Ever regret a job?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by jrush, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. jrush

    jrush LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    Have you ever sold a job, and the more you think of it the more you want to walk away? I sold a job today, and as we were talking I just started to get weird vibes, he said another co quoted him 12 yards, I quoted 9, (now I know if it's 10 yards he's going to b!tch and probably not pay for it) he wants it done asap, (everyone else is patient since people are building arc's around here with all the rain) on top of the rain, I'm booked for at least a month, but I said I'd be there in a couple weeks and he made it seem like that was out of the question. Then as were getting off of the phone he says "hey if I pay you cash can I save on the tax?" My gut is almost always right, and every time I don't listen to it, I regret it. To make things even worse I was writing up the estimate after work and I was tired, may have been rushing a little and I forgot to add 2 hrs labor so my estimate is lower than it should be. (yes that ones my fault I'll eat the s!%t sandwich) I don't know what to do.
  2. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    Ok first piece of advice. Whenever i quote mulch i always state the price of mulch delivered and installed PER YARD. I then give them an aproximate number of yards and finaly state that if that number comes short or is too much the bill will be adjusted to the actual amount used. Not in those exact words of course. That keeps you out of trouble. After all, an estimate is just that. An estimate. I would suggest writing up a contract for him to sign with that in it.
  3. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    The guy wants to get it done right away..right? Tell him you just landed a huge job that you were really trying to get. Its like 2 months worth of work and you can't turn it down. You don't have enough help as it is. You don't want to string him along so unless he wants to wait a while you wouldn't be able to do it. If he says he wants to wait, just wait until you don't have much work and go and do it. If you are still busy tell him the job is taking longer than expected and you just don't have time. Its a nicer way of telling him to take a hike. It will be tough for you to go back the next day after you gave the estimate and tell him its more. I agree with the gut feeling. Seems like every time I have a bad feeling about a customer I end up regretting it.
  4. FLAhaulboy

    FLAhaulboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Very bad advice. Lying or making excuses to get out of a job, will make you the bad guy here.

    I did a limb hauling job today that I wanted to quit after the 2nd load! I was pissed because the price was to low but I was pissed at "me", not at the customer. I agreed to do the job & followed through. The Client dropped by to pay me & asked for a quote on another landscape installation job he wants done. There are plenty of jobs I have under quoted & regretted it but I just grin & bear it & do it because my "reputation" is on the line. If my word isn't any good, then neither is my reputation.
  5. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Great advice as for a job that was bid 3 weeks ago, I always tell a customer that they need XX amount of mulch. IF the amount is more than we need, then the price is adjusted to the amount used. My problem is that during that particular cold day, I figured the mulch labor in the bid and forgot to add the darn mulch cost. Totally a stupid mistake.......something a 19 year veteran doesn't make, but considering the circumstances, I goofed. The customer jumped on that bid like it was new Harley Davidson. The bid was justified by the lawn spray bid, but Money lost is still money lost.
  6. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    that's horrible advice, once you start lying to the client, things will just go down hill. be a professional, be straightforward. explain to him your time table, if he wants to go down another path with another contractor, then let him go.

    I, and probably everyone here, has dealt with this type of person. kind of shifty, not always hearing things right. your gut is right, he's going to be a headache everytime.
  7. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    blah blah blah....then just tell him you don't want to do the job. Once you start a job you have to finish it for the price you said. Before that you are not obligated to do a job just because you gave a proposal. If you want to just say I am an idiot and the price I gave you yesterday is no longer good than say that. I would prefer to save face and say I just landed a big job and I wouldn't have time to do yours. Either way it isn't a good situation. It doesn't sound to me like this is a regular customer so whats the difference. I wouldn't worry about hurting the guys feelings, I'm sure he won't think twice about it over a stupid little job.
  8. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    the difference is word of mouth. word of mouth is huge in our business, people talk to each other about good and bad contractors. People talk about the service they've gotten from contractors.

    A good business person worries about everybody, not just the clients you want. you worry about the people who don't want your business, you worry about the people you see day to day while running your business. and a good business person should be straightforward and professional everytime.
  9. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    Maybe you can teach me how to be a good business person so I can go get myself a honda element and an f250. I have been in business over 10 years and have plenty of good word of mouth. Your word of mouth will be worse when you tell someone that the quote you gave them is no good. Just giving him a way for the customer to respect you for the fact that you are telling them upfront that you don't have time for their job right now go to someone else. People aren't going to badmouth you because you are busy and can't get to them right away unless you string them along and keep telling them that you will be there and don't show up, and if they choose to, you can't please everybody.
  10. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    If the OP did under price the job, then that was their mistake, but to tell the client you can't help them because of another client, I feel is wrong. Saying that you're too busy to help the little guy, is bad business, and give you a bad mark.

    I've gotten large jobs before, but I don't dump my smaller clients b/c of it.

    Secondly, I've been in business 5 years with my company, and have had 10 yrs experience with another before that. Is my business experience better than yours? No. It's just different.

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