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View Full Version : Tired of hearing "I'm on a fixed income" yet?


nobagger
08-13-2005, 08:11 AM
I know money is tight with a lot of people myself included but this season I think Iv'e heard this line every other estimate. We gave a mowing customer an estimate for a small clean up with 1 yard of mulch installed for just under $200's, "too expensive". We just gave another estimate for mulch and cutting new flower bed edges, about 4hrs worth of work. The estimate came to $610.00 including materials. This was an older couple (nice people) very nice house but after I explained to them everything I thought here it comes, and I was right "oh boy we're on a "fixed income" I don't know". I called back with a follow up call as usual for us, and she said they went with another company for $100.00 cheaper but with no edging. Tried to explain to her why our estimate was so much different but to no success. We usually are about $45-$55.00/yd of mulch delivered and spread this other company must be in the $70's/yrd and more power to them but I don't get people some times.

Richard Martin
08-13-2005, 09:04 AM
I hear it maybe once every couple of years but I only provide landscape services to 2 of my customers. I am raising prices on about 1/2 of my customers next year from $2.50 to $10 per customer. So far the customers who I've informed have had no problems with it.

Shuter
08-13-2005, 09:07 AM
If I hear anything like that, I walk away. I try very hard not to deal with customers that will try to nickel and dime every price.

idacurt
08-13-2005, 09:48 AM
You know,it may be true.
My parents are in their mid 70's and they honestly are on a fixed income.
Most people of that age may have lost touch with current market cost for landscaping.If it were me,I would walk away from anyone saying that and let the local kids have at them.

git er done landscaping
08-13-2005, 11:20 AM
beautiful house two new cars in the oversized garage. fixed income yea right! these people kill me.

Runner
08-13-2005, 11:30 AM
Whenever I hear it, my reply is. "Yeah,...it must be nice to how much you're getting at the end of the month!"

ynvvbr
08-13-2005, 11:32 AM
it happens!!!

just remember we set the prices not them!!! or hell we'd all be working for free:)

topsites
08-13-2005, 12:48 PM
If I hear anything like that, I walk away. I try very hard not to deal with customers that will try to nickel and dime every price.

From the responses I read, I am glad you folks see this for what it is. It gives me confidence in this forum and is a far cry from the posts I have read before concerning this and similar problems, and a problem it is but I understand today it is NOT my problem.

Way I see it, they're belly-aching and plying everyone for mercy, oh please help me with my problem. They want the work done dirt-cheap but they DO expect A+ service and then just to piss you off, a larger-than-usual percent of them will have non-payment issues as well.

See I'm on a fixed income too, I pay myself a salary of one thousand dollars a month, and really MOST everybody I know is on a fixed income, especially if you work for someone else you get a regular paycheck and that paycheck is usually a fixed amount, is it not? Well it ain't unlimited, thus it is fixed.

I used to feel sorry for them like when they were old until I saw an 80-year old lady cutting her own grass and I thought if SHE can do it, anyone can!
One time some old couple tried to play me like that, but I got a glimpse of their riding mower sitting in the garage and I thought, these people are getting over on me, they put their rider away to make me THINK they can't cut their own grass (because they tried to give me the impression I would get to cut their grass long-term so long I please take care of this other pita work first, please, and of course for cheap...

I had some mother answer the door with baby in her arms and that sad look in her eyes, that one really ticked me because the baby wasn't in her arms per chance, it was there because she was using her baby to try and get a better price: I raised my estimate by 20% and that stopped the comedy show right then and there. If she hadn't pulled the stunt, I'd have given her the standard price but you see that's still too much so I don't feel bad about raising the price just to shut them up.

Far as money problems, I have a customer in a trailer park with a TINY yard and if SHE can pay 20 dollars for me to come out and play around for 10 or 15 minutes, then ANYBODY else can pay what I ask for, too.

That's how I started figuring it, and stopped feeling sorry for anyone.

But I do, I RAISE my prices when I see it coming because if I give them a lower rate hoping I'll get the job, that's when the haggling begins and now you're wasting more time. Give them the standard price and there's STILL a chance they start with the low-balling, but give them a HIGH price and you will see it is over right then, so now you can get on with life.

