I don't know what to title this. How bout 'Home Owner Humor'?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    And shovel racer, you're correct.

    In these e-mails as you can see all he mentions is numbers numbers numbers.

    After receiving yesterday's e-mail I called him. I was polite, yet aggitated. During our conversation, all he talked about was numbers numbers numbers.

    He also mentioned that he works in the financial industry. (which kinda corrilates with Shovel's mentioning that this man wants me to know that he isn't a sucker)

    LOL - so I said to him, in a polite, yet stern tone (if you knew me in person, you'd be laughing because people that know me know I'll rip you a new 'you know what' what a smile on my face while being very polite) - I said "Joe, you have a nice house and all you have done nothing but focus in numbers numbers numbers, you have no concern about how or who builds this walk".

    He went as far to ask me what my labor burden percentage is. I told him an inflated number.

    He wanted to know what the delivery rate for the mats are. I wouldn't tell him. And usually for small jobs like that I pick up the materials with the F-650.

    I corrected him on the concrete removal. Forks under the concrete and the whole thing comes up in 5 seconds! I'm trying to level off a portion of my driveway - I need all the fill and rubble I can get. When you take up concrete - that's less excavation we need to do for the walk. So with all that said I told him "actually it makes our job easier to take up the walk, and I dump it on my own land and the truck must return to the yard at the end of the day, regardless".

    I also informed him that we charge for mobilization and for travel time to and from, per employee, per day. LOL - he's trying to show me that he knows numbers and I'm throwing more factors at him!

    This is an interesting business. I have people I really do not like and that's why I live in seclusion in the middle of nowhere. Yet, I love meeting people, and I love learning stuff from our clients, as well as getting to know them. This is a very rewarding aspect of this business. We just did a job for a repeat client. He's a commercial airline pilot. Super nice. Positive attitude. I find him fascinating, I can stand on his front stoop and shoot the breeze with him for hours.

    And then we get people like this! God bless them!

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Good thing I love cooking. Even more is peanut butter pie. I'll trade, do you want my chicken meatballs, black bean soup, or turkey pot pie recipe in return. Yes I'm serious.
  3. AzLawnMan

    AzLawnMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    I had a customer very similar to this one and he was the same way about the numbers. He thought every contractors numbers should be about the same. Except he wanted to know what I was paying each employee, I didnt say, but he felt that $8 hr would be a good price that I should be paying someone for manual labor, he said "Its not rocket science, its just bricks and blocks, hell my kid plays with blocks." He wanted a break down of everything in the price. I dont break down my prices. The entire job was $38,934.90 and he said another contractor was $23k but since I came highly recommened he wanted to use my company but wanted me to be closer with the other bid. He also wanted a "life-time" warranty on pavers, from color fading to sealing once a year. He also wanted a 10 year full warranty for the lights, including the led lights. He said "I think if you lower your price to the other bid I got and then subtract another 10% I think we can do business." I never got back to him.
  4. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    usually after an E-mail or call like you got they will never hear from me again, a person just doesn't need the stupidty.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    We just had the puppy spayed. I should have sent that spread sheet to the vet and asked him to fill it out before scheduling her surgery!!!!

    I've had people ask all kinds of questions about costs, but ya know.....I've never had anyone make a form for me to fill out! (with the exception of commercial work and they give you the form right off the bat)


  6. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    that was pretty amazing, just when you think you have seen it all. A lot of nerve.
  7. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    I think this is where we all need to sell quality, which you did in that statement about his home. I think you, DVS clued us into this topic early we have to get out of the price game and into the satisfaction game.

    We all need to work hard to tell the customer why our prices are higher:

    1. We do high quality work and will do the extras-not create deficits as many contractors do.
    2. We work hard to educate you on the process and show you whats behind every door, that takes knowledge, time, and costs dollars.
    3. I want to be around in 10-15 years to continue to offer great service.
    4. I want to pay good men, good wages, and be a responsible citizen and proud of the business I own. That takes dollars.

    What are the others I am missing?

    Use his numbers game against him get him thinking not why yours is so high but why the other contractors is so low? Maybe he will leave out the fabric when your not looking, use poorly graded aggregate etc.

  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    It's crap like this that makes us become our customers.

    Meaning, if we are on the consumer end, this wears off on us and we act like fools because after all these years we get used to it.

    I am making some text changes to one of my websites. It rained today so I was here, finishing up the changes to give to the lady that does this particular site for me. I'm mocking up what I want and writing notes all over the sheets of paper, and I start thinking to myself "am I doing what our customers do?". haha!

    So I went to her house and showed her what I wanted. She complimented me and said "this is way better than what most of my clients give me, good job". I was relieved!

  9. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    Damn, you're on the ball Chris!

    I did exactly what your last paragragh said. AND I EVEN mentioned to him that I know of a particular contractor in the area that installs just enough fabric so it sticks out the edges of the gravel!! (I'm NOT making this up, a buddy of mine that is a production mgr for another company had to go in and rebuild a patio built by another company).

    I said to the man "I know of a contractor in the area that installs just enough fabric on the outside perimeter of the patio". He replied "oh my". I said "do you know why they do this?" He replied "why". I answered "because this is all you can see when you return home at 5:30".

    About this time every year I ask myself "who will I meet this year". I always meet some really fascinating and inspiring people and I meet some total psychos!

    And you know what? Some of these PSYCHOS are OUR friends, neighbors, and relatives. Just we have never sold them any work, so we have never seen this side to them.


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