What would you do??? Need advise

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by boxsky, May 15, 2006.

  1. boxsky

    boxsky LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    I have a client that I started this year. Wanted several service, some quite profitable. Anyway I quoted a price for top dress mulch and somewhere I screwed up and qouted 1.5yrds and I actually need 9 yrds. OPPS!
    Customer is very unhappy and thinks I am screwing them. They did get other bids and they went with me. They are acting like the mulch was the only reason they went with me and not the 7 other things I did for them.

    I refuse to do the job for my quote. What would you do? Give money off, stick to your normal pricing, drop the client?

    They have referred me to one other person. I'd rather not lose this person but I can't take that big of a hit.
  2. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 470

    Tell them you apologize. It was a mistake and if they can't accept it, get out, they aren't worth having in the first place. Be more careful in the future.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    That is very solid advice, I agree 100 percent.

    Other than to say I wish you had not made that mistake, the real problem lies not with your miss-calculation.
    We all make mistakes, it happens.

    What if the customer had accidentally written the check for $400 over, would you have 'accepted' it based on the price written on the check... And to make matters worse, balked when they asked for it back after they had already handed it to you?
    Yeah, so they can either understand your mistake or they are not worth your time.

    At this point I'd say you need to at least get paid for what is already done.
    Yup, total minus the mulch, and thank you very much.

    As for the referral, no offense sir but this is why word of mouth doesn't excite me much anymore.
    I've lost more customers due to this than I care to remember and as much as I HATE this next expression,
    I dare say it's all part of doing business.
  4. boxsky

    boxsky LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    Oh I already did that. Here is the client's email to me. Is it me or do you think this is a huge overreaction by them. I do question some parts of her email about my pricing. The edging job alone took me 2 hrs for 379. using my stick edger and a spade. So either I am much cheaper then the others or just on the mulch job. I didn't lowball to get the job.

    "Hi Don,

    Rich did tell me about this situation and I've been so angry that I've been mulling it over for days now. I had two referrals of lawn guys from my in-laws that they have been using for years and got estimates from both. I felt badly not going with either of them as they are both very good and were referred to us specifically. I now feel quite embarrassed that I made the choice to go with you based on your great price. I am sure that it was a mistake and something you didn't do on purpose-like a bait and switch scheme-but, nevertheless, I made a huge mistake and need to figure out the right course of action.

    I have used many service companies in the past and have had some issues come up like this before. This is the first time that the company has made a huge mistake and not offered any kind of compromise. Usually the company absorbs the loss-or at least offers to split the difference. I know you are a small company and just starting out, but this is the time that you need to build your loyal customer base. I have already referred someone to you and feel like a fool for doing so.

    I've just returned from being out of town and didn't have a chance to inspect what you've done so far. Also, Rich is out of town and we haven't had a chance to discuss what we want to do yet, either. Why don't you come tomorrow and do the mowing and then we'll let you know about the mulching.


  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Wait a minute, 2 hours of edging for 379 ?

    If a customer of mine wrote me such an email, I'd say they are right in assuming they're fools.
    But then 2 hours of my time runs 100-120... And that's still high, I usually run circles around new guys so where it took you 2 hours, it likely would've taken me one hour, so 75 dollars for the edging and I make out like a thief.

    Sounds to me like you could absorb or compromise some.

    You haven't been reading up on that thread where we were talking about charging $1,500 and up / hour, were you?
    Because that thread was just us having some big fun with some of you new guys lol ...
    Standard Industry rate for our type of work is $60 / hour but closer to $30 / hour if you're new and still learning (no offense).

    Most of us do actually work more than 2 hours / day lol, to earn a living is hard work and long hours, sorry if we forgot to mention this.
  6. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    I know I'll get bitched at but dude, YOU made the estimate...YOU should keep to it...an additional 6 yards of mulch (not including labor/delivery) can't be more than $150...I as well as anyone understands what its like to need the money but you would be better off (IMO) to just absorb the cost, keep the account happy and continue with your referrels...you WILL make your money back and then some this way...other way is you get to lose all your accounts and really be broke...the choice is yours...
  7. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 292

    Holy @#$% $379 for edging? What do they have, a 10 mile long driveway? And I agree with TS, did you read up on that $1500 an hour thread? LOL!

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    How on earth were you that far off on the mulch estimate????

    If it were me, and the mistake was due to poor estimating, I'd stick with the price given...however if the mistake was due to a 'calculator malfunction' or just some honest goof-up in addition, I would just apologize for the mistake and back out of that job...
  9. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    I didn't like the tone of their letter, wether it was my screw up or not I would drop them rudely. But if someone charged me 400 bucks for two hours yard work I would shoot them or laugh at them.
  10. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Posts: 7,077

    'Measure twice, cut once.' Sounds like a lesson learned.


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