I'll pay DOUBLE for a pro.. Are you one?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bob_McNaughton, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. Bob_McNaughton

    Bob_McNaughton LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Last month my wife and I purchase a home, which needed some minor tune up work done, which meant I had to deal with various "Contractors".. This has taught me a hard lesson for when I start back up my LC business next year. Heres a couple true stories, from this week alone:

    Wood Floor Guy:
    Shows up late for the estimate, and forgets his tape measure. Quotes me a price that is 30% less than the big company that came out the day before.. So I go with this guy.. The day of the work, he doesn't show (family emergency). The next day, he was supposed to be there at 7am, and arrives at 10am (slept in most likely). I come back at 5pm, floors aren't done, and hes gone. I track him down on his cell phone, and he says "Yea, I had to leave early, I will be back tomorrow at 9am".. I meet him there the next day, hes another 30 min late. Then he tells me "Its turning out to be more work that I thought, can I ask for another $50 from you for the job?".. I was like, "Sorry, no.. I've wasted 3 hours alone waiting for you to arrive late, I think I will stay here till you finish, inspect the work, and then pay you what we agreed upon."... This guy is the true unprofessional, scrub type, that cuts into the pro's margins, yet offers lazy, "When I feel like it service."

    I needed an outlet for my dryer power installed, about a 1 hour job for any electrician. I see one working on my neighbors house, so I ask him over for an estimate. He quotes me "$165.00" and says he can do it the next morning at 9am, and to leave him a check. The next night comes, I get home, and see the work isn't done, the check is still there. After 2 hours, he finally calls me back and says "Didn't have enough time, i'll call you tomorrow to schedule another time.". 1-2 weeks pass, no word from this guy. I finally call him, and he says "Oh yea, I remember the job, let me call you back, and setup a time.".. 6 days later, no return call... At this point, my wife is upset, and saying "I'm so sick of dealing with unprofessional JERKS, i'll pay DOUBLE to have professionals from now on!!". So the next morning she calls nearly every electrician in the book and leaves messages. Out of 16 called ONE... Yes.. *ONE*, returns her call.. This guy says "I'll come out in one hour, the cost will be $225.00".. ($60.00 more than the other lewzer)... Guy shows up ontime, is professional, does the job, and collects his PREMIUM payment from us..

    Lawn Cutting:
    While moving in, I didn't have time to deal with the lawn, let alone go buy a mower (sold mine to old neighbor and put a deposit on a ztr, which is currently demoing). Anyway.. Heres my lawncare experiance.. All of these I saw on sides of road in my area and approached to handle my job, which was to mow my lawn, every week REGARDLESS of the condition/length, and to trim and mow for the remainder of the summer.. Guy 1) Sorry, i'm all booked for the summer, and I am not taking new clients. Guy 2) Sure, i'll do it, $15.00 a week for everything. Guy 3) I guess I could do it, but I don't really want to mess up my routes if at all possible..

    So we go with guy 2, hell, I wouldn't TOUCH my lawn for $15.00.. But he is the only guy that actually said he would do it.. Well, guess what, he shows up for 2 out of the 4 cuts, and harasses my wife for "Cash" payments each time. Missing a total of 2 cuts the first month, when my explicit instructions were to "Come out anyway, trim, blow some grass around, or whatever, and still be paid for the cut." Also, he said he would come out on every Monday.. Well the first cut, he was there on Tuesday, and the second one he was there on Thursday.. Blah!

    I could go on and on.. But these are soem shining examples of the contractors and service people i've dealt with that have left a severely bad taste in my mouth for unprofessionalism.

    So we an surmise that the wood floor guy is just a scrub, out there undercutting peoples business, showing no class, no professionalism, and most likely will be burned out of the business in a few years after pissing off all of his customers.

    The electricians I cannot figure out!! Are they just lazy?? Would you MAKE TIME for a quick $165-200 job that would only take 1 hour? (on way home after another job). Do they just want 2-3-4k jobs only, and don't want to mess with the small stuff? What gives here?? Are some of these people just so unprofessional that they don't think they are worth a higher price? Therefore they just hide from work??

    The lawn guys boggle me.. Don't want to mess up my route?? Booked for the season?? Come on!! I'm less than ONE block away from all their other work, and I would gladly spend $25.00 to have the yard mowed - shouldn't take em more than 20-25 minutes at the MOST... As for Mr. 15$, he won't be in business very long, as he doesn't have a CLUE what its like to run a business..

