Match your budget to your dreams.
Before you begin any landscape project, you must first determine your budget. How much are you willing to spend, and how far do you expect that money to go? We are aware that landscaping is rarely a Need (unless we’re talking health and safety erosion control, tree removal, etc). Landscaping is more like a Want. You want your yard to look nice. You want your yard to be safe. You want your property value to increase. You want to be able to come home each day and enjoy the rather considerable investment you have in your home, rather than cringe each day at the environmental disaster you call a yard. So often we hear “I can’t stand it! Come do something with my yard! Quick!” followed shortly by “You’re kidding, right? It costs HOW much?????” Only you have the ability to determine a responsible balance between how much “I Can’t Stand” you have to match against “I Want” offset by “I Can’t Pay”, thus setting your personal realistic budget. And yes, when you balance three factors against one another, there will be compromises to be made. That also is important for you to realize early on in the landscape budgetary process.
To guide you along, two workers + minimal materials runs about $1,000 per day. A crew of 4-5 workers + materials runs about $10,000 per week. Two crews on your jobsite, with equipment and materials, typically runs about $25,000 per week. If you have chosen extremely expensive materials, consider upwards of doubling those figures. Small clean ups can start from $ 250. – $500 , Medium clean ups run $ 1000. – 1500. Large cleanups cost $1500. to $3,000.We have performed Clean ups upwards $12,000 that would take us 10 days to complete and we removed 220 cubic yards of Debris. That is equivalent to six , 20 foot long school buses.
A small yard cleanup and softscape replanting runs approximately $2,500-5,000 for the project. That same yard with hardscaping (new patio, an arbor, some paths, gopher wire, irrigation, etc) will cost approximately $30,000 for the project. A built –in firepit is $6,000.
Smaller residential installation jobs run $3,000 to $30,000. There are companies that strictly focus on large residential projects in range of $150,000 to $500,000, and some install one or two larger estate projects each year in the $1 million to $2 million bracket.
Still reading? Ok, good. You have a budget in mind, you have lots of ideas, you now need help seeing if your ideas match your budget. That’s what we do, match maximum return in landscape value for minimal monetary investment.
It begins with a phone call to us.
Give us your address so we can look up satellite images of your property.
Explain your landscape ideas. Express your dreams and desires. Tell us your constraints. Share your priorities. Set your budget.
The Meet & Greet
When you call us interested in discussing landscape ideas for your project, we will do one of two things, depending on the scope and complexity of your inquiry.
Firstly, if you catch us in the office, we can pull up a satellite view of your property on Google Earth (we have the Professional Version) and over the phone spend some time with you discussing your ideas, feasibility, costs, and offer suggestions on how to proceed, without you ever leaving your home or us leaving our comfortable office chairs. We can often follow up that initial phone call with an emailed landscape Budgetary Proposal, a photoshop Virtual Before & After Design Image, or simply a list of contact Referrals for work that is not our niche. We consider the initial phone call a screening process to see if our company may be a good match for your needs. Ask us as many questions as you wish at this time to also see for yourself if we offer the services you seek.
Secondly, if a site visit seems appropriate, we will follow up that initial phone call with a physical drive to your property to meet you in person. Typically we will listen politely to your ideas, throw out some ideas of our own, then spend some time wandering around your yard with you. We will tour your property, mumbling to ourselves, taking furious notes, asking endless questions, taking photographs, while concurrently waving our hands in the air and dragging our feet in the dirt and rambling on about elevations, drainage, compressive strength of concrete, air speed of an African swallow (both with and without coconut), etc, etc. Our goal at this meeting is a simple exchange of ideas, discuss feasibility, budgets, expectations, and how we think your goals may be met, all within half to an hour or so on-site. As with the initial phone call, we may follow up with a Budgetary Proposal, a Virtual Before & After, or a Referral to someone else.
Up to this point, your monetary commitment is little to none. We consider the exchange of simple concepts free, and are more than happy to discuss ideas over the phone. A drive to your property occupies both our time and yours, and also is free.
Please be clear that we will not design your yard for free, we will not cost estimate your free design, we will not give you a free list of time and materials and construction procedures for your free design, we will not freely supervise your friends installing your free design, that’s what we’re in business for. We will, however, freely discuss feasibility, budgets, and processes of your landscape intentions during our initial free Meet & Greet.
