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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 08-24-2012, 05:06 PM
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I gave the prices directly to the client in the form of a detailed contract.
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:22 PM
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Did she get you the lead?
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Old 08-25-2012, 06:30 AM
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she brought me in on the project. I wouldn't call it a "lead", since I basically had the job from the start
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:23 AM
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Well if she brought you in or referred you to the project why didn't you put her fee in to your pricing? I always mark up my subcontractors at least 5%. She could have picked a different landscaper to refer. It's business...
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:47 AM
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She also refered a good contractor to have her project turn out well - that is business, too. The fee should be charged to the client from the designer, not a kick back from the contractor and definitely not both.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:21 PM
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It looks like this could have been worked out in advance. Many designers work with contractors on a commission basis that is spelled out (in writing) before any projects get to the contract stage. This holds true where the contractor holds the contract with the client. If the designer is entering into the build contract with the client, then the designer puts a mark-up on it. It is not appropriate to 'shake down' a contractor afterwards. Tacky, tacky.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:00 PM
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I agree with you Agla, I think that the client should know where their money is going, that the designer should charge for their services, and that I should charge for mine.

So, what happens when this designer runs out of quality contractors because none of us want to pay a kickback?

Answer- she starts recommending second or third-rate contractors to clients.

This is the problem that is inherent in a system like this.

This designer wanted to schedule a meeting with me to discuss 3 upcoming projects. I told her that I wasn't comfortable with the referral fee system, but I hoped we could still work together in the future. She didn't dignify my comments with a response. I couldn't care less.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:16 PM
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sorry but this is business if a designer calls me and says I have a project for you, where I didn't invest money to generate the lead, I didn't spend time to meet with the customer, discussing the project, etc. and all I have to do is provide a quote and almost be certain I'm getting the job, I would not be against to pay the designer the fee.
I know that almost all projects I spend 3-5% of the total cost of the job in related costs to get the job (driving time, labor, advertisement, etc.)
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:33 PM
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If a designer is paid by the client to select subs that will be paid by the client, it is illegal to get any form of compensation from the subs unless it is declared in writing to the client. You might think it is normal business, but it is not only tacky and unethical, it is a breach of contract and most definitely against the law.

If a designer is simply asked to recommend a contractor and is not under contract or agreement with the client to manage the project, it may be legal.

Another way for the designer to get compenstaion on the build legally is to take a general contractor's role by billing the client herself for the whole job and paying subs to do the work and keeping whatever is left (or eating any loss).
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:04 PM
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I may have missed this answer in re-reading the thread, but do we know for a fact that the client does NOT know about the fee?
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:03 PM
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The client does not know about the fee.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:49 AM
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ok. Then yeah, that sucks. Not how I would handle that at all.
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Old 08-31-2012, 08:04 AM
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Transparency matters a lot ! Perhaps the clients are not aware about the current retailing, they should at least know the overall estimates.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:54 PM
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I've actually been thinking about this thread a lot because I was asked to be part of a panel of designers talking about how we run our businesses, get paid, etc. Coming from the designer side of things I can see where this designer is coming from. When it goes to install, even if we explicitly point out that we're not part of the install team etc., etc., we're probably going to be fielding calls and emails from the client as it's going in. I've had clients question why I haven't been by to see how it's going. Charging a flat hourly rate for site visits sucks, so a percentage seems the way to go.

That said, the client has to know what they're paying for and what they're (theoretically) getting for that money. I work with contractors who I think are awesome. Because I can't GC a job (not a licensed contractor) I tell the client that if they want to work with the contractor I recommend and they want me to be part of the install, that contractor pays me and I'm a line item on their contract. If they hire a contractor who's an unknown, my time is hourly while I'm on site plus my travel fee.

A reasonably intelligent client will figure it out if you're a hidden % tacked onto someone else's contract. Even if your design fees are priced appropriately for time recovery, if you're a regular fixture on the jobsite they're going to wonder where you're getting paid. The thing with subterfuge is you have to keep it up. It's like that commercial that was on during cartoons, "one lie, leads to another..."
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:51 PM
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On the surface, it sounds like a good deal. You get the job handed to you with the idea that you'll get more, so you throw the 10% kick back to the designer and tell yourself that this is how business is done - if you don't do it, someone else will be getting the work, all you need to do is tack on the extra 10% to your price.

But, think it through. If others are also pricing out the job - some through the designer, but others might be contractors that the property owner want to get a price from. When that happens, your price won't be competitive with that 10% tacked on. The designer can only shake you down if she is in control of all of the bids. She's probably not going to hit the client's contractor up with the 10% kickback for fear of it getting back to the client.

Did she hit you with the 10% before you gave a price or after?
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