Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jrebeiro, Apr 27, 2001.

  1. jrebeiro

    jrebeiro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    I've never had to do this before so Im not exactly sure what to say. We underbid a lawn in a new neighborhood to get in there... it wasnt by much tho maybe $5. Well this guy has a tree line behind his house so when we estimated we went up to the tree line. Nobody was home to confirm so we cut the lawn. Well after a few cuts the guy tells us we need to go behind the tree line and cut. So we did it the first week and it took forever and killed our schedule. We need to drop this guy since we can't handle the property size.

    He paid for half a year of service so we have to cut him a $800 check which is his balance after the cuts. Here is another twist. Today we got a flat on one of our machines and were already running behind schedule because of a cut that the customer waited on and we had to clean it up. So we decided not to do the back which grows alot slower than the front and charged him the original price for the front. He called up tonight complaining and demands that we come out tomorrow morning and cut it... we have a full schedule tomorrow and cant do this.

    How do I tell this guy we aren't coming tomorrow and we are refunding his money and no longer servicing his lawn.
  2. Dennis

    Dennis LawnSite Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 155

    If you just up and quit, you and your company looks unprofessional. I would sit him down and explain what you just said here, you did a blind BID? Or was it an estimate??
    There is a big diff between the 2. Tell him if it was an est that it is a starting point based on appearance of the area, behind the trees was not added until later, so not covered,do not refund $$ for time it took to do back.
    If he doesn't agree with you then you will suggest he find someone else,let him decide weather to go to the trbl of finding another cutter.
    And never UNDERBID to get into an area, now you are a made man, he will tell all.
    Good Luck
    Hope this helps
  3. GrassWorx

    GrassWorx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Be a professional about it but don't continue to cut his grass if its not worth it. Just explain why you think you should get more money. u know tell him about the tree line and all. Tell him that you appreciate his bussiness and that your sorry that you couldn't agree on a price.
    Most of all learn from it. learning is the key
  4. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Just tell him your bid (or estimate whatever it may be) was only to the tree line, and its $xx additional for beyond the trees. Dont like it just run out his account, stop mowing when youve mowed 800 bucks worth.
  5. Holloway Lawns

    Holloway Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 253


    I agree with Dennis. Try and explain it to your customer be sure to lt him know that behind the tree line was not included and try to work it out with him. But also if it is not too much more time or trouble to do it for the price you have given him you may just let him know that it was not included in your estimate but will still do it for him if he will keep you for a period of time.
  6. John from OH

    John from OH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    Denis gave you excellent advice. I always like to meet with the property owner and walk the property with them before giving an estimate. It allows you to see the intended scope of work and to establish a rapport with the potential client. During this casual walk you can learn much about the owners attitude towards you and about their expectations. Its also easy to point out potential improvements that lead to more work. Meetings take time, but getting the owner and yourself on the same page is vital to their long term satisfaction with your work. Then put everything in writing including property lines and the scope of work. Most problems in our industry stem from the customer expecting one thing and us contractors expecting something to provide something else. Communication can make the difference.
  7. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,030

    I have been in this business for 9 years now. And when I first started I would often underbid to get jobs. I can honestly say it always ended up being a nightmare. Underbidding anyone for any reason never works, because you always end up cutting corners to make up the difference, which often displeases the customer. Also when you underbid, that customer will always find his way to the end of your schedule because you know you can do better in other places. My advice is to explain to the customer what happened. Apologise, and tell him you tried to take care of the extra work under the original price, as a courtesy to him, but it is just impossible to continue. If he likes your work, Im certain he will continue your service. After all there is a lot of pretenders out there, but few pros.
  8. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    You said it in your first sentence, you underbid to get in the neighborhood and you didn't clarify boundaries with the owner. Sounds like you made the mistakes. Things need to be crystal clear with people. What is the purpose of underbidding to get in a new area and then your going to piss the first customer off. Doesn't make sense!

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