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Did I pull a Bobbyged today?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    This guy calls for an estimate and we meet today.

    The guy fired the last LCO because they do several lawns in the neighborhood and he's concerned that they're spreading weed seed from his neighbor's lawn into his lawn. (Not a valid excuse for firing an LCO, in my opinion, but...)

    The back lawn is enormous for my area. The lawn is severely overgrown, but weed free.

    I educate the guy for a while about insurance and workmans comp. He's doesn't seem to be terribly concerned. On to price. I really don't know where to price this one. The back lawn is wide open with no obstacles. I'm thinking my two man crew could be in and out in 35 to 40 minutes. He says he's been paying $30 per cut and some time ago, a student was doing it for $25 a cut.

    I tell him that I really don't think I can do it for that. "To tell the truth, my goal is to gross a dollar a minute with a two man crew from the time we pull up till the time we leave. I'm guessing this would be about a 40 minute stop, so $35 to $40 per cut is probably about right." He's not biting on $35. So I say, "But if you want to try it at $30, maybe this will be a pleasant surprise and we can do it in about a half hour. If we can't, we can always re-visit the pricing after a few cuts. Sound fair?"

    So he agrees. Next I explain the options. He can either place a credit card on file or write me a check for the last month's worth of service. He says he'll place a credit card on file. He goes inside. A few minutes pass and he still hasn't come back out. Finally, he comes out and he says he isn't comfortable, but he'd like to give me $30 cash and if he likes our work, he'll sign up. So I get $30 cash (plus tax) and I tell him I'll mow the lawn. He signs the service agreement before I leave, but for whatever reason, he won't give me a payment commitment.

    We show up to mow the lawn. The bermuda is about 8 inches tall and very thick. It won't stand up to get cut. It's laying over and it won't cut. I'm triple cutting the front lawn to get it to look half way presentable. I finish cutting the front lawn and I realize I've been cutting for nearly half an hour.

    So then, this is where I do something I've never done before. I load up the mower and grab a blower. We leave the property after 42 minutes of work (two man crew) and we still haven't mowed the back lawn. The back lawn will take at least another 45 minutes to an hour. I leave a note for him to call me to discus.

    When he called, I just told him I don't mind doing work for free if I'm going to gain a long term customer. But if he had called me for a one time cut, I'd be charging a minimum $60 to cut this once. So the ball is in his court. If he wants to place a credit card on file and commit to regular service, fine. If not, I'll give him back his thirty bucks. We had a good 15 minute conversation and he's thinking about it. He's got a wood fence so no one can see the unmowed grass contrasting with the mowed grass.

    I won't be disappointed if he doesn't sign up. I just have a bad feeling about this guy.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    You absolutely did the right thing.
  3. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    Not to rain on your parade but how is this the "right thing"?

    DFW agreed to mow the yard for the first few times for $30 per and then discuss price if it wasn't working.

    If the lawn had gotten mowed and the customer decided he didn't want to pay the $30 and left a $10 with a we need to talk note, would the customer been doing the right thing?

    DFW you gave the guy a service agreement , any restrictions concerning your quitting?
  4. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    Hello, he met all the rquiremnets & more, even offered the man his money back. If the customer has the right to be indecisive, well then I think DFW has the same right. All he wanted was some commitment on the customers part. I would have done the same thing. Also before you start raining on anyone's parade, read the "whole" post. It's entitled "Did I pull a Bobby Gedd"
    second of all, he explains everything pretty clearly and I just don't see where he was wrong. Just my 2 cents. I think Bobby would probably agree as well.
  5. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    So what you do is agree to mow the yard at a price less than you want, take his money, mow half the yard, then go home and wait for him to pay the amount you wanted? And my comment was directed at the "you did the right thing" I did read the whole initial post, if he wasn't satisfied with the the customers commitment, shouldn't have given him the agreement nor took the money. If you don't like the deal, walk away, if you agree to the deal fullfill it, simple as that.
  6. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Perfect, I suppose you have never bought something and realized after it's not what you wanted or expected, and I suppose you have never made a promise that you broke later after re-thinking about it, man if I was as perfect as some of you guys claim to be, boy I would be a very rich man.

    You can lay all the cards on the table, but sometimes you only realize you have a BAD hand after picking up the cards.
  7. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I think that turf medic is right. If he wanted more for the first cut he should have said something at first. If I was the customer, I would be p***ed! If it was me doing the cutting, well then it would be my own fault for seriously under quoting and would chalk it up to an "experience" account. But the work would have gotten done.
  8. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    BCSteel, he didn't bail on the guy, he called him up and explained what he felt was wrong with the situation, I have seen many posts from guys on LS claiming the same thing, alot guys state on here all the time, that " I would have said this" and " I would have done that", I really think he did the right thing, he stopped before he got any deeper and discussed it with the customer. He wasn't rude and offered a solution.
  9. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Gotta agree with Turf. He needed to finish the job at said price. I feel his pain and definately think he should get more in the future but he agreed on a price for that cut.

    You can't change the price for service half way through the job. You can increase the final cost if more work is done but not for the same work.

    Agreement was to cut the whole yard for $30. I would be pissed if I came home and it was half done.

    I don't care what Bobby thinks.
  10. MJD75

    MJD75 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    He agreed to do the job. So it turned out to be more work then expected. Finish the job you started and take your losses and hope he signs up long term, if not.... live and learn.

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