PDA

View Full Version : A little situation...


Screamin!
03-31-2009, 09:10 PM
Well. Quick background on the client. I use to work for him in High School, I ran his farm. He contacted me awhile back to do a leaf clean-up at one of his houses. Our first meeting he told me "Just do it, and bill me when your done." and that's exactly what I did. It was a simple "blow and go" basically. All I had to do was blow the leaves to the street and the village would come and pick them up. It was a rather large lot, around 2-3 acres. I had 14 hours out there myself with my leaf blower, and I had a second guy the second day with 6 hours himself. So, 20 hours of labor? Sounds right to me. Well, when it came time to bill him - I couldn't get a hold of him. I left messages, and never heard back from him. So I did some digging and found his property management office. I figured since he is a "friend" I'd only bill him for my 14 hours I worked, and not me seconds mans 6 hours. Now, I contacted 3 other landscape operations in the area to get a backpack blower rate, and from the general census, the rates were around ~$45 an hour. So, I billed him 14 hours @ $35 an hour (being nice).. A week goes by, no call/check. Finally I get a hold of him to hear the following.... "I got your bill, and one of the following 2 things is going to happen. Either I pay you your $490 and I'll NEVER do business it you again, or you reconsider your invoice and we can continue to do business. No one gets $35 an hour to just run a backpack blower, that's absolutely outrageous." I explained to him that I did contact other operations to get the price, and it's actually under the going rate, and everything. I also explained to him that I am out there as a business - I am out there not for a hobby, but for a career. He basically pissed me off and told me I'm ******* crazy.

The shitty part of it all is either I cut my price, to keep more business (he owns 220 houses or so in my area) or I take my full pay and cut him as a client. I'm afraid if I cut my rates for him this once, then every time after he will want the same. And he will have the upper hand on me. What would you do? Was my hourly rate too high? I just need some advice from the older guys on here.

Thanks for reading.

Mimowerman
03-31-2009, 09:13 PM
hummmmm..... will you make any $$ ?? Could he turn out to be a profitable cuatomer in the future via volume work at a lower rate??

Greenleaf Lawns
03-31-2009, 09:14 PM
Unless you are really hungry, been there, done that

say goodbye...

DuallyVette
03-31-2009, 09:55 PM
If that's a picture of your truck and equipment...then your in the lawn maintenance business. Why would "working for lunch money" be your goal. Tell the man to pay you the $490...you've wasted enough time.
Did anyone pay your helper ?

Screamin!
03-31-2009, 10:01 PM
If that's a picture of your truck and equipment...then your in the lawn maintenance business. Why would "working for lunch money" be your goal. Tell the man to pay you the $490...you've wasted enough time.
Did anyone pay your helper ?

Of course my employee was paid. I paid him at the finish of the day...

It's just the potential of much more work, but its the thought that I've had this much of an issue on on job - I'm afraid they will all be like this.

BkServicesLLC18
03-31-2009, 10:20 PM
in my opinion (18 years) this guy sounds like a trouble maker...Whout do you think he would say to one of his renters if they told him his price to rent his property was outrageuos and if he cut his price they would rent it?...also if he does it once he will do it again and who wants to be talked to like that when we are all busting our asses doing physical labor for people...kindness goes along way...i would lose this guy and be stronger for it...there are people that would be happy to pay for your work.

Screamin!
03-31-2009, 10:36 PM
Does my price sound right? I want to make sure that I'm dead on with everything. I'm meeting with him in the morning, and I want to make sure that you guys run the same rates.

