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View Full Version : Customers using others for misc. work on your job!!!!!


johnnybravo8802
03-08-2011, 10:01 PM
I need to get an opinion. I'm starting to run into my long....time customers trying to cut corners and save a dime. While I know it's their property, I'm wondering where the loyalty is?!!!!! Pinestraw for example:There is a group of guys who go around town every year and put out straw for $4.50/bale. I am at $5.50/bale which is the industry standard in my area and has been for 15 yrs!!!! I do a very high quality job and the guys at $4.50/bale do really bad work..the customer isn't saving anything. What gets me is that my customers will overlook that I've been working for them for 12 years and do really quality work(These are customers with some serious money, I'll add). They'll step all over our relationship to save $1!!!!!!:hammerhead:I've even had one customer say that the $4.50 guys look like a bunch of criminals but their cheap.:confused: I don't want others thinking it's my company doing the work, and the sloppy work is on my property!! How do you approach the customer about this? After 12 years, shouldn't you just be able to do the job and send them a bill? What am I missing here? In my opinion, if a job is MY contract, I don't want to see another company anywhere near it!!!!!!!!! Help me out fellas...

Southern Pride
03-08-2011, 10:13 PM
Well. Are you on a contract to install pine straw for them?

I know what you mean though. New customer of mine (rich guy) has me come do small cleanups, but then hires one company to do a big cleanup and another to install his $2,500 irrigation job. He even told me they quoted higher than me for the SAME work on the irrigation job. I wanted to drop him right then but I just had to hold it in.

bohiaa
03-08-2011, 10:42 PM
yea, from time to time some of our customers use others. it's a PITA,
we had a customer use a tree service and they came in and rutted up the lawn. left a mess.
in our contract we have an area that states: any unforseen issues, such as storms. Pest, and human damage,

this is about the only way I have worked around it.
I really dont think you can hold then to JUST you.

Best of luck

knox gsl
03-08-2011, 10:51 PM
I had one like this before, several properties, and she would have others come in for half the going rate for projects. They would do a half rate job and then she wanted me to come in and clean it up. This happend twice and I dropped her and never looked back. I hate to give someone good service and then get screwed over in the long run. I think on your pine straw installs that I would walk at $5.50 a bale unless you're getting it much cheaper down there. My cost on pinestraw is $3.87/bale and that doesn't leave much for profit. I'm in a little better market as not everyone is willing to do straw, I usually get $8/ bale installed if less than 15 bales, $7.5 16-35 bales, and $7/ bale over 36. I prefer the straw as I make almost identical to mulch without having to deal with all the weight, shoveling and wheeling it around.

johnnybravo8802
03-08-2011, 11:56 PM
I had one like this before, several properties, and she would have others come in for half the going rate for projects. They would do a half rate job and then she wanted me to come in and clean it up. This happend twice and I dropped her and never looked back. I hate to give someone good service and then get screwed over in the long run. I think on your pine straw installs that I would walk at $5.50 a bale unless you're getting it much cheaper down there. My cost on pinestraw is $3.87/bale and that doesn't leave much for profit. I'm in a little better market as not everyone is willing to do straw, I usually get $8/ bale installed if less than 15 bales, $7.5 16-35 bales, and $7/ bale over 36. I prefer the straw as I make almost identical to mulch without having to deal with all the weight, shoveling and wheeling it around.
Yea, I have to pay $3.25-$3.50/bale here in Ga. I really don't make any money at $5.50/bale and to have someone do it for $4.50/bale......It's one of those things that's automatic with my contracts..to do the straw. It's not actually in the contract(Separate cost) but pinestraw is an understood service of ours. I like to do it because it's easy and it makes a place look better quickly. I have one contract that I've done for 12 yrs and I've always done the pinestraw. All of a sudden, a new company does some work at the property and they want to use them for the straw because they are a little cheaper. Again, where is the loyalty at? Maybe I need to start doing contracts that automatically include straw and snuff out anybody else on the property.

grassman177
03-09-2011, 12:12 AM
although i can plenty understand your dilema, for the future start contracting the work, that is what we started doing. we also gave preferential pricing on the mulch for those that signed up for recurring service.

