what should i have done?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SangerLawn, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    I have a customer that has been with me all summer long. I showed up today to mow but in this drought he asked me not to (first skip on him this year). He continued to say that he had a tree in the back yard that he would like taken down. I told him since he has been a great customer this year I would do it for less then I normally would. Normally I would have charged about $250.00 but I did it for him for $185.00. The tree was pretty well trimmed during its life. There were no branches exempt at the top. Even at the top I think there was only like 5 branches.

    Because of close quarters I had to take it down in levels. The top half went great! The middle went great! Then I got to the bottom 7 foot. The inside had steel all over the place. Come to find out there was a fence there when this property was a farm, years ago. There were nails all threw out the trunk and an old metal fence post. There were no signs of these objects on the outside of the trunk! A 2 hour job turned into over 5 hours and I destroyed to chains for my saws trying to find places I could saw threw.

    Here is my question? I already agreed on a price and had the job almost done when I brought the customer out to show him the problem. Should I have raised the price? I didn’t but was expecting some kind of tip. Didn’t get that eather?:cry:
  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    You're asking the right question right now because you need to learn from this.

    Next time you are asked or you offer to do a job like this, give a quote for them and state that this quote will stand as long as you don't run into any scenarios like this.

    Ask them if they have any recollection of stuff being nailed to this tree or it being near a fence. If not, warn them that if that is the case when you get to that point, it is going to have to be more because it is a more difficult job.

    The customer will realize that you are already giving them a deal. Even if another company did it at their regular price, the customer would still have had to pay more when that company hit steel.
  3. DillonsLawnCare

    DillonsLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,100

    i dont take trees down, but whenever i price someone, whether theyre family or friends or great customers, i never slack off on the price. i know you were trying to be nice but you usually get screwed when you try and do something nice like this. it sucks but its life. things like this are hard to say. i would have told the guy what was going on and made him pay for my chains, and kept the price the same. i dont know much about chainsaw chains. JMO
  4. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    bglc good answer sounds pretty close to what i was going to say . also it was a good lesson to learn .
  5. jbannick18

    jbannick18 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    how would you go about quoting tree work? This area has be confused, i never know what to price
  6. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 736

    well..... since all the replies are about the same... now i feel like an idiot lol... anyway, now i know...not many things i know but now i know this will never happen again, thanks for the help
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You might want to check out arboristsite.com, few of us here get into tree work because gen.bus.liab. insurance doesn't cover that.

    But they're right, chalk one up to experience, you did it to yourself trying to be a nice guy, heh...
    This is one aspect that led me down one long road filled with frustration, tears, anger, and insanity.
    It's a hateful thing, almost like we have to go through this, but I about believe there exists no other way.
    That's how I grew stronger, that's what gave me a thick skin, that kind of Bee Ess.

    What would I have done?
    Sure, no problem (and price comes after I'm done).
    But I wasn't able to pull that one off until about my 3rd-4th year, I had to have the customer's trust first.
    Today I do it even to brand new customers, just got the skin for it I guess.

    One thing that works halfway is a range estimate...
    Like 180-260...
    You should be able to start getting away with that, it helps buffer the bs.
  8. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    Ok this is one of the primary reasons I don't quote final price for any given job.

    I woulden't raise my price, no way, you agreed to that price and it totally BLOWS.

    for tree work I charge a hourly rate for just the saw, + my labor rate added together with dump fees ect. My custoers do not ever see my hourly rate that is none of their business. also if that happend to me I would be in good shape. Becouse I have a section on my billing called supplies and matrial the cost of the chain would be put in the customers bill not itemized just a figure. Don't ever expect tips, I have been doing this a long time and I only do set pricing on very specific jobs. if you did it my way you could have spent 10 hours and runied 5 blades and been covered. But for some reason alot of you guys don't agree with this. and dont forget you told him you would discount the price becouse he was a good customer,
  9. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    Please be a stand up guy and honor your quoted price.

    Topsites suggested price rangeing this is good advice i do that sometimes.
  10. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    you need experience.. and your historical records as to how long jobs have taken you and you use that as a guied only. then set accordingly

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