Fall cleanup complaint

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by adam5557, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. adam5557

    adam5557 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 96

    Hey guys i did a cleanup today and charged $230 total but that included one lawn cut which i bagged about 2 weeks before.So i charged 200 for the clean up and it took me and my buddy 2 hours with 2 redmaxxs and a tarp.We had to make two trips to drop off these leaves at my house with a 8ft bed loaded to the max using a tarp. Now the customers is calling complaining about the bill being high as she was a lawn service customer and just needed it done.Any ideas as to what i should tell her as i would like to have her as a customer next year,but i want to justify my pricing.Any help would be appreciated as this is my first year doing clean ups.thanks a bunch guys.
  2. BryPaulD

    BryPaulD LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 392

    Just explain to her that there are several avenues of service. The mowing - $30.00 There are fall and spring clean-ups. At your price (which sounds decent) 2 guys and 2 redmax @ 2 hrs. (that is like 4 guys) Plus dump fee. You have to pay for gas in the machines and truck, pay the employee, pay the estimator, pay the secratary, pay the insurance, pay the comp. Tell her it shoulda been $265.00 but you gave her a special deal because she is a regular. Now, we have aeration charges, dethaching charges, fert charges, etc. etc. etc. Explain to her, sorry if there was a miscommunication, but $30.00 does not include all of this.
  3. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    dont you give a written estimate, with cost and have them sign the estimate agreeing to pay x amount for y service....?????

    sounds like they where shocked at the amount, which isn't high to me either, sounds about right.....
  4. rbriggs

    rbriggs LawnSite Member
    Posts: 106

    Just goes to show the importance of up front pricing. We are very strict about the crews giving customers the costs BEFORE the job starts. If there is a ***** later on, then we can always say that they were well aware of the costs. AND, if the price is going to increase for any reason (ie. unexpected work, obtsacles, etc.) then, we stop work and tell them up front.
    We get very few complaints this way.
  5. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 953

    I had a client, a couple of years ago, who complained about a storm cleanup estimate so I tried to explain these things to her such as insurance, gas, equipment and such, and she just said, "But that's the cost of doing business. Why should I pay for that?" :dizzy: I had done a lot of other work for her and she never complained. Seems the cleanup was the only service that she had issue with.
    Dropped her like a hot rock. Her husband owns and operates a car dealership and she does some of their accounting. Condescending cheepazzes we don't need.
    She was the only one who questioned the price that year.
    By the way, I have driven by her place a few times and the guy who does her yard work hacks the bushes and blows clippings all over the mulch beds and the rock beds I put in. Cheep is as cheep gets.
    And you should always try to give the client an estimate, either verbally or, preferably, written. Most of my clients just say, "You don't have to give me an estimate. I know you'll be fair." I still give them a ballpark figure. Saves a lot of headaches later on.
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Tell her that it was a lot of leaves to be picked up and you also had to load them ,haul them and unload them twice.Plus dump fees twice.
    This is what it took to get it done for her.You are very sorry but clean-up is seperate than your regular mowing job and is priced differently.That you price it by the job and not hourly.And if you add the clean-up with the loading and hauling and the dumping gas ect this is the correct amount.
    If it looks like you will loose the mowing job because of this misunderstanding..then give her a break and charge her 175 not including the mow.but let her know that you are giving her a big break.
  7. DistLawns

    DistLawns LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 120

    Just tell her that is the industry standard price for that area, and its no different if she were to hire someone to put a new roof on, or pave her driveway, you provided a labor oriented service,and you charged the going rate just like she would expect any other labor oriented service to do.
  8. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 953

    Just a thought. What if the scrubs have driven the industry standard for the area to 10% of what you charge? You know. The old, "My neighbor had her 20,000 sq ft yard cleaned for $25.00."
    We all know that these guys will be out of business soon enough but the price ghost lingers for a long long time.
  9. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,265

    so what happened? what did she say?

    i know the area very well and those people have money to spare....trust me.

    it's kinda funny...i gave one guy from Detroit an estimate for his lot $125...he was like, "Boy, that's so high"..... (i thought i was giving him a break).. He said, "A guy cleaned them last year for $20".

    I said, "Give him a call back" and left.

    i never work without a written estimate.
  10. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    I hate it when this happens......

    When I have a complante like this I just remind the customer that it's true you can get jobs done cheaper...

    BUT, if the low ballers cut there foot or get hurt on there proptery, it's there ass...


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