PDA

View Full Version : Ya get what ya pay for!


RLS24
08-28-2008, 07:08 PM
My friend and I are in business together cutting lawns and doing landscaping for people. we're not out to make a fortune and get rich, just trying to make a few extra bucks for gas and food while we're in college, so maybe take this with a grain of salt.

We were referred to a guy who is selling his house and wanted it "cleaned up" so we went over there, talked to the guy to see what he wanted done, and he showed us. Decent sized house with beds all around, he wants all the beds edged (the lawn has grown into them pretty bad in some spots), beds weeded (some spots pretty bad, some not so bad), 3 large dead bushes removed, 3 or 4 small "out of control" trees trimmed down, driveway and sidewalks edged, and all the shrubs trimmed (about 15 on the property and all are out of control).

Now, my friend works for one of the big-time local landscape companies during the summer, and he has a pretty good eye for estimating time and cost. We saw what was to be done, and discussed it, and came up with a price of $250. According to my friend, his company would charge at least $500 to do what this guy wants. We told him and he was like "oh thats way too much" so, being the nice people we are, and figuring that its all profit for us anyway because theres no materials involved, we said we would do it for $200 thinking he would settle for that. He still said it was too much, and noted that someone down the street had their whole property landscaped and mulched, labor and materials, by a reputable landscaping company for $250. when we asked what company it was, he couldnt remember. yeah ok buddy..... my friend even told the guy how much the place he works for would charge.

So, the guy said he wouldnt pay us more than $150. The only we reason we are doing it is because he wants us to cut his grass for the rest of the year as well, and the price we negotiated on that was a bit higher than what we would have normally charged, so in the end I guess we will be making some of what we lost on the landscaping back. But like my friend said, "he only wants to spend $150? then he's only gonna get a $150 job done"

Isobel
08-28-2008, 07:20 PM
if he's this much trouble for the first job, i can only imagine what the future jobs are going to be like. I would have just walked away. I never negotiate with someone like that.

RLS24
08-28-2008, 07:28 PM
if he's this much trouble for the first job, i can only imagine what the future jobs are going to be like. I would have just walked away. I never negotiate with someone like that.

we were about to, then he mentioned cutting the grass, and we told him a price for that which was way higher than what we would normally charge and he agreed to it (to our surprise). if it wasn;t for us making a killing on cutting the guy's grass we would have walked.

Lawn-Sharks
08-28-2008, 07:32 PM
Cash up front for customers like that!

robtown
08-28-2008, 09:00 PM
wow ...
talk about working for free.
and you maybe got a whole 8 cuts too.
congrats

ericmcj31
08-28-2008, 09:19 PM
yeah-people gotta understand that we're out there to make $$$ -for whatever reason-we're out there. I tell them I want to make a living-not looking to get rich (overnight), just make enough to pay bills and stick some back, that's all. You guys are paying for college--whatever your reason is-you're not out there for free. Sounds to me like the guy is a jerk and you guys came off like 40%.? I wouldn't sacrifice quality for anything (even if I were doing it free) b/c a neighbor is gonna drive by and def. not call you if you're doing a crappy job.

shovelracer
08-28-2008, 09:23 PM
Never count promised work. 90% of the time its BS unless it is an established customer. So you lowball the competition out, give this guy an unrealistic idea of what landscaping costs, you mow one time, he doesnt pay, and your beat out of 100 + your mowing. I think you guys should stay in school.

verant
08-28-2008, 09:31 PM
I would have walked away in a heart beat. Im in college too and I dont put up with people who can't afford my services, especially for first time customers. It's not worth it, don't short yourself even if you are using no materials...labor is labor...simple as that. It's still worth a lot of money to me. Do NOT let customers tell you what your service is WORTH!!

JNyz
08-28-2008, 09:53 PM
My friend and I are in business together cutting lawns and doing landscaping for people. we're not out to make a fortune and get rich, just trying to make a few extra bucks for gas and food while we're in college, so maybe take this with a grain of salt.

