Tired of hearing "I'm on a fixed income" yet?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nobagger, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    I know money is tight with a lot of people myself included but this season I think Iv'e heard this line every other estimate. We gave a mowing customer an estimate for a small clean up with 1 yard of mulch installed for just under $200's, "too expensive". We just gave another estimate for mulch and cutting new flower bed edges, about 4hrs worth of work. The estimate came to $610.00 including materials. This was an older couple (nice people) very nice house but after I explained to them everything I thought here it comes, and I was right "oh boy we're on a "fixed income" I don't know". I called back with a follow up call as usual for us, and she said they went with another company for $100.00 cheaper but with no edging. Tried to explain to her why our estimate was so much different but to no success. We usually are about $45-$55.00/yd of mulch delivered and spread this other company must be in the $70's/yrd and more power to them but I don't get people some times.
  2. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I hear it maybe once every couple of years but I only provide landscape services to 2 of my customers. I am raising prices on about 1/2 of my customers next year from $2.50 to $10 per customer. So far the customers who I've informed have had no problems with it.
  3. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,171

    If I hear anything like that, I walk away. I try very hard not to deal with customers that will try to nickel and dime every price.
  4. idacurt

    idacurt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    You know,it may be true.
    My parents are in their mid 70's and they honestly are on a fixed income.
    Most people of that age may have lost touch with current market cost for landscaping.If it were me,I would walk away from anyone saying that and let the local kids have at them.
  5. git er done landscaping

    git er done landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    beautiful house two new cars in the oversized garage. fixed income yea right! these people kill me.
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Whenever I hear it, my reply is. "Yeah,...it must be nice to how much you're getting at the end of the month!"
  7. ynvvbr

    ynvvbr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    it happens!!!

    just remember we set the prices not them!!! or hell we'd all be working for free:)
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    From the responses I read, I am glad you folks see this for what it is. It gives me confidence in this forum and is a far cry from the posts I have read before concerning this and similar problems, and a problem it is but I understand today it is NOT my problem.

    Way I see it, they're belly-aching and plying everyone for mercy, oh please help me with my problem. They want the work done dirt-cheap but they DO expect A+ service and then just to piss you off, a larger-than-usual percent of them will have non-payment issues as well.

    See I'm on a fixed income too, I pay myself a salary of one thousand dollars a month, and really MOST everybody I know is on a fixed income, especially if you work for someone else you get a regular paycheck and that paycheck is usually a fixed amount, is it not? Well it ain't unlimited, thus it is fixed.

    I used to feel sorry for them like when they were old until I saw an 80-year old lady cutting her own grass and I thought if SHE can do it, anyone can!
    One time some old couple tried to play me like that, but I got a glimpse of their riding mower sitting in the garage and I thought, these people are getting over on me, they put their rider away to make me THINK they can't cut their own grass (because they tried to give me the impression I would get to cut their grass long-term so long I please take care of this other pita work first, please, and of course for cheap...

    I had some mother answer the door with baby in her arms and that sad look in her eyes, that one really ticked me because the baby wasn't in her arms per chance, it was there because she was using her baby to try and get a better price: I raised my estimate by 20% and that stopped the comedy show right then and there. If she hadn't pulled the stunt, I'd have given her the standard price but you see that's still too much so I don't feel bad about raising the price just to shut them up.

    Far as money problems, I have a customer in a trailer park with a TINY yard and if SHE can pay 20 dollars for me to come out and play around for 10 or 15 minutes, then ANYBODY else can pay what I ask for, too.

    That's how I started figuring it, and stopped feeling sorry for anyone.

    But I do, I RAISE my prices when I see it coming because if I give them a lower rate hoping I'll get the job, that's when the haggling begins and now you're wasting more time. Give them the standard price and there's STILL a chance they start with the low-balling, but give them a HIGH price and you will see it is over right then, so now you can get on with life.

    This is one of the reasons I like giving estimates in the bmw... Half the time when it's like that, I can see on their face the answer is NO before I even get out of the car. Really most any fancy-looking auto should do it, doesn't have to be new just nice (my bmw is 14 years old), even a nice shiny truck + shiny trailer works well, this is where I talk about if your equipment looks shabby then it is hard to get a good price but if your stuff is spiffy then it helps stop the bs, and bs it is and the sooner it's over, the better.
  9. True Cut Lawn Maintenance

    True Cut Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 418

    YES i heard it this week Refer to the post i made titled "How would you handle this" this guy is living on vetrans income for disability and yet as im leaving the place the other day the garage door is closing and there sets a beautiful late 70's vette and a late 80's LeSabre and he also has Direct TV and i was like oooooo not cool, yet he wants me to come dig out this damn tap root that is worked its way into the basement for next to nothing

    im still trying to make up my mind but you can guess as to which way im leaning
  10. SproulsLawnCare

    SproulsLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from IN
    Messages: 365

    Thankfully, I have been lucky in this aspect! I have one customer who is elderly, seems to be a vet according to stickers etc. on vehicles, and has recently had a heart attack that lead to him having his legs removed. He is obviously on a "fixed income" now. I quoted a price to perform lawn service and the first day out, he insisted to pay $20 more than the quote! That didn't hurt my feelings since I happened to underestimate the amount of work involved.

    On the other hand, I had one customer who is quite capable of holding a good paying job, but chooses to work as a handyman for a local contractor on an as needed basis. His family receives something like $2,000 a month from the government for a disability of a family member. Additionally, their income level makes them qualified for full government assistance (food stamps, HUD). The combined amount at least equals an average family income for this area, and yet I never saw a dime for payment. The court date is set for the end of this month!

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