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Absentee Owners

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GrassBustersLawn, May 6, 2004.

  1. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 981

    I picked up a COMMERCIAL PROPERTY this season, that is run by an owner not in Indy. He is in Chicago. Tenants of the building contacted me to mow, as no one had done it this year, and it was getting too high. (Because in CHICAGO you don't start mowing until JUNE or JULY. Am I right, you N. ILL. LCO's?) Probably a 20,000 sq ft building on about 2/3rds an acre of grass. One PITA ditch, and some trimming. Probably 1.5 man hours to do it all.

    I called the OWNER in Chicago and told him old LCO was out of business (per info received from on tenant) and that I was asked to quote on it. He confirmed old LCO was no longer in business. I told him my price. He thought it seemed high, but would check his records and call me back. He never called back. I called him again 1 week later & left message, but he never called back.

    I talked to both of the tenants and told them $35 EACH, PER MOW ($70 total). They were OK with that and would guarantee me payment if landlord didn't pay.

    I have cut it for 4 weeks now, and OWNER finally calls because Tenants sent him my bill for the month. (Got his attention real fast.) He was trying to feel me out for price. I told him (as I did over a month and half ago) what my price was. "He thought that was too high for that small yard." I described the yard to him, with sq ft measurements, because I had also measured it for fert & squirt. He didn't really remember. But he checked his records and LAST YEAR HE WAS PAYING....are you ready for this.....$40 a cut. AND it was only every OTHER WEEK!

    DO YOU BELIEVE HIM? I don't think I do!

    Anyway, I told him "I can't set my price based on what you paid last year to a guy that is not in business anymore." Also advised that I am insured, and as an owner of a value property, he surely doesn't want uninsured contractors working on his property!

    So by now, I'm sure you ALL KNOW THE OUTCOME.........................
    "Don't cut it again unless I hear from him." :cry:

    So NOW I HAVE 2 Questions for you:

    1.) Would you cut a Commercial Property of 2/3rds an acre + trimming for $40 EVERY OTHER WEEK?

    2.) If he came back and said OK to $70 for EVERY OTHER WEEK, would you do it?

    Sound off!

  2. Zach76

    Zach76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    Tell the tenants that he will pay $40, but that you can't mow it for less than $70. They have already GUARANTEED to pay you if he doesn't. I'd have them get the $40 from the landlord, and then it only costs them $15 each per time. They're happy cuz it only costs them $15, landlord is happy cuz it only costs him $40, and you're happy cuz you're getting your full $70.
  3. chuckers

    chuckers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 657

    im in illinois we were mowing for about 5 or 6 weeks.... so idk i am just telling you the illinois part of it
  4. locutus

    locutus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,266

    I think that this arrangement would soon be found out. Unless of course the tenants and landlord never speak to each other.
  5. Zach76

    Zach76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    Just curious why it would matter? I would tell all three of them up front that this was my plan, and I can't see anyone being upset by it.
  6. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    I think he knows he can jerk your chain because he is far away. Also, you have too many chiefs. Try to narrow it down to one. Not only will it make it easier to collect, but you will only be accountable to boss as well. I think you are doing good by not going back until you are paid. And if he holds out till its overgrown again, don't cut slack on the additional fees. I've been burnt every time for doing that.
  7. TrapperJohn

    TrapperJohn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    Maybe if you're hard up for work, but otherwise, why fool with it? This sounds like it's going to turn into a headache, if it hasn't already.

    You make money cutting grass, not dealing with absurd situations. Go cut some grass, let someone else learn a lesson the hard way. This one smells like trouble.
  8. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I would get the tenants to breath down his neck. You have done your part, now they need to speak up.
  9. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    I wouldn't deal with him any longer. The time your waisting on him you could be trying to land other new accounts which won't be such a pita.

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