The answer to the title question is that old standby: It depends. At Birchcrest, the fee varies by the size and complexity of the project, and there are several ways to determine a fair amount. Most residential customers pay a design fee that will be applied to the cost of installation. Occasionally, we have billed the design fee as a percentage of the total job or commission on the products and services purchased on your behalf. For the customer who wants to do all or part of the work, we may charge a straight design fee.
There are times when customers ask why we charge for our designs when some of our competitors don’t. It’s because we provide finished designs prepared by a professional landscape designer. Those who don’t charge give you a quick sketch on a piece of notepaper or lock you into a contract to use their company for planting and construction.
It should be noted that professional designs are copyrighted and that the company that created the design owns the copyright. A landscape designer is the “author” of these creative works, many of which can take a substantial amount of time to complete.
Professional companies like Birchcrest never mail a landscape design to a customer. We always make an appointment and present it in person. Our designer will review the plan with you, get your feedback, and then take your comments back to the office and make any modifications.
We never leave plans with customers until the design fee has been paid. That’s when we exercise our copyright privilege to assign rights to use the design. It also protects us from those few unscrupulous people who would take our plans and shop them around for the lowest bid. In such cases, inferior plant materials and installation can reflect badly on our company when the customer tells friends that they have a landscape by Birchcrest.
If you retain our well trained installation staff, you can proudly, and accurately proclaim that your new landscape is by Birchcrest. You will also have the Peace of Mind of knowing that you have only top quality materials installed by people who are experts at what they do. Best of all, we guarantee the plant material that we install for a full year.