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Customer Pricing Materials

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by BrendonTW, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. BrendonTW

    BrendonTW LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Oklahoma City
    Messages: 658

    I'm sure this has been posted before, but I couldn't find it.

    Customer wants a simple flower bed done. Found all of the prices at Lowes + Home Depot herself. She wants to just buy them herself and then give me the receipt to go pick them up.

    I mark up materials even when I buy them at retail stores in order to cover travel time, taxes, etc... When my business has grown in size I certainly will not be doing this type of thing, and I don't want to start with her. How do you all go about this type of thing?
  2. M & MD Lawn

    M & MD Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    To me seem like you would just charge her your labor and any materials you may need extra and a charge for your time and travel, gas etc. I don't get that request all to much but it seems like a way to handle it. Thats just me.
  3. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    Just charge for the pick up and delivery of the materials, not a problem and it will continue to happen even when you do get bigger.

    Now sometimes these same customers want to be in the yard and watch over you when you do the work and that is almost always a problem.
  4. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Are you doing work at her property or just delivering the materials? Unless I missed that? Otherwise if you price the job, price it with the travel included. Or did you already quote the work and she said she would get materials and then she asked you to pick them up?

    If you are just picking up materials add the cost of picking it up. What does it cost to rent one of those Home Depot trucks? I think thats fair to charge for delivery if that is all you are doing. Just my thoughts.
  5. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 37,804

    I've been in a slightly similar situation. I really really really really hate these types of jobs because the customer isn't paying for my full service and I just really wish I could do all the pricing myself and actually get the materials and plants from nurseries I know and deal with all the time. However, in my position, I find myself taking these jobs because they're usually alright for revenue and getting my name in the door, as well as building a positive relationship with customers. I wouldn't charge to pick up the materials, because I figure I don't want her to pay any more than she has to for crappy plants, mulch, etc. The revenue of the job will more than enough cover my travel expenses 3 miles out of my way.
  6. nylandscapepro

    nylandscapepro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Clients like this are looking to save themselves money by using cheap/inferior plants/materials but expect you to make them into something amazing that cannot happen with that product. I turn these down because the headache isn't worth it.......but if you are going to do it charge them for your time.
  7. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    I had one of these too, an older lady that wanted me to go pick up everything and bring her the receipt, for flowers, mulch, rocks, etc, install it and that is what she THOUGHT she would pay me. It did not work, I handed her a bill for my markup and labor, she dropped a brick but payed it and never asked me to do that again. I ain't going and picking up material, standing in line, installing it for dead cost,:nono: Make this one go away real fast or tell her right now that is not the way you do it. If not you will come to hate this customer.
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I've had the same situation. I charge my time to pick up and deliver and any plant warranty on my end is voided.
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Just give an estimate to do the installation.

    As for delivery, Lowes and Home Depot here do delivery. But either way, if someone wanted to buy materials, I'd have no trouble installing them as long as its as good as something that I would have bought.

    On the other hand, if the product was something that needed to be hand-selected for defects, a disclaimer would be in order.

    This kind of scenerio though, seems like a no-win game for a homeowner, if the final cost of the installation is what it all boils down to.

    Personally, I think that companies that do a project and make their money through markup are on a path that is not essential. Its just as easy to make the money on the labor and profit side of the estimate.

    I like not keeping a tally of markup, because then I can honestly tell folks the plants and materials are not markied up. And they like hearing it. Even though it goes over the head of half of them anyway. Anyone with a business mind, though, knows that the bottom line total is all that matters.
  10. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    I get asked that alot since i work closely with a garden center for referals. The way i handle it is that the customer can pay for delivery or i can deliver for the same charge as the nursery. I just charge for labor meaning no warranty. It usually saves the customer some money and is usually an easy job. No design or extra work involved involved just show up and say where would you like your plants. We mostly do this with large B&B material.

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