Can I Bill more than what was proposed

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by bdm408, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I live in California and wrote up a contract for a client of mine that I have known for 8 years now. The contract involved replacement of 6K of sod (ripping out, preparing, & laying), Replacement of all sprinklers with Hunter PGP (around 20), Installation of Shrubs (38 5gl, 58 1gl, 5 flats, 1 15gl tree) with 8 yds of bark, Installation of 360 Ft of Bender Board around lawn (cost me 1.85/ft), 46 feet of French Drainage with 2 grates (corr.pipe with wrap and 3/4" rock), Replacement of 4 1.5" Rainbird Valves w/Box & lid, & installation of 11 tons of 2"x4" lin creek cobblestone (cost me 120/ton). The plants in total cost me $1,703.46.
    I know this is alot of info, so thanx in advance.
    My problem is that I wrote up the contract in a hurry because he wanted the contract quick, so I just guesstimate the costs (something i will never do again) and I quoted him for around 14k. But after calculating my Material it comes to 8K, $9,600 after adding my 20% markup. The labor comes to around 10K making the complete landscape around 20K.

    2 questions:
    1. is the total that i came up with around the norm, or am I under/over?
    2. Although I gave him the contract, neither him nor I ever signed it. so with a well listed invoice, can I go ahead n bill him for 20K, or should I just take the loss (knowing the loss is around 6K).

    Thanx alot!
  2. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    You can bill him for $40,000 if you want. I would say the bigger question is what will he pay. There is only one person who knows, I would ask him.
  3. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    Explain the situation and try to get another 1 or 2K. I figure projects carefully because getting yourself in this position makes you look pretty stupid. If I was in his position I wouldn't pay a dime over $14k. You're the one in a tight spot.
  4. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Yes, I definitely am in a tight spot & do feel very naive. I have never done contracts in a hasty manner, I just don't know what happened to me this time.
  5. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 567

    that feels like a way to high of a number for labor. That would be over two weeks for a three man crew at $40.00 per hour.
  6. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    I would say give him/her a call-and tell them your mistake. If they are willing to re-negotiate, then that's good, but know that you could possibly lose the job over your mistake. Ethically speaking, you should prob. do it for the price you quoted. I wouldn't cut any corners, as that will come back and prob. end up costing you more than originally. But I would prob. call them and just be honest and explain yourself-if they're reasonable people, they should understand--if not you're gonna either have to 'bite the bullet' or 'walk.'
  7. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Posts: 2,574

    sorry to say it but this sounds like a learning situation for you......
  8. VisionsLandscapes

    VisionsLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    if he is a good customer of yours and stuck with your for years im sure you could talk with him in person and just explain the situation to him and im sure that you can get another 3k out of him. try to split the difference betwee 14k and 20k and im sure you could work something out.
  9. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    10K may be a bit high but out here in northern california, living costs are ridiculously high. I actually charge $60/Man Hr.

    I think you are right VisionsLanscapes, I also thought about splitting the difference and end up around 17K. He definetly is a client that I have known for a while now and we've never had any disagreements (I hope this won't be the first, God forbid). I guess I'll just lay it all out, in simple english, and hope for the best. The work was for a 30+ unit apt. building he just purchased and seems happy for the reason that he just raised the rent and everone has stayed. So i hope with that in mind and the fact that he is extremely content with the outcome of the Landscaping he will have some mercy for me.

    Well thanx to everyone that commented, and I will come back in a week or so to update about the outcome. This definitley is a learning block for me!
  10. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 946

    I would explain to him your situation, without getting too in-depth, and ask for his generosity.

    BUT - Don't expect him to pay; you'll be setting yourself up to be disappointed.

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