Concluding the Meeting

As the meeting approaches an end, there are still several items that may need to be ad­dressed. First, it may be helpful for the designer to summarize what has been heard from the clients. This can be accomplished by repeating the major points and requests made by the clients. This helps to ensure that the clients’ thoughts have been accu­rately heard. Likewise, it gives the clients a chance to correct an item if it has not been understood correctly or to add anything they might have forgotten.

At this point in the meeting, the designer may also need to review information about the firm’s practice. This will be necessary if the clients have not reviewed a brochure, advertisement, or other resource, or have not talked very long to the de­signer before the meeting. The designer may need to review design philosophy, design process, and so on to make sure the clients understand how the designer intends to proceed and on what basis.

Client visits (3 at 1.5 hr. each)………………………………

…………….. 4.5 hr.

Site measuring…………………………………………………….

…………….. 1.5 hr.

Base map preparation………………………………………….

…………….. 2.5 hr.

Site analysis………………………………………………………..

…………….. 1.5 hr.

Concept development (2 alternatives)………………….

…………….. 2.0 hr.

Preliminary plans (2 alternatives)………………………….

…………….. 4.0 hr.

Master plan………………………………………………………..

…………….. 4.0 hr.

Total………………………………………………………………….

……………… 20 hr.

Figure 5-11

A suggested breakdown of time spent by a professional designer for a site.

Finally, the designer needs to discuss both the clients’ budget and design fees for the project. The designer should ask whether the clients have an overall budget for the design and its implementation. This discussion may require some education of the clients if they are not familiar with typical costs for master plans or with implementa­tion costs. The designer should also make it clear that most master plans get imple­mented over time; thus, the overall cost of construction and installation can be spread out over a number of years.

The designer needs to explain what the master plan will cost. Again, the designer should not be hesitant to charge fees for the design and should not hide such costs in the charges that are made later on for materials or installation. Professional design serv­ices by a site designer should be a separate fee from the construction, installation, and maintenance contracts. Time accumulates while preparing all the phases leading up to and including a master plan. Client meetings, site measuring, base map preparation, site analysis, functional diagrams, preliminary design, and master plan design can all add up to a substantial amount of time. And that may mean a sizable design fee. There is no specific amount that one should charge, but it is typical for a residential master plan to cost between $1,000 and $2,000. This may be viewed as inexpensive by some designers and as ludicrous to others, depending on whether they currently charge for design services. A suggested breakdown of this time is shown in Figure 5—11.

When 20 hours are invested in the development of a residential site master plan, then that time should be converted to a dollar amount. Companies may charge clients three times the designer’s hourly pay rate to cover overhead and profit. It is quite com­mon for a company to charge a client $50 to $100 per hour for design services.