HOW TO QUOTE OR DETERMINE THE COST OF A JOB
Every job begins with a quote. The gardener, or landscaper, must look at the site, discuss what is needed with the owner, and then propose what work he might do, and what price he might charge. At this point, there are lots of variables (eg. When will the job be done, and to what standard). Every one of these variables must be considered and made 100% clear before any work commences. Unless this is done, there are likely to be costly disputes later on.
It is also important to get to know your client. There are different types of clients, some are easy to work for, and others can be difficult; and a difficult client can cost you more in time, labour and materials than an easy client does.
- Some clients are simply looking for an inexpensive job.
- Some are pedantic or fussy, wanting to discuss every fine detail of the job with you repeatedly.
- Some have very definite ideas of what they want, and will not change their idea, even if it is an impractical one.
- Some are very poor communicators.
- Some change their minds about what they want as the work proceeds.
- Some are domineering or condescending, perhaps showing little regard for your knowledge and experience.
- Some are genuinely seeking advice.
REMEMBER: You may be better to miss getting a job, than you might have been if you took on a job with a difficult client who ended up costing you valuable time, and money, as well as creating a lot of stress.
COMMON MISTAKES WITH COSTING
- Giving a quote based on a gut feeling rather than real figures.
- Not writing down all costs systematically.
- Basing the quote on an overly optimistic scenario.
- Not covering obscure costs such as advertising, taxes, superannuation, loss of work due to wet weather, etc.
- Basing the quote on only wages & not including profit in the quote.
- Not allowing for any contingencies (eg. increased materials costs, damage by storms, etc)
- Giving a quote only verbally and having nothing to refer to if there is a dispute
- Leaving ambiguities in the contract so it is uncertain who is to pay for some things (eg. Does the client or contractor pay for removing rubbish, and for after care of plants)
- Skill problems (eg. quoting on a large costly project before developing appropriate skills to implement and carry through the project.
- Liquidity problems.
- Depending too heavily on one client (or type of client)
- Lack of contingencies
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