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View Full Version : Lost a Huge Client today


David Gretzmier
10-18-2008, 02:21 PM
Lost a huge rehang client today that really made me glad I do not rent but sell product.

They purchased over 30 grand in product/install last year and it took my 2 best guys 14 days to install in November last year, about 30 man hours over the season to maintain, and 3 and 1/2 days to takedown. We really jumped through hoops and went above and beyond on this project. Thier rehang this year was a little less than half the install price, and they let me come out and work for 1 1/2 hours before telling me they would not do it this year. Kinda rude the way they did it, as I called them 2 days previously, and then she wanted a price, and after 3 calls from my wife and myself we came out to start this weekend.

I estimate it would take 2 guys 11 days to install this year, along with 3 1/2 days takedown, and probably 30 hours maintenance ( mostly gfci dance), and they will probably hire someone else to attempt this project. the sad thing is, I am confident they will find someone who thinks they can do it for less, but they have no clue what they are doing. a 40 foot ladder will not reach 2/3 up on the front of thier home. I cannot imagine anyone in my area with the expertise to do this job. Further, they lost warranty protection today on their items. The next person most likely will not have a magic box to repair thier wreaths/garland and displays.

I am really sad when folks make decisions with thier pocketbook rather than thier head. they will hire someone less expensive who will get into a mess, and they will want to call me at Thanksgiving, but thier pride will not allow them to.

We gave them 24 hour on call service last year, They loved it, but in the end, wealthy people really cannot see the value in good service sometimes. many feel that everyone is trying to rip them off, even when you have showed them you are a great company to deal with.

I have seen this over and over, and all I know to do is continue to provide great product and service and hope that the value appeals to those who can tell the difference between a crook and a professional.

lastly, let this be a lesson to those of you who rent. many of the items they wanted I have not sold before. If I had chosen to rent I would be stuck with used items in storage. I am at least glad I sold them goods, made my overhead money in the first year. I really would not want to deal with trying to rent those items again and storing them.

turf hokie
10-18-2008, 04:21 PM
Sorry, to hear you lost a large account like that. I have lost a few decent size accounts this year but nothing like that.

However, I tend to think we will always agree to disagree with the whole rent vs sell theory. Selling works for and renting works for me.

I look at this scenario differently. Yes, I may have some special order items that may be hard to rent to another client immediately (as I do have a couple of items that I have b/c of customer non-renewal). I will find someone that would like to have those items. But the thing is that the next guy would have to purchase (and even find the vendor to get those items) in order to re-install the job.

Your customer now has all of your (their) product ready and waiting for some jack-leg to come and put it up on the cheap.

My customer would be left with no product. Therefore the guy trying to be cheaper than me will lose his shirt b/c he has no idea how to get/price/install/service the material that was used by us.

hotrod1965
10-18-2008, 06:04 PM
Oh man, i hope this doesn't start again!!!

turf hokie
10-18-2008, 06:57 PM
Oh man, i hope this doesn't start again!!!

I know not what you speak of:dizzy::dizzy:

David Gretzmier
10-18-2008, 11:19 PM
Speaking of Jack leg, this story got more interesting today. the wealthy folks called my crew foreman and offered him 12 bucks an hour for him and 12 for his helper to install thier Christmas Lights for them. This has got to be the most staggering example of cutting out the middle man I have ever seen. Luckily, my guys are loyal and told them no, and furthermore told me. Since they both make more than that per hour, they were insulted. Had the folks been willing to pay, let's say, 25 bucks per hour each, they might have stolen my guys. But then how could the wealthy folks live with themselves knowing they paid such an obcene amount of money to mere commoners?

Look at this closely. The wealthy folks must have been happy with the work, for they wanted my guys to put it up again. They just did not want to pay a fair price. Listen to me close and understand this well- This is how many wealthy folks get and stay wealthy. They want the best, but they want it cheap, AND many have no problem hurting others financially to get what they want.

