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This Is Serious!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by clallen03, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. clallen03

    clallen03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    Here it is.

    I have a soon to be client that just hired us to provide full service maintenance on her property. This lot is in a great location. Corner lot, first house you see in a 300 home middle class subdivision. She has also agreed to let me post a sign in her lawn, right in front of the stop sign. Her previous LCO was, from what she described, a mow, blow, and go operation. So I sold her on the full services and that is exactly what she wanted.

    Now this is where it get thick.
    While doing a lap of the property with her and trying to sell her on my knowledge and on the advantages of a full service program, I noticed some debris in the wood line. I made a quick mental note... 2 men, 3hr job, two loads to the dumps 5 mins away. I really didn't take a long hard look because that was not my focus at the time.

    Afterwards we went inside and I started laying it on trying to sell our services. During the sell she asked what it would cost to remove the debris from the wood line. I told her around $245 plus a $120 haul off and dump fee, $365 total. She agreed to the maintenance contract and the debris removal.

    Today we were supposed to meet to sign the maintenance contract and start the work for the debris but it rained this morning. This threw off our scheduled meeting time. She had other arrangements later that day so we weren't able to meet.

    After it stop raining it turned into a wonderful day. Since I had already set this day aside to to this job I thought I would get a jump start on this job. When I got to the property I realized I have made a HUGE miscalculation. I need a bobcat and probably a 30 yard trash bin to do a quality job.

    I know another well know LCO in my area that was mentoring me so I asked if they would take a look at the job. He has all this equipment and I have seen them do these types of jobs alot. He told me I can sub it out to him for $600and Im thankful because I have never did bobcat work. He made sure I knew he would have charged her at least $835 for this type of work.

    Now these are my questions.
    How would you explain this situation to the customer?
    Keep in mind she has yet to sign the maintenance contract and this contract was bid correctly (with profit in mind). I would hate to lose it.

    What should I charge her for this job?
    Remember I can sub it out for $600. I'm up in the air on if I should charge her $750 to make something off the deal or should I just charge her $600 because I made a mistake on bid.

    I know I'll get lectured my some and rightfully so, but can you please keep your replies as close to the questions as possible.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Just explain that you mis-judged the job during the walk-thru.

    Explain that you noticed it, but it was not your "focus" at the time.

    Explain that when you got there you realized that the scope of the job exceeded what you normally do, and that in order to ensure your customers get the best quality job at the best price, that you have a guy who you normally sub-contract to do jobs like that.

    Then explain you have already had your subcontractor come by to give you a quote on the job.
    Explain that your sub quoted you $600 for the job and that you couldn't do it yourself for that.
    Then explain that you normally charge a percentage on top of his quotes to cover your time and trouble... but since you made an improper judgement you would be glad to have it done for her at your cost.

    Never allude or make any sort of connection between this and the full service contract.
  3. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,113

    Rent a bobcat and do it yourself
  4. racer56

    racer56 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 285

    Charge the original amount only.
  5. Turf66

    Turf66 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    Check around in your area and price the best possible price for the dumpster and rent the bobcat @ min. hrs and work like there is no tomorrow,After you lick your wounds:cry: try to make up your loss on other services down the road. You like every one here will learn from this mistake. I have grown to like the taste of crow!!!LOL. Oh and make sure that contract is signed!!!If you don't like this option then beg for her mercy and maybe she will see that it was an honest mistake and not a bait and switch. She may get scared of the whole deal and bolt.
  6. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,108

    Mistakes happen, sounds like a good time to learn how to use a bobcat. its not that hard kinda like a bike, once u learn u never forget.
  7. lawnangel1

    lawnangel1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from KY
    Posts: 601

    600 only! I know that we all got to make a living but come on wanting an extra 150, after you already made a mistake. Your gonna make your money on your full service program, I dont see it worth wanting to charge an extra 150.
  8. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 308

    I really didn't take a long hard look because that was not my focus at the time.

    Okay so you have made one of the easiest mistakes out there. You should have went back and done your homework before quoting the price for the debris removal. Probably based on the circumstances I would sub it out to my friend with the bobcat and eat the $235.00. While he is doing this you can spend a couple of hours somewhere else and recoup your money. The reason I say this is that if you go back for more money you jeopardize the contract and all future potential clients in that area. If this area contains 300 homes and she is willing to let you place a sign in her yard then chalk it up as a lesson learned and get on with the program. The only other option you have without loosing the contract is to back out on the debris removal all together and tell her why. Then she may open the door for you to give her a more accurate estimate. Let us know what happens.
  9. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    better to get paid to learn to opperate a bobcat than loose money or the job and its future profit. they will teach you to opperate the bobcat at the rental yard or you can hire an operator . Ask one of the guys at the rental place if they would like to be your operator on a side job for X amount of dollars and they can teach you to operate it onsite. Paid learning vs $$ lost. The customer doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to have this done so yu can take time to prep for this job.
  10. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,022

    Yeah, eat the job. If you go back and try to explain that you had made a mistake and ask for more money, she will not think that you are all that professional to begin with.

    It may seem like a harsh learning mistake, but you will become better for it.

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