1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Frustrating town I deal with

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Kelly's Landscaping, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,691

    For what ever reason the town next door to mine looks on the surface to be a gold mine. Big lawns 1-2 acres I know when I did the grand list there are 5,600 properties my town looks the same size but has 27,000. My town has some large lawns I happen to live on that section and love doing them but Orange next door which is only 2 miles north is like a different world. The prices that you would think should be hirer are in fact lower much lower I go in and bid on a lawn and only dare ask 40 for an acre and there is a good chance I will not see it because the guy they have now that they hate so much that they called me is only charging 25-30 and the idiot is bagging it as well. I feel like Bart in the Simpson’s when Lisa wired a donut and he just keeps reaching for it and getting zapped. There are a few new high-end developments 1-2 million dollar homes and in these I am dominating the market but the old country homes that fill in 90% of the landscape are just set in the 1960s for price. I have one I now have 5 very large homes in I had 4 was getting 40 each nice flat easy work and the next door guy comes up to me while the guy was doing it so much for using a hustler this guy was pissed. Hegoes how much I say I am getting 40 each he goes nonsense I’ll give you 55 three weeks later he goes I love your work make the price 70 per cut. Why can’t I get me 170 of these I love this guy.

    What got me pissed off was yesterday I am doing a new lawn I picked up a few months back I bid $40 they claimed the last guy was $30 but went with me anyway. I nearly fired them the first week the lawn was so over fertilized that it grew a full foot that week and took much longer then I ever care to repeat. The lawn dried out quickly as they are lazy and did not water so it became acceptable price wise. So this week I go cut and she comes out and asks for a clean up price. My first year I did this I got out of it last year and will never do that again you just can not tell how long it is going to take dozens of factors from rain to drought to wind to temp to grass thickness to where the leaves collect on the lawn and so on. So I tell her flat out we charge by the hour I told her its $35 a man hour (actually I will be charging $40 this year but they do not need that info I have way to much high end equipment to charge any less) So she goes I can not leave this open ended I need the price now so I look around there’s 35,000 sq ft of lawn there’s more then a dozen large maples 2 foot diameter or larger. There’s a fenced in back yard with a fenced in pool in there surrounded by a 5-foot high steep bank. The front is mostly open but its a main street speed limit is like 45 and the cars just fly by. I see 8 to 12 hours of hell so I look at her and go well then if you need it now your looking at around 300-500 dollars. WHAT I have never paid more then 150 mind you there is no place to dump so I will be taking 10 yards of this stuff with me once we vac it or 100-150 yards before I shred it. How do you respond to someone that dumb as to think that is a good price? If my pay rate was as high as Rods the job would cost me 250 just in labor to do it. So here I am trying to get the better lawn cuts and they all think I should charge them what I get for 5 mins work on the shoreline. :angry:
  2. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    I would ask her fore the guy's phone number that does it fore $150 .... so I can call him n sub out some work
  3. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,296

    Kelly-I am in CT as well, and can couch vouch for the people like this. There is not much you can do about it, people are cheap.
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Simple, you can't respond to that type of mentality or thinking Matthew.

    They have been programmed into thinking they can pay these moronic, low, hourly fees because that is exactly what they have paid someone in the past..someone (a LCO) who doesn't have a friggin clue what their expenses are and just throws out an hourly figure from the great wide blue.

    To be perfectly honest (and equally blunt), there is no way in hell I would get out of my truck to do leaf cleanup at 40 bucks an hour Matt. That is just f***ing ridiculous in my book. Hard, tiresome, and filthy work for expensive-costing equipment and over-worked employees. Leaf cleanups come at the end of the season. There is NO negotiation (repeat, NO) negotiation over prices in my organization. You don't like them, no problemo. Nothing personal, but see ya. I really don't care for them to begin with and if I have one less to do, then that is one day sooner I am through for the year until I worry about the snow falling. You and I have talked about this last year around this time I seem (I have a pretty good memory, too bad it's short) to remember.

    Ahh, snowplowing, bring it on....cha ching!!!
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Just a couple of other things I would like to also add...

    ...let's face it, the season's almost over for most. Now, you have only X amount of hours to do X amount of work in a 4 or 5 or 8 (at most) week time span. This isn't like it's June and you can play catch up mowing lawns (from being rained out during the week) if you have to by putting in some OT on a Saturday.

    So now, you have a shorter day in terms of working hours due to less daylight, frost in the morning can prohibit you from taking equipment across someone's lawn until it warms up some, rain, wind (now that can kill you big time), you name it. So you're gonna let someone tell you how much you are going to charge them with everything you have to take into consideration at this point in the year?

    F*** that, period.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    That's like Woodlake here in Richmond, do NOT go to Woodlake if you have a brain!

    Here is why:
    Woodlake is one of the fanciest sub-divisions, several thousand high-income homes and every ONE of them has a paperbox, and you know what that means: Yes, every pyrite miner and their buddy has a flyer to pass out and every idiot knows paperboxes are the FASTEST way to put out a TON of flyers. Meanwhile, folks new in ANY business can not resist the greedy temptation to think that if they go where it LOOKS like people got money, they will get paid better.
    What happens then is, the Woodlake folk get EVERYBODY bidding on their work and it turns into a never-ending war of low-balling deals with HIGH expectations (they want cheap AND fancy), and I can't say I blame them: When you got 1,000 people reaching for your ONE 100 dollar bill, what would you do? Well, you give them each a tiny piece, that's what you do.
    Those people in Woodlake used to piss me off until I realized they are only doing what comes natural to anyone who has a slew of pissboys kissing their tail and practically begging to do the work... Once I realized this, I stayed away from that section so the rest of the lawnboys can duke it out amongst themselves... Haven't had a regular Woodlake customer in 4 years and don't expect one anytime soon.

    It's kinda weird and it takes time, but it truly appears the secret is finding the off-the-beaten path hoods and unfortunately this can't be influenced, I just advertise ALL over the place until one day I found some of these corners. Sure a few I hit by trying, but most I found by accident or coincidence.
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,691

    Yup Rod you are right time is running out I figure I have as little as 8 weeks and as much as 11 left depending on snow. This why I got out of estimates I do not have enough time to even do all the clean ups I figure I am going to have around 120 to do this fall. I just picked up another truck and with a new vac and a few new blowers I will be running two 3-man fall clean up crews. That 4 trucks 2 of them leaf boxes 2 of them pick ups with trailers and all the stuff that goes on them. I have no patience for stupidity with prices and will not negotiate either. One thing I have that helps me on my prices Rod is a personal compost pile at the farm next to me between me and the horse farmer who also gets to use this we have 10,000 yards of leaves, grass, and manure in the last 2 years. So my free dump site helps to off set my hourly charges since I can still charge them to dump what they don't know don't hurt them. But you are so right I hate clean ups and sadly there is nothing you can do about them so every one less I have makes me happier as well.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    There's a town like that around my area too. When I get a call from that town I just ignore it.

Share This Page