Those of you who believe you must pay a fair wage, and treat people fairly, you will have a much tougher road to riches. I'm one of those folks.

newz7151
10-18-2008, 11:59 PM
Speaking of Jack leg, this story got more interesting today. the wealthy folks called my crew foreman and offered him 12 bucks an hour for him and 12 for his helper to install thier Christmas Lights for them. This has got to be the most staggering example of cutting out the middle man I have ever seen. Luckily, my guys are loyal and told them no, and furthermore told me. Since they both make more than that per hour, they were insulted. Had the folks been willing to pay, let's say, 25 bucks per hour each, they might have stolen my guys. But then how could the wealthy folks live with themselves knowing they paid such an obcene amount of money to mere commoners?

Look at this closely. The wealthy folks must have been happy with the work, for they wanted my guys to put it up again. They just did not want to pay a fair price. Listen to me close and understand this well- This is how many wealthy folks get and stay wealthy. They want the best, but they want it cheap, AND many have no problem hurting others financially to get what they want.

Those of you who believe you must pay a fair wage, and treat people fairly, you will have a much tougher road to riches. I'm one of those folks.

Your employees aren't "loyal", they're smart. Pretty sure they knew you would find out and that they would be out on their ass with no jobs.

Grass Happens
10-19-2008, 12:06 AM
"Those of you who believe you must pay a fair wage, and treat people fairly, you will have a much tougher road to riches. I'm one of those folks. "


Although I don't do lighting, yet, I do agree with your last statement. It may take me a long time to get to the point of your client's wealth, but if and when I do, I can live with myself and the decisions I made. I will know my employees didn't suffer any financial hardship due to me paying less then their worth, and I don't have to hide from people in the supermarket.

hotrod1965
10-19-2008, 10:21 PM
Speaking of Jack leg, this story got more interesting today. the wealthy folks called my crew foreman and offered him 12 bucks an hour for him and 12 for his helper to install thier Christmas Lights for them. This has got to be the most staggering example of cutting out the middle man I have ever seen. Luckily, my guys are loyal and told them no, and furthermore told me. Since they both make more than that per hour, they were insulted. Had the folks been willing to pay, let's say, 25 bucks per hour each, they might have stolen my guys. But then how could the wealthy folks live with themselves knowing they paid such an obcene amount of money to mere commoners?

Look at this closely. The wealthy folks must have been happy with the work, for they wanted my guys to put it up again. They just did not want to pay a fair price. Listen to me close and understand this well- This is how many wealthy folks get and stay wealthy. They want the best, but they want it cheap, AND many have no problem hurting others financially to get what they want.

Those of you who believe you must pay a fair wage, and treat people fairly, you will have a much tougher road to riches. I'm one of those folks.

it's called a non-compete contract. I would recommend having all your employees sign one. Why should you train your competition?

but I will say that those people are pretty darn brave to try and pull that one off! I'm glad you have solid guys!

David Gretzmier
10-20-2008, 08:50 PM
they all have signed a non compete. But realistically, what can you do, call the police ? If you see your guys putting up a job after they leave you, good luck getting a court order to stop them. You could probably get back the profits they made on the job, but not without a lawyer or a trial.

Although I am glad my guys are solid, in the end I would have rather put up the job and gotten paid a fair price for a giagantic job. That was a big egg in my basket, and not bragging, but I got a pretty big basket. It is way better to have many small and medium jobs than a few jumbo's.

hotrod1965
10-20-2008, 09:26 PM
At $12 per hour they wouldn't have had any proffit!

Christmas Pro
10-22-2008, 03:04 PM
Speaking of Jack leg, this story got more interesting today. the wealthy folks called my crew foreman and offered him 12 bucks an hour for him and 12 for his helper to install thier Christmas Lights for them. This has got to be the most staggering example of cutting out the middle man I have ever seen. Luckily, my guys are loyal and told them no, and furthermore told me. Since they both make more than that per hour, they were insulted. Had the folks been willing to pay, let's say, 25 bucks per hour each, they might have stolen my guys. But then how could the wealthy folks live with themselves knowing they paid such an obcene amount of money to mere commoners?

Look at this closely. The wealthy folks must have been happy with the work, for they wanted my guys to put it up again. They just did not want to pay a fair price. Listen to me close and understand this well- This is how many wealthy folks get and stay wealthy. They want the best, but they want it cheap, AND many have no problem hurting others financially to get what they want.

