View Full Version : Customers trying to take advantage of me because of my age

03-22-2002, 06:44 PM
I am an eighteen year old, I have been in the business for 3 years now so I know how everything works. I offer many different services to my customers and do my best to keep them happy, because if there not happy, I'm not happy. Well anyway, whenever I give them an estimate on a job they try to talk me down everytime and I think it is because of my age they are trying to take advantage of me. I'm a nice guy I don't like saying no, so I usually take a little off the price. I've tried different things to try and make up for lost money, for example I would give them a higher estimate then normal and negotiate down to the price I would normally charge. That works for some customers, but for others they see the high price and look else where so I don't want to scare away customers. Are there any techniques I could try to get the amount I want from a job. I'm open to any suggestions on what you guys do when giving an estimate. Thank you to all in advance.

03-22-2002, 06:56 PM
it doesn't stop...at 30, they still want me to lower my price. they want a cheap price and I let them know that with a cheap price, comes cheap work, and cheap quality....I stand my ground....if they still don't budge, you don't need them....my clients want quality and they pay my price knowing they get it....sometimes I'll tell them to let me do their lawn 3 times at my price, and if you still think the price is to high and don't want to pay, I can recomend someone....half the time, they call me back...

03-22-2002, 07:17 PM
Once you give in on price and customers know you'll budge on it - then you're toast. They'll play you each time.

I tell my customers I don't set my prices artificially high to just knock the price down or give a discount. "Do you give senior discounts?" No we don't. We price our jobs based on the cost to perform the job the customer is asking to have done. If the customer wants a lower price, change the parameters of the job, not your profit. If it's too much money, delete the ground cover or lighting from the install and just mulch. If the maintenance price is too high, then don't edge the beds every week, or charge extra to do it.

Let them know where the job could change to meet their budget expectations. But NEVER NEVER just give a little off the price. It pisses people off. It's like you were trying to take advantage of them from the get go. Many people will see your discounting your services as being dishonest since you were going to try and get it out of them before the said something.

03-22-2002, 07:39 PM
Good reply, LawnLad...I like it. BTW, age (I'm 47) has nothing to do with people wanting you to cut them a deal or get you to lower your price.

Stick to your guns!

03-22-2002, 08:47 PM
i can understand your sentiment. sometimes, current, and potential customers will get a price for a job from me instead of my employer. i think their reasoning is that since im an employee, either i wont charge as much, or i dont know how to charge accordingly. how wrong they are.

9 times out of 10, my price will be higher than if my boss had quoted it. i dont budge on any price i give, unless it is to drop something in order to reduce the price as LawnLad stated. this is a business, and if we arent making so much money an hour, day, week, year, then we will go out of business.

remember, any tom dick, or harry can get in this business. but, do they know what they are doing, and will they be around in 5 years?

03-23-2002, 01:49 PM
Only thing is you have to know your operating costs and the cost of providing the different components of your service pkgs.

Armed with that info you become a very formidable negotiator and will sell more work and at a higher profit.

When I have to dicker with folks this way, it costs them a little more even though the price goes down. Sometimes I keep all the profit from what I'm cutting out and just cut the job cost by by the amount it costs me to provide the service being reduced or eliminated.

03-23-2002, 07:58 PM
I agree, it has nothing to do with age. You're 18, so you may not have the confidence yet to stand firm on your price, but you'll find you do better when you do.

Tell them why you price the way you do, what they are getting for that money, and that there isn't any wiggle room on that price. And leave it at that.

03-24-2002, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by Ramster2000
I am an eighteen year old, I have been in the business for 3 years now so I know how everything works. .

Must be nice, approaching 15 years in this business, and I still don't know how everything works...

03-24-2002, 04:09 PM
LOL! That's what I was thinking, too!

03-25-2002, 02:02 AM
Hey, me too. I'm fifty. Did a repeat customer for aeration. She has me aerate each year, plus a few sprinkler repairs. I give her a good price. The neighbor behind calls me over. Want's his aerated. I'm in the area and unloaded, so I tell him the price I give to my steady customer. He lowballs me. I tell him I've a whole list of people at the higher price and that's what it is. He bawls he's got a bad heart. I smile and say I've got a lot of kids to feed. Turn and walk away. Can't give it away and still make a living. Charity is for the boy scouts.

