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A little situation...

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Screamin!, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. Screamin!

    Screamin! LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    Well. Quick background on the client. I use to work for him in High School, I ran his farm. He contacted me awhile back to do a leaf clean-up at one of his houses. Our first meeting he told me "Just do it, and bill me when your done." and that's exactly what I did. It was a simple "blow and go" basically. All I had to do was blow the leaves to the street and the village would come and pick them up. It was a rather large lot, around 2-3 acres. I had 14 hours out there myself with my leaf blower, and I had a second guy the second day with 6 hours himself. So, 20 hours of labor? Sounds right to me. Well, when it came time to bill him - I couldn't get a hold of him. I left messages, and never heard back from him. So I did some digging and found his property management office. I figured since he is a "friend" I'd only bill him for my 14 hours I worked, and not me seconds mans 6 hours. Now, I contacted 3 other landscape operations in the area to get a backpack blower rate, and from the general census, the rates were around ~$45 an hour. So, I billed him 14 hours @ $35 an hour (being nice).. A week goes by, no call/check. Finally I get a hold of him to hear the following.... "I got your bill, and one of the following 2 things is going to happen. Either I pay you your $490 and I'll NEVER do business it you again, or you reconsider your invoice and we can continue to do business. No one gets $35 an hour to just run a backpack blower, that's absolutely outrageous." I explained to him that I did contact other operations to get the price, and it's actually under the going rate, and everything. I also explained to him that I am out there as a business - I am out there not for a hobby, but for a career. He basically pissed me off and told me I'm ******* crazy.

    The shitty part of it all is either I cut my price, to keep more business (he owns 220 houses or so in my area) or I take my full pay and cut him as a client. I'm afraid if I cut my rates for him this once, then every time after he will want the same. And he will have the upper hand on me. What would you do? Was my hourly rate too high? I just need some advice from the older guys on here.

    Thanks for reading.
  2. Mimowerman

    Mimowerman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    hummmmm..... will you make any $$ ?? Could he turn out to be a profitable cuatomer in the future via volume work at a lower rate??
  3. Greenleaf Lawns

    Greenleaf Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    Unless you are really hungry, been there, done that

    say goodbye...
  4. DuallyVette

    DuallyVette LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,952

    If that's a picture of your truck and equipment...then your in the lawn maintenance business. Why would "working for lunch money" be your goal. Tell the man to pay you the $490...you've wasted enough time.
    Did anyone pay your helper ?
  5. Screamin!

    Screamin! LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    Of course my employee was paid. I paid him at the finish of the day...

    It's just the potential of much more work, but its the thought that I've had this much of an issue on on job - I'm afraid they will all be like this.
  6. BkServicesLLC18

    BkServicesLLC18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    in my opinion (18 years) this guy sounds like a trouble maker...Whout do you think he would say to one of his renters if they told him his price to rent his property was outrageuos and if he cut his price they would rent it?...also if he does it once he will do it again and who wants to be talked to like that when we are all busting our asses doing physical labor for people...kindness goes along way...i would lose this guy and be stronger for it...there are people that would be happy to pay for your work.
  7. Screamin!

    Screamin! LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    Does my price sound right? I want to make sure that I'm dead on with everything. I'm meeting with him in the morning, and I want to make sure that you guys run the same rates.
  8. BkServicesLLC18

    BkServicesLLC18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    dont cheat yourself....your rate is fine....you wanna show this guys true colors ask him what he thinks you should charge him and listen to the rediculous number he gives you, then remeber how hard you worked for him...here in CT i charge 50 an hour and no exeptions for anyone...were running businesses and if you let your customers decide what they pay you will be out of business in no time
  9. Okiebug003

    Okiebug003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    If this guy offered you more jobs would you do them? If the answer is yes then figure out how much money you need for the work you already did. You charged $490, can you live with $400? $350? When you meet with him tomorrow I'm sure he will be glad to tell you what he is willing to pay. If its below what you have to have, take up on his offer for $490 and you never see him again. Your rates are cheap at $35/hr. With 20 man hours on the job you actually making $24.5 per hour. He has a great deal and doesn't even know it. hope this helps
  10. coxslawncare

    coxslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 224

    Don't let anyone else run your business for you. As you said I would worry he would do this on everything from here on out and he is using the fact that he COULD get you more business to get you to give him services. Lets say you cut the price and still never hear from him again. You gained nothing. Take your money and find clients that will respect the fact that your not a pee-on and are worried more about the quality of your work than trying to scare you into lower prices.

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