your property. Sometimes the initial draft needs a little tweaking before we have nailed down everything you want, and nothing you don’t. This is why we have a second appointment, free of charge, to present our ideas and make any needed changes.
Once the draft has been approved by you, we estimate your project within two weeks of approval. You also have the option of purchasing a copy of the design at this time, but are not required to do so. Most clients leave the design with us and, if requested, we will provide a copy free of charge after the work has been completed.
Another question that needs to be answered is what the difference is between a bid and an estimate. A bid is a definite number that you will be charged for an approved project. An estimate is an educated guess at how much it will cost.
With landscaping, there are many factors that can cause a project to cost either under or over an original estimate. If we were to give you a bid, which we are willing to do at your request, we would need to anticipate and charge for all of the possible overages. Ex: If I were to estimate a project to take ten hours, I would bid for at least 12 hours to cover any unforeseen challenges.
If the project only takes 8 hours or if it takes 13 hours, you would still be charged for the 12 hours of the bid you accepted (this excludes add-on work as well as certain cases where the project was not what it originally appeared, such as discovering river rock that has been hidden with mulch in the working area).
At Dee-sign Landscaping and Garden Center we tend to estimate high on projects so that the clients are not hit with any surprises, meaning what you actually end up paying is often less than what you anticipated paying. We encourage working with estimates versus bids simply because it is fairer for both parties. If I estimate a project to take 10 hours and it only takes 6, you will only be charged for 6 hours. Likewise, if we run into an extra challenge and the project takes 11 hours, you will be charged for 11 hours.
*We always contact the client any time it appears that we will be going over the estimated amount to discuss the options.