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Just got this today. Looks like I'll be telling her what is actually involved in running a business. I hate it when customers have no clue how much work you actually do that they don't notice! It's great to know my work is appreciated!

"Rec'd your statement. I'm having very strong feelings of "gouge." You mentioned that it didn't take as long as you expected, but how did that affect the amount you charged? For the amount of time you worked, your hourly wage seems exorbitant to me. I'm not against a fair wage, but triple what I make seems crazy. I work maybe 20 hours a week, and my husband is retired; and I feel taken advantage of. Unfortunately, I could never have you do any more work for me nor could I recommend you to anyone else given the rates you charge.

Any response?"
 

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Originally posted by Let it Grow
Just got this today. Looks like I'll be telling her what is actually involved in running a business. I hate it when customers have no clue how much work you actually do that they don't notice! It's great to know my work is appreciated!

Unfortunately, I could never have you do any more work for me nor could I recommend you to anyone else given the rates you charge.

Any response?"
How does she figure that just because she can't afford you, no one else can either???
 

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I would tell her until she starts a landscaping/lawn care company, she has no idea about rates. If you want to waste your time trying to explain how to run a business to an obvious know-it-all then go ahead, but i doubt its worth the time. Just one of those people who knows absolutly everything about absolutly nothing.
 

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Yikes!!, it is sometimes hard to even respond to those kind of statements.

I had a lady accuse me of just putting "all that money in to my pockets" for snow removal of a church parking lot. When I called her attendtion to $27K of equipment to do the job she replied "Ohh, $27,000 that is nothing"

I just had to walk away, I couldnot think of anything else nice to say.
 

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Common misperception in this business, and any contractor business I'd imagine. Just because you bill @ 40 bucks an hour doesn't mean that is how much you actually make. Think her employer only expects her to produce enough to cover her hourly wage? If a grocery checker rings up $1,500 an hour in groceries, should they be making that much per hour?
 

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The way to respond to women....and some men...I have proof my wife's best friend is a beautician.


"You go to the salon.....get there at 5:00....they put $6.00 worth of color in your hair....sit you under the dryer for 1/2 hour (while they are cutting someone else's hair) wash your hair...cut your hair.... and at 6:30 send you on your way till you come back in two-four weeks (keep in mind you have to tend to your hair daily the grass you don't touch we do all the work weekly). In that time your hair dresser has charged you $100 at the most 1.5 hours, $6.00 worth of product, and made another $30 while you were under the dryer. Lets see that is $86.66 per hour....oh minus the $6.00 worth of product that puts her at $82.66 per hour she just made on you. Now how does my $35 per hour sound?"

I do have these figures that I got from my wifes friend with me at all times to show that I am not making up the cost of these products.

This might be sorta blunt and tick some people off, but some people are just worth ticking off!

JUST A THOUGHT!
 

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Give us some details.

What did you do?
How long did you expect?
How long did it take?

Jim
 

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dkeisala
Bullseye!

L.I.G..
sounds like you didn't make your rates clear enough to your client. Need to make that clear to the client up front. Specially to people on fixed incomes...just because their social security doesn't go up as fast as inflation, doesn't mean you can charge what they think the job is worth.

In my area, many people bought their houses 20 plus years ago...I always ask them this same question, Sell me your house for 20% more than you bought it for... most of these houses are now selling more than 300% for what they paid for their houses.

If this was a good paying job and you see potential for more income, sometimes it's just good to show the numbers to her.
cost vs profit, that is if you know how to show the cost of running a business. Education is part of the game.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The job was for a spring cleanup that included pruning a 20ft tall weeping willow, and she also wanted me to plant about 7 plants. I had to do some work to figure out which plants would grow well in the areas she wanted planted, so it was kind of a small landscape design.
When I first gave her the estimate I told her it would be between $320 & $400. I did the job which took about 10 hours so I charged her $330 which comes out to about $33/hr. Which is less than I would like to be making (I try to get $35/hr). Which does look like a lot to a customer who doesn't know much about business.
I just responded to her e-mail and explained to her about the costs of running a business. We'll see what she says!
I also told her to feel free to call me (I don't see why she wants to do this by e-mail!)
The funny thing is that after I finished the job she said, "so how much will this cost" and I said, "well it should be around $325 +tax"...and she didn't seem to mind the price when I was standing right there!!!
 

