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Decoste76
04-30-2010, 08:57 AM
I think i under bidded a mulch project.. i got the job and yesterday i was over the property preparing the mulch beds and i think im going to need possibly double the mulch i could be wrong though im going to see how it goes. I feel like and idiot if i messed up that bad. Now if i did mess up and need more i go to the home owner and tell him that we are going to need more mulch now is this my mess up and the price stays the same and they just pay for the product or do i charge them for the install too again.? t

dhunterd08
04-30-2010, 10:21 AM
I would call them and just let them know. I allways have a lot who want to spread it "really thin". That is great, but they will never be happy when your done. If anything just expain your bid and take a little off price per yard if they start to complain. In my experience most understand, but I started using a margin of error a while back lol.

minix
04-30-2010, 11:13 AM
Im not sure how someone could mess up by 1/2. The homeowner hired you to do the job and Im sure you sold yourself as a pro. If it was me and I would of made that mistake I would eat it and explain to the cliant it was your falt but you are going to handle it. I dont mean to come off as a prick but this is what seperates the real landscapers from the young kids and the new guys.

Glenn Lawn Care
04-30-2010, 12:49 PM
The I dont mean to come off as a prick but this is what seperates the real landscapers from the young kids and the new guys.

Amen!!!:usflag:

FourTrees
04-30-2010, 02:10 PM
Im not sure how someone could mess up by 1/2. The homeowner hired you to do the job and Im sure you sold yourself as a pro. . . I dont mean to come off as a prick but this is what seperates the real landscapers from the young kids and the new guys.

Amen!!!:usflag:

EVERYBODY starts somewhere, even the "REAL" landscapers. You make the "new guys" sound like a dirty word. There is no need to be a jerk.

Call the customer, explain your mistake work with them on a solution. Everyone makes mistakes. Resolve it together. No need to eat it all.

MnGreen
04-30-2010, 02:12 PM
http://www.gardenplace.com/content/calculator/mulch_calc.html

Cant get much easier if you cant estimate yourself.

By Us Company
04-30-2010, 06:02 PM
If you were a professional you would eat the cost, do the job as you bid it and offered it and move on to the next one hoping you don't mess up again. Just my 2 cents. If I offer a price to a customer and the job takes longer than I planned I don't increase the price. I would think if you had enough margin built in to the labor and materials you shouldn't lose to much money. I guess it depends on how big the job is.

minix
04-30-2010, 06:12 PM
EVERYBODY starts somewhere, even the "REAL" landscapers. You make the "new guys" sound like a dirty word. There is no need to be a jerk.

Call the customer, explain your mistake work with them on a solution. Everyone makes mistakes. Resolve it together. No need to eat it all.

Go ahead and call them and explain you will be charging double for the job that you already agreed on go on I bet they tell you to go get F%^& or will say ok and let you do the work and then tell everyone they know you f$%^& them and never to use you. The only way to do this right is to admit you made a mistake and YOU will eat the cost then they will say dang he is a honest guy and will use you everytime they need something. And yes thats what a REAL landscaper would do. Everyone thinks its so ez to just go throw some mulch around. Live and learn.

And I wasnt trying to be a jerk and I think I even statted that so you stop being a jerk newb.

Jb3NH
04-30-2010, 06:42 PM
Its happened to me, so hey you aren't alone. That being said, it only happened one time, and it wasn't my proudest momement explaining it to my customer. We parted ways by telephone after I pulled my gear. They ended up finishing the job. Once thing though, for what I was paid, they got some of the nicest hand edging and weeding I've done. Do what you have to do, but definatly talk to your customer and maybe you can meet them halfway. Good luck.
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mike174
04-30-2010, 10:39 PM
Im not sure how someone could mess up by 1/2. The homeowner hired you to do the job and Im sure you sold yourself as a pro. If it was me and I would of made that mistake I would eat it and explain to the cliant it was your falt but you are going to handle it. I dont mean to come off as a prick but this is what seperates the real landscapers from the young kids and the new guys.

Agreed...eat it and don't even bring it to the homeowners attention because they will never hire you again. Use it as a business learning experience. A business learning experience can be just as expensive as college classes sometimes. Live & learn.

