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What to do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fblandscape, Aug 29, 2003.

  1. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    I am starting to get a bad feeling about a lawn account and am thinking I might give it up. I just picked it up two weeks ago. $300 a cut. I did it over the past 2 days by myself and it took me about 10 hrs to make it look presentable. That was only trimming half of it. There was a field which I had to cut 3 times and then scatter blow, and I should have cut it again. I cut several other parts 2 times. The trimming hadn't been done in some time. When I went there were big sticks all over the place which took me about half an hour to pick up and move off the grass. I had sprayed the guy's driveway with round-up last Monday for $150. He has 2 people who work there full time, the owner is hardly ever home. Everybody says I am doing a very nice job. However today I was leaving to get something and the gate was broken, so I told the groundskeeper. When I got back, I was accused of breaking it, and when I denied it the owner said not to worry. The owner now wants the lawn cut every 2 weeks. To do that would make it into a big project to make the place look nice, because I am only supposed to trim half each time. (To trim the half this week took me about 4 hrs) Doing the leaves at this place would literally require an army. I went there tonight to get my money and the owner told me that he would love to pay me now, but he hadn't seen the job I did and to come back Sunday or Monday morning.

    Honestly, I am not willing to do this place every other week. It's just not worth it. So my thoughts are;

    A) Tell him I need to mow it every week
    B) Tell him to mow it every other week will be $400
    C) Tell him I will forego the mowing charge if he cuts me a check for 50 G's as a down payment for other work which I told him HAD to be done. When I told him about the work needing to be done, I explained that if it did not get done I would have to quit working for him.

    Last night when I spoke with him he said that I had exceeded his expectations and that it was my account to lose.

    FYI on the money... last night he showed me his wallet when he went to pay me... it was stuffed beyond capacity with 100's and looked as though it was like that a lot. His property borders on a country club which he has a membership to... membership is of course $250,000 / year. He has a live in nanny for the kids... she drives a new Beamer.

    So what do I do?
  2. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    10 hours?
    how many acres is this?
  3. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    I figure it's probably 4 - 5 acres. However you can't really do any straight runs except for the field because there are trees and stumps and rocks and hills and all kinds of other stuff which makes you have to slow down. If you go too fast you get hurt. Yesterday I messed up both of my wrists, and one of my knuckles when the machine got hung up on some stumps. There has to be 2 - 3 hundred trees to trim around, fences, hills, rocks, all kinds of stuff. I know my time will be better as I go on... but if I have to double cut those couple areas my time will still be up there. I've been there with big riders (72" sit down / 61" stander) they were both too big. The ideal machine for that place is like a 52" walk behind.
  4. challenger55

    challenger55 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    just tell him i can't do this anymore w/ this amount of money i will have to charge u so much money and u will need this done if u want me to do the job
  5. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 427

    So he knew he wasn't going to pay you but decided to show you his cash anyway? :rolleyes: Just my feelings, but I don't like to be jerked around for money. Especially not after a 10 hour job. Did he not see that the lawn had been cut? Of course, he is paying $300 for the work, but that should be a drop in the bucket for him. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions, but I think this guy could be a real PITA...
  6. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    He gave me $100 last night. What happened was I had gone over there to get some cash because I was short on greenbacks and did not want to hit the bank. I asked him if I could get some money and he said that he would just pay me tomorow (today) but when I told him that I was short on cash he asked me how much I needed and he then gave me what I asked for. He opened his wallet and said to me that it's not like he can't afford to pay me, or something like that??? But each time I say I need to talk to him about something, he tells me he will be there tomorow. Tomorow comes, and he is not around. I wind up having to go back there after like 8:30 PM just to get in touch with him. Like yesterday, he said that he would pay me when he got back from wherever he was going. That was around 1:30 PM I left at 7:30 PM last night and he still wasn't back. I think I went there 8:40 last night and he was home. I HATE bugging people after 8:00 on any night.
  7. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    Sounds like a PITA to me. If he only wants it done eow charge him double. Twice the work=twice the pay. I'm sure this may make it a little more worth your while, and might even make you feel better about putting up with his crap and running you around. This brings me to another point. Every time he schedules a time to meet with you charge him for your time and milage. He'll get the point, or you'll get the boot. Either way you'll have your self respect and maybe his too.
  8. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,194

    So how many hours will it take you to do this account one time? It is your choice to do this by yourself correct?
    Figure your pay for one man, to do a one time complete service, x hourly rate, that amount is what you should be charging, tell him that amount, and that you need to have a check/cash waiting there for you when you get there or you can not start work. I presume you want to do this on a COD basis, can't say as I blame you from the sound of it.
    If not sure of what your hourly rate should be, use the old $1 a minute.

    His remark about not seeing it yet is of no consequence, doesn't matter if he's seen it or not, you did the work, he owes you money. If he must inspect it before you get your money and it's causing you to make multiple wasted trips, tell him he can use a flashlight as far as you're concerned. No, really, you need payment there BEFORE you begin work because of the current collection track record.

    Other work, besides your normal weekly service, leaf/debris cleaning whatever, should be priced and dealt with as a seperate item(s). Come to an agreement on price, get your money in hand, do the work. If he can't live by that type of arrangement (or something similar) walk away.
    DO NOT let him set the rules which it sounds like he already has, if you continue this way so will he and you'll only have yourself to blame.

    BTW, your pricing in your post for this account sounds rather low, also sounds like you're trying to do quality work, no wonder he wants you to do his work. Plus he has the pleasure of making you grovel for your money. STOP IT!
  9. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    I sent him an e-mail the other night, and I guess he responded some time today. He agreed to pay me $425 per cut every other week. We are also going to talk about doing the bigger work.
  10. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    Good for you, man. I was about to go off until I got the end & saw your post.

    Great input from Rustic.

    I had a lady that I just dumped b/c she was wanting to switch to one cut every 3 weeks plus she was behind on paying. Just told her I couldn't go on like that any longer, she paid me and we said our goodbyes.

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