Those of you who believe you must pay a fair wage, and treat people fairly, you will have a much tougher road to riches. I'm one of those folks.

I couldn't agree more with this statement. practically every problem I've had with a customer relating to money has been with a rich or wealthy client. Middle class and most uppler middle class installs are a pleasure to work with as it seems that haven't quite lost touch with reality as its seems many of the wealthy have.

I had one lady...she owns a casino... steal a case of brand new timers from one of my work crews and then lock herself in her mansion, because she said the $25 bucks we charged her for each of her timers was highway robbery, so she took the timers..."to make the deal more fair"

hotrod1965
10-22-2008, 05:10 PM
I wonder what she did with all those timers....

Elite Outdoor
10-22-2008, 05:48 PM
Wow David sorry to hear that. I can't believe they tried to get your employees to do it for them. This has to be the worst story I have heard in quite some time.

Christmas Pro
10-22-2008, 05:57 PM
I wonder what she did with all those timers....

lol, I've wondered that myself...maybe she's and eclectic collector of intermatic timers...

DUSTYCEDAR
10-22-2008, 06:07 PM
I HAVE HAD the same kinda crap happen with landscaping
want to hire my guys on the weekend for cheep and not pay me to do the work.
but the wealthy seem to think they r being taken by everyone and get paranoid and when that happens i wait to hit the road.
do you have any pics of your big jobs lit up?

turf hokie
10-22-2008, 08:24 PM
It happens more often than I would like to think. I actually had a customer (while I worked for another company) approach one of my guys and ask him to plant some trees for her over the weekend for $10 bucks an hour.

I was standing 10 feet away:hammerhead:

He was actually insulted by the offer and told her to talk to me:dizzy:

Some people just dont care

David Gretzmier
10-24-2008, 05:23 PM
A very good freind of mine who also does lights got a cal from her and he called me. I told him straight how long the job took install and takedown, and he thought the price was a little low. when I informed him she tried to hire my guys, he said she informed him that my guys approached her about them installing the job.

The interesting thing is that does not make sense. the crew foreman on the job had the file for a week, as he only works weekends, and he could have called her earlier easily. To have this conversation take place on the job only leads me to her trying to hire them. Further, she is still looking for someone to do it, if they approached her, why fire me? Just call me and she knows I have multiple crews.

The reality of business is even if my guys signed a non-compete there was nothing I could do about it. I have a signed contract for work this year specifying work prices this year, and it just is a piece of paper. I also know I am at least the third guy doing lights for her, and now the next guy will be the fourth. If my friend ends up doing it, she will be paying more, get no warranty on the product, and probably hire another guy the following year. why does this make sense to people? I wonder out loud how people who cannot make logical decisions based on money get or stay wealthy.

Scagguy
11-01-2008, 10:06 PM
I have had it happen to me on the landscaping side of my business. The customer asked my crew if they would take care of the install after hours and on a Sunday. The customer said that they could get the plants cheaper and that they would furnish them. My foreman said no. Well, the customer called him up at home later that night and asked again if he would do it. Again, my foreman said no. About 2 days later after I was told what was going on, the customer calls me and said that they were going to furnish the plants and wanted me to cut my labor on the install. This is 2 million plus property. I said that we were parting ways as of now and that they needed to find another LCO. They found one and they got what they paid for. The new crew had been there about 3 months and screwed this place up bad. Sure enough, the customer called me and wanted us to straighten it out. I looked up the original bid, doubled it and said here is your price. They said but it was only xxxx 3 months ago. I said yep, that was before you tried to screw me. If you want us to do the install, you will give me a cashiers check for the full amount up front before we set foot on your property. What would you like to do? Amazingly, they said ok and everything has been fine since then.

willretire@40
01-26-2009, 12:32 PM
Did she ever get her lights done?

David Gretzmier
04-20-2009, 11:56 AM
she never did any lights. I called her around december 8th when we were winding down, and told her we could still install it at the agreed price, but she never called back. I drove by a couple of times after that, around Dec. 15 and dec 23, and no lights. perhaps she will find someone this year, but realistically, there are only 3-4 guys around here that have the expertise to do it right. my guess is she will find someone who has no clue what they are getting into, thus they will bid it low.