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I learned a valuable lesson today......NEVER CUT SOMEONE A DEAL......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by PbInvestor, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. PbInvestor

    PbInvestor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Unless they are already a customer!

    I am a one man deal in GA.

    I have a neighbor in my cul-de-sac that always has the crappiest looking lawn in the neighborhood. We live in 3-400K houses and there is no excuse for it. The reason her lawn looks like crap is because she will only let it be cut (by a neighbor kid) every 14-20 days...she says she cannot afford it. However, while her grass is extremely green and 7-8 inches high, she still has apps done!

    The neighbor kid is a kid that I have helped in the past with advice and such. He was having a hard time cutting her 3/4 acre lawn with a 21" last week and got fed up and told her to get someone else...She called me...... My wife said...be nice and give her a deal since you don't have to even leave the cul-de-sac...So I told her that I would do the job($75, at least) for $35/week IF she allowed me to cut it weekly...(I can cut the yard in 30 minutes when its a normal height)...She agreed and I was off! It took me 1hr 40 minutes to get it under control.......(Bermuda at 6 inches)...I trimmed, edged and blew off her driveway, etc.....that was last Wednesday.

    Today, after I cut her lawn, I got a call from her asking why I cut her lawn? I said because it's the next week!....She said "No, i only wanted you to cut it once...I want Jermey to keep cutting it. I only called you because he was screwing up my lawn. He will do it from now on".

    After I lifted my JAW off the floor, I replied that I would have NEVER cut her lawn for $35 if it was to be one time.. I only agreed to do it for $35 IF she went with it weekly....She blatantly lied and said that she didn't say that......I was floored... I had to call my wife to vent for 5 minutes before I could be productive.

    I realized that i made a few mistakes:

    1. I didn't get a contract
    2. I didn't collect 3-4 weeks in advance
    3. I gave a neighbor an awesome deal.

    I decided that since I felt jilted that I would call the kid and explain the situation to him and tell him how to make some more money on her.

    1. when she calls, tell her that he "GAVE" me the account
    2. that he cannot handle her lawn with a 21"
    3. that he would agree to cut her lawn but it would have to be weekly and it will now be $40(was $30). or that he would cut it for $60 every two weeks.

    I told him that if she said no that when she calls me back I will tell her $75 per cut...or $200 prepaid monthly and she would then pay him the $40/week.

    thinking about this I realized that it could be construed as collusion(price fixing) but doubt it would matter on such a small scale. But then I decided that i am just acting as a mentor to my neighbor kid.

    Ok, im done venting.........any comments...be nice to me....:)

  2. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Messages: 3,556

    it depends on the person. if its a neighbor that is nice to me and im cool with them, then i will cut their lawn for free, but not every week. a few weeks ago my neighbors husband was out of town, so i cut it, i told her not to give me any money, she gave me $20, took me like 7min to cut. then my other neighbors this past week had a party and needed it cut asap, i cut it, twice because it was long and wanted to stripe it for her party, told her not to give me anything, she gave me 30...

    but if its a pita neighbor, that just wants a chepo cut EVERYWEEK and is a PITA, then i'd do what you said and help the neighborhood kid out, and then maybe someday when hes older he'll want to work for you because of one little thing helping him out!

    you never know. thanks my 3 cents
  3. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    Some people are just out to screw anybody they can, it's the part of the business that I can't stand. Sorry to hear about your raw deal but don't judge the tree just because of one bad apple.......
  4. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    I won't work in my own neighborhood.

    As the saying goes " Don't sh*t where you sleep".

    Besides all that, if you knew what her previous arrangement was with that kid (knowing that she was cheap and she didn't care about her lawn), you should have never even considered working for her. How many big red flags do you need?:eek:
  5. statman

    statman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Sounds like a job for "Midnight Roundup"
  6. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    midnight roundup and midnight ammonium nitrate to make a nice green border for the brown work of art.


    I think the kid think is the right idea. helps you, helps him, helps me (if everyone would mentor the neighborhood kids that they are getting robbed.) Most parents want the kids to get the job so they coach lowballing and they wonder why we have such a screwed up perspective.

    I actually had a smart parent call me to see what prices are so her 12 yr old son could be in the ball park. Some women are pretty smart. She even fessed up to what she was doing. Made me more willing to help.
  7. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    Sounds like a lawn I did in the spring. She lives a 400K house and only wants it mowed once every 2 weeks? That should have been your first hint. Second, if my wife convinced me of giving here a good deal, I think I would have sent her to collect the second check.
  8. SouthernFried

    SouthernFried LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    I like your thinking with the kid. Hope he makes out ok.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I would have probably done the same thing by telling the boy want to charge, etc.
  10. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Sounds to me like a good plan for stress relief (to U) would be about 2 doz midnight/after ROUND-UP balloons!!!

    I feel better already:D

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