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Here's another example of what I'm getting at

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Oct 14, 2006.

  1. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    In this business price will beat quality most of the time. Everyone is looking for ways to cut expenses. Most of us here are really concerned with the lawn care industry and quality. Most customers(contractors included) grass cutting is way down on the list of priorities (about the same as the phone, cable, trash pickup, etc.) I'm sure this varies from customer to customer and different parts of the country. The Walmart parking lots are always full but there's always a niche market for quality. I bet they don't view or value quality lawn care in their minds like most of us do.
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, I did just like I said I was going to.

    Went on down in the rain to do a few minutes work that I could do from the request without much trouble in the rain. "Why" is in post #30.

    When I arrived I saw the other crew still had not finished the renovation yet. Left the place a mess with stuff all over the place. I just snikered and shook my head. Bad... it had that 'lunch break' look to it.

    Just a few minutes later I saw them roll in to tidy up after themselves. I finished up a proceeded on into the office to deliver my bill and have a talk.

    I was greeted at the door like a VP or something... LOL. The first words were...

    "I didn't expect you out so soon today with it raining like this" which in translation probably meant they were hoping I would try to wait out the rain and come after office ours like usual.

    I just said....
    "well I didn't figure it was going to let up before dark this time, and since I hadn't heard any different, I figured you would want me to go ahead and come do what I could before tomorrow."

    Then I gave a rundown of what I did and said...
    "here is your bill for today's service visit, I just put 'pre-inspection' under the description, which is a level II service visit charge for today."

    Then I asked if we could have a word in private. Soon as we got in the office it was....
    "I already knew you were going to be upset finding out the way you did about the other contractor. This was dropped in my lap from the joint board by e-mail right before it happened. They just told me they had a crew lined up that would do it for 60% less than you had been charging plus throw in so extra cleaning services for no additional charge... and that they were going to send them unless you would match their price. I just told them the cleaning alone was worth more than that, and that I would not even approach you about it because (1) We had and understanding and (2) I knew you were not dumb enough to match that. They said they would send them on then, and I told them to contact you about it then because I didn't think it was fair for them to stick it on me. I didn't find out they hadn't told you until I had to call them last thing before leaving early yesterday about the other guy not showing to finish. I tried to go ahead and call to tell you myself, but I didn't want to tell you that in a message and at tha point I knew you already knew anyways.... then to beat all they still never came and finished, and I got mad and called the board today and told them to call their new crew and tell them to get out here because they need to clean up after themselves before inspection so it doesn't look like they just walked off and quit."

    To summarize, basic rundown as it was explained to me is that this doof has done some work like this for their "sister company" and they decided to send their crew over to do this job for near nothing. Even the person I'm dealing with realized right off they couldn't even make minimum wage on the renovation from past experience of seen similar jobs through. The job was to be complete by Monday and it is not even close to finished. They left the job in such a manner that it was unexceptable even for under construction, which they had to be called out to correct. Now it will not be complete prior to inspection and they can't get a straight answer on when it might be complete.

    The funny part is that my NET for Thursday, Saturday and today's "little jobs" is more than they will GROSS on that renovation.

  3. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    You said if they pay peanuts they will get monkeys. :)
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Wow. Well, that went better than I would have envisioned it going. Glad to hear the guy was at least apologetic. That would have disarmed me a little, because I would have come in with my guns ready to fire and then before I get a shot, they waive a peace flag. So that's changes things...a little.

    I guess I would have said, "Well, I think you need to make it clear to your "joint board" that saving money like this not only results in cheap quality work but you've also cost yourself a good relationship. Because no matter what the reasoning, when you do something like this it shows me that your company has no loyalty to my company. And once I've been shown that, then my loyalties change too. In the past, I've given you priority service. And that won't happen any longer. In the past, I have given you the benefit of the doubt when it came time to create your invoices. That won't happen anymore. I bent over backwards for you guys on more than one occasion. And I won't be doing that anymore. Perhaps these new guys will. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind continuing our contract work. But don't expect any favors in the future. I place my priorities on my customers who make me a priority. And I've still got several others who are loyal to us. And that's where I'll be spending more of my time from now on. Thanks for explaining it to me though. At least now I understand better."
  5. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,426

    Loyalty and business. Do they even go together anymore. Business will usually go with the lowest bidder, reguardless of quality. Just my thoughts.
  6. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    yes that would be a good way to put it Jim, but i am thinking he may have been to angry to put it like that.

    Congrats on your 3000th post Jim.:)
  7. davidcalhoun

    davidcalhoun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,045

    Agreed. Jim nailed it.

    Now go deposit those profitable checks.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yah, that's my read of the commercial market too. Not always true. I do know some guys around here who run a good commercial business and seem to enjoy loyalty even though they aren't the cheapest. But that seems to be the exception to the rule. This is why I gave up on the commercial market years ago. I tried and got really frustrated. I love the loyalty and extra work that comes from residentials. My attitude and posture is probably a little different because I am accustomed to having hundreds of other loyal customers to turn to. So if one is treating me poorly, I have plenty of leverage to say what I wrote above. I may not be able to have that same attitude if I had all commercial clients.
  9. craigs lawncare

    craigs lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    Wow!! Loyalty!?! In business!!! You can’t be serious!!!
    I am still laughing.
    What really matters in business is not whether you like them or they like you. It is about profit. Lets face it. If someone is going to pay you 60% more for doing work for them than your best, most loyal customer is willing to pay you for a side job, than where are you going to go do the work first?
    The same thing applies to corporations and small business. Executives in big corporations will sit up on the 20th floor insulated in an office building and effortlessly fire thousands of people with the stroke of a fountain pen so they can show a nickel profit for next years earnings. When they walk away from the meeting, they will have the same business expression as they did when they walked in. They don’t care about loyalty. They don’t care about the 1000’s of lives they have just turned upside down all in the name of profit. Right or wrong, they only care about the bottom line and pleasing the shareholders. Which is the way you should be.
    In this case, your shareholders are you and your family or who ever else depends on you to put food on the table and a suitable roof over your heads.
    If I were you, I would have said nothing to emotional.
    Perhaps something along the lines of, “Well thanks for giving me some idea as to what went on. No, you are absolutely correct. I would not have worked for 60% less than I quoted you. Business is business. It looks like this has been a learning experience for both of us.”
    To me, what sounds like is happening is your so called loyal buddy is feeling you out. He wants to see how hungry you really are. Notice he has not fired you. He may be hoping you will say something like, “Geez, I really would like the work, perhaps we could meet somewhere in the middle as far as costs go.”
    Don’t do it.
    He does not sound like a friend to me!!
  10. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    I agree with you Jim, I just wonder how much of that was bull, just to defuse the situation he knew was coming.
    incidentally Jim, I don't do favors. back when I was a truck driver and my dispatcher would say " could you do me a favor?" my response was... Favors went out in the fifties, this is a new age, everything cost something.

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