Something doesn’t look right to your customer in your design. They don’t like that tree there. It’s the wrong shape for the flower bed. They want a different color of plant, wood, or stone. It’s a common occurrence, especially when dealing with people’s tastes, likes, and dislikes. Landscapers anticipate change is going to happen at some point throughout an installation project. But how they handle that change can be very costly to their business. With plenty of hours being spent re-doing designs or ordering new supplies, it’s not cheap to the business when change happens.
For landscapers who are used to doing everything by hand, a client’s change in design could mean an entire re-design of their original plan. And if they are not using some form of landscape design software, that means on many occasions, they’re breaking out the pencil, crayons, and paper and starting from scratch.
“I was trained to do everything by hand,” said Wickie Rowland, APLD of Labrie Associates Design & Build. “I enjoy that whole process. But after a while I started to realize, as much fun as it was, it was cumbersome. I wasn’t able to be all that efficient. When a client had a change they wanted to make, it often meant drawing the whole thing all over again, and that gets old fast.”
Landscape design software saves time
Some landscape designers can take anywhere from three to 12 weeks to complete a design, depending on the size of the property. So, starting from scratch on a large property could add even more weeks to the schedule to complete. If a drawing is being completed by hand, removing an object requires more work than an eraser. It could mean starting from scratch to get it right.
“I started thinking I was going to need to invest in some CAD software,” said Rowland. “I knew these fabulous designs were coming out of it that people were doing.”
Erasing a tree is as simple as hitting the delete button in your landscape design software. Each object is its own individual aspect on the drawing, which allows you to erase, move, or alter any object on its own or as part of a group, but still keep the original design. This is great when customers come in with changes to the design that perhaps only affect 5% of the overall design. It’s not starting from scratch, but just reworking what you already have. That’s something you can’t do with a pencil and paper. You can erase and alter, but once you put color down, you might have to start again.
Made for landscapers
Changes in designs were one of the reasons Rowland moved to DynaSCAPE’s landscape design software. The fun of re-doing designs was no longer there and became a burden to the business. While the idea of switching to a CAD system was difficult at first, the overall experience Rowland got was one with her in mind.
“What made me go with DynaSCAPE is that it was made for landscapers,” said Rowland. “We were the audience. There weren’t also things for architects and engineers, it felt really friendly.”
While the switch from Mac to PC has been a challenge, Rowland said using a landscape design software that is made for landscapers is the difference. It’s not a repackaged tool that was originally made for architects, but rather one that is specifically built for landscapers.
With that in mind, it’s the reason why change requests come naturally in the DynaSCAPE system. When it comes to designs and drawings, no two customers are exactly alike. Details will need to be changed on every design and, for some landscape businesses, that means a lot of extra hours to start from scratch. With design software, it’s now easier to make quick changes to any design. Customers won’t have to wait for changes, which can help you secure more bid victories.
Handle change while on the job
Change often comes while on the job. The customer wants the deck two feet wider. They want more or different kinds of flowers in the garden. Or just any last-minute decision they saw on Pinterest. It happens. If not handled properly, change orders can eat away at profits in a business, as the smallest request could end up costing big dollars in supplies and labor time.
That extra extension onto the deck needs more materials and will require extra labor time. Those new plants will need to be ordered, perhaps after the original flowers were already delivered. Those last-minute ideas you didn’t budget for in your original estimate can add hours of labor, but you don’t want to discourage your customers from requesting changes. It is their property, their space, and ultimately, your reputation on the line; being a business that can facilitate change is definitely a victory for you.
With landscape design software such as DynaSCAPE, utilize Manage360’s change orders when you need to add, remove, and substitute anything. Here you can apply refunds if needed or come up with the new cost of the work if the client is adding from the original design. See the original contract and all the change orders to know exactly how you got to where you ended up at the final bill. And most importantly, keep your financials and margins solid through the project. Don’t lose money by gifting your clients free labor and supplies when they request a change.
Don’t let change scare you
Change doesn’t have to be a scary thing for landscapers. It should be encouraged. It means you can offer more to your customers and in a lot less time. Wouldn’t it be great to show your clients your design and then tell them the changes they want will be done in a fraction of the time? Days perhaps, even hours to make the slightest changes could alter their opinion and ultimately cause them to choose a different company. With landscape design software, you have the ability to use change to your advantage. Instead of it burdening your business with extra hours of work, it’s now a selling tool that will win you more bids with quick turnaround times.