Should I or Shouldn't I

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ferris_1972, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. ferris_1972

    ferris_1972 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Long story I apologize in advance. I have 5 properties in a development. One of these is average size but with a fenced pool area that requires about 15 minutes with 21'' mower. Decent neighborhood all $700,000+ . Property takes about 45 minutes to do. Ton of edging to be trimmed. Last year I did it for $40. I have had this account going on 6 years. 22 yards of mulch each year. Last year he decides he will do the mulch. I drive by one of the weeks when we had a ton of rain just to see how far behind I will be and another company is there doing the mulch. Since the guy prepaid for the season I didn't say anything. After finally using his irrigation and fertilizing the lawn started growing well. I have had to double cut each week. Not a big deal but adds about 15 minutes to the job. The past few years I have automatically done the cleanup. I show up last year to do the cleanup and they say they were going to do it themselves. I was in the area so no big deal. Then they say well we started it and saw how much work was involved so we are going to have the guy who does our fert do it( I basically just do lawn maintenance not too much over other than mulch) Should I tell them this year it is going to be 50 instead of 40 because of the double cut or should I just let them go. Nice people not real PITA's or anything like that. But I do have to be in that area every week. Also keep in mind that I am full time firefighter so this is part time for me.About 20-25 lawns a week. Suggestions welcome. Thanks
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    i think your price for maintenence is way too low..... that is why you are still do it for them... the mulching and other work..... he is haveing full time professionals from the sound of it or maybe they are really lowballing you..... dont not saying your work isnt as good as thiers, but it may be perceived that you are a firefighter, not a landscaper.....

    now did this price include the mulch......sorry im not clear on that

    get some jobs where you can, and take some before and after pictures, start a scrapbook, use it as a selling tool for those who may doubt your abilities....:)

    now the reason i say your prices is too low....... when you quit this, someday, and a full time company has to bid on the property, he is already accustomed to a below average price, and when he is given a corect price, a price that can sustain a company, he craps his pants.......

    good luck...:)
  3. ferris_1972

    ferris_1972 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    No the price did not include the mulch. I agree that the price may be low compared to other companies but I obviousy do not have the overhead so I charge what I need to make a decent wage.
  4. Mlc gmc03

    Mlc gmc03 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 324

    why dont you just charge what should be charged for that job and then you will take more home yourself and it will help keep up the prices for the people who this is a full time job for. If its only a side thing for you charge more and then you have to do less work to make the same amount, whats wrong with that?
  5. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    Dont take this the wrong way but you have no idea of what people say about part timers once they are gone. Every year I hear about "the guy last year". Then when I ask who it was they dont even remember your name. They just say that he was part time, cop or firefighter, or whatever. Maybe they got a good price for the mulch, or know someobody who got into the field and wanted to support them. I wouldn't count on doing there yard anymore. And if you do get it again, it is because you are cheaper than the othere guy. So they are treating you like a cheap ho. I find that if they deliberatly screw me in one way or another then they are gone on the spot or after I nail them with a HUGE fall cleanup bill.

    If you want your ansewer you should call them tonight and tell them the new price. Just act like a pro and take the lump if they drop you. That way it gives you time to find someone to replace them.
  6. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    intentionally leaving money on the table is not the smartest business decision.

    Do plumbers say, well I don't live in a really big house so I will charge less than the going rate because I don't really need the money? NO.

    Charging anything less than what you quality is worth is just dumb.

    As for the client, I would politely ask him why he is gradually switching to other providers?
  7. ferris_1972

    ferris_1972 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    As a ''part timer'' I understand how the full time people feel. Understand that I would never EVER intentionally undercut anyone. I refuse to work that way just to make a buck. The advice is great and much appreciated. I have lost a few accounts over the years (8 years working with another company and 5 on my own). However I really haven't had this situation in the past, most of the customers I have lost have been extreme PITA's or people who like the service but don't pay the bill. Thanks again
  8. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 654

    It seems you are going to learn the hard way just like I did.

    You start off not requiring a contract and underbid jobs just to get a little side money. Then after a few years you realize you could be making more money so you want to raise there price. I have been there and done that and it has never worked out for me. If you raise the price they are probably going to cancel.

    I also am I part timer and I have learned to never ever ever tell any of your customers that you are a part timer. As far as any of my customers know right now I do this for a living and evryone of them are contracted for a minimum of 1 year.

    As far as side work goes with the customers I currently service.... if they want to hire out any other work like mulch or straw or anything.....I have learned not to let that hurt my feelings. Theres plenty of side jobs out there to fulfill my just have to advertise.
  9. ferris_1972

    ferris_1972 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Good points JBS, I personally feel that I should be upfront with people about what I do and given that my schedule rotates every week. I do that with people that want it cut on a specific day every week.
  10. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 654

    Ok... I didnt know that your schedule changes weekly. Then you are doing the right thing by being upfront. That has got to be tough to schedule your work though

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