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Old 10-15-2006, 12:29 PM
stumper1620's Avatar
stumper1620 stumper1620 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,912
Originally Posted by topsites
If it's so profitable, there should be little to no anger concerning some supposed backhanded deal on an expected job. It happens to me too, they hire someone else to do something I had expected, but I have learned that so long I have been charging enough to do everything else, it bothers me a lot less. It still burns, don't get me wrong, but it's tolerable, the flames are much smaller and cooler.

It is when I have unwillingly (or stupidly lol) been giving discounted rates in expectation of getting the big job that the anger comes around, or also when I bend over backwards a little too much / too often... In a nutshell, when I'm throwing in freebies to get the biggie and then the biggie slips away, that's when I really feel it (usually).

That's all I meant by it, it doesn't define the account as a loss, but I believe the actions that led up to this particular event may very well have fallen under that.

I also think this thread could be a vital part of most anyone's focus, what has happened here is nothing new, I've experienced this pita more than once myself and sooner or later it will happen to most everybody, at least somewhere between the start of business and the time one realizes something has to change. Once this happened to me a few times, I realized I had to make a change or it would happen again, and again, and again... The first time or two I talked myself out of it, but after the third or fourth time this happened to me, it got to where I could not tolerate this anger thing anymore.... So, I started out by making sure I always charged enough in the first place, it is also the reason I don't like it when potential customers who called for an estimate on a smallish job are throwing around all these BIG future projects in my face, has something to do with flaunting the money but it also has to do with how they later almost always end up calling someone else for the big money job, especially if they got their way and we gave them a discount on the initial bid in hopes of getting the big one (and if discount isn't the word, think back, did we go out of our way, did we bend over backwards more than we usually do in expectation, and if so, there's the answer).
So, when we start throwing in free stuff (either by discounting or being a little too helpful) we will find ourselves in this situation where a big job is concerned, they will call someone else in the end and you will get very angry, and I find it important that we realize this will happen and that something within either ourselves or our own methods must change to prevent it, if not entirely, then at least somewhat.
By god toppy, thats one of your most impressive post yet.
anyone who has done this type work for any time at all, have experianced it.
and most of us have fallen for it a couple times before learning the lesson.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:43 PM
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parkeeee parkeeee is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: East of the lake
Posts: 229
It appears to me that the reason you were not picked to do this easy/big money renovation job is questionable. Fact of the matter is, you do not know. You can not beat yourself up for something that is completely out of your control. If I were to place a bet, the job went to someone with a lower bid.

Sometimes rather than doing a job to perfection, which is what you claim you would have provided, a company will want to just give 'splashes of flash' in more than one area.

If you really want to know why you were not selected, ask. Only then can you change course or alter future methods of acquiring the easy/big money projects.
All opinions expressed are my own, not intended as advice, only observations and experiences that I have had.
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:38 PM
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indy2tall indy2tall is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Indianapolis Indiana
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Envy I would have to agree with Parkeeee, you don't know at this point why they gave the other outfit the big job. Just ask them. Maybe it is just not a couple hundred dollars, perhaps the other company gave them a price that was a loss leader for them and would undercut your price by say 50%. You might not have even wanted the job for what they were willing to pay. You already know that some of your bids were high enough that you have not got a nibble. It might even turn out to be a big compliment for you. Perhaps they use you for as much as they can afford because your work is so good and then give the other projects (on which they pay peanuts) to other companies because they don't have much money left in the budget.
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Old 10-15-2006, 02:49 PM
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Jay's Lawncare Jay's Lawncare is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Eastern NC
Posts: 147
If the smaller job you did for them was profitable as has all the other work you've done for them, I don't really see how it matters that they had another "outfit" there. I'm not exactly sure if youre solo or not but if you are then that, I think is the reason that youre taking this account so personally.
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Old 10-15-2006, 03:21 PM
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YardPro YardPro is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: coastal NC
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i may have missed something.
do you charge for these maintenance requests? Was this saturday job being billed???
also if this is a maintenance account that asks for you to bid against others for renovation jobs, then i would rethink the account. I would never work for an account that brought competetors onto my jobsite.

