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Scag52inch
04-23-2005, 07:39 PM
did small landscape job for guy and also a backyard cleanup. Cleanup took me three hours and i charged him $200. He was fine with that. The landscape project consisted of making oval shaped 8' by 10' bed , planting , then mulching. I dug out the sod , hard ground and pain in the as$, planted , even bigger pain in the as$, then mulched. Oh yeah I tilled in topsoil as well.
I charged him only $450 for the bed and he was irate. He never asked for estimate. Materials cost me $112. 9 hours myself and had help for three of those hours. What should I tell the guy. I hate to make a bad name for myself its a nice neighborhood! I understand the bed is small but 9 hours is 9 hours. Does my bill seem right?

grasswhacker
04-23-2005, 07:44 PM
did small landscape job for guy and also a backyard cleanup. Cleanup took me three hours and i charged him $200. He was fine with that. The landscape project consisted of making oval shaped 8' by 10' bed , planting , then mulching. I dug out the sod , hard ground and pain in the as$, planted , even bigger pain in the as$, then mulched. Oh yeah I tilled in topsoil as well.
I charged him only $450 for the bed and he was irate. He never asked for estimate. Materials cost me $112. 9 hours myself and had help for three of those hours. What should I tell the guy. I hate to make a bad name for myself its a nice neighborhood! I understand the bed is small but 9 hours is 9 hours. Does my bill seem right?

Should have been about 650-700 IMO.

rsls
04-23-2005, 07:47 PM
grass wacker what is IMO? and i think between 400-500 would have been my guestimate.

grasswhacker
04-23-2005, 07:49 PM
grass wacker what is IMO?

In My Opinion.

David Grass
04-23-2005, 09:28 PM
I have the attitude that, if they dont like my price, then I ask them , what do you think is fair? Putting the burden on them sometimes also puts the perspective of the job on them (empathy), and the price they think is fair, is often close enough for you both to be happy. This is always a good first try at arbitration without blood pressures rising.

LawnScapers of Dayton
04-23-2005, 10:12 PM
I know this does not help you.....but I never do work without an agreed upon estimate........


Derek

gogetter
04-23-2005, 10:31 PM
I have the attitude that, if they dont like my price, then I ask them , what do you think is fair? Putting the burden on them sometimes also puts the perspective of the job on them (empathy), and the price they think is fair, is often close enough for you both to be happy. This is always a good first try at arbitration without blood pressures rising.

Lol! So you let the customer name their price? Hey, that's a great idea.

And as already said, the price should have been discussed before hand. And if you couldn't give a price because you didn't know how long it would take, then an estimate, or your hourly rate should have been given.
The customer has the right to at least have some idea how much it's going to cost.

AGLA
04-25-2005, 07:25 AM
You need to have a contract. On every contract there should be a second page that lists the billing rates when things are done outside of the contract. The contract should have similar wording to "If it is not listed in the contract, it is an extra and will be billed as such". That way no one is renegotiating when you find the buried Volkswagon when you go to plant a tree. It is extra and you bill for it rather than eating it.

YardPro
04-25-2005, 08:28 AM
you have more than 9 hrs. you have 12 hrs in the job... you said you had help for 3 hrs...

sounds like an unfair price to me....

unfair to you...

olderthandirt
04-25-2005, 11:18 AM
There need to be a place on this forum before you can become a member that you need to prove that you KNOW and USE a contract.

DLS1
04-25-2005, 11:36 AM
A simple one page contract that says when you will get paid (i.e. 50% up front and rest when job done), list what you will do, materials you will use (i.e. mulch, plants, etc.) and price for the job.

I see you are 20 years old so he may thought he could get it cheaper by someone new to the business.

JTHutch
04-25-2005, 06:53 PM
I have this problem with a few customers of mine. I even have contracts they will see the estimate and think it is a suggestion and try to bargin with me. I just tell them this isn't lets make a deal this is my price take it of leave it.


In your case I would let him know what you did price out the laber for him price of materials etc.. and say this is the price because and have everything itemized. And he will probably still thing it's high but may be able to see why the cost is what it is. And BTY I would have charged about $600 for the project

YardPro
04-26-2005, 08:31 AM
There need to be a place on this forum before you can become a member that you need to prove that you KNOW and USE a contract.


i disagree with that...

for small jobs like this we NEVER use a contract.

DLS1
04-26-2005, 09:23 AM
i disagree with that...

for small jobs like this we NEVER use a contract.

You might disagree but it is not good business sense to start a job without a contract. Word of mouth doesn't hold up much in court. It only takes a few minutes to do a simple contract.

