When a landscape designer refers a deck company, what do they want? The lowest cost? Kickbacks? Shortcuts? Not anymore.
Interior/ Landscape Designers often find dealing with Deck Companies a challenge, and vice versa. The skills of deck builders varies wildly and often there is a bit of a culture clash that can happen when expectations are not met. Designers, Landscape Designers and Architects are all quite different breeds and meeting their expectations can be a challenge for some builders. This post gives an insight into what makes our relationships with designers and architects of all descriptions successful.
Interior Designers and Landscape Designers want somebody just as professional as they are. Look presentable, show up on time and stay until the job is finished.
They may offer a full concept, but often it is just a wish list with a potential budget or a few photos of what they are thinking. They are looking for a collaborator–someone to add something to what they envision. Designers have masterful training to make it look good, but often lack the experience building to know “How’s and Why’s”. Basics to you as a specialist may be uncommon knowledge to many designers, so share what you know. This will grace you with respect later and translate into future referrals.
The Interior/ Landscape Designer should be up to speed with the Deck Company’s process. If you charge for design services, (which you should), they need to be able to explain that to their clients. Simply put, they are inviting a specialist in to bring their vision into sharp focus, then a team of professional builders, under the guidance of a master builder make it reality within budget and on time. This is the designer’s promise to the homeowner – so you better not let them down!
We usually meet with the interior designer and the homeowner to go over their ideas and share some of our unique insights. We compile a wish list together, take measurements and photos and discuss budgetary expectations. The interior designer will get a chance to critique the design in the draft phase and go over layout and details. Giving the designer the chance to critique is part of the collaboration and a necessary step in the process. When the designs are finalized, you can present, and quite often the Interior/ Landscape Designer will want to be present for that meeting.
Landscape Architects want more
Many Landscape Architects contract whole projects, and most are doing civil and commercial projects where the project is by bid/tender. Since they have their own installation crews I am often skeptical when a roll of plans comes across my desk 3 days before the bid is due. If you are going to participate in that scheme, expect to sell less than 10%, but the large jobs may be found to be profitable.
If you have access to products they either don’t have access to or didn’t realize existed, this can go a long way in enhancing the relationship.
When a Landscape Architect is doing a residential project these are more casual in nature and more similar to dealing with a Residential Architect.
I was speaking with a residential architect last month and he told me his part of the project ends at the front door. Sometimes they design a porch–but that is normally where it ends.
When an Architect is coerced into designing attached or outdoor structures, (they often try to avoid these kinds of projects), they are looking for an expert with the expertise they may lack. Architects are a proud bunch so if you don’t understand the concept of tact and putting the Architect’s reputation first, you are not the company for them.
To please an Architect you should be able to bring them up to speed with details that will help their outdoor projects last longer and age more gracefully than most. These folks love details, so don’t be shy. They need to know the subtleties like crown, ledger flashings and connections, helical advantages and even aluminum framing. Mutual back scratching–but defer from sharing that information with the homeowner, the Architect needs to be the tip of the spear when it comes to sharing information with the clients.
Credit When Due
When you are involved in a collaboration, you should automatically give credit. When a designer or architect works with you to create something even if the conceptual starting point looks little like what was actually created, you should give credit beneath photos or within the write up within the showcase where the images are used. Anything short of this will sabotage the relationship. The credit should read, (Concepts by Fabulous Designer — www.fabulous.biz ) or (In Collaboration with Fabulous Designer — www.fabulous.biz)
What makes the Deck Store the Designer’s choice for Decks in Toronto
We get referred because we make them look good. The experience is all positive, from the first meeting to the day we hand back the keys we meet expectations, budgets and deadlines. When we start, we stay until we finish and we back it with the best warranty in the business.
With the tremendous designers the DeckStore.ca has on staff including Robert Hodichak, Lawrence Winterburn, Megan Willekes, Olga Prokopchuk as well as the Paul Lafrance Design Crew, (link to the showcase pages), one might think that we would be in direct competition with your average Landscape Designer, however, we elevate their prestige and work with them in a respectful way.
The Best Materials and Features
From Wolf ASA/PVC decking, with a labor inclusive warranty, fade resistance warranty and structural warranty as well as the “Deck Store – 10 Year Workmanship Warranty”, the client can rest assured that they will not have to repair the deck for decades.
Our 6 enormous showrooms from the GTA to Ottawa, stocking a large array of decking products and decking related products make it a great destination for designers to take their clients window shopping.
We have our own aluminum railings made of thicker gauge aluminum. We are exclusive suppliers of Solana Screens, Arcadia Roof Systems and numerous other features you just can’t find anywhere else.
The Deck Store is well known as the composite deck experts in Canada, having installed the first Trex deck in the country nearly 30 years ago. We can steer you towards the best products to fit your client’s budgets.
Efficiency helps us fit Your Schedule; with 100 employees we make it happen fast!
The Deck Store has built relationships with numerous designers over the years and they come back year after year. We may just be one of the Toronto Designer’s best kept secrets!
Lawrence Winterburn is an Exterior Designer specializing in woodwork and “Outdoor Living Areas” with 30 years experience based in Toronto and Barrie, Ontario. He is the founder of “GardenStructure.com” and is an integral part of the “Deck Store” design team. He is known for showpiece outdoor and architectural features worldwide. See his work at www.gardenstructure.com and www.deckstore.ca.