Serious miscalculations on estimating this year

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by BPL3279, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. BPL3279

    BPL3279 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    How is the year going for the rest of you?? This year proved to be a major loss after last year (07)was excellent. Between going full fledged on the books, adding workers comp, ins.,estimated miscalculations due to rising costs of materials and gas, employees not wanting to work and wanting the world for pay....and also seem to have extavigant customer complaints due to no fault of my own, having to go back and fix things and taking a loss!!! YIKES, I am thinking about going back to grass cutting and getting out of the walls and patios and new lawn installations especially. Any one else have a hard year with rising prices?
     
  2. Green Team Landscaping

    Green Team Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    I dont want to sound like a jerk here, but isn't it technically your fault since they're your crew? And are they trained to put in patios and stuff?
     
  3. BPL3279

    BPL3279 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Nothing going wrong with the patios, just lack of GOOD, reliable help this year. Good work still being done. CAllbacks are always on greenery, people not taking care of things, not watering properly, storm damage,,,,etc.
    For example, we had a hillside to clean up filled with tall weeds. The people wanted it cleared out, we put a weed preventor down and planted ivy. Worked our buts off on doing a good job. It looked great. They understood it could not be covered with mulch because the hill was so steep it would just wash off. 3 months later....we get a call complaining the weeds are starting to grow back, come and fix it for free!!! Of course they are going to start growing back, but they do not want to pay for maintenance weeding or spraying. They expect LIFE TIME FREE WEEDS! Obviously I am going to avoid any other job like this again, or write it in the contract next time..BUt who in their right mind would think of such a thing??? No wonder half of these people never get call backs from other landscapers for certain jobs!
     
  4. Green Team Landscaping

    Green Team Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Oh. Right. I thought it was workers not doing their job. Thats like going to a restauraunt, ordering what you want, eating it all, and then saying it wasn't good and wanting your money back. That also kinda screws you over when people dont take care of things like that. How do they think you make a living, and PRODUCTIVLY use your time on jobs, and not fixing their mistakes?
     
  5. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    You have to put your foot down alot more and this is one of them!People will always ***** and moan because their ill informed or they are just oblivious of how things should be done..or cheap and expect you to fix it free. You installed the job and unless your paid a fee to maintain it, its on them. Once you give an inch they will p!ss all over you.And yes put it in your contract next time. Good luck to you and dont give up, just a few tweeks and you can solve alot of these problems as long as you install properly.
     
  6. BPL3279

    BPL3279 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    We appreciate the input, it sucks people are sew happy now a days, even when you do the best possible job. We cant control mother nature...it's like you have to give out a serious addendum clause with every booking!! I do appreciate the good customers, we get them too. I just cant stand the guy who wants to walk all over you.

    I am also thinking of charging a non-refundable $50-$100? deposit fee towards the cost of the job, for booking and getting on our schedule. Does anyone else do this?? Too many people book then cancel due to getting 10 different estimates...literally! I have also heard of people starting to charge for estimates due to rising gas, but I am afraid of losing business that way. We have started screening our calls to the max.
     
  7. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 609

    We have started to charge for estimates this year. I was always scared to do this also but it has really eliminated tire kickers. Usually the ones that won't pay for your time aren't serious customers. I also think it puts us on a higher level of professionals demanding to be reimbursed for our time and not giving it away.
     
  8. BPL3279

    BPL3279 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    That's good to hear, I am curious what you decided to charge? I was thinking of $25-35, then tell them if they decide to go with the work it is credited toward the job. Currently we give free verbal estimates, but if they want something in writing they need to give a 50% deposit or if it is for insurance purposes there is a $60 charge period, then credited if they have the work done.
     
  9. allinearth

    allinearth LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 609

    We charge 39 for estimate. We explain that the fee is to cover fuel and time. It really doesn't cover both but is a way to eliminate time wasters. I am sure it has turned away a few jobs that we could have done but we have been really busy anyway. If we were to get slow and need work we would not mention or charge the fee.
     

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