BkServicesLLC18
03-31-2009, 10:47 PM
dont cheat yourself....your rate is fine....you wanna show this guys true colors ask him what he thinks you should charge him and listen to the rediculous number he gives you, then remeber how hard you worked for him...here in CT i charge 50 an hour and no exeptions for anyone...were running businesses and if you let your customers decide what they pay you will be out of business in no time

Elite Outdoor
03-31-2009, 11:31 PM
If this guy offered you more jobs would you do them? If the answer is yes then figure out how much money you need for the work you already did. You charged $490, can you live with $400? $350? When you meet with him tomorrow I'm sure he will be glad to tell you what he is willing to pay. If its below what you have to have, take up on his offer for $490 and you never see him again. Your rates are cheap at $35/hr. With 20 man hours on the job you actually making $24.5 per hour. He has a great deal and doesn't even know it. hope this helps

coxslawncare
03-31-2009, 11:48 PM
Don't let anyone else run your business for you. As you said I would worry he would do this on everything from here on out and he is using the fact that he COULD get you more business to get you to give him services. Lets say you cut the price and still never hear from him again. You gained nothing. Take your money and find clients that will respect the fact that your not a pee-on and are worried more about the quality of your work than trying to scare you into lower prices.

DuallyVette
04-01-2009, 12:01 AM
"WONDER" if he'll try this cheap crap each time ???? He pretty much told you that he's looking for a lot for cheap. Guaranteed !!! A $10 an hour employee cost's me $20 for each hour that he is actually working on a customer's property ( including driving time, ss taxes, Workers Comp Ins., holidays, vacations, etc.)

kirk1701
04-01-2009, 12:47 AM
Of course my employee was paid. I paid him at the finish of the day...

It's just the potential of much more work, but its the thought that I've had this much of an issue on on job - I'm afraid they will all be like this.

Got to agree with Screamin here, and add one more thing.

"Never a good idea to mix business with friends" When it comes to business there is no such thing as friendship which is what he had now proved to you.

I would not only require payment in full I would ruin him with any other lawn services in the area and make them aware of his dirty deed so they won't get stuck with his trick next year. :drinkup:

Next time, sign a contract up front.

Screamin!
04-01-2009, 12:51 AM
I've learned lessons out of this. That's for sure.

The saying "Just do it, and send me a bill" will have an estimate attached with it before I begin work. That was my fault for not letting him know how much it would roughly cost, and I will hold responsibility for that. That was me mixing friendship with business, which I normally never do. I'm going to bring him the "actual" price I, or any other company, could of, and should of charged him. It's unfortunate that he had to be this way, I could of scored a whole bunch of work out of him.

betmr
04-01-2009, 02:22 PM
"Just do it, and bill me when your done."

This left you wide open to this one. And it should be a RED FLAG if you ever hear it again. People who use this tactic are always going to argue the price, AFTER you have DONE the work. I don't think this is going to be a good business relationship here. not only do you need to get paid for your labor, you have insurance equipment, taxes, paperwork and other expenses.

I think you should get your full bill, and drop this guy. You used to work for him, and HE thinks you still do

kirk1701
04-01-2009, 02:43 PM
"Just do it, and bill me when your done."
I think you should get your full bill, and drop this guy. You used to work for him, and HE thinks you still do

YEP
Been there and seen those type myself.

Get a little power and it goes to their head and the bigger the head the bigger the ego and once that happens the person thinks he can boss everyone like his employees.

RUN, don't walk. Get your money and RUN

joshco84
04-01-2009, 06:05 PM
I would mark your bill back up to the regular going rate, give it to him and tell him to get lost.

You were already doing him a favor and got your ass chewed, might as well make the right money and get rid of him.

Screamin!
04-01-2009, 06:26 PM
Just got in from doing some mowing... I was able to get a hold of the client, but unable to meet with him.... So, I got to explain on the phone that I wasn't adjusting my bill, and the price sticks... He assures me my check was cut and mailed today. I suppose I'll have to watch the mail and see if he's true to his word.

I have a bad feeling now that I wont see my check for some time, and I wont be able to get a hold of him anymore.

