Customer wants an estimate for next spring!

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Darryl G, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I got a call from a potential customer who wants an estimate for weeding, mulching and "bush" trimming for next spring (it's mid August now). I appreciate people who plan ahead rather than calling at the last minute, but there's no way I'm going to give an estimate for a job to be done 6 or 8 months from now.

    From what I gather she's unhappy because she had it all done in the spring and now it looks lousy again and there's bamboo growing out of the beds that she can't pull out. I suspect she'd be complaining about anything I do as well. How do you guys handle this sort of thing? I haven't spoken with her yet but my wife has.
     
  2. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,449

    First go have a look see for yourself. Then have a "come to Jesus talk" with her. If your pita sense starts tingling, bid high. If you really dont want the job leave her a competitors business card, usually found tacked to the bulletin board of a gas station. It amazes me how people think a spring clean up should last all year long.:usflag:
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Bamboo is a real issue... tell her to cut it dwn now then spray it in the fall and repeat for the next several years and she may win... I dug 2 feet down in one bed to remove enough root to get it under control... I still find it coming up in my monthly tilling episodes...

    Educate th client to the point they no longer hav unrealistic expectations...
     
  4. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 915

    tell her you can estimate it at todays fuel and supply prices however that estimate is just that an estimate and that the actual cost may be more next year depending on your costs and the shape that the property is in
     
  5. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,537

    Just tell her you'll work during a trial period (for both of you) on time and materials. Give her your hourly rate, and tell her you'll produce receipts for materials.

    You can give her an "estimate", based on your experience doing similar properties. But, you'll ultimately be covered.

    No issues, this way.
     
  6. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 915

    I would never give a customer a recipt for materials....none of their business what I pay for them. Why should they get the discount I get from my suppliers? It costs me money to go to the store and get them too
     
  7. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,537

    Then how would you ever work a deal on time and materials?

    I don't give my customers receipts on materials AS A GENERAL RULE, either. But, if they asked, I'd do it. If they wanted to pay me on time and materials, I'd produce them (receipts). If I did that, my time to secure materials would be covered in the "time" part (of time and materials).

    Either way, I get paid. How you bill it is semantics.
     
  8. shade tree landscaping

    shade tree landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 915

    dont do time and material work...not interested in it. IF I did, would tell them this is the price for materials....never ever show customers recipts...what I pay is not their business
     
  9. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    I dont see a problem at all with doing them 6-8 months a head. Then again I have never increased our prices to the customer if they are willing to pay what we asked in the first place.
    If you know your numbers and you use "worst case scenario" to pase your time on your good.

    Fuel @ 5.00 a gallon /milage=
    mulch@ cost x1.25=
    time to complete basic mulching x1.25
    and so on . Yes you will be high but it will be done right without regreats.

    It is done exactly like your mowing bids I mean you bid it in february and its all year . and you cant renegotiate come july when the prie of fuel is .50 higher then the spring or the temps are setting record highs.
     
  10. MMADDUX

    MMADDUX LawnSite Member
    Posts: 227

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