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LCME
09-03-2004, 10:55 AM
OK I need to vent a little. Customer wants weekly mowing and hedges trimmed monthly. I trimmed hedges last month. She called me the day before I was to trim hedges this month and said do not trim hedges. Maybe next month. I reminded her that I quoted the cost based on monthly maintenance. Not on-call. And, if she wants hedges trimmed once in a while the cost is per man hour. Well, she did not like that. Almost demanded the same rate. PITA. Also, she wanted flower bed weeds pulled in a small area. Then, she calls me the next day saying I missed the whole area. Well, I reminded her she only wanted that area done. Nope she says, I want all areas cant you see all those weeds over there!. PITA. Fine, I pull all weeds everywhere and charge her accordingly. Customer want gutters cleaned in fall. She said, the last guy who cleaned did it for $50. I told her I will have to measure and give an estimate. She said, fine as long as it's no more than $50. I measure the gutters to be 175 FT. My estimate, 175 FT X 0.75 per FT. comes to $132. And, round up to lets say $150. OK I feel better now. Thanks for listening.

NickN
09-03-2004, 11:09 AM
You guys that pressure wash and clean gutters are the reason we're called lawn whores.Wave money at them and they'll do anything.Either be a landscaper/lawn guy or be a handy man.
I think I'm gonna call my cable company and demand they repair my broken faucet,at the price I tell them to.May even get them to take out the trash while they're there and bring me my newspaper.
A bit harsh,but it's the truth.Tell her you don't do windows or gutters.
Also,you should have had a contract stating work to be performed,specifically.
(I think Bobbygedd is transmitting signals to me)
I really don't mean for it come out that bad,but ya gotta admit,it's the truth.

Runner
09-03-2004, 11:17 AM
Pita customers come once in awhile. The main thing is, is to have the communication clear at the time. Sometimes, you get the ones that say. "That's not what I said". Or, "That's not the price we agreed on."
As far as the gutters go, we do them all the time as part of the fall clean-up. The money is too good not to. I think $150 is a bit extreme, though. $50 is reasonable, since it takes less than an hour, and in most cases, takes less than 10 minutes.

mastercare
09-03-2004, 11:18 AM
Gutter Cleaning can be good quick $$$. I'll climb a ladder to the roof with my BP Blower. I can clean ou 175Ft of gutters in less than 10 mins, and probably get $50-100 for tohse 10 mins. I agree about the power washing, but gutters are an extra service I offer, as part of Fall Cleanup.

As far as contracts, its much easier (here comes the bashing) to not have a contract for you to argue with your customers about. Give them their weekly price per cut, and send them bills. When they want extras, price it as you go. It's more of a PITA to give an estimate every time they want more work done....but its better than spending time arguing about what is and isn't included in a contract. I would much rather do one job at a time, and give a price for each job (or hour). That way, you're never doin more work than you're getting paid for, and the customer can never say that you didn't do as you promised.

parkwest
09-03-2004, 11:24 AM
Make sure you break out your worker's time for doing gutters since your worker's comp will need to be adjusted for working off the ground.

NickN
09-03-2004, 11:24 AM
<i>Gutter Cleaning can be good quick $$$</i>
See what I mean?
<i> As far as contracts, its much easier (here comes the bashing) to not have a contract for you to argue with your customers about.
</i>
Yeah LCME is having a grand ol time not arguing about the weeds he didn't pull up.A little time writing up an estimate for add ons is a small price to pay for clear communication with your customer.It also is more professional.
If you had a plumber come out repair a septic tank,do you think he would repair the faucet too without an add on to the invoice as well as telling you what the new price will be?

NickN
09-03-2004, 11:27 AM
BTW,if this thread goes over 30 posts,I'll let Sean know where to send my check :D

bobbygedd
09-03-2004, 12:26 PM
no way nick, you aint movin in on my scene.

dkeisala
09-03-2004, 12:35 PM
I don't even like cleaning my own gutters. I'm certainly not going to crawl around someone else's.

LCME
09-03-2004, 01:21 PM
Originally posted by mastercare
As far as contracts, its much easier (here comes the bashing) to not have a contract for you to argue with your customers about. Give them their weekly price per cut, and send them bills. When they want extras, price it as you go. It's more of a PITA to give an estimate every time they want more work done....but its better than spending time arguing about what is and isn't included in a contract. I would much rather do one job at a time, and give a price for each job (or hour). That way, you're never doin more work than you're getting paid for, and the customer can never say that you didn't do as you promised.

Thanks for the tip on how to handle extra work. From now on, just the mowing. And, if customer wants extra work I will write up an estimate first. Then, go over with customer. Work the extras only if the customer signs the agreement.

