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SpudsM15
03-02-2006, 10:58 AM
Guys, I had this potential customer that didn't beleive me regardless.
Now This prop is a new cunstruction and the builders left a mess of blue stone all over the lawn area 2x4's sticking out of the ground everywhere.... Anyways I'm bidding this site for sodding....
The problem is he'se got a few huge spruces and pines.... And he wants to sod it. So i'm like thats not going to work to well... Its very hard to grow grass under trees this size and with the amount of neddles they constantly drop.... Also the amount of shade the lawn will get will kill the lawn...
What do you tell customers the reason not to plant grass under spruces and pines? Ph level..... stuff like that Most proffesional way that even the most stubburn person can't resist????

Az Gardener
03-02-2006, 11:13 AM
As business man I have to tell you I don't think this will be successful long term explain reasons. I also have to tell you as a business man If I don't take your money someone else will. So if you want to proceed I will be happy to provide a bid and do the work. I would also put your failure theory in writing with a time line if you are that confident in your knowledge and have him sign a copy for you. Only for future use if he complains later that he was not informed, some people get amnesia.

SpudsM15
03-02-2006, 03:35 PM
Az, there is no way sodding underneath those trees could be good... Not only is it definately going to die, But it is on a busy corner. Now with that being said I was planning on putting a gravel bed underneth these trees which will not only look better and make my work look better, but It gives more income for the same amount of area. Also I would be getting the maintenance contract for this prop.... Which will be worth 2k every year...
maybe more if I can sell the customer for mulch under the trees....
So I don't understand where your coming from in your comments???

sheshovel
03-02-2006, 03:39 PM
Do what the customer wants if you want to land the job..then when it dies..sell him the mulch job.and say I told you so!
Trust me on this

lawnwizards
03-02-2006, 05:08 PM
Do what the customer wants if you want to land the job..then when it dies..sell him the mulch job.and say I told you so!
Trust me on this
sheshovel, you forgot that after an i told you so, he'll be laughing all the way to the bank x 2.....

Az Gardener
03-02-2006, 06:10 PM
The customer wants what they want. I have had customers that have me re- sod an area every spring, its their $$$ better you take it than someone else.

olderthandirt
03-02-2006, 06:36 PM
Do what the customer wants if you want to land the job..then when it dies..sell him the mulch job.and say I told you so!
Trust me on this

Just make sure that when you hand him his watering instuctions it has a spot that he signs that says he is satified with all work performed by contractor and will hold contactor harmless for loss of of all living plants, grasses etc. HE gets a copy and you get a copy

sheshovel
03-02-2006, 07:04 PM
true true mac..I thought that might go without saying but I forgot where I was.

kbacon3231
03-02-2006, 07:05 PM
i did a sod job last year that half of it died. you want to know why? he NEVER watered it! Before i finished and before he paid (in full) i explained how and when to water. I also gave him the watering instructions that came with the sod incase he forgot. His excuse for not watering was "well it rained the day after you finished i thought that was enough." I dont feel bad one bit.

hole in one lco
03-02-2006, 07:22 PM
I do things right so i would tell him you cant put grass over their.................
Now i can put a very attractive flower bed if you would like .
If he insist on grass i would refuse the job.......... Its your reputation not his.................. sorry its just the way i am

befnme
03-02-2006, 07:27 PM
Guys, I had this potential customer that didn't beleive me regardless.
Now This prop is a new cunstruction and the builders left a mess of blue stone all over the lawn area 2x4's sticking out of the ground everywhere.... Anyways I'm bidding this site for sodding....
The problem is he'se got a few huge spruces and pines.... And he wants to sod it. So i'm like thats not going to work to well... Its very hard to grow grass under trees this size and with the amount of neddles they constantly drop.... Also the amount of shade the lawn will get will kill the lawn...
What do you tell customers the reason not to plant grass under spruces and pines? Ph level..... stuff like that Most proffesional way that even the most stubburn person can't resist????


just upsell a mulch bed around those trees like sheshovel said .

JimLewis
03-03-2006, 01:08 AM
I guess I'll be the lone voice of opposition here;

I'd go ahead with the first bit of advice AZ gave, "As business man I have to tell you I don't think this will be successful long term ... explain reasons." But then I'd stop there.

No way in heck would I ever do that job for him. I don't care if other contractors are going to do it and make money off of him or not. I don't care if he is insistent or not. There is a right and wrong way to do things. And I don't ever do wrong things. If that costs me a job, fine. I get plenty of calls and plenty of business. I don't NEED to land every job. To me, my integrity is way more important than a quick buck.

There's just no way I'd ever do a job that I knew for sure wasn't going to be successful long term.