We may determine, after the initial Meet & Greet, that you need a design. Something printed, on paper, drawn out, layed out, specified, detailed, solid, that everyone can visualize from and discuss and debate and ultimately agree upon. That design may take several forms, and we always view the design process as separate from any estimating or construction contracts we may enter into later.
Digital Renderings: Commonly referred to as “photoshop,” we have the ability to take a digital image of your property, remove unwanted features, and overlay new landscape elements, creating a virtual Before & After series of images. This process takes a few hours per image, and we typically charge $100 per image.
Hand Drawn Scribbles on Paper. We do have one Designer who only draws by hand. He charges $100 / hour, her work is excellent, and within a few hours she may be able to produce a quick bubble sketch conceptual plan of your landscape layout ideas. This might not be accurate enough to estimate exact costs from, but it may aid you in visualizing your thoughts and sharing your vision with others. Using Google Earth to trace over a satellite image of your property usually provides a sufficient enough base map to serve as a foundation for her designs.
A proposal is the business end of landscaping, where dollars meet the dirt. What would you do with one million dollars? Landscape your yard, you say? We can help you with that. Or perhaps just one thousand dollars? Either way, everyone has a budget, and the purpose of a Budgetary Proposal is to answer the question “How much will this cost me?”
You have a set of existing landscape plans, and they are detailed enough for us to do an accurate take-off, we will happily provide you with a very detailed spreadsheet of material quantities and cost estimates to install. We live for Excel spreadsheets, everything in neat little black and white boxes, very precise and OCD and accurate. Even if you don’t have a detailed blueprint to start with, if our mutual ideas are solid and detailed enough, we can often create a fairly accurate Budget based on
our initial Meet & Greet and some site measurements and verifications. We provide this estimating service free of charge, as long as you provide us with details we can measure and provide us with your budget.
Our spreadsheet proposal format – very detailed.
Please note that without your conceived budget, we are wasting both your time and our time pricing a project that conceptually may be ten times what you are willing to The more sophisticated and larger project is the more office time we have to invest in to designing, planning, and allot more time will go in too selecting the materials, picking them up, and quantity of trips it will take to get everything to your property. Often times people have “no idea” what landscaping will cost, that’s why they call us to get a “free estimate”. That is perfectly understandable, as (thankfully) not everyone is an expert landscape contractor. You do, however, have a very clear idea of how much you’re willing to spend, at least in a budgetary range ($1k $5k? $15k? $ $50k? $250k?). To us it doesn’t matter how much you have to spend, everyone has a budget, what we care about is much of our time, how many employees we have to involve to make this happen. Our goal is to manage and meet your expectations, which requires us to match your landscape desires with your landscape dollars.,
There’s a reason we have the highest certifications and A+ ratings with independent business watchdog groups: If you still feel uncomfortable providing your budget to us, we understand, and will work with you as long as it may take and guide you through this process all the way. We will charge you a flat $100 fee to cover our estimator’s time, fuel, Trips to your property and administrative time to produce an Unqualified Budgetary Proposal.
Congratulations, you have chosen wisely. You are ready for us to install your new landscape. Let the construction begin! Landscaping is fundamentally quite simple, if you follow a logical progression of work. We start by Setting Up the jobsite, moving our equipment, portable toilets, materials, etc., to your property. Next comes Demolition and Site Preparation. Out with the old before in with the new! Underground follows demo. This includes any trenching for electrical, water, gas, sewer, drain, irrigation, ponds, etc., as well as excavations that may be required (no sense digging a gas trench only to dig it up again while excavating a pond, we think of such things in advance, we do, smart, we are). After underground comes Form & Outline. This includes hardscape features such as patios, walkways, fences, etc., that help define a space or form an area or outline a traffic pattern. You may also have Special Features installed at this time. Perhaps a waterfall, fountain, BBQ, outdoor kitchen, or other special use item. Once all hardscape features are in place, Planting & Irrigation comes next. Here is where we turn your yard brown with topsoil, then green with plants, then wet with water to keep everything brown and green and wet. We may also install Lighting at this time, such as low voltage path lights, accent tree up lights, area downlights, or underwater pond lighting. Finally, phew, finally, comes Cleanup and Final Inspection, where we make everything look good, get your approval, and finally leave you in peace to enjoy your new outdoor living space.
