How much Crap

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by pete scalia, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    Do you take on a job before throwing in the towel?

    We had a job this year that was a nightmare. Very large property It was 64 fixtures over $20,000.

    The first 25 fixtures went in and the owner loved it (or so she said). We had a two day rain delay and when we got back she hated everything and decided to redeisgn not only what was already completed but the balance of the job as well. She decided she didn't like the fixture type so we changed them. Then she decided she didn't like the effect so we changed that from uplighting to downlighting and vice versa in some cases. Then she decided she didn't like the qty per tree and so we changed that. Meanwhile she was making these decisions on the fly without seeing the effect at night. She simply in her mind didn't like where the fixtures were positioned or how many there were per tree. Whenever I tried to argue my point I'd get a hand in front of my face saying she didn't want to hear it. She knew best. Wires got moved and removed. Connections got made and broken and remade again. It was a true nightmare and not a money maker in the end. When do you call it off if ever?
     
  2. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Protect yourself with a proper contract.

    ..."This agreement does not cover any material, labour or other costs associated with any changes from the original plans as laid out in the attached specifications. Any alterations, substitutions or other changes to the original plans will come at an extra charge where necessary."...

    Never walk away.
     
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Tell her you feel like you are ripping her off. That she doesnt need to pay your high prices, she can higher a handy man to wire it up since she knows so much about design, effect, and placement and save a ton of money. I tell them that it is my design and that if the doctor tells you you need heart surgery you dont ask him to just operate on your toe instead. You need to signature every job otherwise you cant do it. And after a $600k year who needs aggrevation around the holidays.
     
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Joey, I wasn't aware that you are also an independant contractor and an entreprenuer. All along I figured you were just pulling a salary from 'the man'.

    Your advice above would not sit very well in the real world. The last thing anyone of us independant small businesses needs is a disgruntled and pissed off client heading off to the country club for dinner with lots of their friends. Bad news travels fast.... Best to make every client a happy client. That is what pays off in the long run.
     
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Hey James,

    I havent a clue of what I am saying, please instruct me on the real world..........lets start with VD methods.
     
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    Joey, you must know that you cannot walk around with your head in the clouds acting like some "light = art Master" when dealing with picky clients. Ultimately, our next jobs are only as secure as our last happy client.
     
  7. pete scalia

    pete scalia LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    I disagree. I should have dropped that b%*ch like a bad habit. Who cares about her referrals if they are going to be like her anyway. In hindsight I should have walked before eating any more of her crap but I was whipped by the old mighty dollar. Rest assured had that been a 5K job I'd have thrown the towel in a NY minute.
     
  8. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Ohhhhh man Pete, James probably just blew eggnog all over his keyboard reading your foul language. Some customers should be left for the other guys!!
     
  9. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    Unfortunately situations like this suck. People like this are never happy. You can bend over backwards and TRY and make them happy, however sometimes it'll never happen. So your choices are finish the job, make no money and get no referrals anyway, or tell her that you're not the company for her and use the time you would have spent at her home on a profitable job that will make someone happy.
     
  10. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,112

    Demo, Demo, Demo,- If you demo before and then get the approval on it then no problem. If they start asking for changes I am happy to oblige, I just pull out my change order book and add it on to the bill at the end. At 65.00 per hour plus material, I will move lights and wire around all season long until they are happy. I state this very clearly in my contract. Once they give me an approval on the demo and design with a signature; that is it. Any changes are extra. Trust me, when you start writing up change orders and have them sign them with an estimate prior to executing them, they will stop very, very quickly. People want you to do extra for nothing, once you give in to them once it is over. They will expect it from you. Always carry a change order book with you and have them sign it before you start the extra work. It will stop, trust me.
     

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