things to consider......purely express your concerns about the quality of the job vs yours and you valued the business but the cheap guys are lowballers for a reason.

not in those words, but a very short conversation that either they end or continue to make a longer proactive conversation. i think it is of no harm when done with couth.

johnnybravo8802
03-09-2011, 12:45 AM
Thanks for the advice.

landers lawn
03-09-2011, 02:05 AM
i live in ga to. i get slash for 2.90 a bale . spread for 4.50 a bale.

grassman177
03-09-2011, 04:01 AM
also, re checking your wholesale pricing, you can usually find a lower price. it is all about volume

johnnybravo8802
03-09-2011, 07:56 AM
i live in ga to. i get slash for 2.90 a bale . spread for 4.50 a bale.
I have found some for $2.90/bale but it was poor quality and it wasn't worth it. Yea, these people want the highest quality straw at the cheapest price.....who would have figured!!:rolleyes:The thing is, you can't make any money at $1.60/bale, especially with the cost of fuel rising. Why do something if you can't make money? I already have one hobby...don't need another.

sehitchman
03-09-2011, 09:25 AM
JB, I love your posts, you have not been as active the last few months as you were a year ago. The boy scouts here are doing pine straw. Who is going to say no to the scouts and their fundraiser when they knock on the door. Guess we all need swallow hard sometimes and smile. They deliver for $4 and one offered to install for $5.

ecurbthims
03-09-2011, 12:28 PM
you should tell your customer you will fix the messy pine straw job for $4.00 per bundle .

johnnybravo8802
03-09-2011, 01:47 PM
JB, I love your posts, you have not been as active the last few months as you were a year ago. The boy scouts here are doing pine straw. Who is going to say no to the scouts and their fundraiser when they knock on the door. Guess we all need swallow hard sometimes and smile. They deliver for $4 and one offered to install for $5.
Thanks for the comment. The guys doing the straw for $4.50/bale aren't exactly Boy scouts.:laugh:In fact, my customer says that they look so rough, he locks the doors!!!:confused:Now tell me what is wrong with this picture? You choose to have a bunch of trashy looking men on your property that you're afraid of versus clean cut uniformed landscape professionals....all to save a $1!!!!!! You've got to be kidding.

knox gsl
03-09-2011, 03:31 PM
Thanks for the comment. The guys doing the straw for $4.50/bale aren't exactly Boy scouts.:laugh:In fact, my customer says that they look so rough, he locks the doors!!!:confused:Now tell me what is wrong with this picture? You choose to have a bunch of trashy looking men on your property that you're afraid of versus clean cut uniformed landscape professionals....all to save a $1!!!!!! You've got to be kidding.

For me that average straw job is only about 15 bales so for the most part the customers are saving about $15. That to me isn't even worth calling anyone else and getting prices, I would tell you to do it and add it to my bill.

BradLewisLawnCare
03-09-2011, 03:47 PM
Got to ask. I was in Nashville this year and noticed the pine straw used as mulch. Why? Up north we use mulch/chips and that sort. What are the benefits? They outright don't sell the pine, we can get hay and straw.. please educate me.

knox gsl
03-09-2011, 06:28 PM
Got to ask. I was in Nashville this year and noticed the pine straw used as mulch. Why? Up north we use mulch/chips and that sort. What are the benefits? They outright don't sell the pine, we can get hay and straw.. please educate me.

There are several reasons,
1. Very plentiful.
2. Doesn't washout on hillsides.
3. About a quarter of the weight of mulch
4. About half the price as mulch and I make the same off of both.
5. Where I am most people use mulch, so it allows me to sell a different product.
6. Goes down faster and cleaner than mulch.
7. Brings up the acidity in the soil which is great for dogwoods and azaleas.

There may be more reasons but this is why I push pinestraw.

