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lLoyalty Out the Door

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by DAZ982500, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    I went to a a customers rental property to perform some additional work.The work involved digging with pick and shovel an area 15x15 so a pad of cruched stone could be layed out followed by concrete steps.The areas needed to be dug out a foot deep and existing dirt had to be removed.Also, drainage pipe had to be layed about 25 feet in a hole. I did not estimate this since I cut 7 lawns for him .His residence , and 6 rentals.He pays ok.The trick was loaded down took 5 hours to complete job tranport material away.At the end of the job he said 80.00 dollars is adequate.I tried to justify 150.00 .DID NOT HAPPEN.He wanted me to perform SealCoating in the future , which after this I am defintely not going to do.I have all the properties for snowplowing too.I thinking of saying the H.. with this guy the problem is I generate some income here and don"t want to let them go until the end of the season.I felt taken adavantage of on this job.Any thoughts.DAVE.
  2. BrunswickMowing

    BrunswickMowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    If he is a good customer, don't lose him over 70 bucks. Give him a quote next time before you do anything other than your usual routine work of mowing/snow removal.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    That's why you never do an extra w/o a proposal or estimate never...esp. one where you work your ass of and make your truck sag.
  4. arkylady

    arkylady LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Don't dump the customer, if you do that you'll have zero chance to make up that $70 loss and just lose even more profits (assuming the regular jobs you're doing for him are profitable enough to satisfy you).

    Just take this experience as just that, experience. Learn what you can from the situation. Take the lessons you learned, then apply them in the future when you're faced with a similar situation.

    Look on the positive side, it only cost you $70 to learn this lesson. It could have been much, much more :)
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    From what I've learned, once things get like this, it never improves. You'll continue to work for this customer, and the customer will continue to take advantage of you. It likely will only happen from time to time, but happen it will and you lose money. I used to get so pissed off about this crap, nowadays once it happens like this, it's sayonara - first time, no second chances because things never change anyway.

    Now this is not to say ALL people are like this but in the customer-to-business relationship there needs to be a harmony, things have to click smoothly and if they don't, well, it's probably just an incompatibility issue but if that is the case, BOTH of you are better off parting ways.

    Way I see things, I like it when customers give me carte blanche - We pay whatever you say because we trust you. It's one thing if they question a price and have me add it up again, that I don't mind because mistakes do happen. But if, for example, I estimate 150 for a job and then it turns out to be 160, I don't need this crap about 'oh no, I'm not paying a dime over 150.'
    Now if I estimated 150 and it turns out to 300, that is a problem because I can't just double the price (it's against the law for one, but also it's not fair - 10% up is maximum and you can go as far down as you want, just not up).

    From the sound of things, you never gave the estimate upfront, and perhaps you now know to always do so in the future. Still I don't care about this business of customers telling ME what the price should be. Of course they can suggest a price, that I can handle, but I'm talking about when they say (as in your case) 'gee, xx-dollars is adequate (while the silent message is: and that's what I'm paying, yup.)' Yeah, I *know* they didn't actually say that last part, but it was in there, I heard it loud and clear (please do correct me if I am wrong).
    By the way, that's called strong-arming and is a really nasty way of treating someone, not to mention it's actually against the law (but, try and prove it).

    I would say get out of there before you lose more money, the ideology of 'you can make it up later down the road' is flawed: Once you begin to lose money with someone, it almost always never ends ... You'll always be 'making it up' and in general, hating life. You will make it up for a while and just when you're starting to feel a little better it happens again, and you're back to where you started and possibly worse ... They're just gambling with you and it's their game, so they're leading you on with small wins between the losses. Whether they're doing it on purpose (I would hope it's an honest mistake) or not, it is a game several folk have played on me in the past years and I learned the hard way, tempted by greed because they always had 'ALL THIS WORK' and 'WE PAY GOOD' and all that crap and in the end, I just got skru'd time and time again.

    Lesson learned: Do NOT let greed tempt you for it clouds your judgement.

    Perhaps in your case things will be different, but somehow I doubt it. Do let me know if you decide to stick things out and it actually does work, I think you'll have found a rare gem, indeed.

    Peace out,
    Best of luck.
  6. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    15 x 15 x 1' deep = 225 cubic feet / 27 = 8.33 yards x 1.5 = 12.5 tons of debris.

    Thats an awful lot for a normal lawn truck to haul.

    I charge $5 a cubic foot to hand excavate and an additional $200 per 6 ton truck load for disposal. Total bill for this job would have been $1525.

    Come work for me for my excavating work...I'll be happy to sub this out for 5 man hours at $30 per hour.

    Maybe it wasn't quite 12" deep...normal depth for crushed stone pad would be 4". Price for that would be 75 cubic feet / 27 = 2.78 yards x 1.5 = 4 tons.

    Still quite a load for a single haul, price to client would have been $375 plus $200 for hauling away...$575. More in line for 5 hours, both in production time and cost. Don't sell yourself short. In the future calculate the job out first, the tape measure and calculator don't lie. Who else would have done this grunt work if you hadn't? You do have some leverage in the future.
  7. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    I appreciate your feedback and I believe that the trend with this individual will be one of, in his words, reasonable for prices=cheap.I say this because as I spoke with after the job, before I was paid he said he would 'nt have a problem if I cut is rental properties every 20 Days.Did I hear this right 20 days.I told him I could 'nt do this.As I indicated before he would like me to sealcoat his driveway.He said to keep track of the hours then let him know.In this case he will assign the dollar amount per hour.When does the customer get to decide the hourly rate!Anyway ,as I said I perform lawncare 6 rentals at 110.00 small yards his home at 30.00.I know this is not a snowplowing discussion but a few of the driveways cannot be accessed due to college students blocking, or gravel making plow trip excessively.Sometimes the only way to do it is to use a snowblower.I think my decision here is to try to finish the season with this guy and add new custimers winter/summer to cover this loss.The other problem is I perform work for a relative of his who is fair but do not want to lose him. I guess some creative thinking is in store here. Thanks Dave,
  8. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Do not, I repeat, do not let the customer tell you what they are going to pay an hour. I had that crap pulled on me my first year and it will happen NO MORE! You tell him what the price will be, if he does not like it, then tough s__t!. I dont care if you cut 50 yards for him, once they start this is will only go downhill, why? because they found out they can tell you what they are going to pay, put the skids on him now!
  9. TurfProSTL

    TurfProSTL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 693

    If the fair relative's a close relative, he's got to know how cheap this guy is. Dump him as soon as possible, and take your chances on the relative.....
  10. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    Listen, it doesent matter if this guy is "Donald Trump", always give a written estimate or at the very least a verbal cost......Never, never, never, let a client dictate prices to you.....Who's the "Landscaper" here anyway?....I agree with Treedoc, your prices are way to low anyway,[ I would have gotten at least $200 just to dig that hole, aand if the dirt stayed on the property, maybe another $50-75 to lose it?. "Dude" every thing you do has a value, make sure you get paid for it or decline that part of the job!] You need to start breaking down you services on paper, followed by a cost, to get a better idea of how to price.......If this "Slick Client" comes back with a "Look at all the work I give You", be sure to let him know right there and then, that you appreciate his buisness and you Already take that into consideration on how you priced the other work you do for him!.....If hes not willing to pay for the quality or dependability of the work you preform, than so be it......Lose Him Now!!!!!!!.......Run Dont Walk From This Account. :angry:

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