Raymond S.
04-30-2010, 10:54 PM
agree above. I'd keep my mouth shut and eat it. Again though, it depends on the size of the job. Are we talking 10yds instead of 5? That's about $150 in material and the rest labor. You're probably solo from the sounds of it right? Your time is "your time." Think of it as a learning experience that cost you $150, and some time. If you tell the homeowner you're only going to expose your faults to them and now you're the "Real nice boy that did their mulch this year. He's not real good at finding out how much he needs so make sure you double check your price with him...but it did look nice when he was done."
I'd rather just take care of it and move on. Some things are better left unsaid. The big questions is though how much mulch are we talking?

JB1
04-30-2010, 11:29 PM
[QUOTE=Decoste76;3544227]I think i under bidded a mulch project.. i got the job and yesterday i was over the property preparing the mulch beds and i think im going to need possibly double the mulch i could be wrong though im going to see how it goes. I feel like and idiot if i messed up that bad. Now if i did mess up and need more i go to the home owner and tell him that we are going to need more mulch now is this my mess up and the price stays the same and they just pay for the product or do i charge them for the install too again.? t[/QU




you sure will remember this next time, but on the plus side you will gain much more than you will lose with the experience.

big acres
04-30-2010, 11:54 PM
I think we all agree that he should eat it.

He should also tell the customer that he erred in his math just a bit and decided it would be more honorable to eat it. Do not say how much you erred so you don't look foolish. If the customer feels for ya, they will chime in, but probably not. Then, ask them to recommend you to their neighbors, but not to share the price... makes em' feel special.

Who knows, they might call you again and pay for the whole job.

Decoste76
05-01-2010, 12:00 AM
ya thanks alot guys... i deff wont be doing this again i learned my lesson. I sent out a email to the customer (there way of comunication) i hope to hear back soon ill let oyu know how it goes

minix
05-01-2010, 12:12 AM
I think we all agree that he should eat it.

He should also tell the customer that he erred in his math just a bit and decided it would be more honorable to eat it. Do not say how much you erred so you don't look foolish. If the customer feels for ya, they will chime in, but probably not. Then, ask them to recommend you to their neighbors, but not to share the price... makes em' feel special.

Who knows, they might call you again and pay for the whole job.

I have lost my ass on a few jobs when I started ahh dang i still do some times lol. But not 1 time did the customer know. He is an example my biggest client I have I messed up by thousands on our 1st year we did 6 og his McDonalds and 3 of his homes and I mean I messed up on the lawn mowing, the prunning and the mulching I lost money on every thing but I busted my ass did 110% of what I had and then the 2nd year when he asked to turn in bids he looked at me and said now keep it competitive and I looked at him and said I need to make a few adjustments from last years pricing and he said ya I knew you would, and after I fig out what I should of been charging from looking at my times from the year before I knew exactly how long it took me for everything. Now he is my best client but If I would of raised my prices on him I would of lost him before I could show him what kinda work I can do. My 1st year I made $20,000.00 off this guy and my 2nd year it hit over $50,000.00 and now I do all his store lawncare landscaping and snow removal.

I never wanted to sound like a prick but I have went tru hell building what I have and had to eat crap a few times any it seems now all the new guys want to be handed all the info without having to work for it.

If you cant eat a zhit sandwich every now and then you will never know how good that prime rib really is.

Natural Impressions
05-01-2010, 12:24 AM
EVERYBODY starts somewhere, even the "REAL" landscapers. You make the "new guys" sound like a dirty word. There is no need to be a jerk.

Call the customer, explain your mistake work with them on a solution. Everyone makes mistakes. Resolve it together. No need to eat it all.


I don't think he was being a jerk. being off by 1/2 is huge. If you know the basics, ( length times width = square foot, 100 sq ft is one yards of mulch at 4 inches in depth) You will always have more then enough for the job....and some left over for your own yard, lol. I have never spread mulch at 4 inches, but it is always nice and full. If I have a larger property 20 + yards, I always show up to the job with less then what is estimated. If more is needed, the cost is in my margin of error. Just my thought.

Decoste76
05-02-2010, 08:33 PM
so went to the customers house today took some measurements and found out im going to need 24 yards of mulch!!!! i feel like a complete f***K up. he told me if i didnt get it right this time then im gone. which is understandable i honestly dont even want to go back there its so embarasing but like he said " ive made plenty of mistakes in business" this is just a lesson learned

minix
05-02-2010, 08:45 PM
so went to the customers house today took some measurements and found out im going to need 24 yards of mulch!!!! i feel like a complete f***K up. he told me if i didnt get it right this time then im gone. which is understandable i honestly dont even want to go back there its so embarasing but like he said " ive made plenty of mistakes in business" this is just a lesson learned

Are you a ligit LCO? Or are you a kid trying to play a LCO? Again not trying to be mean but dam Im glad you dont work for me .