I'd try like heck to talk them out of it. I'd show them a design or a picture of how great a landscape can look without a lawn. I'd suggest all sorts of things and I'd give very pursuasive reasons why they should do something other than lawn. But in the end, if they insisted on putting a lawn where I knew it would fail, well, sorry.... I just can't do that. It ain't right. I gotta sleep at night. And the only way I can do that is if I know I always did the right thing. I couldn't sleep at night knowing I ripped off some bozo by installing a lawn I knew wasn't going to last.

And frankly, I am surprised more of you don't have much of a conscience about this kind of stuff. It seems like common sense to me.

Think of it this way; Suppose I called a roofer to re-roof my house. And I was really set on this product called "fake-shake". I had just recently moved to Portland from California, and "fake-shake" was the number one selling roofing product in that area. There, everyone loved it. So I was fairly insistent on my new roof here in Portland being made of this "fake-shake" product. So I call this roofer over and tell him I want a fake-shake roof. He then proceeds to explain to me that "fake-shake" doesn't hold up here. The rainy Oregon weather makes them bow and then after just a few years, my roof is going to start leaking. So he highly advises me against it. But he has another kind of roofing product that would be more suited for my roof and would last 30 years. Now even though I am ignorant and am fairly certain I want this "fake-shake" product, what should the roofer really do? Should he insist on not installing that product and instead pursuade me to install the proper product? Or should he just take my money and say, "Fine. If that's what you want, 'fake-shake' it is!"

See I think it's the roofer's obligation to protect me. He knows better than I. This is his business. He's the expert, not me. And although I am a little cocky and thinking I know what I want, it's his duty to explain to me why I definitely do NOT want that product, and then steer me in the right direction.

Anything less and he's just a cheap, sleazy, no-scruples contractor trying to get a quick buck, no matter what it takes to get that buck.

I don't wanna be that guy.

sooner74
03-03-2006, 01:28 AM
great post! Jim Lewis, others might look at it a little different now that you put a different example out there. that kind of integrity is always good to see

olderthandirt
03-03-2006, 01:45 AM
I guess I'll be the lone voice of opposition here;

I'd go ahead with the first bit of advice AZ gave, "As business man I have to tell you I don't think this will be successful long term ... explain reasons." But then I'd stop there.

No way in heck would I ever do that job for him. I don't care if other contractors are going to do it and make money off of him or not. I don't care if he is insistent or not. There is a right and wrong way to do things. And I don't ever do wrong things. If that costs me a job, fine. I get plenty of calls and plenty of business. I don't NEED to land every job. To me, my integrity is way more important than a quick buck.

There's just no way I'd ever do a job that I knew for sure wasn't going to be successful long term.

I'd try like heck to talk them out of it. I'd show them a design or a picture of how great a landscape can look without a lawn. I'd suggest all sorts of things and I'd give very pursuasive reasons why they should do something other than lawn. But in the end, if they insisted on putting a lawn where I knew it would fail, well, sorry.... I just can't do that. It ain't right. I gotta sleep at night. And the only way I can do that is if I know I always did the right thing. I couldn't sleep at night knowing I ripped off some bozo by installing a lawn I knew wasn't going to last.

And frankly, I am surprised more of you don't have much of a conscience about this kind of stuff. It seems like common sense to me.

Think of it this way; Suppose I called a roofer to re-roof my house. And I was really set on this product called "fake-shake". I had just recently moved to Portland from California, and "fake-shake" was the number one selling roofing product in that area. There, everyone loved it. So I was fairly insistent on my new roof here in Portland being made of this "fake-shake" product. So I call this roofer over and tell him I want a fake-shake roof. He then proceeds to explain to me that "fake-shake" doesn't hold up here. The rainy Oregon weather makes them bow and then after just a few years, my roof is going to start leaking. So he highly advises me against it. But he has another kind of roofing product that would be more suited for my roof and would last 30 years. Now even though I am ignorant and am fairly certain I want this "fake-shake" product, what should the roofer really do? Should he insist on not installing that product and instead pursuade me to install the proper product? Or should he just take my money and say, "Fine. If that's what you want, 'fake-shake' it is!"

See I think it's the roofer's obligation to protect me. He knows better than I. This is his business. He's the expert, not me. And although I am a little cocky and thinking I know what I want, it's his duty to explain to me why I definitely do NOT want that product, and then steer me in the right direction.

Anything less and he's just a cheap, sleazy, no-scruples contractor trying to get a quick buck, no matter what it takes to get that buck.

I don't wanna be that guy.

Wow, I think this is one of the most argent post I've read on LS!

And frankly, I am surprised more of you don't have much of a conscience about this kind of stuff. It seems like common sense to me.
Anything less and he's just a cheap, sleazy, no-scruples contractor trying to get a quick buck, no matter what it takes to get that buck.

