Archive for the ‘Landscape Design’ Category

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Getting Screwed without Having Sex

October 2, 2007

I’m a landscape architect.  Because of the CFS, Chronic Fatigue, I don’t work very much.  My boss, a landscape contractor, keeps my skills alive by giving me from 5-10 landscape projects a year.  But it’s no sparkling income.  I really love my work, but I hate getting screwed.  I don’t know how other design professionals contend with stolen designs, lagging accounts receivables, or the worst case scenario: the client that has you go ahead with a complete design and then says they love the design, but have no money, thanks for your time.  All of these have happened to me this year and I just don’t have the energy to deal with it. 

The one that is bugging me the most, is a client that actually did pay me.  But the insult was enormous.  After presenting her landscape plan, the quotation for installation and a guidebook for her plant materials, she asked about my design fee.  I told her it was $375 (discounted cuz she’s the boss’ cousin).  She  immediately replied: “Boy, you’re expensive!”   I resisted the urge to have a myocardial infarction on her premises and waited til I got in my car.

I guess people have no freakin’ clue.  Is it by slight of hand or trickery that elegant designs are created?  Does she think that there is some software out there where ya just push a few buttons and voila?  I labored over her design, creating a graceful semi circle pergola over a built in fireplace.  I covered her nasty view of the scrub-brush with a delicate perennial grassy path and gate.  I answered her screening problems, gave her all season interest, and included 8 other patio options.  Magic, yes, slight of hand, no.   I’ve totalled the hours devoted to meeting with her and her design = 23.  Minus expenses (blueprints, plant book, printing, gas = $50), that means I’ve made $14 bucks an hour.  Pretty good for a high flyin’ professional degree – Don’t ya think?  How much do plumbers charge again?  Cuz I think that’s only 2 years of schooling.

 

screwed but elegant


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