Raymond S.
05-02-2010, 08:50 PM
How many did you originally intend on getting? (maybe I missed that somewhere)
Just for kicks, what is the amt. of sq. ft. you have and are they new beds or topping off existing mulch? Maybe there is some mathematical error on your part that could end up in your favor. If you're off by double then maybe you're not figuring out how much you need correctly. Post up, let's take a look,

TJLANDS
05-02-2010, 08:54 PM
Big Lawnsite secret:

Scroll to top of page----this page
Click on Helpful tools
Click on mulch calculator

Good luck!

And by the way, everyone has underbid Mulch jobs at one time or another.
You have three choices , Call them and adjust price, eat it, or walk away.

Decoste76
05-02-2010, 09:04 PM
a kid... stupid mistake in my part it just seemed like one thing led to another bed and alot of spreading underneath trees and i didn't intend that at all.. its been my first real estimate of mulch after work for 6 years lanscaping this is my first year by myself

MarcSmith
05-02-2010, 09:11 PM
If a contractor came back to me after a signed bid and said that he screwed up by half...he'd be off the job. Id appreciate his honesty, but he'd never set foot on my property again. itsone thing to be off by 10-15% especially if it a difficult bid.

If you don't do the job, you will get some bad press from the guy. Honestly you provided a bid to do the work signed, shook hands, ect, if you don't do the work then your word is SHT.

so either you suck it up and do the job, or take the bad heat...

Decoste76
05-02-2010, 09:14 PM
i wouldnt mind just taking the heat and doing the work i know i F**Kd up bad i wont mind do it for pretty much nothing but he told me if i get it right then i get the job and hell pay the price

MarcSmith
05-02-2010, 09:25 PM
100 sq ft is one yards of mulch at 4 inches in depth) You will always have more then enough for the job..
27 cuft= 108 sqft @ 3" deep
27 cuft= 90 sqft @ 4" deep

so if you bid 4" deep and figure 100sqft coverage per yard. you will be SHORT.

Yes we know that spreadingmulch is not rocket science and on small jobs being off isn't a big deal, but on larger jobs....let say you need to spread 10,000sqft. by your math of 100 sqft per 4" deep per yard. you'd need 100 yards.

when in actuality you would need 111 yards. you materials bid, and labor bid will be off by 10% @ 60 buck a yard installed that 660 dollars... Accurate and consistent bidding and estimation is a key to business.

punt66
05-02-2010, 09:34 PM
i always give the customer a price per yard delivered and installed. Whatever is used is what they get charged. So my estimates are 100% correct everytime. Most homeowners have done mulch before and know how many yards it will take.

GravelyGuy
05-02-2010, 09:41 PM
I always give people a rough estimate, for example 7-10 yards. Why do it any other way?

Decoste76
05-02-2010, 09:43 PM
i feel like once i get done with this one mulch job ill be able to use it to judge other mulch projects and use that as an example and better my estimates... idk how many of you go out there with a tape measure and get the sq footage but i did it today and i think im going to do it every time so i dont get myself in the kind of mess again!

John_DeereGreen
05-02-2010, 10:00 PM
You screwed up. It's not the customer's place to take responsibility for your mistake.

Eat the cost of the extra, and move on.

I still remember our first mulch bid screw up. We were off by about 25 percent. Didn't lose much, but still lost some. They never found out we screwed up, and 3 years later, they're still a happy customer, with a slightly increased mulching price.

So take it as a good lesson, figure what you think you'll need, and add 5-10 percent if it's a big job and you're just starting out.

Good luck, just eat it, don't say anything, and move on. Happens to everyone at some point.

nepatsfan
05-02-2010, 10:11 PM
I always give people a rough estimate, for example 7-10 yards. Why do it any other way?

Because you are a pro and you measure it out and you know how much it will take. When I give a proposal I have enough leeway in it that even if we have to buy a yard or two more than I anticipated we will still turn a decent profit.

nepatsfan
05-02-2010, 10:17 PM
i feel like once i get done with this one mulch job ill be able to use it to judge other mulch projects and use that as an example and better my estimates... idk how many of you go out there with a tape measure and get the sq footage but i did it today and i think im going to do it every time so i dont get myself in the kind of mess again!

