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Old 04-01-2011, 03:44 AM
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HydroTerra HydroTerra is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 17
I wish I was making this up....

Last summer, while going over my proposed design with a client at his spec house, I was questioned as to why the plans had irrigation. Puzzled, my answer simply was the obvious, plants need water to live. He then pointed at a 50' tall Live Oak and said "Look, that tree is doing just fine without irrigation.... Just plant some plants that don't need any water."

After a few weeks had passed at his house, where we installed quite a bit of landscaping and a koi pond, I was having a bear of a time figuring out why a very random few plants were dying, and fast......after some deductive reasoning, I came to the next best explanation after seeing it with my own two, if not all of his 3 dogs pees, x amount of times on x amount of plants, daily....made perfect sense to me.......brought this to his attention....he goes..."you gotta be kiddn me!!! Dog piss?!?!?!?...No way, not my dogs!!!! those plants probably have cancer, plants can get it too......."

I stood in awe........

This is the same client who tried to pay every invoice possible on the spot...would literally beat me to the delivery truck to get a copy of the invoice..... He would scrutinize every line on my invoice to him, and try and barter down EVERY SINGLE ITEM.......

He was an extremely sloooooowww pay... His wife signed a change order and added over a grand worth of plants. Install went fine, and everything looked great. When he got the invoice, he flipped his lid. Went off on his wife in fornt of me and proclaimed he had no money to pay me for these plants b/c he just bought another business in NC..... Needless to say it was the last job i did for Mr. Full-of-Himself..... Took him over 6 weeks to pay me $750, still owes me money to this day. He would pace around the yard as we were working, constantly dictating the next step, and questioning the proper usage of materials and products. he would keep a tab on labor and make suggestions to me on how i can save HIM money...

I do have to say I am VERY glad I got this DB outta the way very early on. I have been in this industry for almost a decade, but have only owned my business for about a year now. I am learning (to run a business) the hard way, through trial and error. I have learned many, many invaluable lessons from this terrible client:

Never let your clients see YOUR cost on ANYTHING
Never let a client try to push you over on your pricing, stand firm.
Never do work without a written contract, SIGNED by the client, EVERYTIME!
If anything for a job costs you even a penny, you must recoup it without question, Nothings free...ESPECIALLY design....

Speaking of design, this fall, I got taken from a nice sweet lady, whom I didn't charge for design work (greenhorn mistake)
Included was a water feature, hardscape, planting, lighting and a bistro..... only to be told I was OUT BID. Come to find out she took my plans, and between her and her husband, did ALL the work themselves. I spent 3 days planing, bidding, finding products, CAD work, etc etc....I was bamboozled and lost out on 4k profit.... But that is for another thread I suppose.

"We've Got You Covered!"
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