How to write consulting agreement

Purple-SageNovember 23, 2012

Hello,

This is my first visit to this forum. I am starting a very small garden consulting business. Primarily I help people improve existing landscapes by adding or changing plant material. I consult on plant material only - no hard-scape.

I need to write a consulting agreement, but am not sure what should be included and how to word it. Would anyone be willing to share some of the items they include in their contracts or service agreements. I know it depends primarily on the type of work I do. The work I do now may be considered by some as garden coaching, but would like to learn to design. I would like to connect with another garden coach or designer. If anyone would be willing to share by email, that would also be appreciated. Thank you

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gardengal48

Garden consulting is pretty much just a verbal discussion. I use no agreement for this purpose but charge on an hourly basis for my time and expertise (also travel). Any follow-up non-verbal material (quick sketches, plant lists, etc.) are generated at this rate as well. Garden coaching is just a fancied-up name for something quite similar that might have more of a hands-on, physical labor component to it but not requiring the need for any sort of agreement or contract for services.

Garden design is a whole 'nuther ballgame. That IS covered by a contract for services and it can get very specific with regards to the scope of services offered, time frames, performance standards, liabilities, fee schedules, etc., etc. There are various online templates addressing these types of agreements - you can review and cut and paste from any of them to come up with one that best suits your needs. Most small business start-up seminars or classes will also address these issues.

I would seriously look into what sort of horticultural schools might be available in your area. These - often of the community or technical college variety - usually offer quite decent design curriculums as well. You can learn garden/landscape design by osmosis but it is a slow and frustrating process. I would recommend a formal educational process or an apprenticeship with a practicing designer to learn as much as you can and as rapidly as you can.

And make sure small business practices (contracts, recordkeeping, accounting, estimating, time management, etc.) are a part of that curriculum.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 6:24PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Sound advice from Gardengal, and worth following up on if you're serious about getting more skilled/professional.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 12:55PM
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monicaholliday

Garden consulting and having a agreement is a good way in starting a business.Set a timeline and deadline dates. This clarifies when the various parts of the project are due, along with when the final product must be turned in by the consultant. Additionally, this section should include the specific dates that you will provide the consultant with any needed raw data or materials. For the contractor to meet the stated deadlines, she might need information, contacts or materials from you in a timely manner.

Here is a link that might be useful: best practice management reports

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:54PM
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