Landscaper just made my job harder.. or am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Shilohlandscaping, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Shilohlandscaping

    Shilohlandscaping LawnSite Member
    from Norcal
    Messages: 30

    One of my yard clients recently had a guy (not a contractor btw) come in and redo an area of their backyard. I just didnt have the time or the help (or the contractors license since it was a pretty big patio job) so I had to decline doing it.

    Anyway.. when I started that lawn a few yrs ago, it had no edge on it and just butted up against a shale and gravel walkway.. so I installed an edge of triple thick redwood bender. Not a huge lawn.. maybe 1500 sq ft.

    So first time I go there after the new install, I saw that the "patio" was DG, which I had told them previous to the install that IMO I would not use because they have a beautiful new hardwood floor.. and dog and kids. The guy told them that it was far enough from the house that it wouldnt be a problem.. 20 ft.. I said ok.. not my problem I guess. I'm not even sure they compacted the dg as it still seems soft to me, and for sure it has no stabilizer in it.

    They also removed my nice, easy to edge benderboard and made an edge out of 5 to 8 inch river rock which I think will not only get knocked out of place too easily but is a massive pita to edge and to keep looking nice. (its about 100 ft long and curved) There is also now a path of about 10 flagstones between the dg area and their cement patio so thats a nice extra bit to trim each week.

    I hate to lose this job as they are nice people.. hate to have to charge them more but it seems like my trimming time just went up considerably.

    Any thoughts?
  2. jnt412

    jnt412 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I had to go up on the client last year that threw a party in his backyard. Xmas lights around the trunk of the trees and those dayum Tiki Torches. Before I started to cut his yard I told him it will be $10 extra due to increased trimming times until he removes the items. The stuff is still there.. :dizzy:
  3. HighGrass

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

    You said two things at the end. 1- You hate to loose them because they are nice people, and 2- You hate to raise the price.
    It's always hard in these situations but if you are going to do extra work, explain to them that it means that it will cost extra. After all, they had the money for the install didn't they?
  4. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    One of my clients just had a privacy fence put around the back yard [looks great though] and I went up 10 bucks on them. I mean now I have to trim inside and outside of the fence so it takes longer and I do not work for free.
  5. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,753

    My customer added a fence too and I also went up $10. Maybe do it for the same price one time and keep up with how long it takes you in extra time. Then tell them it will be so much $ more the next time. This is why it is good to time your yards
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Most of the time people understand that changes require a pricing adjustment, but not always. I've had people drastically change their landscaping and not want to adjust the price. One couple cleared out 1/2 acre of woods, but left like 25 large trees all with edged mulch rings. They eventually found someone to do it for what I was before the change, looks like garbage, but they are happy even though it is an 800K house. My favorite is a newlywed that moved from a townhome into a country lot with almost 4 acres of turf. Their jaw dropped when they heard what it cost to mow. He bought a tractor and guess he spends most of his weekend doing it. And of course the families that buy 5000 square foot homes and forget that it will cost over a grand a month to keep the utilities on in the winter.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I have it right in my service agreement that my price is based on the curent state of the yard and that changes may result in a price change. I would time how long it takes now vs how long it used to and adjust price accordingly. I record the start and end times of all of my lawns to the minute for both the mow and the trim/blow.
  8. 360ci

    360ci LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 998

    I wouldn't worry about upping the price a bit, as you're already doing the work for them on a regular basis they shouldn't have a problem with it. If they want to spend $20K on landscaping that makes your job longer to do, then they shouldn't have a problem with an extra $200 a year in lawn maintenance.

    I'd raise the price. It takes man hours to do the work, replace the trimmer line, and more money to buy more trimmer line.
  9. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    We had a $2k per season lawn customer 3 years ago, have another landscaper company come in for an entire day with a skid steer and install FOURTY trees on his 1.6 acre property border...

    First i was pissed, 40 trees + good profit, we could have handled that work even 3 years back.

    Second, 40 trees = 80 tree stakes, 3 on each for some so closer to 90/100ish.
    They left dirt and chunks of "clay" all over on top, not mulched or easily able to maintain, so trimming was a severe major PITA!

    Third, skid ruts everywhere, our once mainly flat lawn turned into the worst ride of my life when it dried out a few weeks later :/

    Fourth, the customer started to have to water all his damn trees in july/august.. each week we'd move 1-2 LONG garden hoses at least once or twice to finish the lawn, EACH WEEK!

    Finally, the next spring, when we thought he'd renew his lawn service, he cancelled and told us that he was a little unhappy with our quality as he felt it went downhill for the season, we frequently missed some trimming and we hit 2 tree stakes!, haha! 30 mowings for the season and 80-100 tree anchors "wooden stakes, 4ft tall", and we hit one? damn im shocked. Anyway, i never remember seeing one damaged and only me and one other employee at that time EVER cut his lawn. Oh well, i didnt know what to say.

    Low and behold, this $56 per week lawn account was taken by our other neighboring client's new lawn jockos that charge $35 per lot... in come two older guys with 48" walk behinds, it took us too long with the 48" and 61" zero turns @10mph... oh i feel like i lost so much on those accounts haha :walking:

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