I want it all ... Ooops, I forgot the contract.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Liquidfast, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 739

    I know this is needless to say but get contracts...even for friends and neighbors.

    Thursday, I have a customer call and ask me to remove a tree from her front yard. I give an estimate of $375 (neighbor and all). He says to do it asap. Now, this neighbor has just moved in (not sure when) but everyone around knows myself and has seen my trucks from time to time etc. Anyway, my worker cuts the tree down (first time without a contract in a looooog time) and leaves the stump. Well, the new neighbor comes out as my helpers were finishing and says "What about the rest?"

    I get a call and in less than a minute (five houses away) I walk over and the lady states we were to remove it 5 inches below the surface....I said "For $375 maam?"

    "THAT WAS THE AGREEMENT" She yells. Ofcourse, anyone would have jumped to get a smokin deal like that for a 35 foot blue spruce including disposal fees, half yard of triple mix and seeding!

    I tried reasoning with her and she refused to listen. Her husband comes out and says, "I would have cut it down myself for $375" At this point, I am too pissed and so I instruct my guys to unload the trailer. I told my neighbor they just received free service and to have a nice day.

    I have driven by the house twice since then and the stump has been getting smaller and smaller. Today, I get a call asking me if I would remove the rest of the stump and all of the wood and oh yeah, deliver the triple mix for $450. I agreed to do it all for the one time low fee of $800 as a neighborly thing. They agreed but asked if they could pay by cheque??????? Now, the funny thing is, had they hesitated or tried to haggle me down, I would have taken a cheque for the money but they were just a tad too quick to accept.
    I will NOT be cutting the rest nor finishing the job. Find out 20 minutes ago, I find out they tried to stiff the renovators of their home for $3000 which is why I decided to post this.
  2. Bustus

    Bustus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    That's brutal! Where are you located in Ontario?
  3. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 739

    Richmond Hill
  4. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    why didn't you just grind the stump collect the 375 and call it a lesson learned... as of now you have 375 less in your pocket because it sounded like you became a hot head.
  5. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    I was thinking the same thing!!!
  6. CutInEdge Lawn Care

    CutInEdge Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 677

    No one said EDUCATION was CHEAP
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No doubt, I've learned this lesson many times over the years, lost money over my hotness, then can't do much about it other than steam.
    Still, it bites to have to throw in first another 75-100 in labor just to try and collect the original, then as you're doing the extra you wonder if you'll get paid for any of it... I wouldn't have ground the stump but I can assure you I wouldn't have let it ride. Still, don't get hot.

    Next time someone stiffs you, contract or not you know the agreement because in this case these people are stiffers - They will stiff you regardless, brother... You could've and you should've but the only thing you really need to do is what you did the second time: Seen it coming, and hightail it out of there because they agreed too fast <- That's one solution.

    Because I'm telling you, even with a contract stiffers will be stiffers, they laugh at the written word just as fast... But whenever that happens just smile and say whatever, then when you get home set yourself up an account at olddebts.com and start collections procedures with a nice little credit record report option.

    Works for me everytime, even if I don't get paid at least I know there is a '375 dollars in collection' mark on their records for the next 10 years and the anger still lingers a bit but it's way better, far more tolerable.

    p.s.: For an 800-dollar check in advance, I might've ground the stump after making sure the check had proper info on it just for the pleasure of turning it over to a magistrate in return for a felony charge over a bad check, as it might bounce or be written on a closed account, I am tempted sometimes to see the reaction on their face when they realize what they have done is a serious crime.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    It would have costed as much to pay your guys to unload the stuff as it would have to have the stump ground. As it is, you are now in the hole for all your labor paid for the takedown and load time.
  9. Liquidfast

    Liquidfast LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 739

    Actually, I had two jobs to do that day, a retaining wall that I was already late for. All that was done at the custys home was putting the rope around the tree and dropping it like it was hot. At that point, including loading, it took maybe 25 minutes. I'm not too concerned about it now other than the fact that the job has been finished (I drove by there again today) and it looks great (I must say).

    It hasn't been a great week as I received a voicemail from another customer that I plow for in the winter telling me that her cheque has again (3rd time) bounced and for the 3rd time, it was the banks fault.
    If she wasnt hot, I would be all over that olddebt.com website. :hammerhead:
  10. NEPSJay

    NEPSJay LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    no matter how many times is preached or by who preaches it, there is 2 boat loads of people on here, who REFUSE to use contracts, and do work on a whim and prayer or a handshake. personally, i pity them.

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