5 Ways to Save Money When Planning Your Landscape Project
Do your Research
Go Online and research available materials and layouts you may like to better understand your options when starting your project. By going to google and typing in the words that are relevant to the project your are considering you will be able to see various examples of the size shape and color of the materials you are considering to use. Many manufacturers have large marketing budgets and have very nice layouts that will help guide you thru the process of deciding what you want and helping to form an expectation of what that project will cost. This will help eliminate a lot of the unknown as you begin the construction process.
Consider Size and Use of new Paver Project
One of the things to consider when laying out a paver project is the size of the final project. Things to consider are what will you be using the paver project for. Will it be an intimate spot for family or will you use it for entertaining friends. Consider the furniture such as tables and chairs that will be added and remember the space this will consume. Also consider the functionality of the surrounding home and landscape and how this will be incorporated into the project. Seldom do I ever hear a client say”I wish we would of made the paver patio smaller”, however once installed enlarging the patio or paver project post installation is not usually do able. A great way to get the feel for the size of your new project is to take a garden hose and use it to lay out the shape and design of the paver project you would like to build. Then go to the local hardware store and get a can of marking paint and outline the design of the hose. Now you have a viewable and visual idea of what your project will look like upon completion. Don’t like it? Simple just take the garden hose and adjust the design and take that can of marking paint and draw the new design. This will help you to visualize and feel comfortable with the project you are about to construct.
Every project has a budget that you are comfortable spending. Share this information with the contractors you consult with in the initial conversation. WOW this single tip will save you more money than you ever dreamed possible. I know many clients over the years have asked me why would I ever share my budget with the contractor prior to getting his or her proposal. Its very simple it’s a matter of its in your best interest. By sharing your budget with the contractor you will see a proposal that maximizes you’re your budget while giving you the most for your money. Secondly it allows you to evaluate proposal based on a common element. Let me explain, most clients I have worked with do not understand things like paver construction, design elements, paver choices etc, but I have yet to find a client that doesn’t understand budget. Once you have established your budget and share that with prospective contractors then you can evaluate the proposals based on a budget and which design and project will give you the most value. Given no budget and no direction you will be left to evaluate proposals that can be all over the spectrum in price and the evaluation process is much more difficult. I am a true believer in the idea that the “cheapest” price isn’t always the cheapest. And without a common element to evaluate understanding this usually isn’t seen until the project begins and you realize that you didn’t necessarily get the most value for your dollar.
The truth is that every buyer has a budget they are comfortable with and sharing this information at the onset can save you time, aggravation and money. I good example is car shopping. If I want a luxury vehicle I will not go to the YUGO lot and the same is true if I want a value vehicle I will not go to the Cadillac store. Shopping for pavers and landscaping are similar in this regard.
Get Multiple Bids
Typically I suggest getting three proposals for a paver and landscape project. The reason for this is quite simple.
Most clients haven’t spent the time researching the options available for their landscape. Three contractors who look at the same project will usually have different design ideas that will give you some options to consider for the final design of your project. These options will not only allow you to consider your original ideas of what the project will be it will help you to consider design ideas that you or one particular contractor did not think of. This can definitely effect your design, layout and budget prior to starting your project. As you build your relationship with the contractors you begin to have a preference for what contractor you feel comfortable working with. It is quite common to offer suggestions and let the contractor know that you have seen things that you want to include as a part of the project. Remember the goal is to create a project to be exactly what you want in a budget you can afford. This is where what you want and what a project will cost becomes much clearer.
Selecting the Right Contractor
The final piece of the puzzle is selecting the right contractor to work with. There are many things to consider when selecting the right contractor.
- These include but are not limited to
- Reputation and reliability
- Ability to perform the work
- Visit their Website
- Ability to manage the entire project
Reputation and Reliability
- Ask for references and do a check of your local BBB (Better Business Bureau) These two things will help you to confirm the reputation and reliability of the contractor you may work with.
- Secondly ask to see pictures of the portfolio of work the contractor has completed. This will give you an idea of the type and quality of work the contractor performs.
- Visit the contractors Website and get a feel for not only the quality of work they do but also for the information they provide to clients and future clients.
- Does the contractor you are considering have the ability to manage the entire scope of the project? Often times a project will include other trades and who will manage and coordinate the entire scope of the project. If not this could leave you in a position of being the project manager, a position most clients don’t want to be in.
- And finally throughout the design process you should have a feel for the contractors you have worked with and a comfort level with this process. Select a contractor you feel comfortable working with as they have delivered a design and project that meets your expectations considering layout and budget.
These tips are meant to give you a roadmap for selecting a contractor that will not only save you time but will give you the best value for your investment.