The Check is probably not in the mail!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by morturf, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. morturf

    morturf LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 476

    Happened to me last week.

    Have a client that replaced railroad tie walls in the back yard. Approximately 1000 sq. ft of Keystone walls. I did not do this part. I have no idea what a project like that would cost. I maintain the grass on a yearly basis and have for 30+ years. The wall guy drove theskidsteer around the house which he had to but did quite a bit of damage to the lawn. The back yard was toasted. He was supposed to leave the ground “prepared to seed.” There was no talk of additional cost but was understood that it would be more than the yearly fee already paid. The yard is closed in and tight. Mostly hand work to repair the damage
    and put the seed in. I used a tractor to haul dirt around the house to fill the areas that were left too low ( a full load of dirt). The area was about 8000 sq. ft. Used about 60 pounds of seed and it took 3.5 hours for the 3 of us to do the repair which consisted of all hand raking and moving sprinkler heads. I discounted the work and really did a break even bill. The reason for this is that at least I knew what kind of seed I put in and that it would match the rest of the yard.

    I dropped off the bill a few days later and she came unglued. “How in the world could I justify a charge like that. The other guy said he would do it for $100.00. There is just no
    way she could see paying a bill of this magnitude!” Are you ready, it was for $250.00. I just stood there and let her go, and go and go. When she finally settled down I told the that we had 10.5 man hours in and the amount of material. She still was adamant that I was gouging her and for this price it had better look really good. At this point I just turned my back, started toward my truck and asked if she had been to a lawyer lately and left.

    Her husband is a lawyer, one of the most prominent ones in town. I recently had him do a little will work for me. His rate was $250/hr. She had the gall to say that there was no comparison. Will wonders never cease.

    Hope everyone has a good winter!! I know I am ready!!
  2. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

  3. morturf

    morturf LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 476

    This has nothing to do with contracts..........this has to do with perceived value of time. I really could care less if I get paid for this. I was pointing out how people perceive the value of others time. Her husband is worth $250/ hr. because he went to law school. We are not...just too bad. He has an moderately expensive education, and an office and some clerks. I have $500k invested in my business and it is not worth $25 an hour. Some people really suck that is what this was about, not the non-payment, or crying about the payment. Mostly it is the highest paid people that are at fault.

    I have been in this business for all my life.....only been stiffed 2 times in more than 20,000 of transactions. I won’t get stiffed here either, just thought I would share this will all of
    you as an end of season anecdote.

    Thanks for offer on the contracts though.
  4. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :blob2: Morturf im with you, though i dont step on the prop. with a signed agreement. those are the people who you have the most trouble with, the ones that think they are better than you and should'nt be compensated for their hard work except for themselves. is winter here yet. T

    p.s. talked with some competitors at lunch the other day and it was unamious that this was the worst year to deal w/ cutomers, so don't feel that bad. T:angry:
  5. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    You've been in the biz for so long that this is more a reminder than new advice:

    Doctors, Lawyers and Teachers - add 25% to the bill for the pain in the butt factor you know you're going to experience.
  6. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Id try and talk to hubby and leave the bored housewife(asking for trouble with that ) out of it.
  7. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    Had this doctor once, mid-east type, built a new house over budget, normal thing. Anyway has the yard from hell and wants a price to prep and seed. Half the lawn is so steep that billy goats need ropes and the hole thing has 2" to 3" rocks. I shot him a worst case price scenario and he gives me the old" that comes out to $100 an hour if you finsh in 2 days. That's more than a doctor or lawyer makes. I'd had it at this point and came back with "that's funny, the last time I went to a doctor I saw her for 5 minutes and it cost me $50 . That's $600 an hour!" Needless to say we didn't hook up on this job.
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I couldn't agree with Kris more. Talk to him. He'll probably understand, as a man, the work that is entailed, there. The housewives like that are just materialistic. Don't think for a minute, that she wouldn't pay $250 more for a coat with a little more dead animal on the collar, or $250 more for a diamond if the jeweler simply said that it was worth 250 more than another.

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