So what happens when it rains, snows, hails? Here in Washington, we all fall down in thanks to the rain gods for our good Weathers! We get no rains, storms and working conditions are perfect at least 9 months out of the year. We should be so lucky! NO, I am kidding. We get more nonstop drizzling, medium rain or pouring rains than any other state in US. Washington receives 45 inches per year. If it rains lightly, or may clear in an hour or two, we might just continue working, or hunker down in the trucks for a bit until it lets up. If it’s absolutely dumping rain, or jobsite conditions prove counterproductive, we’ll pack up and leave or just not show that day or work somewhere else until the storm passes. Please keep in mind our employees get very sick during times like these, get soaked and it takes two to three times longer to do the same job.
So what happens way too early in the morning each work day? We show up at your curb, ready to work. Depending on driving conditions, we typically arrive between 8am and 9am, and typically leave around 4pm to 5pm. Jobsite parking can often become an issue, please inform us of any concerns.
So what happens when we make too much noise / dust / etc? This is construction, after all. We do not play music, employees do not behave in ways where neighbors may complain. Typically only noise anyone may hear, is us operating our tools ,equipment. Some level of inconvenience must be expected of yourself and your neighbors. We of course try to minimize our impact on others as best we can, but some level of irritation on behalf of someone seems to be inevitable. Please let us know if this is a cons earn , and we will do our best to remedy the situation. In 18 years we never had one complaint, but like to bring this to your attention.
You have a few choices to consider concerning how we proceed to charge you. Both choices are physically the same process, in that the same crews do the same work in the same workmanlike fashion with the same guarantees and warranties. The difference is solely in how we bill and how much you pay.
Bid Billing: Once we have given you a Proposal, we can easily (as in two mouse clicks) convert your project to a Bid Billing System. You have your known costs for individual line items, and your known total cost for all work as detailed in our Proposal, we simply bill you weekly on a percentage basis of work performed to date. In other words, your first billing will typically include Setup and Demolition line items billed at 100% complete for the first week of construction, as we move on to your property and begin our cleanups, and zero percent completed for line items we have yet to do (walls, lawns, etc that we haven’t even begun yet). As work progresses, the second week you may be billed a percentage for individual line items as we begin them, such as 20% for Concrete Removal, 35% for a Wall Foundation, 50% for fencing materials delivered to the site but not yet installed, etc. We only bill you after the fact for work actually performed, based purely on a percentage of work completed. At the end of your project, we will be 100% complete, and all your individual work line items will have been billed out at 100% as well, up to 100% of the total known set cost of your Proposal.
Sample percentage bid billing format.
Bid Advantages: For people who feel most comfortable working with a set, known, firm monetary figure they can take to the bank, Bid Billing is ideal. (Actually, technically, we take TO the bank, you take FROM the bank, a minor detail that fortunately keeps us in business.) The unit cost of items is fixed at time of contract, so you will always know how much a square foot of concrete will cost you throughout the project. The only variances to your total landscape budget come when you change quantities. If you make your patio 200 sqf smaller, we issue a Change Order for -200 sqf of concrete (at your set contracted unit price per square foot) and charge you less. Conversely, if you make your patio 300 sqf bigger, we also issue a Change Order for +300 sqft of concrete (at your set contracted unit price per square foot) and charge you more. Your unit prices always remain the same, only the quantities may vary on Change Orders. If you add more trees, you pay more. If you don’t install a BBQ unit, you pay less. You only pay for what you get, at a rate predetermined on your Proposal and agreed upon in your Contract.
Bid Disadvantages: The dreaded Unknown! (play scary background music here) Unless something comes up in Discovery (turns out your house was built on an underground sea cavern we almost fall into as we try to dig a pond, for example, true story, craziest thing), your bid costs will remain fixed. The disadvantage to Bid Billing is that estimating is just that: Estimating. When we produce a Budgetary Proposal, it is our best guess estimate based on our decades of experience. We could be wrong, or unforeseen events (rain, traffic, materials shortages) may affect costs. We understand that a construction estimate is not an exact science, and we factor in a percentage for The Unknown, which you ultimately pay for in Bid Billing. When we assume all the risk, just like an insurance company, you pay us to do so. And just like insurance, where you have the peace of mind knowing exactly how much your deductible is during an accident, you pay for the peace of mind knowing exactly how much your unit prices are, and unless you decide to change quantities with a Change Order, that peace of mind comes at a fixed contracted cost. If it takes us less time than we estimated, we win. If it takes us more time, we lose. We assume all the risk and keep all the rewards.
