Lisa, gut instinct is a primal and often never wrong feeling.
If the design has been priced and signed off, raise a change order for EVERY alteration they want (including your time) and have them sign it off.
Then you have an audit trail and they get to see that their indecision has a cost to you and them.
I do feel you already know what to do.....it's a hard thing to do - walk away from a 'lucrative' job, but balance that with the daily dread, possible sleepness nights and uneasiness when dealing with them.
I appreciate it easy for someone to say the above from a distance, but utlimately you know them best.....
if you were driving a car on a motorway and you felt something was wrong with the car or heard a banging noise , or you felt really dizzy - would you stop and pull over .... ie would you drive the car ?
Difficult one although I have to say gut instinct is rarely wrong.
Design isn't something I do and I understand you only want the best for the client but I also have to say that the client has every right to have the garden designed as they want it. As they pointed out, they are footing the bill. I think it's a fine line between giving them the benefit of your expertise and forcing a design they don't want on them.
If you proceed I suspect you may not be entirely happy with the outcome, however, the customer may be absolutely delighted, which is surely the main aim?
As you've stated its a lucrative job and were initially very keen. And judging from your post it appears to be aesthetics that is causing conflict.. I'm sure many designers get this often.
Garden design is in my opinion a funny old game at times. It's because we see such a wide and varied skills set. We are a very judgemental lot I have to say, viewing on line portfolios and sniggering at what we proclaim to be uttering pants.
This will always be the case as we have amateurs going professional with lack of training. Landscapers claiming they can design..when clearly they cannot!! I see it all the time and have to keep a stiff upper lip.
Back on topic, I feel you should put your prejudices to one side and crack on with it.
Lisa have you provided the client with a 3D sketch up view of his garden design?
In order for you to show the client how the garden will look and in the case of adding 'wrong' things why it wouldn't work from a practical point as well.
We have two types of clients
Whilst it is only our opinion, those clients that fit in to the first category, not only get a better end result but usually have an easier time with a lot less stress.
I’ve lost count of the events that we have turned up to where the client is still trying to make a decision about what is going where…it’s their money, happy to take it either way but we’d rather be involved and try to make the end result that bit better.
If I were you I'd walk.
Potential heartache, constant interference, a job you won't be happy with and no guarantee of payment - already sounds like a nightmare and downhill from here on.
some people will try and grind you down and want 'blood' for money - simple . its how they are.
dont get distracted and follow those 'walk away signs'. money is not everything lisa.
a few easy jobs will add up to the same amount of labour money , less hassel and less stress......
all the best . alternatively tell him to get a builder in to do the wall then call u after ....
sounds like thats all hes after to me really ' a bargain wall' from a gardener ........? bells ringing yet.??
- the amount of work/jobs i could have done and worked nearly everyday for 9 yrs......
NO Thanks ... you choose as your self-employed. YOU are the BOSS. :) all the best to you lisa.
Yep, I would professionally walk away-they have asked you to change it 3 times, with the extra work it probably isn't as lucrative as it once was.
I have a small planting plan going on at the moment, its only about 600 pounds, but I presented my draft ideas today and got vibes that they weren't, shall we say " blown away".The garden is hot and dry, but I think they want lots of fleshy, tall stately beautifully flowering plants, and the list of possibilities frankly ain't that long!
I will see what the initial response is after a few days but I may well doff my cap and shuffle off stage left on this one....
Don't spend any more time on it or dwell on. Stick with your instincts and walk away. Plenty of better jobs will come up in its place.
I've just been badly burnt and should of walked away when the woman started being really silly with me but I bent over backwards to accomodate her. In the end its just not worth compromising yourself for someone who won't appreciate it in the end anyway. She kept changing her mind and in the end any profit I thought I'd make disappeared.
Customers don't always know best when it comes to their gardens or why would they be asking you to do it? Thats why you were called in in the first place.