Buddy Buds
03-09-2011, 06:48 PM
I have a company do my installs. I charge 5.50 and get them to do it right because I stay with them. They never try to get my customers because I give them a lot of business. I make a dollar a bale but, I stay with them.

johnnybravo8802
03-09-2011, 08:09 PM
For me that average straw job is only about 15 bales so for the most part the customers are saving about $15. That to me isn't even worth calling anyone else and getting prices, I would tell you to do it and add it to my bill.
I have some jobs with a lot of straw...100 bales, 200, 300, 800, etc. I know it adds up with a lot of bales but the quality of the other people they use is very poor. I shake it out, push it way up under the shrubs, blow up the edges, etc. I do it right and it is a steal for $5.50 for the quality.

midlandlawncare
03-09-2011, 09:03 PM
I just went up to $6 a bale , I've been at $5 a bale for almost 10 years , got tired of scratching up my arms and pulling pine needles out of my socks at night for that low of a price. There are guys around here that drive up from dublin and toss out small , dry bales for $4. I get my straw from Corbins in Williamson ,ga. I pay $2.95 bale , and the straw is the best I can find period, The last batch was a deep red , came apart perfect as well. I figure if they don't want to pay $6 installed , screw it. They can lay 100+ bales themselves and regret the hell out of it or buy it from the peddlers and get shorted bales , not get it raked or blown off and sure as hell never get it tucked and rolled :nono:

johnnybravo8802
03-09-2011, 09:15 PM
I just went up to $6 a bale , I've been at $5 a bale for almost 10 years , got tired of scratching up my arms and pulling pine needles out of my socks at night for that low of a price. There are guys around here that drive up from dublin and toss out small , dry bales for $4. I get my straw from Corbins in Williamson ,ga. I pay $2.95 bale , and the straw is the best I can find period, The last batch was a deep red , came apart perfect as well. I figure if they don't want to pay $6 installed , screw it. They can lay 100+ bales themselves and regret the hell out of it or buy it from the peddlers and get shorted bales , not get it raked or blown off and sure as hell never get it tucked and rolled :nono:
I'm starting to get that attitude but the straw is automatically a part of most jobs I do and it used to be a money maker. I have to pay $3.25/bale. I can get it for $2.90/bale if I get a semi full but who has that kind of money?

midlandlawncare
03-09-2011, 09:30 PM
well the prices arent going down on the straw , you can either raise yours and make it look outstanding .. or bill for 100 when you laid 90. I know its not the best thing to do , but if I get huge bales or top quality straw that goes farther than normal , it keeps me making money. I usually give extras to everyone , free fert around crapes , sure Ill be glad to take those limbs with me " , reprogram rain clocks for free , etc , etc.

If they got the beds covered the way they wanted and they got it for the price they wanted and it looks great , who cares how many bales are out there? Just make it look great , dont spread it thin , tuck and roll it and buy quality product.

VickiGene
06-15-2012, 02:58 AM
Hey, you guys are spreading pinestraw and talking about quality of the bales, but homeowners want to know how to recognize what a quality bale looks like and how much it should weigh:weightlifter:. I recently purchased a truckload (Chevy Silverado) of beautiful pinestraw. The seller said the truck bed would be packed, but it was not baled. The bed was covered so the pinestraw wasn't piled higher than the top of the bed sides. Once unloaded I estimated it to be about 12 bales, but it's hard to judge since it was loose straw. The seller est. it to be 25-30 bales by the size of the truck bed capacity. I paid $50 for the pinestraw which included delivery. Didn't want it spread since I like to use it as I need it:walking: (I'm creating new flower beds). My question is when loose straw is delivered, how do I make a fair est. so I'm not over or under paying. Like I said, the straw is beautiful. Should I purchase only baled straw:confused:? Not all bales are equal so this is very confusing to the homeowner.:dizzy:

cgaengineer
06-15-2012, 06:22 AM
Hey, you guys are spreading pinestraw and talking about quality of the bales, but homeowners want to know how to recognize what a quality bale looks like and how much it should weigh:weightlifter:. I recently purchased a truckload (Chevy Silverado) of beautiful pinestraw. The seller said the truck bed would be packed, but it was not baled. The bed was covered so the pinestraw wasn't piled higher than the top of the bed sides. Once unloaded I estimated it to be about 12 bales, but it's hard to judge since it was loose straw. The seller est. it to be 25-30 bales by the size of the truck bed capacity. I paid $50 for the pinestraw which included delivery. Didn't want it spread since I like to use it as I need it:walking: (I'm creating new flower beds). My question is when loose straw is delivered, how do I make a fair est. so I'm not over or under paying. Like I said, the straw is beautiful. Should I purchase only baled straw:confused:? Not all bales are equal so this is very confusing to the homeowner.:dizzy:

It's not sold loose around here...bales only.
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Richard Martin
06-15-2012, 07:31 AM
There may be more reasons but this is why I push pinestraw.

