Who Does What?
Let’s get down to business. There are 3 divisions within Designer Landscapes and they are: Design, Installation, and Administration. As our client you will spend time with people from each area and now is as good a time as any to define what gets done and by whom.
Try looking out at a patch of property and envisioning it void of anything – no grass, shrubs, plants, trees, or even weeds. Bobby has to do that at every site he visits. Even if some of what exists will stay, he must change how he sees it. As he listens to clients describe what they hope for he begins to consider how the new landscape will take shape. He examines the area to change closely but also looks beyond it to see what impact a new design will make on the total premises: buildings/homes, pathways or driveways or walkways. There needs to be a seamless integration within the total setting. He gets a feel for the location, observing the use of the space, the traffic, the probabilities and possibilities.
Then, with images and notes and sensory memories he settles into his office area and centers a project. To provide what clients ask for he researches catalogs, web sites, written notes and idea files, where there may be photos of past projects or just places that were admired, knowing someday a piece of it may be used in a design. It is possible just the right design will grow from some totally unrelated scene or event. Inspiration comes from many places.
This process leads to the development of the design and the outcome of a formal drawing. Colored and coded for easy explanation, referral, and discussion, this DLI drawing provides the basis for beginning the bid work on both products and labor. Knowing there are more appointments and more projects to consider Bobby and Terry work transitionally. As the business/office manager Terry handles the steps associated with proposal writing and pricing, checking for accuracy, availability, labor and equipment. Once completed each client is presented with the custom design and bid. Upon acceptance Terry drives the implementation process and alerts Patty that another project will be scheduled.
Patty runs the actual on-site work on most every installation. A new project typically finds the crew and Patty loading up the trucks the night before they are due at a property. Double-checking takes place before departure, early in the morning, and being on-site before homeowners leave for the day or before employees arrive for work has become standard procedure. Crew members arrive briefed. The all-important drawing remains with the team for reference. Tools and plants are removed from trucks and work begins. There’s no slowing down except by those passers-by who frequently comment on the professional approach, the efficiency, the determination, and the tidiness of the work.
A successful installation relies on strong leadership, solid estimates of time and materials, effective decision making and direction. The crews understand what takes place and respect that there is one person who is the answer person, the go-to, the responsible and in-charge business owner. They all share a common goal: Customer satisfaction, with work completed in a timely, orderly, professional manner. Total satisfaction includes loading up scraps, wrappings, tools and equipment – leaving no trace of having been there that is not a part of the client’s dream.
Somehow DLI’s owners successfully managed to maintain the aforementioned fulltime roles and also run the nursery and office. All the same, the business grew and with growth came the addition of a business/office manager. Terry thrives on administration, understands the bottom line, communicates precisely with clients, owners and crew members, and stays on top of all the operational procedures. Just about everything associated with DLI passes through Terry’s hands at one time or another. She keeps the records and files. She coordinates appointments and schedules. Bill paying and bill sending and everything in-between comes under Terry’s jurisdiction. Customer service and satisfaction starts with the front office.