Moon Lighting landscaper

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MarcSmith, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    Ok first off. I dislike people who moonlight in their same professions. Ie if you work for a landscape company and do side work as a landscaper, there can be a huge conflict of interest.

    My wife and I went to her companies annual holiday party on Friday. Most of the people know what I do for a living and my wife is the "ask the expert about plants" at her job.

    While at the party the president of my wife's company, my wife's managers boss, starts asking me some questions, and explains that they had a company come out and take a look around. Mind you this is Georgetown and its a town house with access through the house only. She goes on to tell me that they want $1700 to do XYZ, basically cleaning up the beds, doing some corrective pruning, and some dead shrub removal. In all about 20 hours of work. She asked me to come by and take a look at it and see if what they recommended makes sense.

    So I bite and swing by on Saturday. ends up being something I could easily do, either on weekends, or put in an hour here and there after work. I would not need any tools or equipment I don't' already own, ladder, pruners, ect.

    I told her that I could not in good conscience do the work for 1700. She said, "I don't care. if I was going to pay Them 1700 to do the job, why is your time worth any less ( I mentioned i have no overhead, ect), and this way rather than giving to some other company, I'd rather give money to people I know. Besides, Id like to spend some of the time working with you to learn how and why you do things such that I can do it on my own in the future."

    I plan on keeping a small log book of my time as I know that if I have a "learning/helper" my time on the job just increased. Rather than just doing the work the the original company proposed and leaving I plan on working until the $1700 is spent, I plan on using my salary as a base and then figuring out my hourly rate and then adding half to it to make it time and a half (overtime) since all this will take place after hours or on weekends.

    I am not doing this to get the business back going again, and I'd just as soon work with them and do the work for little or no money, but thats not an option in her eyes....

    I'm just want to see how some of you guys would handle this situation.

    Even though the job location is three blocks off campus, there is no way I would even consider using time/materials/supplies, ect from Georgetown, so there is no "conflict of interest", Not worth risking my job over
  2. Overworked069

    Overworked069 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Marc... I'm assuming that Georgetown doesn't contract landscaping jobs off campus, so there would not be any conflict of interest since you are not competing with your employer.
  3. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    Marc, for a guy with your back round and education I'm truely embarressed. I've read many of your posts and threads in the past........thought you to be a respected guy on this site?............I'm not gonna make this a hugh debate, but Compareing "What You deem as fair is far off the Mark on this one!..........the 1st bid is from a buisness? [ all the certifications, lic.,workmans comp, liability ins,commercial truck ins, advertiseing budget,pays rent, state and federal and wage tax?, ect, ect, ect,].........Marc, statments like yours really "Bite the bullet", are you now one of those "Lowball Arse-holes", whos now compareing his Moonlighting to an established professional company?......Dude grow a set and talk to us after your 3rd year in buisness!........I was a sales Rep for a International Tree Expert Company..........Use to have to give consults on Brownstones in Brooklyn, NY [ same as a townhouse ].......If i were to be sending a tree crew, 2-3men from our office[ the ride alone was 1hour 30 mins door to door x 2-3 men, and thats coming and going] Whos payin for the "Service".........often I need 1-man just to keep the truck in motion during the day as parking was not feesable? Marc thats 6-man hours for 2 men or 9 hrs for the 3-man.............Do we not pay the men cause they are just ridein in the truck?........Me thinks you guys in "Higher Education" are as soft as the kids on campus?........My apologies to the "Kids",but this guy is just another example of an "American, shooting another American" in the foot!........"Happy New Year" to the rest of You'all.:hammerhead: :dizzy: :usflag:
  4. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    Marc, are those "Tools" you refer to actually yours? or are we now using the schools equipment on our "Moon-lighting" Blitzcreed?:nono: PSS, sorry I was blinded by rage and missed "Marc's" last sentence.....Hopefully he'll actual consider the 1st of my series of posts on this subject?
  5. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    Marc, not only is Travel time a consideration, so is the "Proper" inside the townhouse?........after layin down disposable walk mats, tapin doorways to reduce dust, I've had crews that while walking from the backyard to the front door, "Had to remove their work boots".........this wasnt a "Please", this was written into the job contract!.......and all those hand pruning were to be downsized, and again you know the cost of having a resoration company follow after you to take care of scuffs, mars or scrapes on walls, door edges, the hard wood floors?.......ever had to handle an insurance claim for what seems like picky youin aspects of this job?........from all aspects that $1700 was surely in the ball park..........
  6. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 530

