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View Full Version : Don't think the customer liked the price I charged her.


mhussey
04-02-2008, 03:28 PM
Well as some of you know, I was involved in a pretty good sized install. It's small to some folks, but my largest so far. I had a bad feeling about this job some what but I was very eager to do it. The reason why I had a bad feeling is because she was wanting her husband to help me to save on cost. I didn't have a problem with that. They did a lot of stuff like tilling in amendments and some other things to keep away from a lot of cost. Anyways, I started to do a quote for the install, but she kept changing stuff along the way and there was no way I could give her a quote and be accurate and not cut my throat.

Anyways after I cut the new bed to be installed she just told me to keep up with what she owes me. I said OK. So it came down to last Saturday and we were to do the install. Mind it was raining and it was 42 degrees by my truck thermometer, and then it dropped later on. So it took me and her husband and she helped some 7.5 hours to plant the 2 beds. By the time we went to get the mulch the 2 places I like to buy from where closed, so I couldn't get that done that day.

After all that I sat down and got a price together. Heck I thought it was real cheap. She said to just email her the price, so I did. Well now she is wanting an itemized invoice of services I did. Ok, no big deal. I already made an invoice, but she just wanted a number at first. I'm thinking she didn't like what I had charged her. I still stayed firm on my invoice and I am not backing down. I just hope they pay.

Sorry for the rambling, but this is the first time this has happened to me. All the other customers I have just says to do what I need to do and tell me how much I owe you. Do you think I may be looking into this different than what she intended? I really don't know how to take this.

flhntr
04-02-2008, 04:03 PM
alot of people think that if they help do stuff that you should just be paid a small hourly rate and some people are just cheap

LIGHTNING
04-02-2008, 05:47 PM
I'd not worry about it, yet. She may have simply wanted an itemized bill. No big deal so long as she don't balk when it comes time to pay it.

kootoomootoo
04-02-2008, 07:55 PM
Make sure you give her an itemized invoice for the prorated insurance/workmans comp/opportunity cost/bad hair day fee/undercoating fee/PIA fee/traveling expenses/ depreciation/......

Isobel
04-02-2008, 08:23 PM
alot of people think that if they help do stuff that you should just be paid a small hourly rate and some people are just cheap

I've had a few people ask if it would be less $$ if they helped. I usually tell them that it will be more money. Depending on the job of course, but usually when we have the clients there helping, then we can't work as efficiently as we could if we were by ourselves.

I agree, sometimes people are just cheap.

h400exinfl
04-02-2008, 09:48 PM
I'll be the first to admit it ... I'm cheap....If they wanted it done cheap, they should of done it themselves ... .maybe pay a consulting fee.

mhussey
04-03-2008, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the comments.

I hope that your right Lightning. However, I was a little as to how she worded the email you is why I had a suspicion of her not liking the bill. You know I tried to emphasize to her that yes them helping me will help out on the price. Less man hours for a helper and I means more they can save.

I sent my itemized invoice Tuesday, and didn't get an email from her yesterday so hopefully I have a check in the mail. Lets hope.

Tom Tom
04-03-2008, 10:18 AM
DON'T let the homeowner ever help you. And, if for some God forsaken reason you allow it, charge them by the hour. Better yet charge them time and a half.

mhussey
04-03-2008, 10:33 AM
DON'T let the homeowner ever help you. And, if for some God forsaken reason you allow it, charge them by the hour. Better yet charge them time and a half.


Yea, I am learning the hard way. I did charge by the hour. However, now I should have charged more for an hour. However, I did net a good little bit for that time. It was cold as hell, and raining during this install. They couldn't have a got a better DEAL from any large company in this area I know that for a fact. Oh well, it's done now and I am looking on this as a learning block. I am proud of the job, I need to get by there to snap some pics so I can post.

ponyboy
04-03-2008, 10:35 AM
never heard of a customer helping? next time get paid for desgin,material and delivering and let them do it? Whst would of happened if he got hurt??

Tom Tom
04-03-2008, 10:44 AM
Yea, I am learning the hard way. I did charge by the hour. However, now I should have charged more for an hour. However, I did net a good little bit for that time. It was cold as hell, and raining during this install. They couldn't have a got a better DEAL from any large company in this area I know that for a fact. Oh well, it's done now and I am looking on this as a learning block. I am proud of the job, I need to get by there to snap some pics so I can post.

well sometimes you just gotta learn the hard way. All of us have learn things the hard way at some point.

Just remember, its your business, YOU dictate the terms.

QualityLawnCare4u
04-03-2008, 10:45 AM
Let me throw in my .02 worth. When you encounter a potential client like this and you get that "gut" feeling that it is going to be bad, it is going to be BAD! That feeling has never led me wrong one time, and when I went against it I paid the price. Next time you encounter one of these, end the converstation right then, thank them for considering you, then leave immediately, no further discussion and you will save yourself ulcers! Cheap people usually give off warning signs right off the bat. AS others said, never let a client help you, its your way or the highway.

Isobel
04-03-2008, 11:23 AM
DON'T let the homeowner ever help you. And, if for some God forsaken reason you allow it, charge them by the hour. Better yet charge them time and a half.

glad i'm not the only one who feels that way!
:usflag:

larryinalabama
04-03-2008, 11:38 AM
My business is a little unique, helping a doityourselfer is usually cool. I would have cut the sod, bed edged then rotilled and rake smoothed, space ourt the plants collected my money for running my machines thank them and give them some business cards to pass on to others. If the owner was looking to save money he could eaisly run his shovel and plant the stuff and mulch over it.

mhussey
04-03-2008, 12:20 PM
Well Larry, I was betting on them being cool as well. They maybe, like I said earlier she only wanted an itemized invoice of my services. Normally, I would give a price and the customer would said just come on by and pick the check up, not "can I get an itemized invoice of your services". I may be blowing this out of proportion, but I think by her tone it wasn't that.

