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Customers trying to "sneak" a price

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BRIAN GALLO, May 11, 2002.


    BRIAN GALLO LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    This has been happening a lot to me this spring. I go out to cut a customer's lawn, and when I'm done they ask if I could do some other quickie service for them (prune something, put down some bags of mulch, spray some roundup, etc.). Then they give me some $$$ and say "that's for cutting the grass today, and I included extra for the other service" I look down and see $3 "extra" dollars! I am like, HELLOOO, do I have a paperboy sack over my shoulder? I politely give them the "extra" money back, and inform them that I can accomplish the additional service request for XXX dollars. They usually act shocked and say "that's ok, I'll get my so in so to do it". Jeez, some people never stop trying to get one past you!
  2. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Posts: 278

    Folks used to do that to me all the time brian, I then decided to tell them that I will gladly write them an estimate for doing what they want and hey... they stop asking real quick.

    I'm am starting to experiment with working on an hourly basis with new customers and potential customers, I have a good base of core customers so now any body that calls me looking for service I tell them that I work only on an hourly basis, I'll be glad to do what they want as long as I'm on the clock, I don't give estimates and that I only want customers who want me to work for them, The customer determines the price by how much work they want done. If they want the works and it takes me 3 hours then I charge themfor 3 hours ($120.00) If they only want the yard mowed and it only takes me 45 minutes ($30.00) It will be up to them not me. This way they can't complain to me about a decision they made. I've picked up 2 new customers this way and they don't have a problem with it, and I don't waste time going out to do estimates for folks who may not hire me.

    Realisticly It may not work, But I leave that up to the customer.
  3. I don't think you can avoid if you take on new customers.
    Last week I did an aeration & fert. Customer hand me the check and says while you're here I need you to turn on my sprinklers because I don't know how. I said I dont work on irrigation systems but heres the # for my guy and he can help you.

    "oh, but then I'll have to pay for it."

    Oh- you did'nt say you needed free, neither he or I work for free so why don't you buy yourself a manual and maybe you can figure it out.:angry:

    And after that I fed his dog, washed his car, did the dishes..........
  4. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 678

    Had a client who tried to stick me for $44K in extras he ordered. His own lawyer told him to pay after the client claimed the extras should have been included in the original price because he didn't realize he was signing change orders and Change orders was written in bold letters across the top with price adjustments called out.
  5. Dumb azz!!!

    Good work Parkwest, that's how professionals use their brains.
  6. AielLandscaping

    AielLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 302

    proline32 if your anything like me your going to find out that charging an hourly rate just won't work overall... i did it for two months and have gone back to a flat rate system... heres some examples of complaints your sure to get...

    how do i know for sure you were here that long? i should have timed you.

    you did my yard in X amount of time last week, i don't see how it could take longer this time, my yard is still the same size...

    are you charging me for talking to you when your here?

    should i have to pay you to fill up your equipment?

    lots and lots more like this...

    we all know that we should get paid for the time we spend, but about 50% of my customers just couldn't get past their own stupidity. everytime one complained i'd have to educate them on why it takes longer some days and shorter others, but lets face it most homeowners stop listening when you start talking "shop" ... oh well it works for some and not for others.. depends on what type of customers you have i guess....
  7. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Posts: 278

    You could be correct on that one, we'll see..... My wife doesn;t think it's a good Idea to go hourly...... she thinks many customers are too stupid and selfish for it to work and I may have to agree with her,( she deals with people on a daily basis) and from some of the people who called for an estimate they pulled the ole, "boy thats a lot of money your charging there"routine. So the smart thing to do is just make sure I keep the rate up as high as I can and estimate better. and as I have said, I'll gladly write them an estimate for what ever they want done. ;)
  8. P. Nelson

    P. Nelson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    Here's what I've done and it has worked quite well for me. I have a customer who always has something extra for me to do. Never fails that when I'm ready to load up and head out he comes out and has little trimming jobs or cleanup projects he needs. He has 15 acres of which I mow about 4.

    Since I charge him a flat rate for the lawn mowing and trimming when I arrive at his property I do the fixed cost work first. Anything above and beyond what I quoted him for the mowing and trimming I have a pricing sheet for the amount per hour and charge appropriately. If its general labor its $xx/hr, if its lawn mowing with my Z its $xx/hr, if its weedeating it $xx/hr. I charge an hourly rate on 1/10th increments which means every 6 minutes you add 1/10th. If its 3 mins or less I don't add it, if its 4 or more I add it. This is how I was paid when I worked as a mechanic so I'm used to working with the #'s. Hope you find a system that works equally as well for you.

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