    Hey them "Townhouses" got any rugs?.........whats the cost to get the spores from Apple cedar rust off a Hand made persian rug these days?......incidently, I was running a tree job on a school campus.......their ouside perimiter "Hawthorns".....blocked the side-walk [ for the tree over-hang] set up a coned and taped walk-way in the street, kept a spotter to keep pedestrian traffic moving and had to render 1st aide one day to a "Pedestrian" who stepped on a thorn [ as it went through his shoe].......Thank God for that 1st aide kit we had to carry on all company equpment!..........after removing his shoe, and the pin sized wound [ which didnt draw blood ], applying the anticeptic ointments, band aide......helped get that sock and shoe back on........drove the guy to a local hospital! sooooo a pro could ck it out!........."The cost of Doin Buisness":usflag:
  7. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    Man, you are opening a can of worms

    Man hour rate @ $115 x 20 hours = $2,300 for a normal tree crew.

    $1700 is only $85... a lowball rate for 20 man hour job, must be winter rate and the crews need the work, not much leftover after expenses.

    Governmental and other "non-profits" sometimes need to view the real world. Not much time to view the co-eds when you are on the job working for a profit...too busy making sure they don't walk under danger one looks up when the headache yell happens...too buy talking on cell phones to listen.

    Why devalue a professionals expertise? Do the job for the cost a professional outlined it at. As in the other posts, bundling debris into 3' wide bundles, wrapping it, keeping the litter trail to a minimum through the house will add quite a bit of unplanned time to your quote. Not much room at the curb in DC for your yard debris...Tyson's in Falls Church charges $85 a truck load for disposal.


    I'm sure any mishap will be covered by your personal liability insurance, and won't reflect adversely on your spouse...or is this another example of the countless threads of "someday I'm going legit"
  8. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    Don't go to Tyson's.......go to Remington 1/2 mile towards I-66 on gallows. A loaded 8' bed truck is only $ in overloaded. No concrete or stone, just brush, sod, soil etc.

    PM'd ya.
  9. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    I took some pics of the back yard...(postage stamp)
    they are here. why she called a tree company is beyond me...

    Nocut- I know all about being in business for myself. Been there done that succeded and sold the biz for a nice profit when I moved up to the DC area when other oppurtinities presented themelves....And it was a legit biz...

    Any tools I use would come from my own house. When I sold my business I kept tools. I do plenty of work for my neighbors as a neighbor and no money changes hands. so by doing the work for free for my neighhbors am I shooting another american the foot....

    She wants to learn how to maintain the landscape on her own. The company that came out is not willing to "teach as they go"

    At most, Debris wise.... 5 50 gallon bags....easy enough for me to haul away...

    This is not a thread about me someday going legit...I see this as a one time oppurtunity to help out someone who asked....

    Parking is not an issue they thave a small driveway.

    I do appreciate the insight guys, this exercise wasn't intened to to change anyone's minds.
    every point you guys brought up has been though about and since it could potentially affect my wife she and I discussed it.

    Here are the pics....


  10. drmiller100

    drmiller100 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 562

    the funny thing is going to be the "xyz" in the original post.

    cleanup is a funny thing. When you hard bid, the customer gets a known,fixed amount of money.
    But customer expectations can sometimes change during the job, and it is always interesting how it all turns out.
    the big dogs flat rate. The little dogs go by the hour. customers would rather hire the big dogs.

    whether you are a big dog or a little dog has nothing to do with the size of your business.
    I'm a 3 man operation, and have enough organization and equipment I can cut my competitors bids by 20 percent, and still make more money then them.

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