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Pita client complains about bill, wants reduction,your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by FLAhaulboy, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. FLAhaulboy

    FLAhaulboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Okay, client wants me to reduce final bill re a landscaping job at their home & local business. I'll break it down somewhat-prices are NOT exact figures:

    1) Home total: $2,206.00

    Labor: 75. per hr ($1,182.55) (16 hrs)
    Materials: $609.00
    Pkup/Delivery, Haul away debris: 540.00

    Ripped out existing beds, tilled, installed plants, trimmed bushes, installed loose rock in one area, wheel burrowed rock/mulch to areas, hauled away debris etc.

    2) Business total: $990.00

    Labor: 512.00 (7.40 hrs)
    Pkup/delivery, haul away debris:$300.00
    Materials: $188.00

    Cleaned beds, trimmed trees, raked up big leaves, installed mulch, hauled away huge pile of debris, etc

    Okay, the client "wants" a reduction on the total of bill-$3,197.57. I spoke with the client today (payment overdue past (90) days). Of course, I called and left a voice message telling her I was turning it over to a "collection agency" on Monday! Hence the quick call back. :laugh:

    Yeah, I know I shouldn't of let three months drag by but I got busy & it was a repeat client whom I knew and trusted.

    My question, How much should I knock off of the bill, IF I choose to do so? Before you answer, consider this, I donated to their yard about $300 worth of plants "free" from my little stockpile nursery. The client knew I was giving her the plants for free. She tells me "today", her neighbors did not like these plants! WTF? Screw the neighbors & besides the client "liked" them after being installed :hammerhead:

    If I turn it over to collections, they may dispute it for whatever made up reason(s). I could take them small claims court but it is like a (2-3) month process. I'm thinking I should just slice the price maybe down to $2,600.00 or?

    But then I think of all that hard work I did & I get angry! These folks are "loaded" with cash & are bitching & I'm mad. I did take after completion photos but not before I started. The only thing I can reduce, are my hours & mics fees which are not a
    lot here.

    Anybody have any thoughts? I'm getting angrier when I think about it! Thanks.
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I need pics. I'd like to see the final results.

    Otherwise you are in a good ball-park for pricing.
  3. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,010

    Your prices seem ok may be a bit high on hauling away, but you didn't say how many loads...

    A couple of questions.

    1. What is their reason for wanting a reduction?
    2. Did they know the price before hand?
    3. Signed contract or estimate?
    4. Deposit?
  4. sehitchman

    sehitchman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 965

    I say, take a day or two to think about it. I always want to make a seat of the pants decision on these things and usually it gets clearer after a day or two.

    I think times are hard for everyone these days. These folks just seem like everyone else who are trying to get goods and service for little to nothing. Shoot, last week, I negotiated a discount at Best Buy, who'd have thought.

    The risk you run, is to alienate them for all future business by holding to your price, or will they loose respect for you if you give them a discount.

    I was once told that "a discount is a rebate for an overcharge". Don't want them thinking that all future work can be discounted. You are between a rock and a hard place. I think it is time to sit down with them and discuss this. I've always found that asking the question "what do you think is fair"? Perhaps they only want a hundred or so.
  5. albhb3

    albhb3 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    tell her to go ef herself!;)
  6. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    I think you have a couple choices.
    1. Stand your ground. collections and court.
    2. Give her a discount. I would only consider doing this if you think that by doing it you would retain her as a customer. let her know that you would do it in good faith to help her out. and then just get your money over time by pricing all work for her with what we call a PBC Pain in the Butt Charge usally between 15 to 30% depending on degree of pain she is.
    Some customers like to play lets make a deal with ya. From your prices I would say if you are getting $75.00 per hr for installation, your work should leave her with a nothing less than screaming in joy over your work.:)
  7. Premier landscaping south

    Premier landscaping south LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Look at question #2

    Did you agree on a price before the work was to be done?

    I would have gave the client a detailed estimate before the job and collected a down payment, but that is me. If an estimate was given then I would have hard time reducing the price. Not knowing if the customer was clear on the final price is crucial in a case like this.
  8. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,120

    I do not offer a discount unless I make a mistake that cannot be fixed after the fact, and that is rare.

    If there is no reason for a discount, I would stand my ground, and threaten to follow through with collections. Otherwise, you have no price integrity.
  9. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,997

    Unless I screwed up a job, there are no discounts. A discount means you priced the job too high. This is why I always give a written estimate that has to be signed by both husband and wife. Then there is the fine print on the bottom of my service agreement that both husband and wife must sign. Past due invoices are subject to administrative fees and collection. With that signed, I have full recourse if someone skips out on paying.
  10. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    No way would I offer a discount after 90 days or ever, they were ok with the price when you did the job so you might as well wait another 90 days taking it to court if they dont pay up on the full amount. This is why why I take a 50% deposit to start any landscape job and the other 50% is due on the day of completion, it has worked out great with no problems and the customers dont mind but I do bill monthly for maintenence.

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