What ever happened to the notion of giving the customer what they want, They were told the pitfalls and still chose to spend the money on what THEY want.
And since you don't like that Idea you want to imply that your on a higher moral ground than other contractors? Not everyone NEEDS the money but you give the customer what they want, you offer your expert opinion and try and steer them in the right direction but in the end its there money and there decision.

JimLewis
03-03-2006, 01:53 AM
Wow, I think this is one of the most argent post I've read on LS!

Argent??? :confused:

What ever happened to the notion of giving the customer what they want, They were told the pitfalls and still chose to spend the money on what THEY want.
And since you don't like that Idea you want to imply that your on a higher moral ground than other contractors? Not everyone NEEDS the money but you give the customer what they want, you offer your expert opinion and try and steer them in the right direction but in the end its there money and there decision.

Oh, nothing happened to that notion. It's alive and well! Lots of people still operate that way. Obviously you subscribe to that line of thinking too.

I am not saying I am better than anyone. But I do believe in a right and a wrong. And I believe the notion of NOT installing crap even though the customer thinks he wants crap is a noble one. And it's the line of thinking that I subscribe to.

I also believe that others around town judge my company by our work. And I don't need others seeing some job where I obviously installed something that should have never been installed and then saying to themselves and to others, "Hah! Look at that moron! Laying sod right under a huge fir tree! What an idiot! Well, I definitely won't ever be hiring that company. "

Hey, If you disagree, that's fine. That's what lawnsite is all about. If we all had the same opinion, this site wouldn't be much fun.

TURFLORD
03-03-2006, 05:47 AM
I'm all for doing the right thing, but if a customer is going to stand there and insist it's what they want, then OK. Do it. It's the customers responsibility to here the voice of reason. I have a saying, " I can only tell you what the truth is, you have to chose to believe it". Last year I had a customer that wanted sod. I knew he wouldn't water it. It was a $2500 job. I talked him into seed instead. He didn't water that either. Not only didn't he water, but he put out the sprinkler, left it there, and then BS'ed me saying he WAS watering. Three things are required to make seed grow. Grass seed, dirt, and WATER. That seed laid there all Summer through the drought and only germinated after some good rainfall. My point is that I could have had more money in my pocket and I would have slept just fine.:dancing:

Az Gardener
03-03-2006, 08:48 AM
I do things right so i would tell him you cant put grass over their.................
Now i can put a very attractive flower bed if you would like .
If he insist on grass i would refuse the job.......... Its your reputation not his.................. sorry its just the way i am

No necessarily a bad approach, I think the roofing comparison is apples to oranges, loosing some grass after a season is considerably less traumatic than having leaks in your home and all the other aggravations associated with the repairs. Lets face it the sod will look good for one season. The only reason its going to die is lack of light. My arrogance will not allow me to think any other contractor is going to do better by my client than me. So If I hold firmly to my well placed principals and standards and dump the customer he is now left to other less scrupulous and educated contractors. So instead of me trying to steer him right on this and future projects he is turned out to the wolves who will not be as conscientious as myself. End result client is in worse shape in the long run.

sheshovel
03-03-2006, 08:57 AM
Very well put AZ,,very well put.

PlantSolutions
03-03-2006, 09:26 AM
We are professionals and people come to us for expert advice and experience. It is our job and duty to the industry and the client to let them know the truth even if they do not want to believe it. It is our job to sell them into the right way.
Spuds - In addition, to grass not growing under conifers well as their span at the bottom is greatest, putting a mulch ring around the trees will prevent the tree from getting harmed by grass cutting. Your price will have to go way up because you will have to cut the grass (what's growing) by hand near the tree base. Because mulch rings can look stupid sometimes, can you do a mixed garden bed with those trees in it? Tie them together with some neat low growing shrubs, perrenials and groundcovers.

SpudsM15
03-03-2006, 10:25 AM
Heres the problem area. The big one on the corner, lowest bracnh is no more than 4' off the ground... who the hec wants to go under that with a z???
I was thinking about just graveling that whole area I think it will look much better...

SpudsM15
03-03-2006, 10:27 AM
Heres the pic

sheshovel
03-03-2006, 11:12 AM
Well I can't say gravel will look good at all

olderthandirt
03-03-2006, 11:50 AM
I believe an arbores can come in and limb the bottom of the trees up plus reshape them with some selective pruning. You can amend the soil to take care of the acidity and sod will do fine with a yr check on the PH balance

prizeprop
03-04-2006, 09:53 PM
Spuds, Elizabeth ave and Temple ave?Looks even worse in person. Just happened to be cutting through today on my way to Calvert Ave and said no way,thats the house on your thread. I'm a nosey basteeeerd always looking. No grass there, if you need a good tree guy my buddy does our sub work on trees and stump grinding. Definately, stone or a mix of mulch&stone, maybe a little grass if you want to keep the trees.