Haggling over $2.00

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MowHouston, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Yay. I finally get to complain about one of these types of customers!

    So, the guy requests an estimate. I quote him (under-quoted I later realized) $27 for about 5,500 sq ft yard. Corner lot (I now have an extra charge for corner lots)

    He calls back and says his last guy was doing it for $25. I say, sorry, its $27. He accepts.

    I go to his place and this is what I get.


    Now, our website clearly states that we are obliged to charge 8.25% sales tax and any overgrown yards may incur a minimum charge of $20. These are clearly stated in our terms of service, which are agreed upon by the customer when they submit an estimate request.

    So he goes to pay today and sees his bill for $50.88 for his first service. He starts asking me why I billed him for two services. I tell him its only one service, and he noted the overgrown fee on his invoice.

    So then he asked why its $50.88 instead of $47.00 I explain the sales tax.

    So then he goes back to "my previous guy does it for $25." I reinforce to him that we arent going to do it for $25. He goes on to say. "Well I wish you could do it for $27 tax included".... Um... Thats $24.95 per service. So I finaly broke it down for him. expenses, fuel, taxes, insurance, all that fun stuff and mad him realize that I cant profit at that rate.

    Told the guy that I recently changed our prices to compensate for the recent economic pressures and that he's getting a deal in the first place (his 5500 sq ft yard would be $31 weekly/$36 bi-weekly now... and he is biweekly.

    Ugh. So how did I leave it? Told the guy to think about what he wants in a lawn company and perhaps we are just too high quality of a service for what he's looking for. :laugh: To please give us an advanced notice if he plans to "go back to his other guy" or find another service. I was professional in my words and he said he would think about it.

    My first time in two years that I've had to deal with something like this, but I think I'm doing the right thing and protecting my business' welfare by raising our rates to the correct price and keeping this guy in check.

    Any comments from you guys just getting off work? :)
  2. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    I wouldnt have been as patient as you hahaha
  3. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Yeah. I've still got a bit of that nice guy attitude in me. I figure I'll lose it all in the next few years. :)

    Really, it would make more sense for me to just drop the guys since I'm barely making anything off of him anyhow. And I'm willing to be money he isnt willing to pay the new price.

    J.A.G LAWNCARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 931

    i would mow that for $20 weeding 2
  5. Dean of Green

    Dean of Green LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    You did well. Stand your ground. I never fall into the "my last guy discussion". Once they start that I shrewdly change the discussion to me and how we operate. :usflag:
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I understand the requirement of collecting -- note: collecting, not charging -- the 8.25% sale tax. Nobody charges sales tax, we just are collectors of the tax on behalf of the state.

    The second part of your statement would be open for confusion. "... may incur a minimum charge of $20," means that this may the the maximum a customer would see on their invoice. It implies that your regular charge is less than $20, but because of a yard being overgrown, the minimum charge may be upped to $20.

    I think you want to consider changing your policy. You are opening yourself to confusion on the part of the customer. I think what you want is to make the $20 a surcharge. You want to be able to charge your regular rate, plus add an additional charge because of the yard being overgrown. Your wording says otherwise.
  7. McGaw

    McGaw LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 158

    You drove me insane. When I was reading something I saw a bug moving on my screen and started hitting it. Took me awhile to realize... pretty embarrassing I must say.
    I don't know why you were so patient with someone you underbid in the first place, but I hope you get the contract. Keep us posted.

  8. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Good idea about the tax term. I'll change that.

    I summarized the $20 fee in my post. It specifically says that the $20 is an overgrown fee on top of the normal cost. Dont see any problems there. I bet some people just dont read it like they should.

    Thanks for the info
  9. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Got to thinking right fast. What do you guys consider overgrown? St Augustine.

    6 inches? 7?
  10. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    I'am assuming that you did not see the yard before you gave your quote for the work.

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