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View Full Version : A lesson learned. . .


cpritch
04-02-2006, 09:55 PM
I get a call for a general Spring Clean up. No problem. They also want all of the beds hand weeded, no chemicals. I say, "No Problem, I'm not licensed to apply herbicides so I root up all weeds by hand." They also want mulch put in all of the front landscaping beds. "No problem."

Uh, well, the problem: I was in a hurry when I went to do the estimate, a huge hurry. I didn't take the time to thoroughly walk the property, didn't walk all of the MASSIVE beds at the rear of the property to fully comprehend how many weeds, how much leaf material, etc., and how much TIME it was going to take me to remove all of this cr$p.

Lesson: Take your time when doing/giving estimates or you'll be kicking yourself all weekend when you're still trying to finish up a job you thought you would have knocked out in a couple of hours, ON FRIDAY. UUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHH.

I am still so pissed at myself I can barely breathe. Learning experience, for sure. Not one that I'm likely to repeat, God willing. Oh, and yes, there is no question about why the customer was so pleased about the estimate. . .

UUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHH. :cry: :hammerhead:

plantzpropertymanagement
04-02-2006, 10:07 PM
yeah i totaly agree i had the same thing happen to me its really frustrating

BCSteel
04-02-2006, 10:10 PM
Good to see you took it in stride. We all do it from time to time but like you said, its definatly a learning experience that hopefully you only do once :)

dcondon
04-02-2006, 10:24 PM
I happens to everyone sad to say:cry:

CutInEdge Lawn Care
04-02-2006, 10:36 PM
I get a call for a general Spring Clean up. No problem. They also want all of the beds hand weeded, no chemicals. I say, "No Problem, I'm not licensed to apply herbicides so I root up all weeds by hand." They also want mulch put in all of the front landscaping beds. "No problem."

Uh, well, the problem: I was in a hurry when I went to do the estimate, a huge hurry. I didn't take the time to thoroughly walk the property, didn't walk all of the MASSIVE beds at the rear of the property to fully comprehend how many weeds, how much leaf material, etc., and how much TIME it was going to take me to remove all of this cr$p.

Lesson: Take your time when doing/giving estimates or you'll be kicking yourself all weekend when you're still trying to finish up a job you thought you would have knocked out in a couple of hours, ON FRIDAY. UUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHH.

I am still so pissed at myself I can barely breathe. Learning experience, for sure. Not one that I'm likely to repeat, God willing. Oh, and yes, there is no question about why the customer was so pleased about the estimate. . .

UUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHH. :cry: :hammerhead:

I used to work at communicolor before retiring to Florida. Heard they closed shop. Do you know what it is now?

StBalor
04-02-2006, 10:38 PM
It happens, expecially in spring when we're all in a hurry to get back to work.

Dunn's
04-02-2006, 10:59 PM
I take a small index card with me to all estimates and write down every thing that needs to be removed and hauled I write each different item in as how many trash cans it will fill or by how many truck beds it will fill so that I can get a little better idea on how long it will take then I go home and talk it out with my fiance on what she thinks it always helps to have another idea on how much you should charge oh yeah my fiance is the owner to so that helps a little but I say never give an estimate without getting atleast one more input on it. I hope that helps a little

sheshovel
04-02-2006, 11:12 PM
Hard lesson learned..Always walk the property and go home and think about the work involved before you give a price..hurry just costs you time and money!

Splicer
04-02-2006, 11:22 PM
What...you mean you didn't ask for more $$$?:rolleyes: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Good man!!!:drinkup:

bobbygedd
04-02-2006, 11:35 PM
been there, done that. but i handled it differently. it was like this- pull up, start working.......quickly realize i should have charged 4 times my bid. grab helper for a quich meeting, "ok, eugene, here's the deal. we are getting the **** out of here. don't look around, just act natural. walk to the truck, shut the blower off, and sit in the truck. i'll, be right behind you."

dtelawncare
04-03-2006, 12:24 AM
I beat myself on a leaf clean-up last fall. I gave the guy a break for being a good customer. I knew it was going to rain and didn't figure it in. It rained about 8 hours the day before I did the job. It took about 3 extra hours. I learned a lesson that day.

