This is one of the main problems in the industry. As I said sometime we do offer an incentive to the client that we will knock the design fee or a portion of it. It very much depends on how big the job is and if we really need the work. Sometime we find if we have quoted well we can make the money back square and far.
The problems within the industry is that there are too many designers out there at the moment and too many landscapers all completing for the same business and charging too little for design, this has always been a problem for as long as I having been designing. Garden designers in particular either (in my experince) charge too little because they dont understand the industry, its methods, or they charge too much (as they are a member of the SOGD (not of you involved in the SODG)) and provide a poor service. Landscapers equally, tend to do the minimum amount of design (good and bad) in order to quote for the work and then dont often charge. (once again, this is not all obviously ). But I have come across a few who do this.
It does undermine the position of those of us who have good experience and consider our services to be of a certain standard. This is a contraversal point but a lot of people enter the garden design market straight from a course having had a career change, never done all the necessary practical or hands on stuff, havent a clue about, design, colour, costings and projects management, but do lots of 45 degree angled designs, charge a fortune and make it work, others do a few jobs for their mates and friends of friends, run out of work and go back to doing their previous jobs. This is not new and thats why perhaps professional associations are of benefit.
Dave Sewell said:Personally I believe that that people undervalue things that are free. I also believe that the design is the most important element of a garden. A good one really makes it and a bad one will be a costly mistake. I cannot understand why you would want to give this skill away and I can't understand why the fee would be knocked off the price if the client goes on to do the build. If people are undervaluing the design process how on earth are good, creative designers who need to charge a fee to make their living going to compete?