View Full Version : New fence - no gate = price increase

06-19-2008, 07:29 PM
Customer is putting in a new fence in the back yard. Must be having someone do it on weekends.

Saw the posts in and e-mailed him about putting in a large gate or at least have one section removable. No response.

Get there today and the horizontal cross members are all screwed into place. Looks like he isn't going to provide either a gate or removable section.

Took me about 3 minutes to cut the back with a 52" walk behind. Took me about 8-10 to cut with a 21".

How should I word another e-mail letting him know that it would be to his benefit to do what I had asked. Cutting takes longer. Fall clean-up will take twice as long (1 vs 2 hours).

Dear customer,

It would be greatly appreciated if you could make one section of fence removable. Without it, the time spent for lawn service and fall clean-up will be extra, which will ultimately lead to a price increase. Please get back to me.

Thank you

06-19-2008, 08:04 PM
I'd change the wording to read "which will lead to an immediate price increase". I think it will create a sense of urgency on his part.

06-19-2008, 08:20 PM
Leave it alone or you can try to explain all of the benefits that would benefit his family. In your letter you make it all about your precieved equity and not theirs.

Chris G
06-19-2008, 08:30 PM
yeh you should definitely talk to him, maybe in person but let him know that putting in a gate will cost more now but will pay itself off later. And if he does not listen just include a note about the increase in his next invoice.

06-19-2008, 08:44 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a fence without a gate....is this a New England thing?

06-19-2008, 08:48 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a fence without a gate....is this a New England thing?

My bad. He is putting in a 36" gate, but that ain't big enough.

06-19-2008, 08:52 PM
My bad. He is putting in a 36" gate, but that ain't big enough.

I gotcha.

If you pointed it out in advance, then I would definitely up the price a bit.

06-20-2008, 12:21 AM
Just go up on it and if they ask tell them. You already made an effort.... they need to make theirs

redmax fan
06-20-2008, 12:41 AM
from my angle if im the home owner ide think ' **** a 36" gate is plenty , they could get a decent size 32" machine back there and do my small back yard in a couple minutes . if they want to raise my rates good ridance . "

plus to me if one goes bigger than a 36 inch gate they become difficult to keep straight / sturdy and end up leaning downward towards the latch end and i thusly wouldnt put one on my fence .

06-20-2008, 01:48 AM
Ugh. Anytime I have a customer make the job harder, I take 'em to the cleaners. And what's funny, is I've NEVER lost one of these accounts. So I'm happier - because my $/minute is better...

06-20-2008, 06:41 AM
I'm curious, if there is no gate how do you get the mower into the back yard --- do you go through the front door and out the back door ?:)

06-20-2008, 09:17 PM

Took me about 3 minutes to cut the back with a 52" walk behind. Took me about 8-10 to cut with a 21".


What is the time required to do the entire job? Is your time on the property 15 minutes (before fence), or was it 60 minutes?

06-20-2008, 09:33 PM
Took me about 15 minutes in total before the fence installation.

06-20-2008, 09:44 PM
And how much are you getting to cut this yard?

06-21-2008, 07:46 AM

06-21-2008, 09:12 AM
I had a customer have his gate custom built at 64 inches so my ZTR would fit through. He did this without me asking him either. Man I love the good ones, there would be an increase for sure if it was me. The increase could be as little as $5 but it would still happen.

06-21-2008, 10:00 AM
Why not a double gate where one side is 36" and stays stationary due to a pin in the ground and the other 36" acts as a standard door complete with a standard latch. This eliminates the sag from a large one piece door.

Here's a link with photos:

BTW, I would approach it as to his benefit with the last comment about it would be easier for you if you could have better access.

Ideas to comment on:
What if he wants to put in a pool later?
What about landscaping and hauling dirt, etc? Needs to at least allow a pickup back there.
Tool shed? If he wants to build one or have one built later better access would be beneficial to get materials to the back yard.
Limited access could affect many project costs due to increased labor to get materials to the back yard. Likewise, your costs will probably increase since the small door will cause you to have to spend extra time mowing and cleanups.

Point out that the only cost would be the extra set of hinges, door locking pin and perhaps a larger post to mount the door to. Minimum cost now with a great advantage later. One never knows when major access is needed to the backyard.

Oh, and I'd do this in person as opposed to an email.

06-22-2008, 07:05 AM
hdtvluvrl, ... Good points. However, if the area is only taking 8-10 minutes to mow with a 21" hand mower, room for a pool, room for a pickup, room for a shed, etc. is unlikely. The area must be very small, too small for any of those needs. There is probably little need for access for getting other materials to the backyard as well.

I had one customer with a 37" gate. I was just able to get my 36" w/b through to mow the backyard (about 12K sq ft). The owners were putting in a pool, so removed about 20 feet of fence, including the gate, for truck access. The entire backyard area was torn up. I talked with the owner, suggesting that when the fence was restored, they install a gate that would allow a piece of 48" equipment. She listened, but made no hint about gate changes.

When the project was finished, the fence was restored the same way it had been previously. The 37" gate was put back in place. Further, the new landscaping prohibited me from getting my 36" w/b around a bend in the entry sidewalk. However, the landscaping was also rebuilt, eliminating some of the turf area. Now, the mowing area is reduced to about 7K sq ft (pool, apron, and landscaping taking out the other area), and needs to be mowed with a 21" hand mower. All the landscape maintenance work (~20 cu yds of mulch, huge trimming work/debris, shed construction) all goes through the small gate, and around a contorted path of the sidewalk.

I have never complained. The time required to do the mowing is only a bit longer. The owner has upped his price a couple of times at his suggestion, always paid on time, and never complains. I long forgot about my suggestion of a gate change.