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Family discounts- how much or do for free

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by newleaflandscape, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    This has really been driving me nuts lately. How much of a deal do you HAVE to give family. I dont mean like parents or grandparents or brothers and sisters or close in laws. I mean cousins and great uncles and that part of the family. I do everything for close family for free of course. But Lately I have had a ton of ---- from not close family wanting to be done. And to tell you the truth i just cringe when they ask me basically will i do it for free, and how good of a deal can i get them. The worst one that put me over the top was my non relation uncle's dad. Ive talked to the guy on like five occasions. And he wants a ton of ----- work done. By this I mean, he wants all his landscaping ripped out. Huge Yews 20 of them not together( we all know how much we hate these damn things) and about 10 broadmoar junipers that are spread like hell(another shrub that is a ----- to rip out.) not to mention all the ware and tear on my equipment. And he wants all the stone inside the beds dug out and halled away. there is at least ten yards. AND he has timbers as eding for these beds, and of course he wants those removed, and all the timbers have good footing on them. He wants all this ripped out, and the he wants me to do a design to redo his landscaping. He wants bark instead and so on. AND OF COURSE HE THINKS I WILL JUST DO IT on a weekend or when i have spare time for free. That has just put me over the top. I just dont know how to handle these situations. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Or tell me if I am just a jackass to not do it for free. HELP
  2. Haley Lawn Care

    Haley Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 119

    Dont you eat and drive a vehicle and live somewhere where you have to pay rent or mortage? Got any family to support--wife and kids? Your family-close or not should not ask you to do it for free. They would not ask the biggest LCO in town to do it for free. Are they going to replace the cost of materials and labor by paying you rent or mortage or getting a couple weeks of groceries for you? Or is there any work they can do for you for free? Paint your home for free or put new tires on your car the next few times? I would mow 1 or 2 times for my folks for free but thats it. That is not mean that is sensible. Give an inch they want a few miles. Explain to them you dont live without money coming in. Maybe give free advice to them but let them hire someone else to do it. All will be better off in the long run.

    David :rolleyes: :confused: :)
  3. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    Tell them you cant do it for free, especially that much work. If you dont it will never stop, and will cause you heartaches and resentment.

    Good luck,
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    RUN!!!!!!! as fast as you can from any family work. They don't want to pay and you will have to hear about the little brown spot in the lawn or the tiny little root that you did not remove for the next 25 or more yrs.I have one policy that I will never change for any amount of money. DO NOT WORK FOR FAMILY! Unless your getting a divorce and want to take her side for a little extra.
  5. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

  6. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    If they don't mind paying what I would charge anyone else to do the work then I don't mind. But when they start asking for a discount I just walk away. I tell them up front that if they want something for nothing I am not the guy to ask.
  7. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    If you don't know the answer to this problem now, don't worry, you will when you go out of business.
  8. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 218

    This one has been tearing up me as well. However, I have come to the same conclusion as you. It is NOT worth it.

    I have been in business ten years now and worked at my family's house to gain experience. I didn't mind the work because I was gaining experience from it.

    I have a relation that bought a brand new house and asked me to do a design for him. I offered to do the work at a reduced rate of 50 per hour and you could have heard a pin drop. That's how valuable my time is to him.

    I feel bad saying no to family as well but have come to realize that it benefits them exponentially and hurts me, and my business, exponentially. I am tired of being asked when I will be doing such and such for them every holiday, this is my day off leave me alone!!!

    I gave a neighbor a reduced rate to cut their lawn because their tractor was broke and they decided to have me finish out the year. I feel so stupid for giving them a neighbor discount. The check only comes if I go knock on their door, obviously I have all the time in the world to chase them down!!!

    Come the new year my policy of no work for family no tools loaned to anyone will start. I will gladly recommend a good rental center or competitor who can do the work for them. It doesn't work out for me, end of story.

    Can you tell this has been on my mind as well...

    I hear ya brother!

  9. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    I love this site it rocks. Finally I have others to share my pain
  10. Lawn Tek

    Lawn Tek LawnSite Senior Member
    from u s a
    Messages: 457

    Run over their garden hose , and evening newspaper , blow clippings in all the beds . Family problem cured

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