We were referred to a guy who is selling his house and wanted it "cleaned up" so we went over there, talked to the guy to see what he wanted done, and he showed us. Decent sized house with beds all around, he wants all the beds edged (the lawn has grown into them pretty bad in some spots), beds weeded (some spots pretty bad, some not so bad), 3 large dead bushes removed, 3 or 4 small "out of control" trees trimmed down, driveway and sidewalks edged, and all the shrubs trimmed (about 15 on the property and all are out of control).

Now, my friend works for one of the big-time local landscape companies during the summer, and he has a pretty good eye for estimating time and cost. We saw what was to be done, and discussed it, and came up with a price of $250. According to my friend, his company would charge at least $500 to do what this guy wants. We told him and he was like "oh thats way too much" so, being the nice people we are, and figuring that its all profit for us anyway because theres no materials involved, we said we would do it for $200 thinking he would settle for that. He still said it was too much, and noted that someone down the street had their whole property landscaped and mulched, labor and materials, by a reputable landscaping company for $250. when we asked what company it was, he couldnt remember. yeah ok buddy..... my friend even told the guy how much the place he works for would charge.

So, the guy said he wouldnt pay us more than $150. The only we reason we are doing it is because he wants us to cut his grass for the rest of the year as well, and the price we negotiated on that was a bit higher than what we would have normally charged, so in the end I guess we will be making some of what we lost on the landscaping back. But like my friend said, "he only wants to spend $150? then he's only gonna get a $150 job done"

Looks like you two are not business majors to me. The owner got over on you two. Don't go into sales after you graduate would be my tip to you.

RLS24
08-28-2008, 10:06 PM
the guy is paying us for 2 months of mowing up front. as far as referrals go, I'm not too concerned about them since the guy is moving 3 states away in a week. We are actually doing another (money making) job less than a mile away, so it's not gonna totally kill us to swing by there and knock it out real quick.

old oak lawn
08-28-2008, 10:07 PM
promised work is bs, they tell you that to lower your price and it worked. if you do a cheep job and he is this much trouble before the job starts i bet he wont pay you until he gets alot of work out of you. your price is YOUR PRICE. if they don't like it walk away.i have lost the same way you are going to on this job before so i know to stick to my price. if you have not started this job yet i would back out now.

Impressions Landscaping
08-29-2008, 12:35 AM
One big thing I have learned is that there are a lot of empty promises ranging from "I'll have you mow my lawn for the rest of the summer" to " I'll get you every lawn in the nieghborhood." ALWAYS, take a customers promise with a grain of salt. If I were you, I never would have let the price slide $100 bucks, it is YOUR business, not his. Personally, I would get the full amount for the clean-up up front, then at least 2 months mowing with a contract for both the clean-up and the mowings. I've had customers like this, I either don't deal with them or write a very VERY detailed contract. Generally though, I wouldn't do any work if they negotiate the price, especially for 250 bucks.

Isobel
08-29-2008, 04:03 AM
the guy is paying us for 2 months of mowing up front. as far as referrals go, I'm not too concerned about them since the guy is moving 3 states away in a week. We are actually doing another (money making) job less than a mile away, so it's not gonna totally kill us to swing by there and knock it out real quick.

Mike, my only real concern is that the guy wouldn't be satisfied by something.... he just seems like that sort of person. Someone that will find fault with everything that is done. that's why i'm saying I would have walked away from it, even with the promise of future work.

Frontier-Lawn
08-29-2008, 11:04 AM
i flat tell all any estimate Price is Not Negotiable, that i go to when asked if i can go lower!