The power washing was a one time thing. Customer wanted siding washed. I needed the extra money for equipment soon. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks for all the replies. The knowledge out there is sinking in.

LCME

LCME
09-03-2004, 01:27 PM
Originally posted by NickN
Yeah LCME is having a grand ol time not arguing about the weeds he didn't pull up.

Yeah! was a good day outside and nothing was getting in my way. Weeds were flying everywhere. Must of been a reason to stay a bit longer. Because a neighbor asked if I would mow his lawn weekly. Ended up getting the job. Sweet!.

NickN
09-03-2004, 02:01 PM
He probably heard he can name his price.

jbell113
09-03-2004, 04:45 PM
Hey LCME dont feel bad I do all of that also gutters,pressure washing I have had some strange request like installing a furnace filter. I should have named my company AFAB (anything for a buck) I even put up a mailbox today for one lady and helped another put some luggage in her attic so you shouldnt feel bad about about what extras you have done but one thing to remember I charged for every one of these extras and make out very well.

rodfather
09-03-2004, 04:52 PM
Cleaning gutters? Nope, nada, nfw, I like terra firma myself.

Ken Kesey
09-03-2004, 05:05 PM
NickN has the right ideas in this post!

jgc8fan
09-03-2004, 05:14 PM
We have done a gutter job once, and probably will never do it again.

That customer doesn't sound nuts... Just a PITA as you said... You wanna talk about nuts??? We have one customer that we do two houses for... He lives in one, and the other has been vacant for 7 years (electricity, water, and cable still on too). He refuses to sell the house or even rent it. We do both for $40 each every two weeks, and if the guy sees me he will hide (he's known my partner for year, and will only talk to him.) He wears a bullet-proof vest everywhere he goes, and shows up at my partner's house late at night every 2 weeks to pay (in cash). THAT guy is nuts, but he pays and never complains so unless I find out he's hiding bodies everywhere then I'll just smile and mow. :)

lqmustang
09-03-2004, 05:21 PM
Originally posted by rodfather
Cleaning gutters? Nope, nada, nfw, I like terra firma myself.

I agree. Too much velocity to be gained between a roofline and the ground.:blob4:

steve122
09-03-2004, 05:25 PM
Originally posted by Ken Kesey
NickN has the right ideas in this post!

Yeah, nickn and you have the right idea if you think that everyone should run their business just like he does because he's so smart!!! It irritates the hell out of me every time someones post gets jumped on just because he does something different. I thought the idea was for all of us to run our business the way WE want to. If we wanted to do it the same way everyone else does we'd buy a franchise business or go to work for the man and have him tell us what to do. Today I cleaned up a pile of brush that someone else cut down dumped in a ditch and left it. My customer asked me to do it, my employee and I spent 7 man hours picking up brush and trash. Should I have said no way I ONLY cut grass! What if I'm doing a leaf cleanup this fall and the customer asks me to clean gutters while I'm there. Tell them no way its not lawn or landscape? Sounds like a great way to stay in business to me.

NickN
09-03-2004, 05:37 PM
Steve,Do it the way you want.I personally don't want to be known as the LCO/landscaper/car washer/gutter cleaner/everything for a buck business owner."Lawn whores" came from somewhere.I wonder why?
BTW,
you guys may want to check your local laws concerning contracts.Many states require a written contract for home improvement.
<b>Getting a Written Contract</b>

Contract requirements vary by state. Even if your state does not require a written agreement, ask for one. A contract spells out the who, what, where, when and cost of your project. The agreement should be clear, concise and complete. Before you sign a contract, make sure it contains:

* The contractor’s name, address, phone, and license number, if required.
* The payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers.
* An estimated start and completion date.
* The contractor’s obligation to obtain all necessary permits.
* How change orders will be handled. A change order — common on most remodeling jobs — is a written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract. It could affect the project’s cost and schedule. Remodelers often require payment for change orders before work begins.
* A detailed list of all materials including color, model, size, brand name, and product.
* Warranties covering materials and workmanship. The names and addresses of the parties honoring the warranties — contractor, distributor or manufacturer — must be identified. The length of the warranty period and any limitations also should be spelled out.
* What the contractor will and will not do. For example, is site clean-up and trash hauling included in the price? Ask for a "broom clause." It makes the contractor responsible for all clean-up work, including spills and stains.
* Oral promises also should be added to the written contract.
* A written statement of your right to cancel the contract within three business days if you signed it in your home or at a location other than the seller’s permanent place of business. During the sales transaction, the salesperson (contractor) must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send back to the company) and a copy of your contract or receipt. The contract or receipt must be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel.

rodfather
09-03-2004, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by lqmustang
I agree. Too much velocity to be gained between a roofline and the ground.:blob4:

It ain't the fall I'm worried about...it's that sudden stop LOL.

steve122
09-03-2004, 05:47 PM
NickN, if you want the contracts, go for it. I'll do it my way. My point is don't denigrate someone who doesn't do it your way. Advice that is offered with an insult will not be listened too by many.

