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Customer thinks I charged too much!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by johnnybravo8802, May 18, 2008.

  1. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,313

    Need some quick opinions. I did a major clean-up on a current customer of mine at his residence. They own a day-care and I received that contract about a month ago. He wants to do a contract on his yard but it needed a clean-up first. Also plans to get a company to do a sprinkler sys. and re-sod his yard.

    This guy has a jungle of shrubs around his house and beds throughout his yard. I have gotten burned too many times on clean-ups when I charged by the job, so now I charge by the hour. I told him it would be $250 for 4 hrs for me and my worker or $500 for 8 hrs. He agreed to it.

    We started trimming and it took 14 hrs with two guys and we still didn't finish. This is why I don't charge by the job anymore-I would have guessed a day at the house and I think he was guessing less time. You have to understand that when I work, I work wide open and on the second day, I was under the gun so I worked even harder. In actuality, I probably lose money by the hr. because I work so hard and fast. His yard was like a jungle and I did a crap load of trimming and wheeling away debri.

    I pay my worker $10/hr. and buy his lunch and drinks and pick him up at his house + I carry insurance on him. All-in-all, I charged $875 and was planning to go over and finish up and include that in my price. We probably have 2-3 hrs. left of work. He thought it was highway robbery and said he "almost fell out of his chair." He stated that he can't afford those prices and now is looking to bid out his yard instead of automatically giving it to me.

    In his yard contract, he wants to mow with a 21" pushmower, keep weeds and leaves out of his beds and wants it to be a "show-place". He has a ton of trees so you can imagine what it will be like in the fall with the leaves in the beds. I was planning to charge $400/month(probably 1/2-3/4 acre) and think that that is probably too cheap considering what he wants done. I really stay on top of shrubs also. He also has a drive about 1/4 mile long that he mows beside and blows the drive-a lot of work!

    Any suggestions?:cry:
  2. lawns Etc

    lawns Etc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,277

    Get paid and after that walk away and forget him I am at $1000 per 8 hrs for 2 guys and debris haul away up to 4 loads
  3. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    I agree !!
  4. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    Why did he agree to 500 for 8 hrs if 900 for 14+ is too much? Its all 62 an hr. Which is high. Is that what you usually charge? I would say 40 an hr tops but it varies between areas. 60 an hour may not be bad there., sounds way high to me though. What equipment did you have to bring in for the job? Your description sounds like "hand work" but the price seems to reflect equipment work. Did you have a tractor on the job or something?

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    My only issue is that the way it sounded (or presented in your post) is that it would be 8 hours @ $500. Did you specifically tell him that it would be by the hour (@ whatever price) and give him an estimate of hours? He might have understood that $500 would be the MOST that it would be.

    I'd take it as a lesson to either charge by the job or make sure it's agreed that if it's by the hour there is a MAX that the customer agrees to or if there is a limit, etc.

    That's one of many reason's I don't charge by the hour. In actuality we all do by the hour to some degree, but don't price it out to the customer that way. Most people don't wanna here that you "make" $50/hour. They don't take into account the costs, etc that is built into that amount.
  6. Jusmowin

    Jusmowin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    You cant please everyone, just keep doing good work and stick to your prices.
  7. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    how are you charging 62.50 an hour?
  8. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    you must be really good at estimating time then???
  9. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    I did a clean-up and averaged $90hr by myself!
  10. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,850

    No matter what you charge per hour - stick to the price / job, go like H*ll to get ur done and if it takes longer, charge more, be up front about and move on. You loss his yard, maybe the daycare next year but it is where you need to be and so be it. I am tired of people like that - I think everyone is feeling a bit crunched - maybe alot fo hype from media and news but still - everyone needs to make a buck.

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