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Customers being a pain

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  • Customers being a pain

    Got this email from a customer, took me almost 24 hours to reply bc I was so heated and wanted to seek advice would you react?


    I received an invoice $145.00 for one service last week. This is a mistake or right charge? I noticed $100 charge for 4- Prune Crete myrtles. When you trim the all bushes around house and back side last year you charge me only $120 for everything so I understand for this small trimming cost me around $20- $25 dollars. I donít know that this will coast ma a $100 otherwise I can trim myself like I did trim on right side Crete myrtles. Let me know before we can start the regular service from next month.


    I responded with:
    Mr. XXXXXX

    I am sorry that you do not agree with the invoice but this is simply my going rate (and the same or less of most other companies). The large Crete Myrtles take approx. 30 minutes to cut (each) and I have take into consideration fuel to take them to the landfill and charges for dumping debris.

    Pruning Crete Myrtles is always easier than it looks and ends up being much more debris than expected once it is in the trailer, rather than on the tree.

    To make sure I was being fair, I asked a couple of other people who are in the business and two of them said $100 per large Crete Myrtle, one other said $75. I believe many people do not think of our overhead, costs of running/maintaining equipment, fuel and dump fees.

    If I was to charge 20-25 for a job like this, I would revenue $120-$150 a day, which would not even cover my expenses of fuel, insurance, licenses, etc.

    I hope this helps you understand the amount of the invoice and tells you that my prices are more than fair.

  • #2
    Did you do the whole house last year $120? Did that include this same pruning? Did you tell them your rates went up?
    Pruning Crete Myrtles is always easier than it looks and ends up being much more debris than expected once it is in the trailer, rather than on the tree.
    I think you mean "Pruning Crete Myrtles is never as easy as it looks"


    • #3
      The $120 was for hedging some rates have not gone up, still @ $40 an hour.....

      His reply to my response:

      If you told me this will cost me $100 then I can say NO. You donít have to take the debris for dump the city will pick up free for us.

      I am going to simply drop the customer, once they complain about one will never stop. The people in this neighborhood are in $400,000 homes + and house broke, always trying to nickel and dime to death.

      Thought I was doing the guy a favor by hauling off the debris.... if it is left there, they will immediately be hit with a fine by the HOA....I did the job on a Friday and debris is not picked up until Wednesday (he wanted it done on Friday)

      I did not give him an estimate bc after we agreed to mow on Friday, I got an email Friday morning to prune the Crete Myrtles... I think maybe he was trying to pull a fast one on me and see if he could get a freebie.


      • #4
        I personally never do extra with out pre authorization. If I have a customer say 'hey while your here could you ....."
        I always stop. Go look at what he wants done, then give an estimate. I also put on that estimate whether or not I can do that extra today or if it will have to be scheduled.
        I had one where a guy wanted to have mulch installed in his flower beds, I measured the beds and came up an amount of mulch needed, and sent him a email about it and the cost. Well he got pissed he said that the labor to put in the mulch should be included in his monthly billing (I was charging 70 per month to mow 'the last company only charged me 55 a month) and he would get the mulch.
        Well I told him that if 'the other company' only charged 55 month than he should really give them a call back as I would not bow to his threat (he was threating me with a lawsuit). I have not returned since, I have however had the lawyer file a defamation of character suit against him be because of his running him mouth about how bad I was.
        BTW WE won his was ordered to take a full page ad in the local paper apologizing to me, and pay my lawyer fees.


        • #5
          BTW the people who are a real PTA get dropped quickly.


          • #6
            So we can understand this situation better, can you give us a little of the back story?

            How did you come to the point where you trimmed the shrubs? Is he on an annual contract? Did you just figure he had it done last year so you would do it again this year? What kind of services is he signed up for and how do you handle doing this extra work? Does it need pre-approval or is there some other method you follow?
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            • #7
              ok, I will clarify...This is a regular customer, I have only had him for about a year.

              In September, I hedged the bushes for $120....not many bushes. His yard is $45 for regular maintenance

              On Wednesday, I received an email...asking me if I could mow before Saturday, I told him I would be there Friday.

              Friday morning, I receive an email at about 10 AM....can you also prune the Crepe Myrtles, there are 2 in front and 2 in back. I told him I would take care of this (not giving a price because I could not remember how big they were).

              I get there to mow the yard and prune the Crepe Myrtles at about 4 PM (he is still at work) and do everything he asked me too... I did not call/email with a price because I knew he was at work (owns a hotel)....I figured he would be happy to come home to his yard...all maintained and having his Crepe Myrtles pruned with such short notice.

              The truth of the matter is, he has been a pain...always points out dumb **** you moved the trampoline to weed eat under it, you didn't move it back in the right spot (1 foot off).....I maintain 25 yards in this neighborhood....all of them are happy with the work and I am not afraid of what 1 guy will say.....he has had me do quotes for a hotel and gas station he owns... says yes, than makes an excuse to not have it done. This is why they both look like ****, he simply does not want to spend what it is worth.

              I charged him $40 a piece for 2 Crepe Myrtles.....$10 a piece for 2 small ones....$20 for taking the debris. This is MORE then fair, considering the debris was on top of all my equipment and I had to move it for the next yard......if someone nickels and dimes me... I drop them, bottom line.... pick up the phone for the next incoming client BUT I would like to make sure I get my money.

              Should I bend it for him or stay strong and keep the price for this job I did.... I think I should keep it or he will think I am a pushover and that my prices are negotiable.


              • #8
                This is a very interesting situation and a great learning one as well.

                Being that you performed work without getting pre-approval from him on a price and knowing he is kind of a pain in the ***, would you agree you handed him a chance to be a greater pain on a silver platter?

                I understand these situations can be frustrating but looking back on it now, would you have handled it differently that you can now see the outcome of it?

                Sure you can fight him on this, but if you want to keep him, would it be better to talk it out with him, come to an agreement, and move forwards? Why fight over a situation that wasn't agreed upon?
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