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View Full Version : I Really Screwed Up!


aduttonater
07-22-2010, 03:10 PM
I've been stuck on this job since 6/25 and had quoted it at $820. Tomorrow is hopfully going to be done 7/23/2010. When I wrote up the contract I had put the date range would be done from 6/25/2010- 7/1/2010 only 5 days. It's almost been 30 and I've been eating the cost on this job. I might as well have written the contract and have billed myself.

This past month I've been struggling. All profit from the jobs that I'm currently busting *** on, I have to used to pay for the expenses of the disaster job that I'm on. If I were to just work at that job and get it done myself, I would miss out on all the other jobs to keep my profit up to pay for the disaster.

It's kind of complicated but basically I don't feel as if I should be paying for these people yard service. They know they screwed me, just based on everything thats been happening for the past month.

If I were smart I shouldve just pulled away when it hit $820 Now it's like $1000 over the check amount that I'm going to receive. I really should've charged this job at least $2500.


I guess just because of my kindness and hard work ethic, I didn't want to just say screw you and stop the job. Instead I'm finishing it.

Tssssss Shhhhh Signnnn:mad:

MountainViewGreenskeeper
07-22-2010, 05:00 PM
I guess just because of my kindness and hard work ethic, I didn't want to just say screw you and stop the job. Instead I'm finishing it.

Why couldnt you have done both. You really didnt say what the problem was but if something came up or changed just level with them. Say this wasnt expected it cost an extra.... to get around this hurdle to finish the job. We can split the cost or something.

Or... did you totally underbid it.....

Steve
07-22-2010, 05:18 PM
Could you tell us about this job? We don't know anything about it or what happened.

CHEESE2009
07-22-2010, 10:00 PM
I hear ya man.

I promised I'd re-level one of my elderly customers TINY little pathway... can't get to it - too uninterested.

Though I told her it's not gonna happen & that she should tell me what is next on the to do list...

Now I'm stuck caulking around her pool, not too difficult and less of a hassle.

It'll make up for all the iced tea she's been giving me, she's the best. lol

aduttonater
07-23-2010, 07:57 AM
ok this is what happened. When we started the job I was not there the first day. I had two guys working in the front yard of the property removing all the prickly pear cactus. Also the hyrdolic lift trailer that I was borrowing, the hitch bent at the dump due to the worker not putting a rock behind the tire to hold it in place and it came rolling forward towards and hit the truck.

So now I have only one truck with no trailer which means more dump runs and more time to cut tree branches to fit in the back of the pick up bed.

The customers are really nice people, and don't want to screw them over, even if the cost is eating me. I was having seconds thoughts, about it because this is costing me way more money then expected. It's like I'm spinning my wheels for nothing this whole Month of July.

More on the work details. In the backayard, we had to remove all cholla cactuses, and cut out 3 dead trees, there were weeds in a large area, then prickly pare cactus along a fence line. There were piles of trash, and it seems like the list kept getting longer.

Today is my final day on the job. I just have to sift some trash out of a dirt pile. I guess the dirt was dumped on top of the pile by somebody and now it's gunna take extra time to clean it up.

Thanks for your Input Guys.

robgee05
07-23-2010, 02:15 PM
I've been stuck on this job since 6/25 and had quoted it at $820. Tomorrow is hopfully going to be done 7/23/2010. When I wrote up the contract I had put the date range would be done from 6/25/2010- 7/1/2010 only 5 days. It's almost been 30 and I've been eating the cost on this job. I might as well have written the contract and have billed myself.

OK not to bag on you, but who would bid only $820 on a 5 day job.(depending on actual man hours) Even if its only cost is labor and use of equipment, most people utilizing 2 workers would bid at least $800 a day. Also I wouldn't say they screwed you. You bid the job they accepted. We have all under and even overbid some jobs. Its a learning experience. You have to take your lumps and finish up. GL

Steve
07-23-2010, 02:42 PM
I guess just because of my kindness and hard work ethic, I didn't want to just say screw you and stop the job. Instead I'm finishing it.

I have a better understanding of what happened now. It doesn't sound like these customers were out to get you in any way, they seemed to simply have agreed to a price that you quoted them.

As you look back on this job now, what lessons do you feel you learned from it? What would you do differently now if you could redo the entire job?

The Cleaning Doctor
07-23-2010, 06:42 PM
Next time give them an estimate and not a quote. There is a difference. Quote says this is the price. Estimate says this is what I think it will cost but it may change.

Think about it. Most contracts are just different wording. How you word things can make a big difference if you ever have to go back and ask for more money or take them to court for collections.

aduttonater
07-24-2010, 05:12 PM
Yes I think next time I will do estimates. I am never doing quotes again on a large job like that. With quotes, I'll stick with the easy 4 hour weed clean up jobs.

