There are three values to consider:
The value to the designer
The design itself oftentimes represents a large part of an independent designer's income. Because the overhead is low, a large portion of the earnings is pure profit. It is easy for a designer to underestimate their worth because she might feel that there is not a lot of material cost involved and therefore worthless. As a designer, you need to determine what your value is, see what the market will bear and stick with it. If a client is not interested in paying for a design, they probably are not going to spend much on implementation.
The value to the client
A landscape design, when well planned, can reduce costs for the client in the long run by choosing the right plants for the right spaces and economizing on the overall function of the property. When a master plan is done, it can set a long term plan that can be installed in stages. It allows the client to be smart with budget, timing, and execution by reducing redundancy. Why re-do something when you can plan to do it right the first time? A landscape designer is easily worth their expense the way a good accountant can pay for themselves by helping you navigate the tax minefield.
The value to the contractor
If a contractor is good at execution but not very imaginative, a landscape designer can make him look like a rock star by providing a road map to a greater vision. A drainage fix becomes an attractive rain garden; a concrete patio transforms into a social backdrop. With the help of a great designer, a landscape contractor can bring the best to their client, serving them better and establishing long-term credibility with them.
So who is the biggest winner? The client.
A landscape design brings the finer details of plant and material orchestration and joins them with the skillful delivery of a landscape contractor to give the client an amazing experience from beginning to end.
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