NickN
09-03-2004, 05:56 PM
So,don't take my advice.
It's the law in many cases,but heck,who cares right?Do you apply pesticides without a license as well?

steve122
09-03-2004, 06:06 PM
Thanks for your permission to not take your advice. I won't. I'm not an accountant or lawyer, but I do believe that the law recognizes verbal agreements as binding. As others said in this post, a piece of paper isn;t going to make someone pay if he's going to screw you around. And, like was said, most of us wouldn't spend the day and fees and possible lawyer costs to collect $150 or so. So, what good does the contract do for me. I try to deal with reputable honest people, treat them the way I want to be treated and head dwon the road when they don't hold up their end of the bargain. Again, my point is you don't have to call others names like a school boy to make your point. Just offer the advice with out the mud slinging.

coastallandscapesolutions
09-04-2004, 09:56 AM
Amen NickN to your first post here.

NickN
09-04-2004, 10:25 AM
Steve,I told you I was channeling bobbygedd.I wasn't sugar coating anything.You can tell.
A contract is not only for you,but for your customers.They have a right,a legal right,to have a binding contract,in writing outlining work to performed,your address,company name,phone number,price.It gives them security for grievances that are bound to come up,sooner or later.Would you purchase a truck with the dealers verbal agreement that you can pay a certain amount of money for a certain amount of time?What if he threw in alot of extras,without telling you and the price went up.You got the bill and it was $5000 more than the verbal agreement.
We all talk about being more professional.Why would anyone not follow the law,for themselves and their customers,and try to be professional?

steve122
09-04-2004, 10:38 AM
Originally posted by NickN
You guys that pressure wash and clean gutters are the reason we're called lawn whores.Wave money at them and they'll do anything.Either be a landscaper/lawn guy or be a handy man.
I think I'm gonna call my cable company and demand they repair my broken faucet,at the price I tell them to.May even get them to take out the trash while they're there and bring me my newspaper.
A bit harsh,but it's the truth.Tell her you don't do windows or gutters.
Also,you should have had a contract stating work to be performed,specifically.
(I think Bobbygedd is transmitting signals to me)
I really don't mean for it come out that bad,but ya gotta admit,it's the truth.

You still don't get it! I'm not arguing the merits of contracts. It is up to each of us to use or not use a contract. My objection was to you and others using terms like "lawn *****" or any other derogatory remark you feel free to just because someone does it different than you. Voice you ideas on how to do something and stop the name calling. Your posts indicate you know your subject matter and have an education, don't use these things to bludgeon others.

LCME
09-04-2004, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by NickN
You guys that pressure wash and clean gutters are the reason we're called lawn whores.Wave money at them and they'll do anything.Either be a landscaper/lawn guy or be a handy man.
I think I'm gonna call my cable company and demand they repair my broken faucet,at the price I tell them to.May even get them to take out the trash while they're there and bring me my newspaper.

Yeah! this lady is a bit demanding. But, you have good and bad customers. You have to deal with all types. We are professional lawn businesses.
I'm not in the business to pressure wash or clean windows. I do lawn service. But, once in a while a customer is looking for help with projects they themselves can not do. Because I'm available weekly. The customer knows me and feels comfortable to ask. Can you clean the siding?. OK, I just happen to have a pw and made $180 in just 2 hours. I'm not a lawn wh**e and nobody else is. Because I can pick and choose what extra work I do. There is a difference. I could tell the customer, sorry I do not power wash. A wh**e doesn't't have a choice. We do. If customers perceive us as lawn wh**es then they're wrong and so are you. We provide a service to our customers to mow there lawn. Are we lawn wh**es. No. But, if you provide other services then we are... I don't think so.

snippy
09-05-2004, 04:55 PM
I guess what you will and wont do for a customer would relate to how much work you have on and how choosy you can afford to be in regards to what work you will do, in my case I'll do just about anything at the moment :(

bobbygedd
09-05-2004, 05:37 PM
i'll do just about anything for cash also. one time, i got $90 to take a customers garbage to the curb.

work_it
09-05-2004, 06:19 PM
If a customer wants something done, and I'm able to do it as well as able to fit it into my schedule .... it gets done. I think it's good to get away from the mowing once in a while. Just make sure you charge accordingly. I needed some extra cash a couple months ago and a customer paid me $750 to pressure wash her small house and the walk ways. Not too bad for 5 hours of work.

My advice to those who want to diversify, or offer a wide aray of services, just do it. Don't worry about what others think. After all, are they going to be willing to give you money this winter when the bills are due or you need to put food on the table?