Outrageous Pricing

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by J&R Landscaping, May 18, 2006.

  1. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    Here's the deal, this customer called me last fall and I di a clean-up for her. She liked the work and the price ($180 for 3.5 hours of work, leaves left on wooded end of property). I do a light spring clean up for her and again she is satisfied with the work and price. I've mowed here lawn 4 times so far this season (every 2 weeks) and she loved the way it looked.

    She asks me to install a Dwarf alberta spruce tree, a 4-6 foot one and to remove an old patch of evergreen groun cover that is dead and install a new patch.

    I normally always get 100% of the material money up front but this time, I did not. I do the work, haul the old groundcover away and return later the same day to mow the lawn.

    I left her an invoice and she called me yesterday morning and asked for further explanation of the bill. I return her phone call and explain the charges. She says ok and that she will put a check in the mail for me.
    I charged her $166 for the whole deal minus a 10% discount for a referall that I did work for.
    Dwarf spruce: $55.00 installed (cost me 39.95+tax) 2 ground cover plants $ 22.00 each installed (cost me 18.65 each + tax) Haul away of the old ground cover and spruce tree $35.00 Mow lawn $32.00

    I got a call from her this morning saying that she sent me a check but will no longer need my outrageously priced services anylonger. My prices have always been very compettitive with other local lco's.

    I'm not to dissapointed because she was a bit out of the way for me and no one else in the neighboor hood would hire me. I thought it was funny with the outrageous price thing and will now go spend the time I would have used on her property on someone who is one the route already!

    Just curious, do you hink I over priced the job?
  2. jd boy

    jd boy LawnSite Member
    from nw ohio
    Posts: 179

    I think you under priced the job. That's not enough mark up on the plant material, let along including labor. You're better off with out her as a cust.
  3. fulano

    fulano LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    I don't see how you can make money. Once you spend your time at the nursery picking out the plants and waiting in line plus your gas.
    How can she think she isn't getting a good deal. Usually you should get a 10-20% discount because of your license or relationship with the nursery. That means she got the plants plus labor for the install at near what it would have cost her just to buy them and do the work herself.
  4. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 292

    Yeah.. Damn that's way underpriced! I just put in some crape myrtles, 10 gallon. $25 markup on tree to pay for time picking it out and travel to and from nursery then $20-35 per tree to install are my prices. And generally a minimum of $35 for mowing. And I think I'm cheap, especially on tree installs.

    I also charge $12 per shrub (4 feet or less) to be removed with a minimum of $30
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Yup, had you priced the job right in the first place, she would have never hired you and you would've never had to deal with this nor would you have done all that work so cheap. You did her a great favor, and now you see the thanks you get, but this is normal.

    They don't appreciate nice prices, I don't know why this is so but you're better off quoting high and having them say no than the other way around. Time and again, I would rather someone like that call someone else and let them deal with the bs, because more often than not I already know what's coming, it is only a matter of time but it always ends like that or in some similar way. You work your tail off for next to nothing, and you get no real appreciation in return.

    The last bit that will get you is when you've worked for someone like this for a long time because there is a BIG job you know needs doing and you started off quoting low so you could get your foot in the door... Finally when the time comes to get the BIG job done, they call someone else and never even ask you.

    Ohhhh yes.

    As for prices, I recently planted a dozen 1-gallon azaleas on a prop.
    My cost: 2 dollars each + tax, so $25. Add a couple bucks for the root fertilizer, $30 tops.
    What I charged: $120, or $10 each.
    What is left: 90 dollars for the company, pays for fuel, insurance, taxes, labor, maintenance, tools, etc...
    How long it took: A little over an hour labor + 15-20 minutes at the store.
    Ahhhh that works so good.
  6. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,096

    ok Thanks guys! I think I have to go over my mark-up policy a little bit! I couldn't understand how she could consider it expensive! O well, let little billy down the street work for her from now on! I'm done with her and glad for it!

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,138

    Cheap prices.
  8. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,389

    Mark up on plant material should be at least 100%. You where too cheap.

    VWBOBD LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

  10. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    How can someone with no experience in owning or operating a landscaping business tell you that your pricing is "outrageous"? Consider the source, she has no clue. I agree that you were underpricing the work...I just learned over the years that you have to have a thick skin and not take things that people say personally. Move on, I'm sure you have better clients to spend your time with.

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