I see one of a few things happening
1. either the account is looking for the lowest price on everything
2. Your renovation prices are really high, or there is an issue with your work

i would ask the property manager what is happening, and what you can do differently to get some of the better work.

If it turns out to be simply a cost issue, then drop the account, as they will never be really profitable.
dingo tx425 and lots of attachments.
8 Vehicles
5 trailers
bobcat T200
way too much other crap
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Old 10-15-2006, 07:58 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Location: Beaverton, OR
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Originally Posted by stumper1620
After bending over backwards for them over and over like you say you have, I think you have every right in the world to not only approach them about this, but they owe you a explanation, and if it is a sorry explanation I would tell them that since the other company is good enough for the good and profitable work then they can take the trash also. Then walk.
Yes, this is the correct response. Unless business is just hella hard to get in your area, I'd just do what Stumper Steve says and walk. Your efforts are better spent on another [new] customer who would appreciate it and reward you accordingly.
Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:06 AM
Envy Lawn Service's Avatar
Envy Lawn Service Envy Lawn Service is offline
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Posts #14-#26.......

Let me see if I can catch up and address everything as best I can...

Yes, I was contacted with a request to do additional work, falling under the category of additional maintenace, EXTRAS.

Yes the turn around time request was short on the job, and I have been good at completing extra requests for them in short order. Fast completion times and quality work.

Yes, the maintenance services I was performing were being billed additional, and yes I have been charging 'accordingly' for these types of requests. But nothing I feel that has been out of context.

No, I have recieved no complaints about my billing to date, and I have recieved few questions at all about what I might charge for a job. I've only been asked to give two ballpark estimates on two renovations. The first one and the second one. And then one ballpark on what I might charge to correct a drainage issue in a third location. No complaints and I have forced myself to stay within the ballpark on actual billing.

No, I have not been asked to bid competitively on any occasion for anything. As I said earlier, I cut them off some time ago and refused to offer them any more competitive bids for work. At that time I just explained to them professionally that I had submitted several bids to them over time and had not been awarded a single contract, so I saw no further point in going to the time and expense of submitting any more since I was obviously not in the price range they were looking for. So when they re-contacted me some time later, we discussed this up front and I have not competed for any work to date. I looked at the scope of work included in the open contract, I provided a quote, and we signed on those terms. But not until after I completed that first renovation job on a ballpark quote. (this was my 'feeler' job)

Yes, I have made good profits on every bit of work I have did for them and I have not offered lower prices in hopes of securing more additional work. But rather securing this other work has been more of a "by default" type situation. They agreed they would offer me the work as it came along and I agreed to make arrangements to complete it... and until now, they have given me the additional work, and I have delivered.

As for the response to the question of why I'm upset over one renovation...

Well, I guess it's really more than one issue.
First and foremost, it would be different if I had been pre-notified.
Some reasonable explaination is far better than the way I had to find out.

Second of all, it wouldn't burn me so much if I hadn't been playing the role of "Johnny on the spot" for them and if I hadn't already been notified this renovation was upcoming. I don't care who you are or what kind of operation you have, unless you have an inefficient one with a lot of dead time.... this sort of incoming flow is hard to schedule and complete with quick turnaround times. You have to allow yourself some "lead-time" in your schedule to be open for this and ready.

This sort of thing has an influence on other business decisions you make in other areas of cultivating. If I had know I was going to get passed over on this upcoming job, I could have been focused on moving forward in other sectors instead of trying to avoid getting booked to heavily to have the reaction time I wanted. If you follow any industry studies, you know that contractor reaction times are among the top consumer complaints.

