TRICKS I'VE LEARNED In creating a pond design digitally, you first need a digital photo of the area (5 Mega pixels min.) Next load it into your digital imaging program. Now you are ready. Many graphic or photo software programs such as PhotoShop and Microsoft's Digital Image Pro, will let you manipulate an object. For example, each individual object that is dragged to the work space is surrounded by a "bounding" box with nodes on the sides and corners of the box. By clicking on a corner node and holding down the mouse, you can drag the corner to make the object larger or smaller.
By clicking on the side node you can make the object in the box fatter or taller. With this feature alone you can totally disguise any object, be it a rock or plant, by changing its dimensions. Just by dragging a rock to the work space, copying and pasting it several times, you can change the shape of each copy of the original object. Not only can you make the rock wider, taller, flatter, larger, or smaller, you can also warp the shape, change the color, shade it or tint it. So with only a handful of rocks on the work space, you could create a veritable rock quarry! By dragging the nodes in a section of pond water, you can make the water fit any size pond by stretching or narrowing it. Need a couple more weirs in your waterfalls? A few more plants in the pond? A cat, a tree, a rock, bench, gazebo, bridge, stream? Just click and drag & paste, it's that simple.
Right after seeing the virtual photograph of his back yard, a homeowner exclaimed, "Let's do it." Not, how much will it cost, just "Let's do it." Another client joked, "Wow, this is so beautiful, I think instead of you building the waterfall, I'll just have this enlarged and pasted on our living room window!" Not only do I charge $350 per pond design photo, I recently increased my construction prices by 30 percent. And since implementing digital pond designs in my bids, my closing ratio on signed contracts has soared from 60% to 80%. Eight out of ten proposals/contracts come back signed with a deposit check enclosed.
Not to mention an additional $350.00 value added, for a digital pond design. Let's face it: people like to see what they are getting before they hand over their hard earned money. MAKING THE SALE If you are a contractor or pond builder, constructing ponds and waterfalls for a living, you must ask yourself, "Do I want to increase my income by 15 to 20 percent? If the answer is yes, then you need to start providing your clients with a digital pond design. When I meet with my client for the first time to survey their yard, I ask several important questions: 1.
Where do you spend most of your time when you are inside the house? Ninety percent of the time the answer is, the living room. 2. Where do you spend most of your time when you are outside? That answer is usually the patio. By establishing these facts up front, you can explain that the waterfall and pond location needs to be nearby the place where they spend the majority of their time. For example, outside the living room window or slider and near the patio. If their waterfall and pond are located in the back corner of their property, the only time they will enjoy it is if they make an effort to go out to where it is.
Once these issues are settled you now know where to take the picture. It is best to do a pond design in the place where it will end up being built. The next step is to explain that I take a digital picture of the area and create a virtual photo of the proposed waterfall and pond. In the event the client decides to proceed with the project, I deduct the $350 charge from their contract.
If the cost is approached in this way, you will rarely receive a "no" when your prospective client is deciding what to do. In addition, I mention to the client that if they decide to get other bids, they will have the photo which will allow them to compare apples to apples when getting the other bids. A virtual photo of a digital pond design is to a waterfall and pond builder as is a movie preview trailers is to the motion picture industry. While visiting the Macintosh dealer in San Diego, I was asked to observe the quality of the Power Mac's processor. The Apple representative played a trailer from the movie "Winged Migration." This clip was designed to play on the average Windows screen in a 3" x 3" window.
He played it on the Power Mac's 23" screen at "full screen" size. The result of this single visual presentation was my verbal response: "I'll take it," not "How much?" ( This is not an endorsement of Apple products. I do not market Apple products, nor do I have investments in the company) Disclaimer: My sales success rate of more than 80 percent is not solely the result of using virtual photos. I have been designing and constructing waterfalls and ponds for over twenty six years, well over 1,900 projects. However, it is obvious that this innovation can greatly enhance the success of any business, no matter how young. Recently I did a "cut and paste" job of an object that one of my clients recognized her cat in a digital virtual photo displayed on our website.
This client called me and couldn't figure out what her cat was doing at someone else's pond staring down at the koi fish. She was completely dumbfounded, but like I was saying, you can cut and paste anything anywhere in the digital world. WHEN CAN I START? Waterfalls and ponds are becoming a common addition to current landscape designs, with the projected future trends being even more promising. The digital age is upon us and we have the perfect product to utilize this technology. So get ready to give your computer a tune-up and let's get started! Happy Koi, Peace & Joy.
Douglas C. Hoover; CEO of Aquamedia Corp, freelance writer and author designer, architect, inventor, engineer and builder of over 1,900 waterfall and ponds in California or the past 26 years. Read my other articles at: http://www.ezinearticles.com Have a question? http://www.askdoughoover.com