How to find and lose all your "friends"

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PROCUT1, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    Well Im finally irritated enough to write and vent about this topic.

    Ive discovered how to find all of your friends you havent talked to in forever.

    Buy a piece of equipment.

    Im in the commercial facility maintenance business, and for that I have accumulated over the years a large amount of somewhat specialized equipment.

    Most of it I dont use very often but Im the type that I like just having it there for when I need it.

    My bucket truck for example. Im not in the tree business and not in the bucket truck business.

    I had a tree that I needed down at my house. So being the type of person I am, I went and bought a bucket truck. Its old, its big, but runs, operates and looks great. I dont use it often but its a handy sucker to have. On the rare occasion that I have a job to use it on, I bill it out at $250 per hour with an operator. Yes, thats a high rate, especially for an old truck....But I don't care...I have the truck to help me, not to try and put it to work everyday.

    Well I guess with the holiday, everyone I know is working around their yards. Since Thursday I have had 7 people call to "BORROW" my bucket truck.

    I now also have 7 "friends" that are ticked off at me because I said no.

    "But you dont use it"
    "It just sits there"
    "Ill put gas in it"
    "Dude, thats messed up...I got trees to cut and you got a truck and you wont let me use it?"
    "It will only take an hour"
    "A tree service wants a fortune"

    You see...Over the years, especially toward the end of my lawn service, I have become more and more distant with other people and other contractors.

    Other contractors that meet me probably think Im arrogant. And Ive heard I have that reputation, because Im not so quick to be buddy buddy with everyone.

    Lately it seems every time my phone rings its someone, who talks like we;re best friends, asking for a favor.

    They dont want to hire my truck, or hire my sealcoating service, or hire any of the work we do.

    They want it all for nothing.

    And on top of it you would be amazed how pizzed people get when you wont loan out your equipment or perform your services for free.

    Im not in the lawn business anymore but I still have tons of lawn equipment. I have enough equipment to fully equip 3 crews. Out of that I use 3 machines for the 1 day a week i have a crew mow the couple of contracts that I am stuck with.

    Well since I have all that equipment laying around, I am supposed to feel obligated to lend it all out to everyone I have ever met in the lawn business with a broken machine.

    There is not a piece of equipment I own that people don't ask to borrow.

    I spend tens of thousands on it, bill it out at hundreds per hour and because I have met them once at a dinner party, Im supposed to just give it to them,

    In the past, for some reason, most of the time I would lend something out, it would come back broken. NEVER ONCE was there an offer to fix it or pay to have it fixed. And as a matter of fact whoever I lent it to would be mad at me for lending them a machine that broke.

    I just cant believe the nerve of people.

    I have a friends in all kinds of businesses and it would never cross my mind to ask them for free services or to borrow equipment that they use for their livelihood.

    When a truck needs towing, I call my friend in the towing business and pay him to tow it. I dont expect him to work for free or lend me his tow truck.
    He bills me at a discount..yes....but still bills me

    Would you expect a mechanic to work on your stuff for free?

    Should my roofer friend put a roof on my house for free?

    Why not? I offered to pay for the shingles....He must be a scumbag for wanting to charge me.

    What the heck is with people?
  2. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    That's just the way people are. I'm of the same mindset as you. I've always had boats, trailers, trucks, and equipment that people want to borrow. I'm young (23), but have already got to the point where I just say no. There are a select few that loan me their things when I'm in a bind and I do the same in return. For example I had to help my sister move the other day and it's been raining like crazy. I don't have an enclosed trailer so I borrowed one from my friend. He called me today to let me know he's behind on work and had 2 guys quit this weekend. Now I'm moving my whole schedule around so that I can help him get caught up. Real friends come around more than when they just need something.
  3. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    Exactly. When I was in the lawn business there was another contractor who I have been friends with for 15 years. We were both probably the largest operators in the area. He and I would swap equipment and help back and forth all the time.

