How would you handle this?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by GarPA, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Recently we had a thread here where I think a new guy got roped into a possible job with a lady with overgrown beds and who thinks shes a master gardener. I mentioned I just went out this week to look at a similar situation. Long story short, planting beds all over the property, a mess, 6 inches of leaves, nothings been deadheaded, weeds all get the picture. House is in upper end neighborhood but not well maintained. Lady is too large for her frame and can no longer garden. She does know allot about the landscape from the things she mentioned. Just for starters, it will take 2 mandays to get it somewhat cleaned out. THen she has a whole Xmas list of things she wants moved in Spring, weed control...blah blah blah.

    SHe volunteered more than once that she is on a limited budget. At the first meeting I didn;t think it appropriate to ask what her "budget" is for landscape work. Up until about 5 am this morning, I was going to call her and tell her its just not the kind of project we would like to get into. Frankly my major concern is getting paid for the first cleanup. Then I start second guessing myself in that its not really right to assume that because someone has let things get out of control, that she's a deadbeat. I do try to run my business with the Golden Rule in mind...but on this one my little voice is saying just walk away and thank her for the call. For any landscape install we always get a deposit up front to cover all the material before a shovel hits the dirt. I dont do this however when only labor is involved. I think I know what most of you will advise, but I will ask you anyway. Here are some options ...if I've missed one, please add it:

    1. Thank her and decline to bid
    2. Bid it and ask for a 50% deposit(that seems tacky frankly)
    3. Do it and hope I get paid

    ok ...let me have it guys/gals..thanks
  2. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,579

    How do you normally do it for cleanup work? For the initial cleanup have her sign a work order / contract whatever you use...have the spring Landscape work as a separate issue.

    *edit - first thing out of my mouth after she says she is on a limited budget is how much is that? ... did you have a number in mind? anything...When else are you going to ask if it isn't the first meeting?
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Kris...we dont do ANY work for a new customer unless there is a signed work order. Frankly a good test of the situation is when I tell her the estimate will have 000's on the end of it just to get things cleaned up. At that point I think she'll run for the exits.
  4. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,579

    yes exactly why I would try and give her a ball park right there and then or find out how much she can spend.... I don't want to be wasting my time with another trip out. I would have probably given her a ball park price for the cleanup site unseen, on the phone this is how much we charge per man hour..blah blah blah... if that didnt scare her off then someone would go out.
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    good point you make...she did open the "money door" and so I should have walked thru it. I wont make another trip out. She likes to use email so thats how she'll get the work order. It will need to be there ready for pickup , signed, b4 work begins.

    Honestly ,a few times in the past I;ve been too quick to judge someone to be a deadbeat when if fact they turned out to be a good customer....but of course more times than not, my gut reaction is usually the right one
  6. Lazer_Z

    Lazer_Z LawnSite Silver Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 2,579

    GarPa first off all i curently do is lawns and little extras but what i would do is go with #2 but thats just me

    And i do agree with kris on the point of asking what king of figures she had in mind good luck with whatever you chose to do
  7. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    I agree, when she said that she was on a fixed income, I would have given her a round about figure. At that point you would know to walk, say or even run.

    Jobs like that I would normally bid high. I don't want them, but if I get it I will be well compensated. :cool:
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    I would agree with everything said except when did a potential client ever give you a true figure on what they can or will spend? I had the same thing last yr. poor guy was about broke with the holidays and his pension He said he wanted to stay around 1k. I told him what he would get for that, and then I told him to do everything he wanted it was going to be $4200. He paid the 42 and complained that now he was gonna have to cash in one of his bonds. I always give a honest bid but if you feel she can't afford the work give her a couple of options to choose from, just don't spend alot of time coming up with them.

  9. Del9175

    Del9175 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 352

    I usually go with my gut feelings in these types of situations. If I get a bad vibe from someone, I mostly likely won't work for them. I agree that a contract is a great idea, lets her know exactly what she is buying, but that still doesn't always guarantee hassle free payment.
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Thanks for the points of view guys...I've decided its not right to just blow her off just because I think she MAY be a slow or no-pay.
    I'm going to give her cleanup price thats on the high side.
    I'll post back here for info sake. I'm betting when I tell her the number she says no thanks....which will be just fine with me.

Share This Page