03-25-2002, 02:58 AM
Did a job last year that I pretty much gave my services away to get her have me take of the maintenance the next year. Anyway, she tells me her friend needs some work done. Went up to talk to this friend and she wanted her retaining wall backfilled and barked with some shrubbery. Gave her my bid and she said it wasn't $100 difference from the other bid she had got. She said "well, Sharon told me that you would do it for half the price of the other bid I got." She said if I could do it for half which was about $1300, I got the job. Said no thanks and left. We are in this business to make money, not to prevent the clients from spending their's. Stick to your prices.

John Allin
03-25-2002, 04:35 AM
"Can you do it for $15 less?"

Yes, I can.... but I'm going to make the same profit.


I'll make the same profit because that's what I have to have, and I'll shortcut something - but you won't know where it's being cut.

"Hmmmm..... I don't know if I like that."

Well, at my price my experience works for you.... at your price, my experience works for me..... Who do you want me working for??

03-25-2002, 05:19 AM
That is one of the best rebuttals I think I have ever heard to this age-old problem. It certainly puts the client on notice.

03-25-2002, 04:26 PM
i started my business when i was 19 and that was 3 years ago for me too, plus i look younger then i am, so i've had the same problem you did.. that is feeling that your being asked to reduce your price because your young... the best way to avoid that is to be as professional as possible and show the potential customer that you will be the one who makes the decisions in your relationship.. personally i have made a form that has a bunch of policies that i created.. when i do an estimate i go over all these policies and if they want my service they have to sign this agreement... some examples of my policies in brief are:

the customer will clean up animal waste before work is commenced. if the waste is not cleaned up it will be cleaned up at an additional cost.

foriegn objects will be removed to a safe location before work is commenced. if not they will be removed at an additional cost

if an object is not removed and goes unnoticed by any employee of aiel landscaping, and results in damage to our equipment, the customer will be held responsible. plus there will be no reimbursement for damage objects...

i have a bunch of these policies, when i first came up with these policies my wife thought i was going to lose all of my current customers, and never get anyone to start service again... but since i started doing estimates this way i've never had a potential customer not sign up unless i didn't want them too...

just my opinion though...

03-25-2002, 05:54 PM

I can see where those policies would make it more comfortable for you to work, but I don't see how it makes you more professional. I would think that your ability to demonstrate top-shelf knowledge about your work, dressing professionally, and speaking and acting professionally are what make you a professional.

Certainly the things you mention are nuisances, and I'm sure it makes things easier for you by making the customer aware of them up front. I'm just not sure they buy you any credibility.

03-25-2002, 11:34 PM
this is what i think a customer sees when i give an estimate.. they see someone who is punctual (because i show up exactly on time, everytime), organized (i keep all my forms in a folder, which i end up giving to the customer), and professional (because i go over in detail every aspect possible of lawn care.. that's all in my forms and policies)

in my opinion customers look for about 3 things, some one who shows up on time, communicates well, acts professionally.. i think they don't look too much into actual job quality because most likely they've never seen your work and probally feel that you'll do a good job... i've never hired someone and thought "boy i bet this guy is going to do a lousy job"... and if they have seen your work then you know they already approve of your quality of work or else they wouldn't be talking to you... what i think it all comes down to is presentation.. if you can present a customer with professionalism, you'll walk away with a new account.. i just picked up two more today doing that, and i've got another lined up that i'll pick up tomorrow...

03-26-2002, 12:26 AM
Congratulations on the new accounts.

I'm not sure I understand the correlation between agreements for yard ornament/excrement removal and some form of cognitive dissonance.

Can you explain that to me?

John Allin
03-26-2002, 04:01 AM
Cognitive what ??

Somebody better explain that to me too......

03-26-2002, 05:48 AM
Hey Guys, Good Morning!

I've been in the trade 40 years. It's human nature not age,gender or whatever etc.

I get the same routine from industry guys I sub for and builders, property managers too.

Know your costs, Hold your price and your standards, It will get you reputation that will make you suceed.

Howrver, ( there's always a however,) I do offer to pass along any discount or savings I may get on their work. Has helped close a couple sales..

Have agreat day!