Absolutely. why guess. go get a measuring wheel. Unless it is a big commercial property ittakes me less than 10 minutes and there is no guessing. Thats a no brainer. I have been in business 10 years we do a lot of mulch, I never guess. Besides it looks more professional to measure it out than to try to guess. I am very rarely off and I always give myself a little cushion.

By Us Company
05-03-2010, 07:54 AM
Most customers want to know exactly how much it will cost before the job is even performed. Even if you give them a ballpark between 7 and 10 yards, that is saying that job might be $700 but it could be as high as $1000. If there budget is $700, then maybe they will not want the job done because of how high the cost could potentially be. So you just lost a job because you couldn't give a proposal number and talk with the customer about it.

punt66
05-03-2010, 07:58 AM
Most customers want to know exactly how much it will cost before the job is even performed. Even if you give them a ballpark between 7 and 10 yards, that is saying that job might be $700 but it could be as high as $1000. If there budget is $700, then maybe they will not want the job done because of how high the cost could potentially be. So you just lost a job because you couldn't give a proposal number and talk with the customer about it.

really? Its funny how that has never happened to me.

MDLawn
05-03-2010, 02:48 PM
I've always measured just to be sure. Funny thing is though, it depends on who is driving the loader at the supplier to load the mulch. I've done jobs each year and depending who loads the dump I will be just right or way too much. Some guys just get heaping scoops while others shake the bucket a few hundred times to make sure it is just right.

MarcSmith
05-03-2010, 02:52 PM
while others shake the bucket a few hundred times to make sure it is just right.

You think about how much the mulch supplier gives away each year with those heaping buckets...of course when it wet, you'll get more, and if the driver drives into the pile hard and really packs the mulch into bucket you get more... of course how about the mulch supplier who uses a 3/4 yd bucket and calls it a yard :cry:

nepatsfan
05-03-2010, 06:50 PM
I've always measured just to be sure. Funny thing is though, it depends on who is driving the loader at the supplier to load the mulch. I've done jobs each year and depending who loads the dump I will be just right or way too much. Some guys just get heaping scoops while others shake the bucket a few hundred times to make sure it is just right.

Another very valid point. I like to have a good size cushion on the job. I dont specify how many yards they are getting but I always estimate to use more than I am planning on, give them a proposal and if all goes well I do it for the lesser amount and my profit margain is higher.

MDLawn
05-03-2010, 07:12 PM
Another very valid point. I like to have a good size cushion on the job. I dont specify how many yards they are getting but I always estimate to use more than I am planning on, give them a proposal and if all goes well I do it for the lesser amount and my profit margain is higher.

I am similar on this. I don't specify yards just an overall quote with a list of what will be done. I think most customers don't understand a "yard" although some do. Some on here may say you are ripping someone off by not getting all the yards you "estimated",but thats why it is an estimate correct? However if I underestimate then it is my loss, again an estimate and thats why you do your research and dont "guesstimate". That gets you in trouble. Plus I always have a, what I call, BS FACTOR which I add in to every job. Helps cover the whoops factor.

Decoste76
05-03-2010, 07:13 PM
well got the rest of the job.. guess you can say im lucky after a mistake like that big business guy gave me alot of good advice and how he made alot of mistakes himself all it is a learning experiment just cant let that happen again

nepatsfan
05-03-2010, 07:19 PM
I am similar on this. I don't specify yards just an overall quote with a list of what will be done. I think most customers don't understand a "yard" although some do. Some on here may say you are ripping someone off by not getting all the yards you "estimated",but thats why it is an estimate correct? However if I underestimate then it is my loss, again an estimate and thats why you do your research and dont "guesstimate". That gets you in trouble. Plus I always have a, what I call, BS FACTOR which I add in to every job. Helps cover the whoops factor.

Thats why I dont specify. I basically measure it out for my own reference and give a price to complete the job. I dont want anyone saying you promised me 11 yards and you only gave me 8. I dont promise anything except to complete the job.

MDLawn
05-04-2010, 10:38 AM
Thats why I dont specify. I basically measure it out for my own reference and give a price to complete the job. I dont want anyone saying you promised me 11 yards and you only gave me 8. I dont promise anything except to complete the job.


Thats how i see it. I am selling them a job to complete work. The supplier sells yards of mulch, not work. Everyone is different though as some charge by the yard whereas others charge by the hour + materials + profit. I'll sell the job and get only what i need to complete the job.