Scag52inch
04-26-2005, 09:47 AM
You guys hit the nail on the head... think the guy thought I was young and he could take advantage. I never use contracts on small jobs only on big ones. I will though in the future always give an estimate on every job.

olderthandirt
04-26-2005, 10:25 AM
You might disagree but it is not good business sense to start a job without a contract. Word of mouth doesn't hold up much in court. It only takes a few minutes to do a simple contract.

ABSOLUTLY CORRECT, and if you don't want to have the trouble of collecting your money you might think of the fact that with out some kind of written proof that you are suppose to be on the property, you can be arrested and convicted of trespass. WTF is so hard about getting a written agreement thats says you will do xx work and will be paid XX amount $$$ by so & so day? Any potential customer that is afraid of signing one is not trust worthy. And if you don't have the time to pick one up they make Faxes and email which are legal in court.There is absolutly no reason to work with out the protection of a contract.

drmiller100
04-27-2005, 09:47 PM
there are lots of customers in the world. sometimes they need educated. explain to him how much work it was, and how long it took you.

ask the customer what he thinks is fair. then get a check for that amount.

then get a new customer.

doug

sheshovel
04-27-2005, 11:44 PM
I will for sure get flamed for this one but let me ask you a few questions first.#1 if you were able to till in topsoil then planting should have been a breeze.How many plants did you install?
#2-why dident you rent a sodcutter or a tool to make the job go faster and saving your cust $ and yourself unneccesary time consuming work?
#3-Couldent you have cut out the sod,added 2'good soil,tilled and planted on that to make your planting easy?If you think that little job was a pain in the ass just cuz of a little hard ground.You are in the WRONG biz man!!

gogetter
04-28-2005, 02:14 PM
ask the customer what he thinks is fair. then get a check for that amount.




That's the second post in this thread saying "let the customer name their price"!!
Are you guys nuts??? The price is the price, period!

pjslawncare/landscap
04-28-2005, 03:18 PM
Lol! So you let the customer name their price? Hey, that's a great idea.

And as already said, the price should have been discussed before hand. And if you couldn't give a price because you didn't know how long it would take, then an estimate, or your hourly rate should have been given.
The customer has the right to at least have some idea how much it's going to cost.

Ditto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scag52inch
04-28-2005, 09:46 PM
I will for sure get flamed for this one but let me ask you a few questions first.#1 if you were able to till in topsoil then planting should have been a breeze.How many plants did you install?
#2-why dident you rent a sodcutter or a tool to make the job go faster and saving your cust $ and yourself unneccesary time consuming work?
#3-Couldent you have cut out the sod,added 2'good soil,tilled and planted on that to make your planting easy?If you think that little job was a pain in the ass just cuz of a little hard ground.You are in the WRONG biz man!!


Let me re-phrase what I did

First I cut out sod with my spade... I hardly ever use sodcutter especially not on a job this small

Next I spread topsoil and tried my best to till it in... it was bouncing my tiller all over the place.. just way to hard of ground but I tried my best

The next step was to grade and plant... which I did but it took me quite a while to plant about 7 1-gal plants and the rest were smaller but even they were a pain...

Ive been doing this kind of work since I was 15 (5 years) and Ive never dug harder ground in my life...If it does so happen that I do again Ill suck it up and dig it....

I still think my price was fair even If the ground was softer and it took me a little less time

dvmcmrhp52
04-28-2005, 09:52 PM
I'm just wondering how it is possible to have 12 hours of labor in an 8x10 bed ????

sheshovel
04-29-2005, 03:07 PM
Well that's what I was getting at to..mabey try and adjust the methods your useing.Sometimes you need to suggest another planting site,or poke some holes into the greound ans soak it for a few days prior to digging it.

Green Pastures
04-30-2005, 01:52 AM
I know this does not help you.....but I never do work without an agreed upon estimate........
Derek


I wonder how many times I've said this here on Lawnsite.

I don't for the life of me understand why people do work for ANYBODY without first agreeing on a price and then getting it in writing.

Jeff@SGLC.ca
04-30-2005, 01:59 AM
When I give an estimate, the customer should know that is the lowest the job will cost them lol. No haggling lower, just paying higher. I think the problem in today's world is ppl have lost the understanding behind quote, quotation, estimate. When an estimate is given, it is just that, estimated. When the job is done and you hand them the Bill, Invoice, that is the final price they are paying.

As far as contracts, for our lawn maintenance programs we have a 4 pager. For small jobs like clean ups, hedge trimming, plantings, we just use a simple one page service agreement.

kris
04-30-2005, 09:48 AM
Im not going to comment on the price ... that's like comparing apples to oranges on here.

