Ya get what ya pay for!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by RLS24, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    My friend and I are in business together cutting lawns and doing landscaping for people. we're not out to make a fortune and get rich, just trying to make a few extra bucks for gas and food while we're in college, so maybe take this with a grain of salt.

    We were referred to a guy who is selling his house and wanted it "cleaned up" so we went over there, talked to the guy to see what he wanted done, and he showed us. Decent sized house with beds all around, he wants all the beds edged (the lawn has grown into them pretty bad in some spots), beds weeded (some spots pretty bad, some not so bad), 3 large dead bushes removed, 3 or 4 small "out of control" trees trimmed down, driveway and sidewalks edged, and all the shrubs trimmed (about 15 on the property and all are out of control).

    Now, my friend works for one of the big-time local landscape companies during the summer, and he has a pretty good eye for estimating time and cost. We saw what was to be done, and discussed it, and came up with a price of $250. According to my friend, his company would charge at least $500 to do what this guy wants. We told him and he was like "oh thats way too much" so, being the nice people we are, and figuring that its all profit for us anyway because theres no materials involved, we said we would do it for $200 thinking he would settle for that. He still said it was too much, and noted that someone down the street had their whole property landscaped and mulched, labor and materials, by a reputable landscaping company for $250. when we asked what company it was, he couldnt remember. yeah ok buddy..... my friend even told the guy how much the place he works for would charge.

    So, the guy said he wouldnt pay us more than $150. The only we reason we are doing it is because he wants us to cut his grass for the rest of the year as well, and the price we negotiated on that was a bit higher than what we would have normally charged, so in the end I guess we will be making some of what we lost on the landscaping back. But like my friend said, "he only wants to spend $150? then he's only gonna get a $150 job done"
  2. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    if he's this much trouble for the first job, i can only imagine what the future jobs are going to be like. I would have just walked away. I never negotiate with someone like that.
  3. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    we were about to, then he mentioned cutting the grass, and we told him a price for that which was way higher than what we would normally charge and he agreed to it (to our surprise). if it wasn;t for us making a killing on cutting the guy's grass we would have walked.
  4. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    Cash up front for customers like that!
  5. robtown

    robtown LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 224

    wow ...
    talk about working for free.
    and you maybe got a whole 8 cuts too.
  6. ericmcj31

    ericmcj31 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    yeah-people gotta understand that we're out there to make $$$ -for whatever reason-we're out there. I tell them I want to make a living-not looking to get rich (overnight), just make enough to pay bills and stick some back, that's all. You guys are paying for college--whatever your reason is-you're not out there for free. Sounds to me like the guy is a jerk and you guys came off like 40%.? I wouldn't sacrifice quality for anything (even if I were doing it free) b/c a neighbor is gonna drive by and def. not call you if you're doing a crappy job.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Never count promised work. 90% of the time its BS unless it is an established customer. So you lowball the competition out, give this guy an unrealistic idea of what landscaping costs, you mow one time, he doesnt pay, and your beat out of 100 + your mowing. I think you guys should stay in school.
  8. verant

    verant LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    I would have walked away in a heart beat. Im in college too and I dont put up with people who can't afford my services, especially for first time customers. It's not worth it, don't short yourself even if you are using no materials...labor is labor...simple as that. It's still worth a lot of money to me. Do NOT let customers tell you what your service is WORTH!!
  9. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,087

    Looks like you two are not business majors to me. The owner got over on you two. Don't go into sales after you graduate would be my tip to you.
  10. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    the guy is paying us for 2 months of mowing up front. as far as referrals go, I'm not too concerned about them since the guy is moving 3 states away in a week. We are actually doing another (money making) job less than a mile away, so it's not gonna totally kill us to swing by there and knock it out real quick.

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