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Phasing the work

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Breaking projects into smaller pieces will appeal to clients.

Kristen Hampshire | April 19, 2012

Breaking big projects into budget-friendly pieces has secured long-term accounts for Moscarino Outdoor Creations. Taking a phase approach to designing landscapes gives clients financial flexibility and allows them to buy into a large-scale plan without feeling the pain in the wallet all at once. And in down economy, a piecemeal approach like this has been a real boon for business.

The key is giving clients options in different price ranges. “We always present different concepts, and once we get the final plan, we break down every part of it as a cost,” says Chas Moscarino, president, Moscarino Outdoor Creations, Columbia Station, Ohio. “We lay out the project like a floor plan and price every material.”
    
That way, clients can make decisions on where they want to save and splurge. Also, taking a project in phases helps Moscarino Outdoor Creations meet high expectations on tight budgets. “If a client is telling me their budget is $20,000 but I see $80,000 of work on the property, I always ask if this is something they want to stake out over a period of time,” Moscarino says.  

By laying out a project in a phase format, clients can see the vision of what a landscape will be when totally complete, and feel comfortable with the immediate investment to get the project started.
    
For example, if a plan includes a $50,000 outdoor fireplace, the first phase might include setting concrete and installing electricity. “We get these elements prepped now so we can do (the fireplace) when the time is right,” Moscarino says. “The same goes for landscaping and trees – as long as we know it’s in the plan, we can prepare for it. And clients like that approach.”

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