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Jobs cancelling

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by SprinklerGuy, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. What to do:

    Right now we are relatively busy. Busy enough that I have been telling all the people who have shown interest in our bids that we are 2-3 weeks out. This usually causes some dismay on their part and I am sure I have lost some jobs due to this. We are not "custom hardscape" installers so it is pretty easy to find a sprinkler installation company to use if our time frame doesn't fit them. Here is the problem.

    I signed a lady up for a 5k drip system and granite installation job. We were to start Oct. 10th. in the meantime, I know some people didn't want to wait and found another contractor. Well, this lady called and CANCELLED. She said she found someone else that could start tomorrow. She said her landscaper found someone. She lied, because her landscaper is a friend of mine and said he would never do such a thing.

    How do I combat this? If I charge money up front to get on our schedule, some people don't like that. If I don't charge, it is really easy to cancel with us. What to do. Any suggesions?
  2. They may not like it but if they are serious, they shouldnt have a problem with some sort of non-refundable deposit to get on schedule.
    Deposits by credit card seem to make most more comfortable.

    What do you do if they cancel late and you dont have a chance to fill that time with another job? You end up eating the time because they didnt keep their word.
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Did she give a down payment? Is she in breach of contract? Not that you would want to, but COULD you take her to court for it? Can you make a percentage of the down payment non-refundable in the future? Just describe it to the potential client when giving the bid.
  4. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    25% non refundable deposit to get in line.

  5. MPhillips

    MPhillips LawnSite Member
    from zone 7
    Posts: 94

    is there a way to "start" some of these jobs earlier, and "finish" them later? Can you get out and hook up the manifold in a couple days, for example then flag a week after that...or sub any of it out? Can you sub the trenching?

    I always try real hard to figure out ways to accomodate growth, not forcing the growth to accomodate my schedule. It's a good problem you have, congratulations.
  6. Ground Master

    Ground Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 505

    tough call, i do know that if you sold her the job in her home that she has 72 hours to back out-----even if she signed her life away. tom
  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    You have to get a deposit. Then you know it is sold. Kind of like an engagement. You ain't engaged till there is a ring AND a date to get married. Otherwise it is just an empty comittment.

    Here in NJ were can't get more than 10% down legally. Many still do more an no one screams. Yes we have the 3 day rule. Actually here, a deposit is regarded as non-refundable unless it is stated as being refundable. Check your consumer affairs regs who who ever does that in your state(s).

    I had one that was a quick sale this spring and a quick bail and I sent the guy $1,500 back.
  8. I had a suggestion from another guy

    Get the contract signed, get the deposit...then asap....get someone in to either build the manifold, hang the breaker, hang the timer....something that seems significant. Tell the client that you have several different stages of the project and the highly technical stage gets done right away by "your highly skilled tech". Then call them that night and tell them when you will be there to finish the other stages.

    This would satisfy my need to start something when I have the money, and should keep them from cancelling. But will it leave a bad taste in their mouth about you?

    Or should I draw up a contract that says: "25% down to place on schedule and order special parts, 10% of which is non-refundable or $100.00 whichever is less"....

    My landscaper who referred me there said he went there yesterday and there was a beat up red ford pickup, 2 hispanics that don't speak english, a pile of granite,and misc parts laying around. They were burying the drip tubing about 3 inches down, and installing plastic malibus throughout the yard. (we never discussed this!)

    I guess it was a money thing! Lowballers! The scourge of the earth.
  9. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    You need to examine your sales approach. Screen hard to start with by asking lots of questions over the phone covering lots of details (like lights-shouldn't you have thought of this) then budget ranges.

    I think just a simple deposit on a well sold job is good enough. Getting deposits and cancellations has never been a problem for me over the years. It has occured but not a problem. The deal isn't done till there is a deposit, signed contract and an approximate start date.
  10. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    OK here is a twist then. If you sign a job, get a deposit and schedule it, and then YOU as the contractor cancel it 2 weeks later, how would they deal with it. Now they have to go through the process again betting bids, wait a few weeks to get on someones schedule and now they are pissed at all landscapers. I have cancelled 2 jobs after signing contracts. Could they file some breach of contract suit and collect some money? Maybe. But they decided to just move on. I cancelled because they were clearly going to be a pain in my ***. More than the rest :D

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