Ever feel like you are being watched?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by TrinityELC, May 18, 2008.

  1. TrinityELC

    TrinityELC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    We did a job for this guy yesterday. Originally he wanted the leaves, lawn treated, and edging done. I quoted him $450.00 and he was fine with it. Cool, so on the day before I called him to let him know that we would be there the next day and it was like we were in negotiations again. He was like, "So, so, how much for just the leaves, and then what about dethatching the lawn"? So, I quoted him and and when things began to get mundane I eventually just told him I was booked and probably wouldn't be able to do it now. He quickly changed his demeanor because at that point he lost control. So I quoted him @240 for mow, dethatching and edging along with a few minor task. He was fine with that and said he would do everything else. Good grief Charlie Brown!!!!I scheduled him 2 weeks later. I go there that morning because he called to go over the details. He now wants the leaves, lawn treatment and all this other stuff. I quote him 450.00 just to get it over with...It was ago. We get there and he runs outside to tell me he's busy. GREAT!
    As soon as we start he comes out and stays out. My guys began discretely tellingme that they are uncomfortable, and so was I. We spent 4 grueling hours under heavy surveillance, literally. He watched us mow line for line, edge from fist shovel to last dirt toss, and dethatch. He started sweeping up before we even finished. He went and started raking the thatch and just making more work for us. My wife told not to do any jobs for this guy. I should have listened. Anyone else I would have charge them big time, but unfortunately, I knew this guy. Know wonder he has contractor issues.

    :nono:NEVER AGAIN:nono::hammerhead:
  2. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,322

    i think i am going to have a job like that on tuesday, he is going to be home and just seems like the type to keep saying "hey while you guys are here can you just do that real quick, it wont be much work". i said i will have the job done in one day and he's all "but but but thats a lot of work and i paid a lot of money, i want you guys to be on site for a few days at least" no sir in out done gone. and 2nd check before i start.
  3. hef37087

    hef37087 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    I had the same thing happen to me a few years ago. The lady and I walked her entire house and she told me exactly how far to cut things and which tree limbs she wanted cut. When I got there she came out and stayed the whole time. It was a Wed. evening and she even skipped church to stay. She started in telling me "don't forget this...and can you cut a little more off this one?". I was so pissed. I finally finished and she called me back the next year to do it again and I told her that I have done this for 13 yrs. and didn't need a babysitter to trim her shrubs and she needed to find someone else.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    LOL that's exactly what I'm talking about when I say some act like they're buying a Mercedes SLK-530 over a dang lawn mowing...
    Yeah I get that too, it frustrates me to tears somedays.

    These may just be the kind that can't be pleased, but I don't know.
  5. RhettMan

    RhettMan LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 2,156

    What i want to know is how do you get 450 dollars for leaves lawn and edgeing, i mow blow and edge for $30 avg. It would take me 15 yards to get $450, not to mention every customer assures me that their "last guy" did it all for $25 and my prices are high ???
  6. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,322

    it doesnt really bug me i guess, i dont care if people watch because im always going to do my best work if im being watched or not. its when they ask me to do other things or add a little extra to my job that bugs me. thats why they get a complete list before we start including everything we are going to do down to how we will clean up after.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    You are always being watched. I get lots of these cause no one else wants to be bothered. The process is real simple. First you charge a good premium, then you have a detailed list of work to be done an thats all you do until it is done. When contract is finished and you are paid then you reset the clock and start again. I have several of these that we service a few times a year.

    One is so bad that two guys quit on the job and a few others would call out when we where going there. I always had to remind them that they where getting paid and that they usually got hefty tips as well. Although they can get on your nerves, no one else will service these people so you must charge well for your time. One lady easily spent 20K last year in simple garden maintenance.

    There is an account we maintain that the lady will follow you around the house looking out the windows through the blinds. When you look up real quick you'll see the blinds move, but you must be sly or real fast to catch it. As long as she stays inside Im cool with it. She'll also call and leave messages on my cell while she is watching me from 20 feet away. I used to get mad, but now I just laugh and deal with the husband.

    I have a lot of patience and tolerance, so Id rather listen to some crazy rant about UFOs and the government conspiracies for 2 times the price over some doctor or VP trying to knock me down $100 on a 20 yards of mulch.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I guess you're right shovel...
    My problem is, I have never had one who would actually pay without complaint AND keep me around.
    They pay once maybe 2-3 times and they may or may not say anything but that's the end of it...
    It does fix the problem but it also hurts business and in more ways than one.

    A lot of times what I do is start the clock before the truck even comes to a complete stop.
    If nothing happens then all goes as planned and the charge comes to the usual.
    If they want to come outside and start up with it that's fine as well, just keep dealing with it and keep on getting it.
    At the end charge them $1 / min and thank you.

    And for those who like to call in between I got a change order form all ready,
    it's $30 to change the order and add that on to the rest and get their siggie and lalala...

    But it never works, it's always over right then and there.
    I might get paid once or twice out of these ordeals but sooner or later it stops.
    Maybe it is that I'm looking at it as an ordeal, but that's because I've been through it so many times, too...
    My attitude changes when I know I'm getting PAID so that can't be it,
    and I'm certainly not always arrogant and frustrated...

    So what am I doing wrong?
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I got another one for you...

    Customers who think their lawn is like a car...
    You know, you wash a car so it looks nice, right?
    Yeah, so you mow the lawn and it does the same thing...

    And they will call me to have the lawn mowed OFF schedule.
    That is, before the regularly scheduled date...

    It would be all fine and dandy Except for ONE problem: A lawn is a plant...
    You can NOT cut it every 3-4 days, it will wither and die...
    You can NOT cut it any time but AS needed...

    Then when it gets all yellow who is at fault?

    Maybe I'm just stupid...
  10. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Posts: 558

    I try to get to my aunts house while shes at the beauty shop (late thurs AM)
    when I dont she will follow me around
    She will ask me everytime did you edge the driveway while Im still on the mower sometimes I dont even get the mower off the trailer:hammerhead:
    I have to remind her the mower flings stuff out at speed it would be better if she went inside and fixed me some ice water

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