Should I replace the Shrubs at no cost???

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by bdm408, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    So here's the story.

    Less than a year ago I installed 20 5-Gallon Photinia (red tip) shrubs out in an area where Deers are present. The shrubs were doing great until last week when it started getting cold, and over night the photinias were almost completly eaten (the leaves).
    At the time I believed photinias were deer resistant but now I have recently found that deer's actually prefer photinia over many other plants. So it seems the problem will always exist.
    1. Should i replace the plants out of my pocket with something that is actually deer resistant? total would be around $500.00 including paying my workers.
    2. Or should I not mention this and just wire the shrubs and hope they actually make it?

    At the time I didn't have a license but now I do. Does that make any difference? does the year guarantee apply if I didn't have a license at the time?

    Thanx for the help!!!
  2. group501

    group501 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    If you sold the shrubs as a deer resistant variety then you should offer some type of restitution. I would explain to the customer that at the time you did believe that the shrub was deer resistant and that you did not intend to be deceptive. I would offer to either put the barrier up at no charge or to replace the plants and only charge the cost of the replacement shrubs. I would absorb the labor charge. Also, this may present itself as a way to sell something else that you can charge for.
  3. mgugliotti

    mgugliotti Inactive
    Messages: 58

    This is a simple problem to resolve and it depends on your answer to this question: "How much do you care about your business?" If you answered a lot, then you talk to the customer and make it right. If you said not a lot I'm only in this for the quick buck, then just go on you way and say nothing.

    I have been doing this for twenty years and I have always done right by the customer even if it cost me a buck or two- but I have always been able to make it up in the long run. If you are a good ethical contractor and care about your work and your business, you will do something about it, if not, your customer and your competition will do it for you. It will not be long before the customer realizes that the shrubs are wrong and they do a little research or call another contractor and they find out the truth- which mind you will be spread like wildfire by your competitors. At this point the money you saved by not doing the job right will be far surpassed by the jobs you have lost because you are viewed as a hack.

    Good customer relations and service go farther than you can imagine. Make it a win win with the customer, give him what he payed for and he will tell all of his friends how ethical you were and that you can be trusted to do the right thing, pretty soon you will have a group of people recommending you to the point you will not even need to advertise, and you can sleep well at night.

    Go back and do the job yourself, it can't be that hard to pluck a few shrubs in some new holes and replace them- that way you save on labor, and if you did your original quote correctly, you should have marked up the plants at least 50% so worst case scenario you break even, did some public relations for your company and your image, you keep a customer, and potentially get more work out of it!

    Always do what is right by your customer and you will never go wrong in business, even in bad times such as this people will still want you to do work for them because they know they can trust you. And if you are smart you will not listen to the next 95 guys that are going to tell you to take the money and run- it is bad business, short sided, and they are the ones who will not make it through this economic crisis.

    Best of Luck!
    Matt Gugliotti
  4. bdm408

    bdm408 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Thanx very much mgugliotti. I really appreciate your honest and very well presented answer. I definetely do care for my customers so therefore will be going out next weekend to replace the shrubs with some viburnum. The good thing is that i explained the situtation to my client and he was considerate enough to agree to help me with half the cost of the material which is great. but if that had not been the case I agree that I should have done it out of my own pocket. Thanx again to all and have a great Thanksgiving!!

  5. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Good end to this story. :)
  6. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    Very well said, Advice good for us all.
  7. mgugliotti

    mgugliotti Inactive
    Messages: 58

    I'm glad it ended well and it is great he is picking up 1/2 the tab! I wish you the best, and I would be interested to hear what long term results you see from doing the right thing. Have a great holiday season.
    Matt Gugliotti

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