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she feels more secure by doing it by email, and not having any conflict with over the phone or in person. Basically, she is scared.
 

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Wow Letitgrow. At $330 for ten hours of work it sounds like you cut her a break. That was more than a fair price.

Explain things to her as best you can, and move on. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Let her call around. I find it hard to beleive she will find another company who wouldnt charge at least that much.
 

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You gave her an estimate, did the work to her satisfaction, and your final price came within the range of your estimate. How long it took is immaterial. She had the right to seek other bids, refuse your bid, or do it herself.

No reason to explain anything.
 

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Did you deal with just her or was her husband in on the decision. A lot of times the wife will give the OK, agree that the price isn't out of line. That is until the husband finds out how much crawls in her ASS and explains that he could have borrowed the neighbors equipment and got it all done for 10.00 and a couple hours of his time away from the TV.

Of course he never would have got it done, but that doesn't come into to play when giving his wife hell for spending the money.

This is one you can't win, cash the check and move on.

Wouldn't use this woman for a reference though:D
 

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Possibly what has happened here is that some idiot (relative,neighbor,or other busybody) has told her that she paid too much. What leads me to believe this is that she fully knew and agreed to the price range you gave her with you standing next to her!!! How about asking her to get some estimates from some other companies next year and then maybe she will understand how fair your prices really were. The bad thing about this deal is that she will probably badmouth you every chance she gets. I guess this is just one of those things
we hope not to see too often.
 

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You mentioned that it didn't take as long as you expected
I deal with a lot of old people and they key in on phrases like this.
It wont help you this time but I was just wondering if you have realized that saying this might have been a mistake. I have trouble not saying things like this myself. My wife is forever telling me I talk too much. I like too be friendly and believe in being honest but you have too be careful what you say. Might have happened anyway but if you can avoid statements like that I think your better off.
 

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I have found that some of my older clients think that what I get per hour for my labor is a lot, considering some of them never made more than $5.00 an hour. Also, they can remember when you could get a bag of groceries for a quarter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
leadarrows-yes I learned that! I'm just going to keep my mouth shut next time.

lawndog-yes I did cut her a break. Even at my $35, most guys are AT LEAST that expensive, and some even more expensive.

protouch-I told her in my e-mail to feel free to get estimates from other comparable companies...so she's probably going to ask the neighborhood kid how much he would do it for. He'll say "fifty bucks" and then she's gonna really be mad...maybe she'll actually call me then!!!

turf medic-I only dealt with her, but you may be right. Her husband may be a know-it-all and told her that she was getting ripped off, now she is trying to take it out on me!

locutus-yes I think that many people take what you charge them and divide that by the number of hours THEY see you work and think that you are ripping them off, not realizing that you do A LOT of work that they don't see, AND you have tons of business expenses.

I'll let you guys know what she writes in her next e-mail...it should give us all a good laugh!!! As soon as I get the check from her, I'm cashing it and taking her off of my customer list. People like this are a waste of my time.
 

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You will always find customers like this. I do at least once or twice a year. I take the time to explain everything again. After the bill is paid, I kindly ask them not to call or recommend me to anyone else. A lot of people run in the same circles of friends, so why work for another customer that is just like the bad one. I find that being extra nice when explaing a bill after a job is done goes further than being rude and to the point.
 

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my reply to customers like this - try to get anyone to come to your house to do anything these days - a plumber is $75 just to walk in the door, an electrician is $100, ..... she's ridiculous. At $33/hour, she got a bargin. Older people often think that you should get $8-10 /hour - they live in the past. Henry Ford doesn't pay a dollar a day at the factory anymore and gas is $2 a gallon. You actually came in on the low side of your estimate. She shoulda been happy. Take the the money, forget even replying - it's just a waste of your time. She'll never be happy until you work for free - there are better customers out there.
 
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