Anyways, it would also be a lot different if the shoe were on the other foot, or if no shoe were on my foot at all. What I mean is, I would not have minded so much if I'd been there for the renovation and someone else had been called in on the smaller maintenance request. Just less upset.... Furthermore, it would have been less of a slap in the face if they would have just had the other crew do what I was called out to do while they were there.

I do feel I have the right to question this situation, and if I am in the frame of mind and can make the time to stop in, I'm going to do so tomorrow.

But I am thinking like someone else... that someone higher up the food chain might be responsible for this. But at the same time, this is also why I have serious doubts about ever truely getting to the bottom of this. People have learned that saying this is the perfect 'cop-out' in a situation like this.

I've heard this line a whole lot more than once, and sometimes it has been true, and other times I have found out later it was a lie.

"If you place a low value upon yourself, rest assured..... the world will not raise your price."

"The bitterness of poor quality lingers on long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten"
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:26 AM
Envy Lawn Service's Avatar
Envy Lawn Service Envy Lawn Service is offline
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Location: North Carolina
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Oh, and for those participating here that keep records, run the numbers and do evaluations/audits on their accounts... here's how this one pans out.

Year to date:
The 'renovations' account for 35% of my TOTAL NET PROFITS.
In contrast they only account for 20% of my BILLABLE hours.
Also in contrast the number of non-billable hours involved is much lower.

So the way I look at it, getting these renovation jobs has been a considerable BONUS in exchange for the level of service I have been providing.

Without the renovation element, obviously it is less attractive of course. But the account is still profitable enough to warrant keeping.

HOWEVER, it is my judgment at this time if this pattern of getting passed over persists, the account certainly is no longer worthy of the level of attention it has been recieving, and therefore also not worthy of maintaining it's current level of priority either.

This is all personal feelings or emotions aside... strictly business.

"If you place a low value upon yourself, rest assured..... the world will not raise your price."

"The bitterness of poor quality lingers on long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten"
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Old 10-16-2006, 04:16 AM
Sandgropher's Avatar
Sandgropher Sandgropher is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: down under
Posts: 913
Your last paragraph sounds like the way to go, its not worthy of the level of attention you have been giving it and must not be a priority in the future if talks are fruitless, good luck talking to them.
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Old 10-16-2006, 06:10 PM
Envy Lawn Service's Avatar
Envy Lawn Service Envy Lawn Service is offline
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Location: North Carolina
Posts: 11,056
Originally Posted by Sandgropher
Your last paragraph sounds like the way to go, its not worthy of the level of attention you have been giving it and must not be a priority in the future if talks are fruitless, good luck talking to them.
Well, this is sort of funny, and then again it's not, but here's how it panned out today...

I was planning to try to squeeze in a 'drop-in' or shuffle the schedule where I would be there for a service visit earlier today. But sure enough, before I could get that far into my Monday, another service request came in at around 8:30 this morning via e-mail.

They need some things taken care of, finished and ready for an inspection on Wednesday. And of course they want things nice, tidy and fresh for that some all aspects look their best. So they wanted me to come Tuesday to do this work.

So, when I stopped in for lunch, I shot an e-mail right back like nothing was wrong. I said sure that I would take care of that, and instead of coming today... I would just hold off on everything until tomorrow and save myself the time and trouble of the additional trip. AND that in light of the need to change scheduling for this inspection for the sake of efficency, that I would also have to reschedule some other lower-priority tasks on to a later undetermined date that would be more convinent for my scheduling purposes.

The part about this I find amusing is that it is ALREADY raining.
100% chance of rain all night tonight.
100% chance of rain all day tomorrow and into tomorrow night.

The extremely amusing part is there is still one item I will be able to complete despite the rain. So I will be making a trip tomorrow just for this item and get paid a full service charge to discuss the previous manner in person.

"If you place a low value upon yourself, rest assured..... the world will not raise your price."

"The bitterness of poor quality lingers on long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten"
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