Making money off the misfortune of others

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by olderthandirt, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Katrinas came ashore and theres a lot of damage. Lot of work availabe for clean up crews, trees and debri gotta go. Anyone planning on going to the area and working [provided that lisc. and insurence is good for the area]
    How do you feel about taking advantage of others misfortune, you give a price break to help those in need or you jack the price because you can, The work need to get done?
  2. imograss

    imograss LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 796

    Seems like a profitable situation to those that can afford to go spend some time there.
  3. br549oicu8

    br549oicu8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,230

    If I was able to go I certainly would not charge crazy high prices. Be fair, make good money, but don't screw the people. After all, you have to live with yourself and you could be in that situation someday.
  4. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    When I lived in Florida I did some storm cleanup My current(paid in full) customers came first at normal rates, all prices quoted in advance. Anybody else I did on over time rates on a time and materials basis. Everything was charged out (ie if I used a chain saw, I charged a rental rate) I did not haul anything away the days after a storm, it was bacially Cut and move to gain access. If any body wanted stuff hauled I waited about a week.

    I basically carried around a bunch of blank letterhead sheets and hand wrote work tickets and made notes in my 3 ring binder. Not the best, but it worked.

    I requested cash or check, and with checks I took a DL number. I brought by a computer generated copy of the invoice the following morning for their insurance purposes.

    I don't feel I was taking advantage of anybody. In most cased I was working well beyond 8 hours per day so by charging time and a half for non full time customers I felt justified.

    In most cases I was only spending a couple hours at any particular place so the bills were not astronomical.....

    Just make sure you buy extra chains and bar oil...Always easier to swap a chain out rather than try to sharpen on the job...

    Most important of all. DO NOT DO WORK THAT IS OVER YOUR HEAD (meaning that if you dont feel comfortable doing something or if your somehow screw it up and your insurance won't cover it, don't do it....)
  5. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,823

    I would not jack it up on them ,and screw them over, but I wouldnÂ’t give them a break either .The contractor has a service to provide and it might be unfortunate, but the situation gives the contractor a chance to make many extra bucks. The contractor has the service; the customer has to have it provided for them.
  6. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Heres a great chance to make twice maybe 3 times normal rate. Is it over charging when you charge 3 times normal rate but have travel time and what about stopping additinal damage IE removing trees off of roof so that roof can be tarped to prevent further water from coming in. Supply and demand economics should apply I would think.
  7. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,823

    Those hurricane prone areas, the state ,can get a little sticky when you stick it to em to much lol.
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    If you are willing drive many many miles to do this type of work, then by all means charge reasonably for your time, travel, ect. But in florida they do have anti-gouge laws, But I would think if you are living in that area and you don't jack the prices you are more apt to get new business out of the emergency work.

    Sorry, you wont see me on a compromised roof trying to cut a tree up....I know with insurance companies you are supposed to attempt to mitigate your losses, just don't put yourself at risk for someone elses belongings
  9. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,619

    I am not sure you are taking advantage of anyone if you are charging a reasonable rate and maybe a little markup to cover your expenses to travel their and living expenses. i would assume the insurance companies will eventually pay for the cleanup tab for the homeowner when the homeowner submits the bill to the insurance company.
  10. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    I think normal to slightly increased rates along with the travel expense, food, lodging, ect. As long as it can be proven not to be gouging would be ok, to go there and charge 5 times normal rate plus expense would be too much and would be considered gouging as far as I'm concerned.
    By the way Mac, I've been thinking maybe I should go, thing is after a very bad summer now is when things are getting good around here. grass growing like spring time, aeration time, fall cleanups coming, plus winter prep on my own stuff. just don't see it this year.

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