Freddy_Kruger
04-03-2006, 01:06 AM
I estimated a after construction clean up on window cleaning for four hours but I didn't realize the painters had spray painted the inside wall and didn't cover the windows or the ledges. A half hour into this job, I told the owner that I have to walk or the price goes up. He was fair, I ended up getting him and his father as customers for snow as well.
I screw up so many estimates its not even funny, I've only walked from a few. I usually just suck it up unless it's way out of line.

Willofalltrades
04-03-2006, 02:35 PM
I did that all last year! I learned my lesson and now I will be more professional about it and not rush an estimate.

sheshovel
04-03-2006, 03:06 PM
What...you mean you didn't ask for more $$$?:rolleyes: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Good man!!!:drinkup:

Poster is not a man..she's a woman .....Just thought I would let you in on it
Or maybe I am wrong...everybody changes their avatars and messes me up..but no this is a woman

cpritch
04-03-2006, 03:30 PM
Yep, I'm a woman. :waving:

A woman that will NEVER RUSH AN ESTIMATE AGAIN!!!

Yep, still kicking myself.

sheshovel
04-03-2006, 03:37 PM
AAHHH don't be too hard on yourself..we have all done it and it will happen again.Just chalk it up aand let it go..no good beating yourself to death over doing xtra work for free...well maybe it is good!!LOL

stroker51
04-03-2006, 11:15 PM
I had a job kinda like this last spring. An elderly gentleman called me to come look at some work he wanted done. First call of the year, and for the first full year of me being entirely solo, so i was all excited. Go and talk to the man, he wants a mowing bid, cleanup, and some drainage work done. Ok, no big deal. I quote him a price for the landscape stuff, he says ok, and I quote him $25 for mowing, my minimum last year, he was like well i paid $17 last year, shoulda been my first red flag, but being new and ignorant, didnt stand my ground and went to $20, he said ok. Started on work, get first part done and send him a bill. He pays, with a note saying it was more than he expected to pay. Whatever, I do the next part, send him a bill, and keeping in mind his former complaint, knock a little off, and I get the same response. I came in under the bid, with more $$ in material than i had originally intended. So I mow for him 3 times in the month of april, send him a bill, he sends me a note back w/ check saying that he only wants me to mow when called. well, he never called, and I couldnt be happier.

Cpritch, other than this job, how has the season been going? How much work do you have in Lawrence and what kinda rig you got, i'll have to wave or say hey if I see you out workin.

cpritch
04-04-2006, 12:29 PM
Cpritch, other than this job, how has the season been going? How much work do you have in Lawrence and what kinda rig you got, i'll have to wave or say hey if I see you out workin.

It's been going okay, I don't have as many Maintenance Accounts as I would like to have at this point, but they will come eventually I hope. It's been a rough week this past week but all in all I can't complain. For some reason I seem to be getting a lot of accounts where they are putting their home on the market, which translates into "temporary account." How is your Spring going? I saw Clean Cuts last week and almost stopped to say hi, but he looked pretty busy so I just kept going. Where are you doing most of your work?

FinerCutslawnCare
04-04-2006, 12:50 PM
I did something similar to that once and oh god it sucked!

stroker51
04-04-2006, 11:36 PM
Cpritch, I've been doing a lot of work in pretty much any part of town that had tree damage from our wind storm a few weeks back. I spent two weeks straight cleaning up tree limbs and cutting down the rest. I had my part-time bosses dump trailer so I got a lot of work doing just hauling, wasnt a bad deal at all. I just started mowing the whole list today, starting off on the southwest side of Lawrence. Depending on the rain for tomorrow and my work schedule, should be working my way east the next day or so. I'm usually in a White 96 Ford Powerstroke 4x4 Extended cab w/ my 16' open and the John Deere mowers. Might be drivin the blue 82 F250 though, stop and say hey if you see me out, I love to meet new ppl and make friends in this biz. Keep on keepin on, I am still having a hard time believing it, but the owner of one of the larger companies here, and several others, has told me that there is plenty of work to go around in the Lawrence area, so I guess we will be getting a bigger piece of the pie as time goes on, Good luck with your season!!