This is one of the reasons I like giving estimates in the bmw... Half the time when it's like that, I can see on their face the answer is NO before I even get out of the car. Really most any fancy-looking auto should do it, doesn't have to be new just nice (my bmw is 14 years old), even a nice shiny truck + shiny trailer works well, this is where I talk about if your equipment looks shabby then it is hard to get a good price but if your stuff is spiffy then it helps stop the bs, and bs it is and the sooner it's over, the better.

True Cut Lawn Maintenance
08-13-2005, 01:22 PM
YES i heard it this week Refer to the post i made titled "How would you handle this" this guy is living on vetrans income for disability and yet as im leaving the place the other day the garage door is closing and there sets a beautiful late 70's vette and a late 80's LeSabre and he also has Direct TV and i was like oooooo not cool, yet he wants me to come dig out this damn tap root that is worked its way into the basement for next to nothing

im still trying to make up my mind but you can guess as to which way im leaning

SproulsLawnCare
08-13-2005, 02:05 PM
Thankfully, I have been lucky in this aspect! I have one customer who is elderly, seems to be a vet according to stickers etc. on vehicles, and has recently had a heart attack that lead to him having his legs removed. He is obviously on a "fixed income" now. I quoted a price to perform lawn service and the first day out, he insisted to pay $20 more than the quote! That didn't hurt my feelings since I happened to underestimate the amount of work involved.

On the other hand, I had one customer who is quite capable of holding a good paying job, but chooses to work as a handyman for a local contractor on an as needed basis. His family receives something like $2,000 a month from the government for a disability of a family member. Additionally, their income level makes them qualified for full government assistance (food stamps, HUD). The combined amount at least equals an average family income for this area, and yet I never saw a dime for payment. The court date is set for the end of this month!

General Landscaping
08-13-2005, 02:27 PM
As a mechanic, I've heard the senior battle cry ....

I just let them know that I'm on a fixed income too. If I don't fix something; I don't have income.

That usually lets them know my positon on the pricing.

Precision
08-13-2005, 06:13 PM
If you want snappy comebacks I got those.

Fixed income huh. So your lack of planning for the future means I should work for less today?

Fixed income. Amazing, me too. My income is directly fixed to how much I charge you.

Fixed income. You know. I used to think I had that problem. Then I raised my rates.

Fixed income. I don't have that problem, what I do have is fixed expenses. If I don't charge enough then the mower payment doesn't get made. Then I too will be on the government dole.

None of these make any difference, except to give you a bad name in the community.

But the best thing to do is just smile. pause (until they say something). Then Well you have my price. Call me when you decide. Walk away. Add there name to the list of time wasters.

wojo23323
08-13-2005, 07:02 PM
I'm retired navy so I tell them I'm on a fixed income too. I always get the deer in the headlights look.

out4now
08-13-2005, 07:12 PM
A few months ago I was in Wally's getting something and there was an old guy complaining to one of the staff about how much a car battery cost and that he was on a "fixed income" yet latter the very same day I saw him buying 50 bucks worth of lottery tickets. I had to chuckle a bit.

stumper1620
08-13-2005, 07:50 PM
Thankfully, I have been lucky in this aspect! I have one customer who is elderly, seems to be a vet according to stickers etc. on vehicles, and has recently had a heart attack that lead to him having his legs removed. He is obviously on a "fixed income" now. I quoted a price to perform lawn service and the first day out, he insisted to pay $20 more than the quote! That didn't hurt my feelings since I happened to underestimate the amount of work involved.

On the other hand, I had one customer who is quite capable of holding a good paying job, but chooses to work as a handyman for a local contractor on an as needed basis. His family receives something like $2,000 a month from the government for a disability of a family member. Additionally, their income level makes them qualified for full government assistance (food stamps, HUD). The combined amount at least equals an average family income for this area, and yet I never saw a dime for payment. The court date is set for the end of this month!
kinda funny how the truely 100% disabled seem to do things like that. they are probably the one that can least afford to pay extra but they always find something to give over & above the actual bill. as for the others who feel the need to tell me about their fixed income I just respond with a simple " well then I have the perfect annual full service 12 pay program for you. would you like me to put a offer together for you to review?

Brianslawn
08-13-2005, 08:57 PM
i had one that was on a fixed income and couldnt afford to pay me in a timely manner. when i went to collect she was telling me about their new patio and hot tub they just got, and that they were getting ready to have a pool built out back too. i guess these sudden costly hardships made it very difficult for them to keep up with their bills. i feel so sorry for ignorant people like that. almost thought about throwing some bread crumbs at them.

