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Introduction to Picture Build Landscape

Again, thank you for choosing Picture Build Landscape for your outdoor project. We feel it is important that you understand more about our company and how we go about things. This way you have a better understanding of what is going to occur during your project.

Our Intentions

Intentions are at the bottom of every action and undertaking that people take. This is no different with organizations and companies. A company’s activities are the result of the intentions of the individuals that make it up. When the individuals of the group truly want good things for their clients then it will show in their actions and communication. This is no different with our company.

Our intentions are reflected in our business code:

  1. Use the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would want to be treated. This applies to our company as well as individuals.
  2. Be Honest.The truth is sometimes tough but worth it. Be truthfully with clients, employees and vendors.
  3. Constantly Strive to Improve. We are never satisfied with what we are doing and want to find better ways to do what we do. Only with this attitude can our company be successful.
  4. Always Fix a Mistake. Mistakes can occur. What separates our company from others is how we handle it. If we mess something up we own up to it and make it right.
  5. Always Use Good Communication. Poor communication can cause as much upset and trouble for a client as a bad job. Great communication builds understanding and trust.
  6. Be Clean. Construction is a messy business, but we want our jobsite to be as tidy as possible.

In addition to the above we also value getting things done in a timely manner. We track how long things take and work to improve our efficiency and results.

How We Are Organized

We are organized with different divisions within our company. Each division has a specific responsibility and each one has a different number of employees.

As an example, we have a division that handles Finance and a division that handles Production. The Production division is the area of the company that is responsible for designing and/or installing your project. You will mainly work with employees from this area.

Within the Production division we have 3 different departments. There is a department that handles Designing, one that handles the Production Coordination and a department that handles Installation. You may be contacted by staff of each department for your project.

The Designing department’s main function is to design landscape projects. If your project requires a formal design, then this is the department that handles it. We have designers on staff as well as some outside design teams we use depending upon the project.

The Production Coordination departments main job is to schedule the work, assign crews and ensure materials arrive on the job. After a job has gone through the design phase it is turned into the Project Coordinator who runs this department. That person will contact you regarding schedules and material questions that may arise.

The Installation department’s main job is to install the work and coordinate all the elements of the project. This includes: checking all onsite workmanship for quality; coordinating various crews on a jobsite; handling client questions and potential changes, having inhouse meetings regarding jobs and job progress and also performing all the skilled installation. The department manager is also called the Project Manager. This person is the usually the main contact you have on your project. If there are any questions or concerns you should bring them up to the project manager.

Within the Installation department we have different crews.

They include crews for Paving and Hardscape, a crew for Masonry and crews for Demo and Landscape Installation. Each crew has a Crew Chief, a Journeyman and one or two Laborers. Which crew works on your project depends upon the scope and how many different things we are doing there. You could end up with several different crews.

Sometimes you may interact with Crew Chief or Journeyman on the jobsite if there is a minor question etc. However, normally it is best to work with the Project Manager to ensure all the communication flows to all the people that need to know.

On some occasions we must subcontract certain portions of a project to an outside company. Things like Carpentry and Pool Installation or Finishing. These trades require different licenses and we need other installers to handle those. Our license allows us to pull permits and subcontract these items though.

Most of the equipment and vehicles needed for your project are owned and maintained by Picture Build Landscape. We do often have to bring another company that has a large dump truck to help with heavy excavation projects like driveways and larger grading projects.

Our Project Management Software

In our company we use a project management software called Builder Trend. It is an online software program that allows to keep track of all the projects that we work on. We use it religiously. We enter in all our client contact details, save documents, photos and designs, track client payments and tons of project communication. This allows us to be more on top of our game which in turn results in better service to our clients.

There is also a customer portal for every project. This allows our clients to access the system and view files, send messages, upload photos and track change orders and payments. Your Representative or the Project Manager can get you set up on that.

Our Licensing

We hold a C-27 and C-8 contractors license in the State of California. The C-27 is a specialized contractors license that allows our company to contract several different types of trades and pull permits for almost anything outdoors as long as it is related to an overall landscape project.

If we were to just build a fence we cannot pull a permit. However, if we build this as a part of a larger landscape project we can. This information is all covered in the Contractors State License Board website concerning C-27s.

Our Insurances And Bond.

We carry a complete set of insurances. Including workers compensation, general liability, vehicle and truck insurance and bonding.

For contractors the most expensive item is workers compensation. This is required by law in California in order to carry a contractor’s license. If a company does not have it, they are operating illegally. It covers injuries sustained by a worker while at work. A contractor must ensure that all workers compensation on a jobsite are covered by this insurance. Including any sub-contractors they hire. If a sub does not have insurance, the main contractor must pay for their employees through their policy.

General liability is not required by law, but it does protect a contractor in case there are damages created while performing work. It is something that all homeowners and commercial operators should require because if something were to go wrong (and this has happened in the construction trade) they know that the contractor is properly insured to cover potential losses.

Vehicle and truck insurance is required by law and is mainly there again to cover potential losses while operating a vehicle and/or truck used during the course of work. Commercial vehicle policies are different than regular personal policies and the contractor should be carrying a commercial one.

Bonding is required by law California and is the least expensive of all the insurances. Usually only $100-$500 per year. It basically protects the person or group entering into an agreement with a contractor. If the contractor fails to uphold their end of the contract the person or group can seek restitution by going after their bond. An example would be if a homeowner made a progress payment, but the contractor bailed out and did not actually complete the work paid for. The homeowner could then go after their bond to recoup the money given.

Unfortunately, a lot, and we mean a lot, of contractors do not carry insurance or have insufficient insurance to cover any potential problem. The main and obvious reason is that it is very expensive. If you’re a roofer, and have several crews, your workers compensation alone can run up into the hundreds of thousands a year. This of course comes right off the company’s bottom line. Contractors who only compete on price often do not have the money to cover the expense and try to get away with not having it. This is a decision that a consumer or commercial group must make. Are they willing to roll the dice with a cheap but potentially uninsured contractor?

A question you always must ask yourself is - If a contractor is willing to” bend the rules” and not carry proper insurances what other rules will they bend while during the project?

How We Price

At Picture Build Landscape we try and be very transparent in how we price a project. What we do is monitor our project costs and add a percentage to that to come up with a standard pricing schedule. The breakdown goes:

Total Project Price

100%

This is the amount of the contract plus any change orders.

Cost of Goods

71%

(average)

This is the labor, material and other direct costs that related for that one project only.

Associated Overhead

21%

(average)

These are the costs related to just running the business whether you had 100 projects or none. Things like insurances, rents, taxes, etc.

Profit Per Job

8%

(average)

This is the average bottom line for the company before taxes or equipment purchases.

As you can see the bulk of the price charged to you as a client goes right back into installing and supporting the project. That is why our pricing is fairly set. We have a price list and operate from that. Sometimes we have people tell us that other companies are bidding a project 20% or more lower than us. We are an efficient company and often scratch our heads and wonder how they could to offer that pricing and still be in business. We figure that they must be either providing substandard work and materials or “breaking the rules” and not running their business legally (not paying workers comp, payroll taxes or falsifying their books).

There are a lot of good contractors out there, but it is amazing how many contractors there are that don’t run their companies correctly. You must wonder, if a company is willing to be unethical and break the rules on how they run their business, what other things would they be willing be unethical about?

However, as a customer of Picture Build Landscape you won’t have to worry about that.

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