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problem #1...I think I blew it.

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  • problem #1...I think I blew it.

    This is my second year and I have done several cleanups that have gone well..till yesterday. Two weeks ago this lady hired me to do the clean up on about an acre of lawn and bi weekly mow Of her home and storage units she owns. She wanted to do some of the clean up her self of the sticks and limbs because they use them in their fire pit and wanted 2 weeks.I told her the longer we wait this time of the year the harder it is to collect the leaves but agreed because I wanted the work. I hired my son in law to help yesterday and we get there and as I knew the grass was a week past mowing and leaves burried in the grass. We got a late start 230pm and were able to get a ton of leaves up and cleaned up the best I could get it. But I didnt like the way it looked. I was able to get it mowed and cleaned up again after that. We ran out of day light and rain is moving in for the next few days and there are a few spots around a pond and another ditch that need to be done. When I took the job she had told me that she was picky and people have told her so. Lol...Anyway I wasnt happy with my service so I took the hit on the full cleanup and only charged her for a mow. When I do a clean up I usually mow to funish off. I think it looks better and that is part of the clean up cost. She didnt say one way or another if she liked it or not but if I dont im not charging for it. I think I bit off more then I could chew and will complete the clean up free of charge if she dosnt fire me.

  • #2
    I would tell her that you did a lot of 'clean up', but YOU were not PERSONALLY happy with the way it turned out. You will return and bring it up to YOUR standards and will charge when you are satisfied with result.

    That way you get paid for the clean up, just later, and let her know that even if she is picky you are more so.

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    • #3
      I respect your morals and standards, but it doesn't really make sense...

      If she doesn't fire you - you don't get paid
      If she fires you - you don't get paid

      What's the point?

      It sounds like you and your son-in-law did ~5-6 hours of work each, and you're only charging her $75 (or whatever your rate is for mowing)? Doesn't seem cost effective or a feasible way of supporting your business.

      I think you should finish the job to the standards of the agreement. YOUR satisfaction with the work is kinda irrelevant. Of course, it always FEELS better to finish a job that you KNOW you did well on, but the only thing that really matters is if the customer is satisfied.

      I've done plenty of jobs that I hated. Not just tedious or laborious tasks, but stupid ones. One time a customer wanted a random ditch dug and river stones put in. I told him it was stupid and would look bad, but he insisted. In the end, it looked bad and was stupid. I hated it, and was kinda ashamed to put my name on it, but he was very happy. In the time since, I've gotten several thousands of dollars from him in work, so I don't care how I felt.


      Being a perfectionist is a good thing most of the time, but it will cost you more than you gain. Spending extra hours on the tiniest details that the customer won't even notice is pretty much a waste of time. Like raking 99% of the leaves in 30 minutes, and spending an hour getting the last 1%.
      Last edited by ratchetmaster2; 05-12-2013, 07:51 PM.

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      • #4
        I would tell her that you did a lot of 'clean up', but YOU were not PERSONALLY happy with the way it turned out. You will return and bring it up to YOUR standards and will charge when you are satisfied with result.

        That way you get paid for the clean up, just later, and let her know that even if she is picky you are more so.

        This makes more sense than working for nothing.

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        • #5
          Thanks guys. I like your suggestions and will definitely use them in the future but I will chalk this one up to a lesson. I was able to cover the labor and equipment/fuel cost for this job by telling her I was only going to just charge the mowing rate. She seemed ok with this.
          The clean up was quoted for $200. And included the final "clean up mow". I still charged for a mow of $100. Paid my son in law $50. I still have the edge of the small pond to clean up (close cut and a little extra trimming) and the remaining leaves will mulch in during the next mow. I agree I wont work for nothing but I also have to accept a learning curve especially since im trying to build my reputation. Looking into the future this lady is a local buisness owner and could potentially bring more work for me. If she keeps me and it sounds as if she is now its still a biweekly cut for an acre and a half for $100. Plus her storage unit (basically a quick trim and blow) for $25.

          Guess if anything I way under bid the clean up!

          I love the hard work and pretty damn good at it but im still getting the hang of customer relations and estimating.

          Thanks again for your help guys and dont hold back ill take all the advice I can get.

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          • #6
            It was a great business lesson to go through and you will be better because of it.

            Guess if anything I way under bid the clean up!
            Looking back on it now, how would you have bid it differently?
            How many hours did it take versus how many did you think it would take?
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            • #7
              It took 5.5 hrs. (11 man hrs) It needs another 2-3 man hrs IMO. The pond ads to most of that. What would I do different? ??...well I broke mowing down to cost per sqft using last years records and use this as my base then add a buffer for terrain anf heavy trimming. Like this one for example. I est 60000sqft just shy of 1.5 acres my cost per sqft is .00125 for $75. I added on $25 because of trimming the pond and a couple terrain issues. Seems to work so far and I keep a minimum of $30. So if I use my sameway of thinking I could come up with a clean up formula. I only have 4 cleanups under my belt but that should be enough to come up with something I can use. I will have to become more efficient at it also so I will figure in for that also. I will work on that this week and see what I come up with. Thanks guys

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              • #8
                It does make you wonder if you come up with a clean up price, then you add 20% to 30% more, maybe it would be ideal?
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                • #9
                  How long does it take you to mow that much turf? If it only takes you an hour, you're doing great... But it looks like 14-15 hours**say, 7 for yourself** and you're only making $30?

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                  • #10
                    1.3 hrs to mow the house. .25 hrs to mow her storage units. Cut trim and blow both. $120.

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