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Ever DREAD billing?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    OK this is a first for me. I've taken on a nasty little landscaping job which I'll be finished with soon and I'm dreading putting the bill together.

    I've been working on restoring 2,000 sq ft of landscape area and shaping up a lot of small shrubs. The whole area was infested with Bermuda and a great deal was completely over run with it.

    Needless to say, I have a lot of hard labor invested in the cleanup. I've spent a lot of time down on my hands and knees pulling out the Bermuda that was tangled in the shrubs. Just a real undesirable job that's time consuming and really adding up on the job card.

    It's mostly done now and more than half of the 20 yards of mulch are already installed. So it's almost time to print and deliver a bill. But I dread it and I feel uncomfortable with the cost for some reason.

    :confused: Anyone else ever go through this:confused:
  2. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 821

    Been there a few times. Alot of times I will prepare the invoice, leave it on the counter, think about it, double check the time spent, adjust it if needed, and finally send. If I'm sure about the time and hourly rate, I send it.
  3. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Hey Envy,

    I've done it several times but I always remind myself of the saying "never second guess your first decision, because it's always right". Sometimes when I'm doing a big job, I will lower the hourly rate a few bucks, but I never sit down and think that it's too much money. Always let the customer know about how much it will be ahead of time and that saves a ton of headaches later. I've had people just tell me to do a job and send them a bill. Never quoted a price or anything. So as long as they agree to the possible total charge, it's not too much $$..
  4. sheppard

    sheppard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 542

    Don't know why I have those thoughts...maybe I think I'm not worth it sometimes. When I say that out loud my aching back and knees say "O yes you are...bill 'em!"

    Almost every time the customer thinks they got a good deal. They've always paid. Have one customer that always complains. His yard is a thumb nail...nothing there!

    If it helps, I'd recommend that you itemize everything. List the hours but not the hourly rate and specify every little action you took on the yard.

  5. Jusmowin

    Jusmowin LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 727

    I really try hard not to second guess myself but I think Im fair with my pricing so I never feel hesitent about giving anyone a bill. After all I have bills to pay too!
  6. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I had a mowing customer who had a really high bill for September. It was a 5 week month, she had an aeration on top of her usual services, and the bill came to over $300 for the month. I looked at the thing 4 times before I sent it out. I couldn't believe the total, but at the same time I was happy about it. Weird.

  7. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    $300 really high?

    That's a normal bill for about 30% of my customers.

    About 40% are lower, the other 30% higher...way higher.

    And I'm just talking mowing.

    Then there's the commericials...we have one at $2500 and another at $3200
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    First I'd like to say thanks and I feel better now that I realize I'm not the only one who has ever felt like this.

    Now let me give some detail as to why I feel this way....

    In the beginning this account was a total basket case. Turf, landscaping and irrigation. It was all in bad shape and poorly cared for, maybe even by the lowest bidder would be my guess.

    Anyways, I was hired flat out with no questions. The local manager knew my work and was more than glad to pay my rates for turf care. But, given the condition of the landscaping and the fact that there was a bit of uncertainty from the manager about what and when things would be done, I declined to "bid" or quote a price on the landscaping work.

    After explaining why I would not quote a rate for the work, I told them to let me know when they were ready to do something. Then I would be glad to do the work as an extra and charge after completion. Then I would use that as a guage and include the landscaping in the contract during the following years.

    Well I show up one day to mow and the beds are shoveled full of junk. Stuff that looked like it came out of the power company's brush chipper trucks. So I go ask the manage what the h#ll is going on. It is then explained to me that corporate contracted out and paid someone else to do the landscaping.

    Well these guys came and shoveled this garbage out in the beds, which they surely got for free, and rode off in the sunset with there money. They didn't even go as far as to spray anything or even go to a sawmill and get some stuff from the de-barker pile, which would have been much better than what they put out.

    Well they left never to return. They never smoothed anything out, never filled the last bed, never raked off what they threw on the shrubs, never trimmed the shrubs and never came back to do anything.

    Of course I was totally whizzed off and refused to even touch the beds from day one when I saw the mess. It got worse and worse until finally I told them "look these guys aren't coming back and the condition of the landscaping makes me look bad. People likely assume I'm paid to service it too ya know! You need to hire me to get thing looking good."

    I was hired right then with no question of the cost. But that's where the problems begin. Who knows what kind of bill they may be expecting v/s the disappearing service. The company is having to pay twice for the same thing ect...

    On one hand I want to bill what's fair, on the other I want to give them a break, and on the other I want to gouge corporate a little because of the way they did things.
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Here is a picture of the Bermuda creeping over the top of the shrubs :eek:

    How do most of you deal with this?

    Also notice the bed is completely overrun with a mat of Bermuda.

  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Here is a picture of another bed section. What a total mess!!!


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