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Learned a valuable rookie lesson.,..

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mr.Stripey Lawn Care, May 9, 2003.

  1. Mr.Stripey Lawn Care

    Mr.Stripey Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    One of the guys I currentl frame with asked me to cut his moms yard once for 10 bucks, seems her mower was broken. I said what the hell, it isn't even a block where I live, just grab the trimmer, and drag the 21 inch down with the Z. The lawn was way past due and badly neglected, some of the grass was 16 inches tall. If I hadn't known them and they just called me up, I would have bid the yard at $35 if it had been in good shape. But it was a friendly one time favor, so I did the best I could, trimmed around the piles of trash, broken go-karts, and everything else around the shed. A lot of work for ten bucks.

    He comes in the next day and said that his mom wiould like to have me do it on a regular basis, it will be a while before her mower is even taken to the shop. He also explained that he told his mom the price wasgoing to go up. I never caught her at the right time, she was at work in the evening when I cut at 7:00 pm, so I never got the chance to negotiate a price, I was willing to haggle since I worked with her son, I would do it for 20, 25 a week. Last night, I cut it for the fifth time, and finally caught her at home, she owed me for 4 cuts( her son taking care of the first) and I went to the door. She came out with check book in hand, and said "Is ten dollars enough?" That put me on my butt... I said politely that if any other LCO had come out here, he would have told you at least $35.00. Well, it was her tun to take a seat, and turn a little paler. I broke down and had her agree on fifteen, which she could "Probably do"

    I understand that this is all my fault for not having an agreement first before doing the work, and realize that I shouldn't do any more favors...

    More came this morning when her son called me and told me I hadn't cut it as many times as I had said I did, another boner for not keeping a record...Learn as I go I guess, won't make those mistakes again...
  2. michigangrass

    michigangrass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    Never assume.

    Customers generally assume to thier favor. Never be intimidated when it comes to talking to someone about pricing...its easier to prevent a fire than it is to put one out.

    You'll learn that friends and family tend to take advantage of your relationship to squeeze you for better pricing which may be fine but don't let them bend you over. If a friend tries to screw you...they were never a friend in the first place.

    Sign everyone to a contract and never cut for free...except for mom or grandma and grandpa. Take care of the elderly...we wouldn't have what we have today if it weren't for them.
  3. RMCutter

    RMCutter LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 5

    I can't see how you could even do a job for $15.
    Wear and tear on your equipment + gas and lets not forget about time spent.
    Iknow some older people are on a fixed income but so are we!
    Another thing I,ve learned is that when you do a favor, Sometimes they are the first to complain.
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Ouch, that hurts.

    Lesson learned. You won't do that again.
  5. sheppard

    sheppard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 542

    Do customers get any more stupid than that?

    Let me answer that one. Either she is dumb or playing a feminine con game. Sounds like the little jewish lady that didn't want to pay me for cleaning out all her flower beds. "You're going to charge me for that? Oh my goodness!"

    Please honey. Just pay the bill and get out of my life forever.

  6. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Lesson learned. I've always felt that it is human to make mistakes, I've made many in this business, just try not to let it happen again. Good luck, Mike
  7. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    I have several customers that almost drop dead when i tell them there is either a price increase or if i tell them how much it is to edge. they feel it should be included in the price of mowing. after explaining it to them, they seem to understand but still don't want to pay the extra $$.
  8. Sooners

    Sooners LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    An elderly gentleman from church asked my 17 yr old son to clean up limbs at his yard. I told him to just take what he offered and smile. He gave him $15 for 2 hrs. and he probably thought he was doing him a big favor. Let's see, 10 miles @ 15 mpg x $1.69/gal. OUCH! LOL.
  9. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    When customers claim "I know a guy who will do it for $10"....I always wondered who those guys were. Now I know.
  10. Mr.Stripey Lawn Care

    Mr.Stripey Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    Understand that this woman wasn't in the market for lawncare, and I am not the "the guy that will do it for 10 bucks." It was a personal favor, and also a mistake...one I will not make again. It isn't like I watched a LCO pull away from her property and sprinted over there panting like a dog:mad:

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