RLS24
08-29-2008, 03:03 PM
well, maybe this is the wrong way to do it, but we are going to make the guy sign a contract saying that we estimate that what he wants done is going to take us a solid 8 hour day (maybe close to 9 or 10 IMO). Taking into consideration what he wants done and what the current condition of the property is, thats what we figure (we usually do cleanups and most landscaping jobs on an hourly pay of $30/hr). This particular contract also says that he agrees that he doesn't want to pay us more than $150 (or 5 hours worth of work). I plan to underline this statement and have him initial it just to make sure he understands. The customer is also agreeing that after we complete the 5 hours of work, we can re-evaluate with him and if he'd like us to finish the job to what he originally wanted, then he can agree to pay us the other $100 and we'll finish out the other ~3 hours to get the property where he wants it. I am also putting in there that he agreed to have us cut his lawn effective september 1st, once a week for the next 2 months for the cost of $35 per cut and the cumulative sum of $280 for lawn cutting is due at the time of signing the contract, as well as a $75 deposit on the Landscaping work.

I figure this way, we are somewhat covered in case he isn't happy in the end and says we didn't do everything he wanted. This way we can be like well we told you to do what you wanted would take this long and cost this much. you only wanted to pay us for X amount of time, so this is what could be done in that time. you agreed to this and signed to it. I also want the money for the mowing up front in case after this guy moves we never hear from him again.

Maybe I'm going about the whole contract/down payment on the landscaping/advance payment on mowing thing wrong?

crab
08-29-2008, 04:08 PM
if it takes 2 guys 8 hrs to do the work,you will be earning,$9.37 per hour!why even bother?.

FDuce
08-29-2008, 04:27 PM
I would have taken it if I was in the same situation (college). The question is, what would you have been doing during the 8-10 hours if you didn't take the job? If you put off a higher paying job than it is a bad choice, but if you would be sitting at home, then why not make a little cash.



if it takes 2 guys 8 hrs to do the work,you will be earning,$9.37 per hour!why even bother?.


In college I had a part time job for $7 per hour...does that mean that I shouldn't have worked since I wasn't making $30-$60 per hour??

RLS24
08-29-2008, 05:16 PM
if it takes 2 guys 8 hrs to do the work,you will be earning,$9.37 per hour!why even bother?.

not sure where you got that from....$250 / 8 hours of work for 2 people is $15.62/hr each. Our basic rate is $30/hr and we give ourselves $10/hr each and the other $10 goes back into the business at least for now because we are trying to buy some new equipment for next year.

I would have taken it if I was in the same situation (college). The question is, what would you have been doing during the 8-10 hours if you didn't take the job? If you put off a higher paying job than it is a bad choice, but if you would be sitting at home, then why not make a little cash.

In college I had a part time job for $7 per hour...does that mean that I shouldn't have worked since I wasn't making $30-$60 per hour??

this is the only job we have for that day, and with fall/winter coming, its prob one of the last landscaping jobs we will get this year, so we'll take what we can get!

B_gerrits
08-29-2008, 06:08 PM
we were about to, then he mentioned cutting the grass, and we told him a price for that which was way higher than what we would normally charge and he agreed to it (to our surprise). if it wasn;t for us making a killing on cutting the guy's grass we would have walked.

Oldest trick in the book " if you do this job cheap I will have a lot more work for you". good luck to you hope things work out. My bet he will nickel and dime you on the mowing if you even see it at all:hammerhead::dizzy::drinkup::

mattfromNY
08-29-2008, 07:53 PM
Earlier this summer, I bid a similar job ($1600.00), guy said it was WAY too much- "If you can do it for $1000.00, you can cut my lawn all summer, too"
I put out my hand, and just as he went to shake it, I told him "Great, we'll be back the second week of September to get started" (This took place the first week of July)
Once the puzzled look subsided from his face, I let him know I had plenty of money making jobs to do, if I was going to work for peanuts, I would put it off until things slowed down later in the summer.
We ended up doing the job for my price, the following week. AND his lawn is on our weekly schedule, and we've been paid every month with no problems. (Plus one of my guys got a tip one week when he had to mow on Saturday)
Unless you're desperate for work, dont always give in for the promise of future work. Many people out there live their lives getting things for cheap, its what drives them. Even if you give a lowball price, they still want it cheaper.