I didn't mind her husband helping at all. He was a little slow, and got missing some, but I kept on. I think they have never had anything like this done before, and believe she got a little sticker shock if you will. The day's of just getting some lawn boy at this stage isn't cutting it. You have to charge accordingly, and I didn't miss not one dot when charging.

Well, thanks for the input guys. Hopefully, my check is on the way.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
04-03-2008, 08:45 PM
Let me throw in my .02 worth. When you encounter a potential client like this and you get that "gut" feeling that it is going to be bad, it is going to be BAD! That feeling has never led me wrong one time, and when I went against it I paid the price. Next time you encounter one of these, end the converstation right then, thank them for considering you, then leave immediately, no further discussion and you will save yourself ulcers! Cheap people usually give off warning signs right off the bat. AS others said, never let a client help you, its your way or the highway.

Absolutely correct!! If I don't get that warm fuzzy feeling from a current or potential customer, I slowly back away and don't turn my back to them!:p I have also learned this the hard, and usually, costly way!

mhussey
04-04-2008, 08:16 AM
Well guess I was worried for nothing. Got home yesterday and checked the mail box and there was my check. Looks like maybe I was worried for nothing.

Oh well thanks guys. I have learned a lot from this experience no doubt.

Matt

GreenN'Clean
04-04-2008, 01:00 PM
Never do a job without giving the customer a price before you start....

EVM
04-04-2008, 01:44 PM
Tell the customer UPFRONT, what your hourly rate is, regardless of if her husband is out there working or not. You have to be more up front about what stuff costs. If changes are made to the work being done the customer must realize what its going to cost them.

Personally I would have left the moment hubby suggested he would "HELP" out, to reduce the cost of the work. I am not about reducing anything, just increasing.

larryinalabama
04-04-2008, 02:04 PM
Well the feller got paid, fom me I wouldnt have left the house until I got my money

mhussey
04-04-2008, 02:13 PM
Yes, I agree with everything you guys are saying. However, I did explain to them about my prices. I just don't think she was expecting the misc. things like the design, rental fees, labor to cut the bed, and spray the grass. I think she was just looking at the work done on that one particular day.

Now, I couldn't give her an exact price. She changed her mind so many times on what was going to happen. She used a little of my design, and ended up going to a very large nursery to have them design something as well. Mainly she used a handful of my design, and the rest was what the nursery proposed. So I had no clue as to how many planting this would take. Again I would never price something blind like that. Guess I could have prices real high though.

As a whole, I have learned some things with this. Hey I am new, we are all going to get these hard knocks.

Thanks,

Matt

EVM
04-04-2008, 09:12 PM
Yes, I agree with everything you guys are saying. However, I did explain to them about my prices. I just don't think she was expecting the misc. things like the design, rental fees, labor to cut the bed, and spray the grass. I think she was just looking at the work done on that one particular day.

Now, I couldn't give her an exact price. She changed her mind so many times on what was going to happen. She used a little of my design, and ended up going to a very large nursery to have them design something as well. Mainly she used a handful of my design, and the rest was what the nursery proposed. So I had no clue as to how many planting this would take. Again I would never price something blind like that. Guess I could have prices real high though.

As a whole, I have learned some things with this. Hey I am new, we are all going to get these hard knocks.

Thanks,

Matt


I am glad you got paid. Stay away from people that want to change things after an original quote. If you want to work with them, make sure you have them sign off on an additional work order. You probably dont have prices that are too high. It sounds like these people wanted something done on the cheap, hence the hubby "helping out". You don't want to be doing work for people that are all about the cheap.

Tharrell
04-05-2008, 05:41 AM
I'm reminded of a sign in a shop. Here's the price if you leave us alone to do the work, here's the price if you stand there and watch, and here's the price if you want to help or offer opinions. The price skyrocketed each sentence. Tony

PORTER 05
04-05-2008, 08:55 AM
i wouod hate if the homwowner helped me,

i hate people-

Isobel
04-05-2008, 12:27 PM
i wouod hate if the homwowner helped me,

i hate people-

Ha!
:laugh::laugh::laugh:

GreenT
04-06-2008, 01:30 AM
Thankfully you got paid but I think this is a good opportunity for you to review your business practices.

1. During my initial consultation with a new client, one of the first questions I ask is: What is your budget for this project? Besides the design considerations, scope, style, plant materials, etc, knowing how much they expect to spend will determine whether they have realistic expectations or not. I try to explain to them that a final landscape project, like buying a car, house, refrigerator, will be determined by their budget. The might want a $500 job, or a $10,000 job, you won't know until you ask.

2. As others have mentioned, having the homeowner help is a recipe for problems down the line. But I think you learned that one already.

3. Never allow a customer to change your design, specially using other's ideas and recommendations. That is your job. Once you know what they are looking for and have the opportunity to fine tune the details with them thru follow up consultations, you present your plan to be accepted as is or not. Chances are that, if you did your home work and listened to their wishes, and you are within their budget, you'll hit the mark. Changes are billed individually, and separately.

This approach has many benefits:

You control the process.
It's your project.
You can work out your profitability upfront.
Expectations are clear on both sides. (think no ulcers :laugh:)
You won't be hired as 'manual labor'.
The client will be happiest at the end.

Last, but probably most importantly, you'll find that the majority of customers are unrealistic on their budget expectation which gives us a great excuse to educate them and upsell them on bigger jobs. At least that's the way it works in my case. payup


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