I think your 12man hrs is too high ...With proper equipment that should have taken half that time. I would have sent 2 guys out in a truck with all the equipment/supplies on it and they better be done by morning break.

Simple one page agreement would have done fine for a job that small....and thats what this thread is really about.

You come to me and have me sign for 450 ... all is fine...you can take 2 days to do the job, I dont care

.... you dont give a price (which I would never do as a customer either) and I see you struggling with the wrong tools, little s10 truck that takes you 3 trips etc etc and I'd be pissed when you come to me and want 2 days labor.

...not saying there is anything wrong when starting out with wrong truck and tools....just be prepared to get flak on T&M jobs.

freddyc
04-30-2005, 09:54 AM
ABSOLUTLY CORRECT, and if you don't want to have the trouble of collecting your money you might think of the fact that with out some kind of written proof that you are suppose to be on the property, you can be arrested and convicted of trespass. WTF is so hard about getting a written agreement thats says you will do xx work and will be paid XX amount $$$ by so & so day? Any potential customer that is afraid of signing one is not trust worthy. And if you don't have the time to pick one up they make Faxes and email which are legal in court.There is absolutly no reason to work with out the protection of a contract.







You're wrong that any customer that doesn't want to sign is not trustworthy. Even on big commercial jobs some clents won't sign due to their own management structure.


Some small residentials are scared of contracts but have every intention of paying.

kris
04-30-2005, 09:59 AM
You're wrong that any customer that doesn't want to sign is not trustworthy. Even on big commercial jobs some clents won't sign due to their own management structure.


Some small residentials are scared of contracts but have every intention of paying.

Well then they better find someone in management that can sign.

ed2hess
04-30-2005, 03:08 PM
I'm just wondering how it is possible to have 12 hours of labor in an 8x10 bed ????
I agree that it should not take more than 1 hr to cut out the sod and haul it to the trailer. But in my mind there is a big red flag here...ground so hard you can't plant a few 1 gal plants in a short time. The next problem will be the plants are dead due to no water!! Should have had customer water area then did the planting. Could have cut your time a LOT!

Scag52inch
05-01-2005, 10:41 PM
look look look fellas...
seems you all are picking on me...lol. Im not driving around in an s-10 with homelite equipment, I have an F-150 thats not brand new but runs great. It will be replaced though in the near future. As for the rest of my equipment , I dont list it because I see it as being boastful, but its all Stihl. I dont think any sodcutter could have cut this ground. I had no idea it was as hard as it was. I did learn my lesson on this job to always give a customer at least a roundabout idea of what the job would cost. I tried that with this guy and his exact words were "just go to town". He never asked for an estimate. MY MISTAKEEEEEE! I wont let it happen again. :)

kris
05-01-2005, 11:28 PM
lol good scag ...live and learn

BTW ...the s10 was just an example ... I have no idea what you have.

sheshovel
05-02-2005, 12:21 AM
You might also make a habit of shoving a shovel into intended work area to test to see how hard it is going to be to plant.For $450.00 you could have rented a two man auger for that job and still made some $$ with a fraction of the hard work. :blob3:

Always remember,when all else fails use the right tools!! :cry:

larz
05-02-2005, 02:24 PM
Suggestions:
1. Get a contract
2. Roundup the area if theres time, then just till the dead plant matter into the soil.
3. Spend a half hour or so on the area with a pick ax, proir to tilling.
General bid time:
1. Sod cutting by hand (for some reason) 2MH
2. Till & grade 1.5MH
3. Plant, mulch & water 1.5
Thats about $150 plus plants ($100?), maybe $50 for the tiller > Total $300
Right tools - right attitude, gets the job done

Scag52inch
05-03-2005, 09:11 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. Finally got a check in the mail from the customer yesterday. Woo-hoo! It was about time. No nasty notes or anything...lol :cool2:

dvmcmrhp52
05-04-2005, 11:34 PM
look look look fellas...
seems you all are picking on me...lol. MY MISTAKEEEEEE! I wont let it happen again. :)





Nope. No one is picking on you. a question was asked and you got responses from a variety of different thinking people.....................the joy of a forum.................

Glad you learned something........... :waving:

CutApproved
05-05-2005, 05:30 PM
larz
Do I understand that you think it should have taken 5 hrs and charge $30.00 per hour ?? Way too cheap,, try $40-$45 per hour.
And you have to make extra money on the plants to cover some of the costs of the plants in case any of them die.

Just my 2cents