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Can I Bill more than what was proposed

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by bdm408, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    To me it is a matter of how you view your own integrity. I think it would be pretty low to just send him a bill for 20 grand. If you want to renegotiate that is your choice.

    My own standards of integrity would have me just doing the job at the price I quoted and never saying a word. It actually sounds like you won't really lose any money anyway, you just may not make any but you were the one who made the mistake. He did nothing wrong. You should have been more careful and thought it out better before you did the quote. I have had jobs where I barely covered my material but just put it down to an investment in my education and made sure I learned from my mistake.

    When I read something like this it reminds me of a job a few years ago. All I really do in the landscaping part of my business is hydroseed by the way and I did a quote on a job and my customer mentioned there would be an area across the drive that needed done. I guessed what he would need and when I pulled in with my hydroseeder the area I thought he wanted turned out to be 1/4 of what he really wanted and I was going to be lucky to break even. I did the whole job muttering under my breath what a #%%^^&^&& this guy was but did it and said nothing. When it came time to settle up he said he thought the area across the road may have been bigger than I expected and he was adding $ 1500.00 to my quote for it. After all that muttering he turned out to be a first class guy. Still, if I say I will do something I just do it.

    Another story, In another lifetime I was distributing some products. A good customer from 100 miles away called and said he needed a set of $ 45.00 tire chains and needed them by Monday. My salesman who took the call said "I will have them to you by Monday if I have to drive to get them and bring them to you myself. Well when my salesman called our chain supplier he found the only way the customer could have them on Monday was if he really did go and get them and drive them up himself. My salesman was saying what should he do. He felt he couldn't drive 200 miles in a snow storm for something he would make about $ 2.00 on. I told him he should learn not to promise something he was not willing to do. He should have just said he would do all he could to get the chains to him in time. Personally that is how I feel about what you said. You should not have promised something you were not willing to do. Do the job, bill him what you promised and learn from the experience. Be a man and be a man of your word.
  2. JimmyStew

    JimmyStew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    Unless you gave him an ESTIMATE to do the work, I think your stuck. And even if it was an estimate, a 25% jump is quite a bit. Live and learn.

    If I were in your situation I would do it for the 14k and not let on that I underbid the project UNLESS, you get the sense that he knows you underbid it. If thats the case, or if you think there will be a lot more work from him and you don't want him thinking you work for one price, then you come back on the next project real high, throw in a few comments about how you spent a little extra time on some aspect of the project, or used some larger shrubs than you had anticipated because "you thought it would look better that way". Make him think you gave him extra work for the same money you quoted.
  3. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    Try telling the soon to be ex client after marking up $8000 in materials 20% and charging $60/man hour you are making a loss at $14k.

    His response ....should have done it faster.
  4. SimonCX

    SimonCX LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 731

    IMO I would bill him what I quoted and take the loss, it's not his problem you estiamted wrong. I understand if it was a couple hundred because some materials went up or something extra came up and you explain it to him. If I were in his shoes I wouldn't pay you the extra and if you started and didn't want to finish you would probably be in court and it would cost you alot more. Take it as a leason and learn from your mistake, the difference is sometimes mistakes hurt more then others.
  5. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,581

    Truly a first class business owner here!

    I agree 100%. Well said turboguy

  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Upping a bid like that is against the law, so chalk it up to experience, that should slow down the next bid.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  7. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Thanx alot for your honest opinions and for giving me more wisdom but there is something I forgot to mention. The main reason the total came out to be much higher than my original quote is because there ended up being more material than initially calculated. For example there were way more shrubs, bark, and even sod needed than expected. On some cases it was my error of measurement but in regards to shrubs it was actually the property owner who ended up tweaking the design causing more shrubs to be needed. I know I should have added a change in work form, but it just skipped my mind at the time (unfortunately another lesson to be learned).
    Thanx once again to all.
  8. mgray10

    mgray10 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Always include numbers in your contract! For instance, don't write "build full length retaining wall in back yard." Instead, write "build segmented retaining wall of 120 foot length and 21 courses at 7 foot total height, to include x tons of drainage aggregate, x yards of backfill, x feet of drain tile," et cetera.

    If you don't know how much material you will need or roughly how large an area is, take a measurement. I am continually baffled at how many contractors do not own a measuring wheel! "I didn't realize how big it was" = "I was too lazy to take a damn measurement"
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah definitely watch out for those last minute change of plans...

    But I think you can add that on to the bill, even if you didn't get a change order form I don't see anything wrong
    with it if the customer changed things around you simply charge appropriately... Not so much extra but if 10 plants was
    $100 before and the customer made 12 out of it then make it $120, that shouldn't be a problem.

    You'll want to itemize the bill, and compensate for what the customer tweaked, then if there are any questions you can refer back to it.

    As for the rest, well at least that helps a little.
  10. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Just wanted to update everyone on the ending of my learning experience.
    So I went ahead and billed him around 19K. I spent a whole day calculating n recalculating many more times to come up with the total. Good thing was that just as TOPSITES mentioned, I did mention in the contract the quantities that I would be using so I took that method to come up with the total. My client received it and immediately the next day, the check was in my mailbox. He even sent me a thank you card and was extremely content with the result. I guess God had mercy on me. Well thank you all for your extremely great help. Have a great one y'all.

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