I think now that the job is over with and I spend a little over a grand on it, that I would charge at least $1700, on a size like that. Also I would have had more experienced people there, so that things don't get screwed up.

Like what I didn't mention, a worker brutally hacked up the customers Baby Agave plant, which I have to replace now.

Over all, it was an expensive lesson. I could've used that money I spent foolishly on somebody else's yard work, to fix my truck or pay my rent.

I guess in this type of business though I get paid good enough to make these kind of mistakes. As for myself, I would fire me next time that happens.

Steve
07-25-2010, 03:51 PM
Next time give them an estimate and not a quote. There is a difference. Quote says this is the price. Estimate says this is what I think it will cost but it may change.

Have you ever given a customer an estimate, started working on a job and then realized you needed to charge more? Or are you saying with an estimate, you can change the job price up until the time you start working?

picframer
07-25-2010, 08:07 PM
Have you ever given a customer an estimate, started working on a job and then realized you needed to charge more? Or are you saying with an estimate, you can change the job price up until the time you start working?

IMHO there is nothing wrong with going back to a customer and working out a solution to both parties, in my experience most, not all, but most will understand that we all have bills to pay and sometimes our estimates are not on the mark, sometimes I eat it, sometimes I have a heart to heart with the customer, they respect this and generally speaking we always walk away happy.

LawnMoore
07-25-2010, 09:29 PM
cut out 3 dead trees
Thanks for your Input Guys.

Just a little bit of my advice to you, on cutting out trees:

if these trees were bigger than you could simply cut and toss in the trailer, or Cut into blocks and pitch in the truck
in other words if they were over 30 feet tall and as big or bigger around than could fit in a 5 gallon bucket, i charge a minimum of 50 dollars to throw/pull/pitch/fell a tree like that.

And a minimum of $200 to fell and cleanup a tree like that. (Minimum!)

(Yes after eating a few like that in my early years, i found my minimum.)

E/ Try to remember, a professional tree company with chip trucks/loaders/etc. will usually have a minimum of $500 dollars to pull out to a job.

Steve
07-26-2010, 02:51 AM
i charge a minimum of 50 dollars to throw/pull/pitch/fell a tree like that.

And a minimum of $200 to fell and cleanup a tree like that. (Minimum!)


What is the difference between these two services?

IMHO there is nothing wrong with going back to a customer and working out a solution to both parties, in my experience most, not all, but most will understand that we all have bills to pay and sometimes our estimates are not on the mark, sometimes I eat it, sometimes I have a heart to heart with the customer, they respect this and generally speaking we always walk away happy.

Andy,

What is the best way to go about doing this? I can see how a new business owner could underbid a job and find themselves in a really bad spot early on but unsure of how to re-approach a customer and renegotiate.

Should you even attempt to do this if you have already given them some kind of written estimate?

LawnMoore
07-26-2010, 04:36 AM
What is the difference between these two services?

The first is just to put a small one on the ground (only) and no cleanup. like

The second is to clean it up as well.

Its hard for me to say they should put a set minimum on a tree i havent seen but i did explain an estimate size, even with that size estimation, a trees crown(whats up top) can contain a LOT MORE than what it looks like from the ground, "once its on the ground"

It would be best if addutonator let us know about how big those were in diameter if he knows, or if they were as around as a baseball/softball/basketball etc.

turboflyer
10-15-2010, 08:45 PM
i've come up on the same trouble with jobs i've never done before.

here's what i ussually do: get on the net and research it. i know its not always that easy but remember!
1-people are usually lazy and they don't want to shop around
2-if you have prises that are equivalent to everyone else they'll pick you due to raport
3-prices can be linier!
if you charge $20 for .25acres, charge $40 for .50 acres and so on! maybe a small break if they do a full acre or multiple acres. same applies to adding mulch in flower-beds and same goes for cleaning out flower beds. once you figure out what it's worth to do 15x20 flower bed, figure out what the cost is per square-foot, then charge that no matter what per square foot. (if you figured that is what it is worth to you, time vs profit, don't worry about when the $ seems high). plus u want to make it worth doing a good job.

recently i cut down some trees: i figured this on the 1st tree....$10/inch diameter, $1 foot in core length, and $50 per trailer hauloff.
SO- a tree that's only 14" thick and 25' tall only takes one trailer to haul off.
Total= 14x10, $140+, $25x1= $25 ($140+$25=165), and $50 for the haul off = $205 for the one tree. as the trees get bigger its going to cost me more but i don;t ever have to guess again i just estimate the size of the tree within a few feet and shoot the pprice! done!

Steve
10-16-2010, 07:26 PM
2-if you have prises that are equivalent to everyone else they'll pick you due to raport

With that being said, what kinds of things do you suggest lawn care business owners do, to stand out with the potential customer, when it comes to rapport building?