You left out that it easily burns and can be handy for burning down subdivisions full of houses. We have had that happen twice in the last few years. Brand new homes. Their insurance company wasn't happy.

cgaengineer
06-15-2012, 10:26 AM
You left out that it easily burns and can be handy for burning down subdivisions full of houses. We have had that happen twice in the last few years. Brand new homes. Their insurance company wasn't happy.

You've said that a few times Richard but up until you mentioned it I've never heard of it around here...or anywhere for that matter. That being said, Pinestraw is the most popular mulch around here.
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Richard Martin
06-15-2012, 10:31 AM
You've said that a few times Richard but up until you mentioned it I've never heard of it around here...or anywhere for that matter.

Here you go. They talk about 2 of the disasters in one article here:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/25/405820/fire-revives-questions-about-pine.html

VickiGene
06-15-2012, 02:46 PM
It's not sold loose around here...bales only.
Posted via Mobile Device

OK, but that doesn't answer my questions. Maybe no one knows the answers.
1) how much does a bale weigh (dry)?
2) are bales a standard size/weight?
3) square or rectangle: HxLxW
4) if all bales are not EQUAL, how does a homeowner know how to judge:
a. quality
b. standard size
c. standard weight
d. standard coverage per bale
Are there STANDARDS in the industry? If not, I think there should be and then people would be buying their bales from the professionals who are going to provide high quality straw and high quality service. Without STANDARDS that a homeowner can go by, of course they are going to go for the lower price. This is where you professionals are getting burned by the "fly-by-nighters." And that's NOT :cool2:

weeze
06-15-2012, 03:02 PM
i've seen square bales and round bales here. i like the round ones because you can put them down and roll it out and it's the right thickness and it's easy to get it all level.

also you can just get it for free here in the fall by raking it up in people's yards. many people let you have it free. they just want it out of their yards. pine trees are everywhere here.

cgaengineer
06-15-2012, 04:39 PM
OK, but that doesn't answer my questions. Maybe no one knows the answers.
1) how much does a bale weigh (dry)?
2) are bales a standard size/weight?
3) square or rectangle: HxLxW
4) if all bales are not EQUAL, how does a homeowner know how to judge:
a. quality
b. standard size
c. standard weight
d. standard coverage per bale
Are there STANDARDS in the industry? If not, I think there should be and then people would be buying their bales from the professionals who are going to provide high quality straw and high quality service. Without STANDARDS that a homeowner can go by, of course they are going to go for the lower price. This is where you professionals are getting burned by the "fly-by-nighters." And that's NOT :cool2:

No standards...bales very greatly in weight and quality.
Posted via Mobile Device

cgaengineer
06-15-2012, 04:45 PM
Here you go. They talk about 2 of the disasters in one article here:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/25/405820/fire-revives-questions-about-pine.html

Interesting...not one of those fires were from nature...carelessness of humans. If you fall asleep in your house with same ciggy the same thing can happen.

It's pretty simple, dont throw lit ciggys in the pine straw, not only is is dangerous, but it's disrespectful and it's littering.

This is right up there with blaming the gun for killing someone.

I don't doubt that it's highly combustible, but so is a dormant Bermuda lawn...summer or winter.

How many people set themselves or their house on fire each year with kerosene heaters or god forbid, a BBQ grill inside?
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Orrdc
06-15-2012, 08:17 PM
I have never in my life seen pine straw as mulch, in fact the only thing around here that I believe it is used for is the acidity. It can make certain flowers turn different colors which ends up looking pretty cool

Get Some...
06-15-2012, 09:09 PM
If one of my customers hired out something that I do to someone else I would have to talk to them about that.

Find out why and how we can avoid that in the future.