just making sure i'm in the right

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by moron88, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. moron88

    moron88 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    tl;dr, i do the work agreed on, but not to his standards. i agree to fix that. he starts asking about extra work, i tell him it'll cost extra, he gets pissed.

    the owner of a business hires me to brush mow his outer lot and to cut up a fallen tree. i start brush mowing yesterday when i had a few hours to kill, knowing i wouldnt finish that day. i hit 2 inground beehives in the first hour, getting stung like 6 times. i move to a different section to let the bees calm down. wind up running over some rebar... stops my engine dead. i turn off the pto, fire up the tractor and move away, then get back to brush mowing. i hit a 3rd inground hive and call it a day.

    i show up at 8:15 this morning, armed with a thick fleece-lined zippered flannel shirt, leather gloves, duct tape (to seal around the cuffs) and a few cans of cheap bee spray (i'm not licensed to spray pesticides commercially, but in my mind i'm not spraying for the customer, i'm spraying to protect myself. i know that wouldnt stand up to any board or court, but it worked in my mind) and get to work. no more incidents, just good mowing time. a round 11, i let him know i'm leaving to get my chainsaw (forgot it at the house) and would be back a little later.

    about 2 hours later, i show back up without my trailer and cut and stack the tree. the base is still in the ground, so i leave it. i use my brush saw to clear the grass and weeds that were under it. i go fetch him to do the final inspection and he asks if i can remove the stump, i said it's possible. he then asks why i didnt mow this one section. i tell him because i didnt know how soft the ground was and my tractor was already starting to lean (it's next to an embankment). he starts complaining a little so i say i can come back and do it. he then asks about a mound i had mowed around/over, wondering if i can push that back and fill the little divot next to it. i say that is something i can do.

    i then inform him that moving the mound would be a separate bill and he gets angry. he says " i'm paying you $$$ for 6 hours work..." to which i reply "my overhead is $$ an hour". he starts walking off kinda quickly, saying "i'm not happy with the work. i'll still pay you, but i'll never refer you to anyone". he hands me the cash and says "get off my property". did i do something wrong here? i realize i probably shouldnt have said my overhead, but still...
     
    Cedar Knoll Lawn Care likes this.
  2. Tara Ann

    Tara Ann LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 735

    More importantly than you potentially doing something wrong (which I don't think you did), you were paid for the work you had already done - yay.
     
    Ma&Pa, sjessen, Charles and 2 others like this.
  3. hal

    hal LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 1,784

    Maybe could have gotten it in writing
     
    Tara Ann likes this.
  4. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,585

    Bingo!

    Exact work to be done for the exact price in writing. Then you don’t get the dreaded, “Can you do this?” and “Why didn’t you do that?” Written contract/agreement gives the customer a clear expectation of what will, and what not, be done.

    And no hourly rate talk!
     
  5. hal

    hal LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 1,784

    People try to be vague so they can add at the end. A detailed estimate can eliminate or bring to light those addons.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    moron88

    moron88 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    when i first started, i gave written quotes. didnt get any of those jobs. started doing verbal, and started getting paid. maybe i'll continue doing verbal quotes then show up with an invoice, requiring signature before i unload. glad to see no one pointing out anything i did wrong on the job, just before and after.
     
    wjjones, Ma&Pa and sjessen like this.
  7. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,807

    He said you were working by the hour. You may be in the wrong if that is true and you didn't specify if it was limited to doing this or that for 6 hours. You were brush cutting. Cutting down a tree. Stump removal. Then extra for the mound? Was that because it would be over the 6 hours? Vague work agreement is what got you in trouble. But he was being a jerk for ordering you off his property
     
    Ma&Pa likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    moron88

    moron88 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    i quoted for the tasks, not hourly. he was the one who did the math. would have been the same price if i did it in 3 or if it took 12 hours. the tree had fallen over, but couldnt see that it was still halfway in the ground due to the brush.
     
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 11,807

    So you let him know your hourly rate and he did the math?
     
  10. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,585

    You could have told him he’s paying for the completion of a job, not for the time. Just be glad you got paid; people like that sometimes try to stiff you when they calculate the hourly because they look at what they make, and there’s no way you deserve to make more than they do per hour. Of course, they fail to realize that a) you don’t make that steady 40 hours per week and b) you have business expenses that eat that hourly rate pretty quickly.

    I still say you need everything in writing from the start. Always think defensively because in this day and age, people will screw you any chance they get; whether it’s with payment, scope of work, or even timeline. I’d be very leery of any potential customer who wanted things only done verbally.
     

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