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How do i keep this from happening anymore.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Somthinrandm, May 15, 2010.

  1. Somthinrandm

    Somthinrandm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Ok so this is the second time this has happened since last fall. I get a call from a client who I have been referred to by, and they ask me to come out and give an estimate for a job. Let's say the estimate includes us pulling out old shrubs and replacing new ones, then adding shrubs and finishing up with landscape fabric and mulch. The client is excited and agrees with the quote! But 2 days before we get started they say "I've talked to the rest of the family, and since we are on a budget we want to do a lot of stuff ourself, we will pull the shrubs and lay the mulch, you can plant the new ones, and lay the plastic! How much does that cost now." Is It bad that I don't think this is right, this is making my quote they already agreed to less. And when I do a job my name goes on it. What are passer byers going to say when they see A half finished landscape. "Landscape fabric and new shrubs? But where is the mulch". if the homeowners were planning on doing the work they would have done it already. So I'm guessing my landscàpe will stay unfinished for a while. What would u do to keep this from happening anymore. I feel like I'm not being taken seriously by them. Its not just them this has happened twice. My quote goes from being 1200 to like $500. Thanks all for ur input
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 40,431

    In this situation...if I felt they weren't taking me seriously, I'd say "see ya" and walk off into the sunset. I can't afford to be a jag off like that on every job I lose, but once and a while it feels good to play hardball like that. Either I do the job or I don't...or I do part of a job, and can still ensure the whole job is done correctly. I'll plant shrubs by themselves, but I sure won't lay fabric with no mulch. I can't leave a job like that.

    I'd be interested in seeing other opinions also. I'm young and ignorant, and I know my ways are not the best.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    "estimate includes us pulling out old shrubs and replacing new ones, then adding shrubs and finishing up with landscape fabric and mulch" ...."My quote goes from being 1200 to like $500"

    That size job to begin with is not big enough to be critical in establishing a reputation. It sucks that you won't get 100% of the job, but if you are worried about your reputation, I don't think it will matter. These are the kinds of jobs you may or may not need to keep busy or cash coming in. If you are building a reputation on $1200 jobs that include removal, replacement, and finishing, you are going to have to get used to this kind of thing. This is a short money market that is very difficult to sustain yourself on.
  4. Somthinrandm

    Somthinrandm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    That makes sense but I'm not necessarily trying to build on the job. They got my name from someone who lives in the neighborhood where I did the whole front yard; obviously it wasn't 1200. It is a job like u said to "keep busy". But still the homeowners friends are going to ask, who did the clean up and they will refer my name and I don't think I want it to look unfinished. Should I walk from the whole thing or is there a better way of handling this?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. AzLawnMan

    AzLawnMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    2 days later? Whenever I get those type of jobs, I get moving fast. I will have a crew there that day to get started. In these times with everybody and their brothers doing landscaping, you simply cant wait. What if the next day they decide to call just one more guy to see if what they are paying is a good price, and he comes in cheaper? Now the call comes to you and they ask for you to lower your price. Even my commercial properties and HOA's will rethink things from time to time, so when I go to board meetings and get approval for 100 tons of rock, I have it scheduled asap. I understand it takes time to plan and pick up materials, but it doesnt take planning to call your guys and say "Come here next and lets pull out these shrubs", then the next day the shrubs are on the property. Even if they are just sitting there, customers will see things are in motion and just go with it. I just closed a complete landscape job, 20 tons of rock, 300 ft of edging, 1000 sqft of sod and 800 sqft of pavers. I was there the next morning at 7am when the rock arrived. The customer came out and said, "wow you move fast". by the end of that day, the crew had the rock spread and the dirt removed for the pavers. Gotta move fast on jobs, otherwise your gonna keep going through this.
  6. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Your fishing in a shallow muddy pond. Like the other guy said....your under the radar as far as reputation goes if your doing that kind of work.....I dont mean that in a bad way, it's just that you dont have a rep yet.....
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776


    You bring up a very good point. Jobs do tend to lead to more work that is the same kind of work. Years ago, when I first started out doing landscape work, one of my customers told me not to do "discount work" because it quickly becomes all the work that you do. If you take this job and let them use you for the stuff that they can't buy or do on their own you are only getting paid for the hardest parts of the job and not making money on marked up materials or easier parts of the job. You essentially enable people to do something that they are incapable of doing without paying for it. Lots of people would like that deal and those that find out that you do it will ring your phone off the hook while no one else calls. All you will be doing is more of the same.

    What you do gets you more of what you do, so be careful to do what you really want to do. It is a lot harder to climb up to better work if you start in a hole.

    On the other hand, sometimes you just plain need the money and have to do what you have to do. Only you know whether you NEED to do this or not.
  8. FLCthes4:11-12

    FLCthes4:11-12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    I understand what you are talking about. Two things to make them stick to the plan. One is when they try to itemize the work down, each item will cost extremely more. Take the mulch off and they just save the cost of mulch not the labor involved or knock off an hours worth for the demo. Make it make sense to have you do all the work. Also get a deposit. Even if it is just on your proposal get them to sign it and get half their money up front so that you can order their materials and get the job scheduled. When you originally looked at the job i'm sure you factored mobilization, labor and eqipment and if all of that is already on site not going to be much savings in not doing everything.

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