    Long post, I know, but i'd like to hear your guys input on this.. Seems to me, if a lawn guy is reliable, professional, intelligent, and offers extremely high quality - wouldn't most anyone pay a premium for that?? Heck I know I would! Scrubs, in ALL types of businesses need to die or something.. I'm so discouraged at dealing with MORONS when working with my house that I can't begin to express the frustration in words. These guys need to be put out of business.

    Frustrated Homeowner
  2. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    It's very hard to get subcontractors to do work for an individual, they know its a one time deal. A contractor, on the other hand will call them every time they build a new house - so this is how they prioritize their work.
    Just out of curiosity, did you happen to mention to any of the lawn guys that you were getting ready to start up?
    Competition is bad, angry competition is much worse.
  3. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    the good ones were gone by the time you got there.
    1 and 3 probably would have been alright ,as they seem to be concerneds with keeping current customers happy.
    wish you lived here ive got some primetime available.
    and you would be satisfied or i would end service after a notice.
  4. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    "You get what you pay for"

    You will understand #1 and #3 concerns abut doing your lawn when you get started in the business. They are trying to make sure that they are meeting costs and being booked is just being booked (He has to take care of his current customers first)
  5. Bob_McNaughton

    Bob_McNaughton LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Didn't mention my impending business to them. =P

    However, one lawn guy was in my Radioshack yesturday. I tried to talk to him about the business and he wanted no part in educating more competition.. His reply was "Mowing sucks, theres no money in it.. I only do a couple lawns a week to keep my plowing customers happy.." -- Yea, like I beleive that when I see his 3 ZTR's, and quad cab filled with employees.. Liar! =p
  6. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    "Shows up late for the estimate, and forgets his tape measure. Quotes me a price that is 30% less than the big company that came out the day before.. So I go with this guy"

    You picked your battle with this guy, live with your mistake.

    Electricians are all the same, which is why I can now do anything electrical around the home except hook up the power head-and thats because the power co. wont reconnect the meter unless the work was done by a licensed electrician who has to pull a permit.

    Lawn guys, I wouldnt do neighbors to a customer either if I was already strapped. You should have picked up the local ad paper or yellow pages instead of hiring the scrub. Once again, you got what you paid for, and deserved.

    "i'd like to hear your guys input on this"

    All this talk about scrubs, and you go and hire two. What do you do for fun, be the drunken bus driver on the way back from a M.A.D.D. convention???
  7. Lawn Wizard

    Lawn Wizard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    The one thing I learned in this business is customer service! It almost everything! In any trade be it flooring, electrical, or lawn maintenance there seems to be al sorts of lowballers and scrubs and they come and go cos they run themselves out of business! Why? No Customer Service! Whne you say your gonna show up at 7 am you do, when someone wants a price you quote it to them to the best of your ability. I think its rather simple myself and that is why I will survive all the lowballers.

    A short story of my own: My girlfirends mother had here kitchen redone. Was quoted 2 weeks and $12,000. I took 6 weeks and $15,000. The contractors excuse? We wont make any money on this job so its not a priority! LMAO now thats a killer a $15,000 job and they wont make any money! It kills me! There are hacks in very business.
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    GUY 1.
    You will soon find out just as Alan stated that at times it wont matter if they are willing to pay 3x's the amount of what you would normally charge and live right next door - Your SCHEDULE just wont accept any more clientele.

    From a professional standpoint, this would have been the guy to ask referrals from to avoid your current situation from happening.

    GUY 2.
    BUYER BEWARE!!! If you know that your property is a $25+ account and he/she is willing to do it for much less than that - The RED FLAGS should have gone up!

    GUY 3.
    This guy is probably almost in the same category as the 1st contender. You would have a 50/50 shot at reputable service from him not knowing what his guesstimate would have been.

    My .02
  9. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    LOL :D

    Time for some more Bob Bashing..
  10. Alanky

    Alanky LawnSite Member
    Messages: 67

    I know what you mean. Thats why we built a house ourself, only thing we didnt do was run the electrical out from the house and wire the breaker. Other than that we did everything. The electrician that did that work took our extension cord, radio, and two very nice fishing rods! Had to be him, because he was the only contractor we dealt with. He wasnt late or anything and i guess he did a pretty good job, but i sure do miss those fishing rods!

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