Sample time & materials billing format.
Time & Materials Billing: We can just as easily (two mouse clicks in our estimating program) convert your Proposal to a Time & Materials Billing system. Your known line item costs remain the same from your Proposal, your bottom line estimate remains the same, nothing changes, we simply bill you differently. In a T&M system, rather than charging you fixed Bid unit pricing ($6 per square foot of concrete, for example), we charge you fixed labor rates ($60 per hour masonry labor, for example) and a fixed percentage over cost (20% over invoice, for example) for materials. For 100 sqf of concrete, Bid Billing at $6/sqf will ALWAYS come out to 100 x $6 = $600, whereas in T&M Billing, if we do the work in 6 hrs and spend $100 on materials, your price will come out to 6 x $60 = $360 labor plus $100 + 20% = $120 materials, or $480 total. In this scenario, you would save yourself $120 going T&M rather than Bid. Conversely, if it took us longer than anticipated, say 10 hours, your price would be $720, a loss of $120 if you go T&M rather than Bid. With T&M, you pay for exactly what time and materials are spent on that line item, however long it takes or however much materials cost.
T&M Advantages: As stated, with All Seasons Landscaping INC, you only pay for exactly what you get, nothing less, nothing more. If you are willing to assume the Risk of the Unknown, you are more than welcome to reap all the rewards. We’re not greedy, we’ll share. If you are a gambling type, you understand that the house always wins. We wouldn’t be in business for 18+ years if this were not true. We may lose some, we may win some, but in the long run, odds are we will win. You may have on-site materials you want to use. You may have a helpful (yet unwilling) teenage son willing to work for free. If you are the type of person that tends to change your mind frequently as the job progresses, All Seasons Landscaping, INC Billing offers the ultimate freedom of choice as at any time you can say stop, go, more, less, take it out, move it, try this, what about that, etc etc. You are in control. As long as you are willing to pay for it, we are for the most part willing to do whatever you ask.
All Seasons Landscaping INC. Disadvantages: Time & Materials Billing is the most true, honest, fair method of billing available. There are no hidden costs, no hidden profits. Your head may swim under a pile of paperwork, but we work All Seasons Landscaping INC. under complete transparency, as long as You Assume the Risk of the Unknown. We cannot say that we have been profitable on every job. Sometimes, things happen, and we end up paying you in the end for the privilege of having a beautiful yard rather than you paying us. Stuff happens, welcome to life. On the other hand, we’ve had some excellent family parties at the end of a job completed on time and under budget, so life can be good too, if you’re a risk taker. The main disadvantage to Time & Materials Billing is that you ultimately are not sure exactly what your landscape project will cost until it is completed, and if you are not careful, you may run out of funds part way through and not be able to complete certain aspects of your landscape as you may wish. More likely, you may get carried away in the fun and adventure of landscaping and end up spending more money than you originally intended. We can’t protect you from yourself, but we can sure help you spend your money. On us.
Please note we do not offer “time and materials not to exceed a set price”, with us your commitment must be all or nothing. If you’re willing, the risks, rewards, savings and losses are all yours. If you’re not willing, choose Bid Billing, not Time & Materials Billing.
On my way to the airport…..
We accept primarily checks as our preferred form of payment. We will accept cash, but please be aware that we are completely “above board” and do not offer any form of “cash discount” or other cash incentive.
We will simply fill out a deposit slip and take your cash to the bank along with everything else (he says on the way to the airport with a bag full of the company’s cash receipts…..see ya!) Can you say Aloha? Neither can I, so I guess it’s on to the bank….sigh.
Please take into consideration that we do not offer credit terms, We so take credit cards as a form of payment. There will be a 3.5% convenience fee . As your credit card provider offer you points and credit and airmiles, we get charged 3.5% fee to run your plastic. Invoices are typically presented to you as contract explains the terms and conditions.