PerfectEarth
08-29-2008, 09:21 PM
Wow, this whole thing is just a total disaster. For the customer, for the poster, for the industry, everything... Ugh.

PROCUT1
08-29-2008, 10:11 PM
Haha...I miss the lawn business....haha

B_gerrits
08-29-2008, 10:37 PM
well, maybe this is the wrong way to do it, but we are going to make the guy sign a contract saying that we estimate that what he wants done is going to take us a solid 8 hour day (maybe close to 9 or 10 IMO). Taking into consideration what he wants done and what the current condition of the property is, thats what we figure (we usually do cleanups and most landscaping jobs on an hourly pay of $30/hr). This particular contract also says that he agrees that he doesn't want to pay us more than $150 (or 5 hours worth of work). I plan to underline this statement and have him initial it just to make sure he understands. The customer is also agreeing that after we complete the 5 hours of work, we can re-evaluate with him and if he'd like us to finish the job to what he originally wanted, then he can agree to pay us the other $100 and we'll finish out the other ~3 hours to get the property where he wants it. I am also putting in there that he agreed to have us cut his lawn effective september 1st, once a week for the next 2 months for the cost of $35 per cut and the cumulative sum of $280 for lawn cutting is due at the time of signing the contract, as well as a $75 deposit on the Landscaping work.

I figure this way, we are somewhat covered in case he isn't happy in the end and says we didn't do everything he wanted. This way we can be like well we told you to do what you wanted would take this long and cost this much. you only wanted to pay us for X amount of time, so this is what could be done in that time. you agreed to this and signed to it. I also want the money for the mowing up front in case after this guy moves we never hear from him again.

Maybe I'm going about the whole contract/down payment on the landscaping/advance payment on mowing thing wrong?

Ok I would walk away from this one unless I was real hungry which sound like you guys are. It sounds like you are willing to do the work for something like 15 an hour correct? If you take less than that then i think you are crazy but you gotta do what you gotta do. Heres the deal I think this guy is a real cheapscate so I want the money before I do the work. On this one I would say we will get as much done as we can in x amount of time. You can't do this one on a cheap bid IMO he seems like the kind of guy I totally avoid but If my sensors are right this guy will keep finding things wrong until you have put in way to much time. I smell SHITE, BEWARE, RED FLAG, proceed at your own risk, GOOD LUCK

Tyler7692
08-29-2008, 11:27 PM
Wow, this whole thing is just a total disaster. For the customer, for the poster, for the industry, everything... Ugh.


Well said.

Anyhow, to the initial poster, you have already lost money on this job. Think of the time and effort you are putting in for a measly $150... what's that, a tank of gas? This is rediculous.

crab
08-30-2008, 12:14 PM
you said 150 not 250,and for that kind of money ,and time spent haggling with this guy,yes why bother.going to work for someone for 7 dollars per hr is not the same as working for yourself,no leg work,management etc.

jimithing31
08-30-2008, 03:26 PM
we were about to, then he mentioned cutting the grass, and we told him a price for that which was way higher than what we would normally charge and he agreed to it (to our surprise). if it wasn;t for us making a killing on cutting the guy's grass we would have walked.


I have not read the whole thread but I can tell you right here that he baited you with the "you can cut my lawn for the rest of the year", and you took it. I will bet you anything that he opts to have someone else cut the grass after you have done the cleanup job. He is what is the sales world is called a "stroker" and you just got taken advantage of.

jimithing31
08-30-2008, 03:30 PM
And if you don't get money upfront like the others suggested, this guy is going to hold your money hostage until he, "do this and do that, and this is not right and I want that done and that's not right", until you have done well over $500 worth of work.

Come on buddy stand your ground.