J&A Lawn Care
04-01-2009, 10:48 PM
I would just tell him the price is the price unless you can show me more work right now.I had a lady shoot me a bunch of BS when it came time to pay her leaf removal bill.She kept saying that her church was building a new place so look after her on that leaf removal bill cause she was going to put my name in the hat for the landscaping and lawn maintenance.I simply asked her if I got the job and she said well they haven't started building yet but it wasn't going to be long.I told her sorry but here is your bill.Needless to say she found some bum to work for $10hr and I am not doing her yard anymore

kirk1701
04-02-2009, 12:26 AM
Just got in from doing some mowing... I was able to get a hold of the client, but unable to meet with him.... So, I got to explain on the phone that I wasn't adjusting my bill, and the price sticks... He assures me my check was cut and mailed today. I suppose I'll have to watch the mail and see if he's true to his word.

I have a bad feeling now that I wont see my check for some time, and I wont be able to get a hold of him anymore.

Here's an idea for you, You could always tell him if he finds another lawn care service that will do the work cheaper you will beat the price, till then you stick to your quoted price :drinkup:

jaybow
04-02-2009, 01:33 PM
Does my price sound right? I want to make sure that I'm dead on with everything. I'm meeting with him in the morning, and I want to make sure that you guys run the same rates.

I have had similar situation.Tell him since there was no price agreed upon before the work was done you will sacrifice and do it for cheaper this time but in the future nothing gets done without an agreement upfront.Actually it was his mistake for not asking the cost before he had the work done.Just invest in your leaf cleanup setup and in the future you can be more efficient making yourself more per hour.Probably should have a walk-behind blower for a property that size. I prefer to price things by the job for the customer.I don't ever tell them how much I need to make per hour.Just give them a price upfront and they don't need to know how many hours it took if they weren't home.

Littleriver1
04-02-2009, 04:24 PM
Well, It's over now. He said if you get the full amount he will never do business with you again. So he has said goodby to you and burned that bridge behind himself. Let it stand and move on.

Valk
04-02-2009, 04:31 PM
Did you have any idea it would take this long to do the work?
What would you have estimated timewise - prior to doing the work?
Assuming these are all his '08 Fall leaves......had he properly had these leaves dealt with last Fall with regular care what would that have cost him then? How many times would he have needed regular Fall servicing?
How much would you charge to maintain his property on a regular basis?
Do you think he saved money by blowing~off this work last Fall?

The ways one can use to present the rationale for the bill are important so the customer can understand what kind of & how much work is required for them to be satisfied.

Had these leaves had to be hauled away...how much would it have cost?

yardatwork
04-02-2009, 07:21 PM
Here's the thing...if you drop your price and keep him, you'll be paranoid about every invoice you send him thereafter. Let him try to find another person...you might get a call back!

Valk
04-03-2009, 12:41 AM
I'm afraid if I cut my rates for him this once, then every time after he will want the same. And he will have the upper hand on me.

Favors are appreciated once...then expected thereafter.

kirk1701
04-03-2009, 06:23 PM
Here's the thing...if you drop your price and keep him, you'll be paranoid about every invoice you send him thereafter. Let him try to find another person...you might get a call back!

YES, my thoughts exactly :)

Sounds like he's just a bully wanting to show authority with hopes he can intimidate you plus at the same time blackmale you on further jobs.

FLCthes4:11-12
04-03-2009, 06:34 PM
I agree with what was said before never tell them your hourly rate. I just finished an install for some screening plants 3 #15 Crypto. and 4 8' nrs holly. I had me and two guys and rented a mini ex.(my skid was two big to get through the back yard )and at the end of the day I cleared over materials $75 per man per hour. I think if I told the customer that they would flip. Just get go estimateing by the job and if you do it in less time good for you. If you don't get better estimateing. If you are going to lose money on this one house then you will lose on all his houses b/c he will want the cheaper rate.

Mahoney3223
04-06-2009, 01:25 AM
Tell him to f*** off...I've had people like this and trust me they are never satisfied...ten to one he won't give you more work he's just being a cheap @$$. Punch him in the eye