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Hi Guys,

 

i am thinking to to start my own business as an independent Arboricultural consultant. I have my qualifications 5 in arb all certs required for tree work and surveying + couple more, have experience from private and public sector from dragging branches, climbing trees, listening to mrs miggins complaints about overgrown trees all the way to development report writing and consulting. I have done some small jobs on myself as consultant and have all necessary equipment (pen, paper, dbh tape, hammer, excel, word and insurnance). I am looking for your opinion: if there is still a place for small independent consulting business in South East? Also if some of the owners of consulting businesses can spare some tips/ tricks how to start the business or what to avoid it would be much appreciated. Appreciate any advice! 

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I am sure there is plenty of work in the SE, if you are happy doing 5837 and mortgage surveys.

I would call around architects and get friendly with all your local arbs firms..

Trouble might be having guaranteed work as surveys are always needed tommorow and  remember to charge a decent rate.

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Yeah, I am pretty aware of that “we need it by end of the week” you send it through day before and they reply that they changed the design... or landscapers are questioning that there were 3 trees on topo but you put 9... only thing is I have no idea what to charge as you selling your time on site time for report writting but also revisions and alll round support, which can easily skyrocket the time what you spend on the project... I do want to be competitive but not cheap... BTW I guess that tendering for public sector is a sci-fi for start up one man operation? 

 

Cheers for help guys anyway you have gave me a courage to start moving with it!

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1 hour ago, Dredik said:

Yeah, I am pretty aware of that “we need it by end of the week” you send it through day before and they reply that they changed the design... or landscapers are questioning that there were 3 trees on topo but you put 9... only thing is I have no idea what to charge as you selling your time on site time for report writting but also revisions and alll round support, which can easily skyrocket the time what you spend on the project... I do want to be competitive but not cheap... BTW I guess that tendering for public sector is a sci-fi for start up one man operation? 

 

IMHO it is all about managing client expectations. One option is to give offer a fixed fee quote but specify what that includes and agree that if the spec changes after a report has been written there will be an additional charge for updates. Most people accept that if the scope of a job changes  then it is only reasonable to charge for additional work. If people dont agree to this then you need to be careful as it generally points to someone who will get a quote for a job on one basis but then extend the scope of the job and expect the same price.

 

 

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I have had first quote over and with high probability have not got it I am wondering if I was not too expensive is 824 for Arb Impact Assesment TPP and survey too much for development of private propertty (extensions and cellar works) it happen to be 2 hrs on site and report writing, I have also included technical support deadline was 10days when they have contacted me. Is it in competitive figures? Cheers

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It seems on the high side to me, but maybe not if you're in the sunny south east.

 

I get clients in part because they knew me as a TO, prior to me moving to consultancy. I also have 'potential' clients who won't use me whilst I work for a large multi-national outsourcing organisation, but would if I turned sole-trader.

 

Theres nowt as queer as folk.

 

Building relationships is key to any business, and starting from scratch isn't easy.

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1 hour ago, EdwardC said:

 

 

Building relationships is key to any business, and starting from scratch isn't easy.

That is very true and it is the key to success and, as you say, it isn't easy.

 

It sometimes helps to put yourself in the position of the person you are selling to and try and understand their position, motives and what is causing them stress and whether they have existing contacts for doing the job that you want to do.

 

If you are a newcomer to the self employed lark, why would a customer choose you (an unknown quantity) over someone who they have worked with before because they may not want to take a risk on employing someone who may not deliver.

An obvious way is to pitch your price below that of the competition but this is a dangerous practice as it is easy to reduce prices but it is hard to raise them later.

 

Another way of attracting a customer is to offer something of value that does not necessarily reduce your margins. When I was in your position (albeit in a different sector so these may not be applicable but you may get the idea) I tried to avoid being the cheapest but would try and add value to the service in other ways. I would offer to hold meetings after 5pm or at week ends so they could concentrate on their day job before dealing with accounts and tax. I also offered a fixed price but with a right to discuss a revision (up or down) if the scope of the job changed significantly. Unlike many professionals that send out a bill for every phone call for ad hoc advice I told clients that they could phone at any time if they had a query or concern and that they would not get a bill for any calls as it was part of the service.

Of all the things I tried, this was the one that  really got peoples attention and from a personal perspective it adds little to the work load and experience has shown that knowing what clients are thinking of doing in advance actually makes my life easier in the long run because I don't have to spend time trying to unscramble some dodgy scheme or action suggested by a random bloke in a pub.

 

If you put yourself in the shoes of your customer and see what you can do on a technical level or even a basic admin level that will make his life easier then you may find it to be an easier sell (although to start with you may need to discount your prices a little to get into the game).

 

 

Good luck. Remember, as a self employed person there will be times when you only have to work half days......and it won't matter which 12 hours it is.

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Hi all, just bit of an update for progress and more questions. I have got first bunch of customers I am putting price slightly below if customers are willing give me feedback (25% discount for that). So far so good I am still earning some money but find it difficult to manage waves :) last two weeks I had 4 clients and this upcoming week I have only 1 who I can’t serve as I was busy.i guess I will need to allocate more time for this as customers seem to appear in waves and want results now.

 

Anyway, I wanted to ask for advice what “tools” to look for I need laser believe it or not, not necessarily for the tree measurements but for other stuff (marking rpas you know the drill;) and was thinking about getting software for tree surveying however price tags of the licensing is far away from what I would expect. I don’t mind to spend some £ annually if I get solution which allow me to collect data and produce plans (excel/google docs can do charts etc easy) On the end of the day it does not take much to turn the money back even being cheap as chips but can’t get across of anything feasible for that price. I don’t want to go full in for pear or other, as I am still sort of figuring out what will be my needs but need draw plans and need collect data. I use excel but I like something what would capture gps coordinates (pretty precice as it is a key for planning and mortgage/insurnance, which I was dealing with recently) and Cad tree crown and RPA circles drawing, as i have found it labour intense on freecad.

 

any little help

 

cheers

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