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Need help with graceful reply

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by shane772, May 16, 2014.

  1. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,682

    If the customer requires the cattails to be cut monthly and there is no place on site to leave the cattails, politely inform the customer that in the least they need to pay for dump/hauling fees for the cattails, since that was never covered in the original bid and it has became an issue that affects others.

    The client should be more than willing to adjust a little to allow for removal if it is causing problems to others.

    BTW, how large of an area and how many cattails are we talking about here? I don't think I've ever saw a situation where cattails grow unless it's standing water and probably a drainage problem to begin with. We have a couple commercial locations with drains along the road that do have cattails, they are growing in areas where the state road won't clean out the drains.
  2. Optimum Lawn

    Optimum Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    Sounds like the drainage ditch needs to be properly cleaned out ...which would be a normal thing every so many years.
    Since it would appear that you have done your duties per the contract, I would discuss with the customer that organic debris plus sediment build up over time is the cause of the current situation and likely trenching out of the ditch is in order to restore proper water flow.
    Devise a solution(s) and present it to the costumer...even price it if it is within your means of doing the work.
  3. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    It would all depend on how much additional work would be added to each service visit going forward and how I priced the job originally.

    How many man hours are you billing for and how many man hours will it take to complete the job with the additional work? Are there any other additional expenses you will incur with the removal of the cattails?
  4. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I'm charging for 24 man hrs/month. I imagine it will take an additional 6-8 (guessing, never done this before) man hours plus dump fees every month. I figured it up today at approximately 17k square feet of cattails. I generally try to charge $40/man hr on my jobs, I charged $37.50 to get this one. If my guesstimate is right it will cost me between $1925-$2450 to finish out the season.
  5. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    This is a much larger job than I had envisioned.

    I'd explain to them that removal of the cattails was not specified in the scope of work that we agreed upon. I'd then tell them that I calculated the cost associated with the additional work they are requesting and to have me remove the cattails each month, including my labor, the additional travel time, fuel costs and dump fees it will cost an additional $408 per month but since we missed this detail when we reviewed the scope of work and to be fair to everyone I will be reducing the cost by 15% which will save them $61.20 each month so the additional work will only cost them $346.80.
  6. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,682

    Is it something you could sub out for cheaper?
  7. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Possibly. I responded to HOA and told them basically I could get a price if it's something they want done. I'd rather sub it out but I think I'd need worker's comp ins to do that. Since it's just me I don't carry worker's comp, just general liability.
  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,519

    If you think its goint to be a good long term account, clean up what you have cut down. Then every week cut down what sprouts up with your string trimmer in you can get to them, you could do half one week and half the next week, or rotate what you do. Id also consider herbiciding them.
  9. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,446

    There's no way i would try to cut down cattail's manually. You could probably sub out spraying those thing's to a certified aquatic applicator for less than half of your yearly fee and be done with it.
  10. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I'm certified and licensed and have thought about spraying them. Haven't heard much that works well on them though.

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