RLS24
08-30-2008, 06:20 PM
I have not read the whole thread but I can tell you right here that he baited you with the "you can cut my lawn for the rest of the year", and you took it. I will bet you anything that he opts to have someone else cut the grass after you have done the cleanup job. He is what is the sales world is called a "stroker" and you just got taken advantage of.

he's giving us the full amount for the lawn cutting for the remainder of the year, and the 50% deposit on the landscaping work before we even step onto his driveway to start the work. We'll do our work, and if for some reason he refuses to pay us the rest, than we'll take 2 or 3 mowings off at the end of the season to compensate for what he didn't pay us for the landscaping.

kootoomootoo
08-30-2008, 06:35 PM
the point of this post was....




You wont do a $150 job ...you will do exactly what he wants or you wont get paid. $150 is one tank of gas...BFD

jimithing31
08-31-2008, 10:27 AM
the point of this post was....




You wont do a $150 job ...you will do exactly what he wants or you wont get paid. $150 is one tank of gas...BFD



Exactly my point..... Thank you. Been there done that, will NEVER have it happen again. This guy is making you his Bi$## and you are making it hard for the industry as a whole. If you believe every john, paul and mary that claims to have gotten a quote MUCH less than you were giving, you are one big sucker. (No offense) It's part of the game.... PEOPLE LIE... Try standing your ground and walk away leaving him with your number. 8 times out of ten if you impress with the promise of VERY high quality work and have a personable attitude, thanking them for their opportunity to give them a bid, you will get a call to come back. Because that scab that gave a ridiculous low quote... NEVER EXISTED!!!!!

RLS24
08-31-2008, 01:14 PM
Exactly my point..... Thank you. Been there done that, will NEVER have it happen again. This guy is making you his Bi$## and you are making it hard for the industry as a whole. If you believe every john, paul and mary that claims to have gotten a quote MUCH less than you were giving, you are one big sucker. (No offense) It's part of the game.... PEOPLE LIE... Try standing your ground and walk away leaving him with your number. 8 times out of ten if you impress with the promise of VERY high quality work and have a personable attitude, thanking them for their opportunity to give them a bid, you will get a call to come back. Because that scab that gave a ridiculous low quote... NEVER EXISTED!!!!!

oh i'm not saying i believe the guy at all that his neighbor got "all this work done with mulch for $250" my friend that works for a lco in the summers said that they would charge a TON more to do what this guy wants. I guess for now we will just have to cut our losses and learn from our mistakes. we're not putting off another job to get this one done, and its prob one of the last we'll get for the season, so we'll just take what we can get, move on and lesson learned.

Ramairfreak98ss
08-31-2008, 10:44 PM
if he's this much trouble for the first job, i can only imagine what the future jobs are going to be like. I would have just walked away. I never negotiate with someone like that.

Yeah, NEVER negotiate with someone who has lowballed your already low offer, he probably will refuse to pay the $150 after your done anyway because he doesnt like something you did along the way.... find another customer and let another company possibly deal with his crap. $150 is hardly anything for a job.anyway.

bare spot
09-02-2008, 03:22 AM
I have not read the whole thread but I can tell you right here that he baited you with the "you can cut my lawn for the rest of the year", and you took it. I will bet you anything that he opts to have someone else cut the grass after you have done the cleanup job. He is what is the sales world is called a "stroker" and you just got taken advantage of.
or every 3 wks or something after the first cut (not saying it's going to happen) but think also to not take much from with these promises.

RLS24
09-05-2008, 08:50 PM
well, we finished the job. we did everything the guy wanted and made it look extremely respectable in about 4 and a half hours. We could have been there all day cleaning the place up, but the guy was more than happy with what we did. He ended up giving us what we originally wanted ($250) cuz he was so happy with how much better his place looked, and I think at some point while he was watching us, he realized that it was really a lot more work than maybe he thought. He also referred us to 3 other people in the area, who we estimated 1 job over a grand and 2 more over 500 and we set dates to do all 3 (no we did not have to negotiate these, we actually prob would have gotten a little more money but o well). so in the end it all worked out.

phlandscaping
09-07-2008, 08:13 PM
He's going to drop you after a couple mows, you will never come out ahead with people like this! Sounds like another dead beat customer to me, if only I could calculate how much the couple of people still owe me... I learned quick!