Jamesgateslandscaping
08-13-2005, 09:13 PM
:realmad: Wow, this same thing happened to me this week. I qouted a job some weeks back and told them $1500. The lady said Im on a fixed income...can you do any better? Nope, can't, bye. Well I get a call 6 days later asking me when can I do it?. I get there, do the job (cleaning up after a tree company) and out of all the conversations I had with her telling her I cannot flatten any of the terrain because of the Boulders underneith and because I refuse to remove any of the extra trees off the property because she wont pay me the $65/trip plus $.10/pound to get rid of, well she calls me on thursday (worst week ever to call and complain, between a friend commiting suicide and buying 8000lbs of the wrong rock) she is complaining how she has to pay for someone to take away the logs (that we cut up and stacked nicely on the woodline) and how it doesnt look done (pine needles that she thinks we can chip but obvisouly CANT!) and she keeps complaining and I told her that we wont take the wood and cannot chip needles and cannot flatten the terrain anymore because of the boulder and keeps saying everyone says it doesnt look good, I wanted to F^&(ing strangle the old bag :realmad: , I told her Id take $300 of just to leave me alone :cry: . Im kicking myself and said to bad, if you dont pay me I'll see you in court, oh well, I just hope she wont bad mouth me.
SHE IS THE PIECE OF STRAW THAT BROK ETHE CAMELS BACK :angry: :angry: :angry:
Thanks for letting me get it out.
James

topsites
08-13-2005, 09:14 PM
YES i heard it this week Refer to the post i made titled "How would you handle this" this guy is living on vetrans income for disability and yet as im leaving the place the other day the garage door is closing and there sets a beautiful late 70's vette and a late 80's LeSabre and he also has Direct TV and i was like oooooo not cool, yet he wants me to come dig out this damn tap root that is worked its way into the basement for next to nothing

im still trying to make up my mind but you can guess as to which way im leaning

I'm with you, it's not that I'm such a total jerk that I would NEVER want to help someone who is truly in need, but my experience in this particular area has been similar to yours and I'm tired of being taken advantage of as I feel in a LOT of cases the sob story is only for the purpose of getting a discount and NOT because in truth they are so bad off... For me, never ONCE was someone like that in a wheelchair but I DO have a customer in a wheelchair who pays the standard rate and never pulls that crap on me, as an example.

Some of these folk really DO have a serious problem at hand (meaning the work is to relieve a potential disaster) but a lot of times this problem is also the direct result of at least semi-intentional neglect. And for the rest of them, it's a LUXURY thing and if they can't afford luxury, well tbss.

Another way to look at it is: Everyone pays the same price. How would it be if people on a fixed income could pull their sob story at the gas station and then only have to pay HALF the bill while everyone else pays full price?

As for some other thing, no it isn't about snappy comebacks but it IS about getting the hell out of there asap and I will do it in any way necessary - turning around and walking away isn't so nice either but at the same rate, birds of a feather flock and this is one case where negative word of mouth can actually HELP me by getting rid of a SLEW of their friends who are just like them, and you can believe me when I tell you I've had REFERRALS from these kinds of ppl and sure enough it was the same or similar story all over.
No, not ALL their friends are like them, but SOME sure are.

Last but not least, ever since I made the choice of playing tough guy instead of nice guy, my bottom line has been improving slowly and consistently, and over time LESS and LESS of this type of problem comes around - Around it does come, but it's only once in a bit - And here again this is where word of mouth works in ways I would never have imagined, and today I am glad it works thusly.

General Landscaping
08-14-2005, 03:52 PM
as for the others who feel the need to tell me about their fixed income I just respond with a simple " well then I have the perfect annual full service 12 pay program for you. would you like me to put a offer together for you to review?

So... As I understand this; you totally sidestep the request for a lower price, AND offer your services for sale again.... on contract.

I love it! :D

stumper1620
08-14-2005, 03:59 PM
So... As I understand this; you totally sidestep the request for a lower price, AND offer your services for sale again.... on contract.

I love it! :D
Yup! that pays my off season bills, If they are fixed income, I give them a fixed 12 month payment plan, full of exceptions. (storm cleanups, double fall cleanups, ect all are additional fees apply) :D