topsites
04-05-2006, 12:02 AM
been there, done that. but i handled it differently. it was like this- pull up, start working.......quickly realize i should have charged 4 times my bid. grab helper for a quich meeting, "ok, eugene, here's the deal. we are getting the **** out of here. don't look around, just act natural. walk to the truck, shut the blower off, and sit in the truck. i'll, be right behind you."

h3ll yeah LOL !!! You know it took a couple of good humpings before I got to that point.

Even now, if I'm like 70% through by the time I figure it out, I do the math: Even if I lost money on this job, is it worth leaving and getting paid zip, or should I put in the other 30% and get underpaid? It can still be worth 30% for the money, because it's 70% = nothing but +30% = estimated bid amount, so you throw the 70% out the window and finish it off best you can, and collect.

There is one other thing I always consider nowadays:
Who's fault is this?
If they did it to me, my legs start moving almost on their own.
If it's my fault, I find it considerably more tolerable to finish the job.

Try, sometime, to be around 65% percent through by the time you see it, and you also realize the customer specifically avoided an explicit question and now you see why. That's tough...

But I agree, if you see it coming in the first 10-20% of the job, sorry bro, but time to leave or have a word with the customer (thou I recommend leaving). Either way, chalk it up to a lesson learned and make sure you remember lol (cauz it's not good business).

cwlawley
04-05-2006, 12:57 AM
It is a hard lesson to learn, but after a couple of really bad estimates you'll start to get the hang of it. I don't think anyone ever gives the "perfect estimate" but that it impossible anyway since you don't know what the customer is thinking.

East Lawn
04-05-2006, 01:48 AM
Just up and leaving a job is not very good business. Any good customer if you finish the job and go talk to them and let them know you made a mistake they are more likely to be understanding. If not they are most likely a PITA and you don't want them anyway. If you leave and don't finish it just imagine how many friends they have and then their friends tell their friends. Eventually you have no customers.

lawnartisan
04-05-2006, 02:04 AM
been there, done that. but i handled it differently. it was like this- pull up, start working.......quickly realize i should have charged 4 times my bid. grab helper for a quich meeting, "ok, eugene, here's the deal. we are getting the **** out of here. don't look around, just act natural. walk to the truck, shut the blower off, and sit in the truck. i'll, be right behind you."

thats awsome LOL:hammerhead: ;) :cry:

lawnartisan
04-05-2006, 02:19 AM
no but really i would just tell them honestly i screwed up and cut my own throat here. and see how they react. but like the guy said above it costs reputation. some people are cool when you explain your mistake and will let you pad the price if you notify them early. I have done it. its funny cause i started a company about 6 months ago and now when i go and bid side jobs i take too much time and the people see me walking it over and over and they end up asking well what do you think and i straight out tell them Well I dont want to cut my throat here but I dont want to scare you away. so i stand out there on a limb and give um my price for what i feel is worth my time. And if they say I will think about it; I was either too greedy or there too cheap and thats the way it goes. Sometimes you want to make 40 30 20 15 bucks an hour depending on what it is and they think you should make 10. For 10 i say you go out and invest in the thousands of dollars of tools and do it yourself.

cpritch
04-05-2006, 11:32 AM
Just up and leaving a job is not very good business. Any good customer if you finish the job and go talk to them and let them know you made a mistake they are more likely to be understanding. If not they are most likely a PITA and you don't want them anyway. If you leave and don't finish it just imagine how many friends they have and then their friends tell their friends. Eventually you have no customers.

And that's why I spent my entire weekend finishing the job that I said I would do for the price that I quoted them.