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i really messed this one up.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnwizards, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    the other day i broke rule number one in giving estimates, i didnt get out and survey the land. i usually schedule estimates and take my measuring wheel and walk off the whole area then give my estimate. well, this one was a friend of a customer and i was dog tired at the end of the day so i just drove up and looked and told him 55. well, today after i cut it, i was kicking my self in the rear the whole time thinking i should have charged 70. now i've messed up estimates in the past by a couple of dollars and just lived with it but this one i know i'll end up doing a 55 dollar job because i know it should be 70. what should i do? should i contact the customer and tell them that i will have to raise the price to 70 because i underbid and that the first cut will be 55? help a fella out here. thanks.

  2. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    Start a file on your computer and call it "Cost of Learning". Everytime you realize you screwed up, you make an entry. You'd be suprised what it amounts to over the course of your business life. You have two options, and you know them both-good luck.
  3. LedgedaleLawn

    LedgedaleLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 377

    I know over the last 11 years I would have a huge file.
  4. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,316

    That makes two of us. The funny thing is that it only takes 5 minute into the job to realize to messed up bad!!!I call it working for free just, because I was bored.:laugh:
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,822

    Ya, I messed up one time when I first got into the biz. I gave a price on leaves. 1 acre of knee deep leaves. Me and a 9 bushel bagger John Deere. Went about 1/2 of a round and bagger was full..see ya!:waving::hammerhead: No charge--me dummy:laugh:
  6. farmboy1285

    farmboy1285 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    Go back and talk to the guy, just tell him you miss-judged the yard and hopefully he will understand. Maybe you can compromise, If you say its a $70 yard then try and get $65. I was in a similar predicament earlier this year, The guy had a second back yard that I failed to notice when I gave the estimate.I went back and talked to the guy and the first thing he says is I was wondering why you bid so cheap:laugh::laugh: but he was cool about and happily paid me the new price.
  7. Dave_005

    Dave_005 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    EVERY one underbids once in a while, i say live with it. i dont know how you do it but i Don't give "Estimates" i go look at the property and tell the homeowner i will do it for X amount of dollars, and thats my price.. if i later find i underbid it then i'll cuss myself for a sec then forget it. live and learn. when i give my price i Stick to my word and my price for the remainder of the season, if i underbid i'll raise it next season.
  8. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    So you just go the whole season losing money on that property? I know. Next property, just bid it $15.00 high. Then you will make it up.

    I jest. Actually you should just admit your mistake to your customer and raise the price now. If they liked your work, they will pay. If not, then move on. If they squawk at the increase now, they will certainly squawk next spring when you up it and you have lost money all this year and you will be miserable doing it annnnnnnd your quality WILL suffer.

    How often have you overbid a property? I don't think I ever have. I get what they're willing to pay. It ain't a hobby. I am in this for the money.
  9. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    At $15 your learning experience came cheap. No ice cream and beer today, but don't make a big deal out of it. Underbidding happens to everybody, me included. Now imagine that happening on a 2.5 acre lot (that's what I call a mess up), not nice and I too noticed my mistake within the first 5min.

    Simply charge $55 this time and inform the customer you made a mistake and the price does not justify the amount of work required. Chances are he will understand and stay a keeper. Good luck :usflag:
  10. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I also am a man of my word. If I made a mistake, it's MY mistake, my sloppiness that was the problem. I would make sure the customer knew that I underbid, and that next year it would be $XX, but I'd also give him the chance to offer more for the job, and gladly take it... there are some few folks out there that are as stand-up as I am.... and I guess you too, Dave.

    It isn't a question of "losing" money, it's a matter of making less than the biz plan calls for. BIG difference. I've made these mistakes, we all have.... I usually manage to get some profitable add-ons to relieve the pain... plantings, mulchings, ponds, rock gardens, whatever.

    I find that just looking at a property and making a suggestion to the owner gets me much more higher profit projects, but being there every week is why i have the chance to mention or suggest projects.

    My customers know I am an honest, hard working man who's word is good. Add the fact that my fert and apps program makes for great lawns, I can prune like Rembrant could paint, most customers respect, even admire those things. I often do added free services for customers, but for one I underbid, no way, so I can make it all come out in the wash one way or another.

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