    I rarely needed a skidsteer. He rarely needed a tractor.

    He owned a skid...I owned a tractor... When either one of us needed the opposite...we took it...

    He needed a dethatcher 6 times a year. I own one.....

    I needed an aerator 6 times a year...He owned one

    I had spare mowers...He has spare mowers....Sometimes one of us would have "one of those weeks" when even the spares would be down.

    A quick phone call to the other would have a machine.

    Same with trucks....We each had magnets to cover the others name for when we borrowed a truck.

    I had a big dump truck that he needed a couple times a year.... He had a big flatbed I needed a couple times a year.

    That kind of relationship worked great. We never kept track....Never a guilt trip...Never any "Hey I lent you this, you gotta lend me that"

    There was a mutual respect..When I would break something of his, I would fix it and vice versa.

    I cant tell you how many times Ive regretted borrowing something because I broke it and the repair bill was 4 times what it would have costed to rent one.

    But never once would I dream of returning a machine broke to someone.

    Yet people would do it to me all the time.

    I find that very rarely will you have someone that you can have a "mutually beneficial relationship" like that with.

    He and I are both no longer in the lawn business but are still great friends to this day.

    Other people......I wouldnt lend them a shovel to bury their mother.
  4. Lawn Pawn

    Lawn Pawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from zone 3
    Messages: 568

    If you cannot just say the word no....... I would tell them my insurance does not cover this.
  5. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    Like my dad always said: ''You don't go to work to make friends!'' You go to work to do a job and get paid for doing it!

    ''Friends are needy".

    I don't have friends and I don't need them!!
  6. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    See I dont mind lending things for the most part.

    If my neighbor needs a ladder...Fine

    Someone needs a frying pan...ok

    Need my folding chairs for your BBQ party? Come get them

    Hell if you want them ill lend you a pair of socks....

    But the equipment that I use to make a living is a whole different story.
  7. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    Toy, you should make some friends. It's a lonely world out there without them.
  8. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    I used to loan out tools and such when I was younger. Even good friends would not return them. It seemed after a few months there was some unwritten rule that ownership apparently went over to them.

    Fast forward to monetary loans being asked for by my grown children. Those don't come back either. What ya gonna do.
  9. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,850

    Same here. I have a few "friends" in business for themselves and yes, if were doing that odd job where they have the iron - make a call, usually they tell me you know where the key is - if not, they tell me in an hour or so It'll be ready.

    This weekend, a landscape owner/friend was doing a moon lighting job for a friend of his when is handheld saw went down and he needed one now - he called, I just asked that he put his own diomand blade in and he was ok with that and he was back to cutting retaining wall caps.

    Friends are friends - my equipment is my equipment, my livihood - my stuff. Had a neighbor the other day next to our shop come over. He was about ready to pump out a gallon of 992 trimic to spray his weeds. I said wait a sec - that is expense stuff and I can't just let you have some. He left, later he comes back nosen around and about walks out the door with our pump sprayer - saying he needed it to spray around his building - I told the sprayer had insectide in it and I needed that - he said ok and left.
  10. DuallyVette

    DuallyVette LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,886

    I wouldn't loan someone a bucket truck, unless he operated one for a living. If you loan someone a chainsaw, and they get hurt, you could be liable.

    I have a friend since the 70's. I've loaned him a mower and had to put blades and belts on it, when I got it back. (2ft tall grass at 10mph) My backhoe broke. I borrowed his. ( he has no use in the world for it) It had a torn seat, so I put a new seat on it before I returned it. He loaned me $10k once ($1k mo + interest) and $60k once for 30 days (no interest)

    I helped an old girlfriend (1993 to 1997) move twice last year (me and my employees did all the moving at my expense). Since she was in transition, I let her 15 year old son stay with me for 9 months, so he could go to the school of his choice.

    I'm really a mean curmudgeon with few friends, but I sip up sometimes

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