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Never "trade for services."

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Gr grass n Hi tides, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    I will never, ever trade for services again.

    The situation: a mechanic that has worked on my vehicle a number of times finds out I'm in lawn care & asks me to cut his property. All is fine in the beginning, he's paying on time. Then, I need some work done on the truck and he suggests I bring it to his house instead of the garage to be worked on while I'm there mowing. Doesn't sound too bad. Get two birds with one stone, right? Not.

    As soon as the motor vehicle work begins he starts getting slack with payments. Then, he suggests trading off. Stupidly, I say okay. Bad move.

    Long story short, about a month ago I showed up one evening at his place, the day he told me to be there to get some work done on my truck. He says to me "sorry dude I just ain't gonna get to it tonight......sorry to blow you off." Well, that was a frickin lawn night for me. I got double shafted b/c had to pay for a sitter the following night making up for it & missed an evening hanging out with my girls.

    Three weeks ago, I show up to mow & his wife says, "yeah man we've done got us a mower dude......we don't need ya no more." So I say cool, I guess I'll just settle up with hubby tomorrow at the garage & then I leave. Well, I tried to "settle up with him at the garage" but he said "the Mrs. has all the cash dude." I didn't go back & have not talked to him again................that is until today.

    Today, Mr. mechanic calls today to say "man you've got to come cut the grass it's a mess, ain't been cut in like a month man......she shoulda never told you to leave that day."

    So I've got 5 weeks of cuts unpaid, my truck still needs attention & I don't want to burn a bridge because the garage where he works is very convenient for me when I need work done. Also, this guy wants a 3 ft. deep jungle cut because he and his wife were stupid.

  2. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Get paid first before you even consider any more work."Look DUDE
    if you want your lawn cut I need to get paid,Like is that cool DUDE?"
  3. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Don't trade for services, don't work for family, and don't work for friends.....unless you do it for free.
  4. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    Got a lesson on item #3 this year too. Never again. Just a one time thing, but I waited 5 months to get paid for a big job. I'll steer clear of Item #2.
  5. Yep, tough lesson. I’ve had offers of this type, but the only trading I do is for cash.

    Connections can have disadvantages. Sure, a referral can lead to more business, but if there is a disagreement, then that “connection” is going to plead it’s case all up and down the line without you being there to defend yourself. Next-door neighbors are very bad about this kind of thing.

    On the other side of a business deal, don’t hire anyone you can’t fire. Friends and relatives certainly apply to that rule. But so would this referral from your main mechanic. In this case, I’d be concerned about putting my truck in that shop.

    Some mechanics will sabotage your vehicle for future repairs. Like making slight cuts in your CV-Boots, then those little cuts propagate over time into a full tear. If you don’t replace the boot, road-grit will get into the CV-Joint and cause it to fail, which is big money. I don’t know the percentage, but I’ve heard mechanics talk about it. That’s something you could probably never prove, but getting a mechanic mad at you is about like aggravating a waiter (because they might spit in your food).

    If I were you; I’d politely ask for my money, giving them every reason to believe I’m still going to cut their grass in the future; but for reasons of “good faith,” everyone should get current before anymore work is done. Then IF they pay up, I’d re-evaluate whether or not I really would work for them. 95% chance they’d get replaced A.S.A.P.
  6. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    Now what you have expierenced is a bad deal, but I do trade for services - not frequently, but it does happen. I service a local restaurant and bar, the owner runs into money problems, suggests opening an account. Work performed comes off of a house account. I have monitored the charges I have placed with what I have been billed, they are right on. With this guy, I will keep what I have - however I can feel for you getting jerked by this mechanic. If he owes you money, either right it off or make him pay. Unless he owns the shop you take your truck to, tell the service writer not to let this guy work on it.
  7. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    All great words Bluesteel. These three items of yours I quoted though, in particular -

    (1) If anyone ever suggests a swap to me again my polite out will be that I don't do that for bookkeeping reasons;

    (2) I think I'll have to possibly stay away from the garage altogether now b/c he's pretty tight with at least one other mechanic who also "works on the side" at his home with him.

    (3) My feeling is that I've lost a convenient place to have my vehicle serviced no matter which way I go, and through no fault of my own (except for agreeing to trade for services - my end was upheld). To me that is the biggest loss out of all this. I've been a good customer at that garage.

    I actually did fill his time slot on my schedule with a new and better account.

    I think he already feels that he's got certain liberties so I don't want to uncoil any more rope for him. I got the feeling that he believes mechanics should be paid better than LCOs. In our case, that's not true. I know he makes 40% of the $65/hr. rate at the garage because he told me so. I do better than that as an LCO but I did not spell that out for him. I think he did his own math & perhaps therein lies his problem.

    I believe I'm going to tell him exactly how it is. Let him know I filled his spot on my route when his wife told me not to come back and ask for the $250.00. As far as auto work is concerned I think not mentioning it at all could be best & I'll just stay away from there even though that creates a major inconvenience when I need work done.

    Such is life.
  8. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 976

    Sounds like you have it all worked out. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
  9. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 608

    I am trading services with one customer. He designed and maintains my website, and I mow his lawn once per week. I send him a bill and that is deducted from his bill to me. It works great. www.southsidegrounds.com
  10. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    You went around the shop owner and used his help on the side to save you $. How would you like employees of yours to do your work for your customers on the side?
    You are at fault IMO. Just my point of view.
    I don't mean to rag on you it would have been ok IMO to make this deal with the shop owner but you took your business to some one else at his expense. I trade services with my accountant and it works ok for me.

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