“Budget.” That awkward word that few people want to bring up, but everyone needs to talk about.
When Garrett Churchill meets with our clients, at some point in the conversation we have to discuss their landscaping budget. Whether it’s a brand new client or someone we’ve worked with for years, we always ask them to present us with an amount they’re looking to spend on their project.
Without fail, we always get answers that sound something like this:
- I have $5,000 to invest in this project, and that’s as much as I’m willing to spend.
- I don’t want to tell you my budget. Just come back to me with your best number.
- If I tell you my budget is $5,000, you’ll come back to me with $4,000 worth of work with a $5,000 price tag.
As you can imagine, we prefer to hear answer #1. The client is honest and up front with what they’re willing to invest. As a professional and reputable business, we always work to make sure they get the value they’re looking for within their budget. We’re always honest with our clients, and we aren’t afraid to let them know that their budget is not realistic for their project.
Answer #2 isn’t helpful. If our best number is $10,000 and the client only wanted to spend $5,000, and there is no movement on the scope of work to be performed, then quite frankly it has been a waste of time for both of us.
Surprisingly, I have heard answer #3 a number of times. Frankly, I find it offensive. We have been in this business for 18 years, and still work with some of the same clients we’ve had from the beginning. They have stayed with us for so long because we offer the best possible value for their investment. We are not the most expensive landscaper out there…and we are not the cheapest, either. We offer fair prices for the impeccable work we provide, and we trust that prospective clients who come to us asking for a quote will see and understand that.
So…why should you share your budget with a designer or contractor?
– By sharing your budget from the get-go, you may be able to find out immediately that the project is not achievable for the money you are willing to invest. Your budget may dictate the size of the patio, the materials to be used, the size and type of plants, the number of light fixtures, etc. If your budget won’t get you the end look you dreamed of, it’s best to know as soon as possible instead of waiting until you (and we) have invested time and money only to find that it’s not what you want.
– You may be surprised, and wind up getting more than you hoped for! Your budget might be more generous than you thought, leaving you with extra cash in your pocket (or to spend on those upgrades you thought were out of your price range.)
– Even if your dream design is too expensive today, you may find that your project can be broken down into phases and spread out over time. With landscaping, we have the unique ability to do some of the work now and some later without looking like the job wasn’t completed. If you can come up with an amount that you’re willing to spend over a set time frame, we can complete part of the job while you start saving for future phases.
Establishing a budget is not as difficult as you may think. You either have the money in the bank to spend right now, can secure financing to help pay it off, or charge the amount to a credit card. It really doesn’t matter what the source is, so long as you go into your project knowing how much you want to (and are able to) spend.
At the end of the day, if you don’t trust your designer or contractor enough to discuss your landscaping budget with them, perhaps you’re not talking to the right company.
Connect with the best professional for your landscape, and your budget. Contact Garrett Churchill to get started on your project today.
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