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The Customer


General Talk

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  #1  
Old 09-03-2009, 05:56 PM
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Default The Customer

We all have customer that make us sit back and wonder what the heck we are doing in this business, had a few this summer.....then there are these customers that make us want to do even more.

Back in May I had a call from the Deere dealership, there was a German man and his wife in looking at an excavator as they needed some work done, decidced it was to much $$$ and asked the sales guy who did good work, the sales guy gave me a call and explained what was going on the job was mainly drains, anyhow I talked to the guy then met with him, he is a captain of a big shipping rig, was going on a three month term but would be home in September, anyhow we talked about the project and my rates and he said he would call when he got home.

His neighbours son is one of my sons best friends and they travel together for team Canada in track, anyhow I talk to the boys parents quite often and the subject of this job came up a few weeks ago, based on their comments I was a little concerned, they have an amazing house on the ocean, the landscaping is simply amazing, I was told they are extremly hard to work for and very fussy and go through contractors like water.

Anyhow I started the job this Monday with two excavators and a loader, brought my two best operators, we finished today....what a job....128 ton's of rock and 760 feet of drains were made.

The client(s) were beside us every second we were there, we did everything they asked, after all they were paying per hour per machine, fussy would be an understatement, I took my two guys out for beer and wings tonight and we talked about them, you know as difficult as they were, their constant kind comments made them one of the best clients we have worked for this year, and their parting comments really made us smile "You are the best contractor we have hired, we will tell all our friends and we want you back next month to build gardens" they gave each of the guys a $100.00 tip as they knew there were University students, he gave me a 40oz of rum.....which I don't drink but it was nice and they want us over for beer and a barbacue Friday night with some of their friends, I never turn down food

Anyhow it was really nice to have worked for them.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2009, 06:16 PM
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Andy.. Do you do quite a few fench drains? Do you haul out the spoil?

I am thinking that would be an simple & excellent service for some to offer as most diggers are to busy to fool with such. If one were to advertise the advantages of a drain then schedule the clients for a slower date in the season like right now you could do enough to rent a mini excavator and a dump trailer and yet make good money. At your hourly rate what does a French drain cost the customer? It would be a great way for the lawn mower to break into excavation.!
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by lawncrafter56 View Post
Andy.. Do you do quite a few fench drains? Do you haul out the spoil?

I am thinking that would be an simple & excellent service for some to offer as most diggers are to busy to fool with such. If one were to advertise the advantages of a drain then schedule the clients for a slower date in the season like right now you could do enough to rent a mini excavator and a dump trailer and yet make good money. At your hourly rate what does a French drain cost the customer? It would be a great way for the lawn mower to break into excavation.!
We have done 67 so far this year, they are excellent money, I gross around $780 a day, takes two to three guys, excavator and a loader, I started by using a tractor with a backhow and loader but we got to busy and a mini excavator is about four times faster.

The soil removed is left with the customer, we have had a few wanting it hauled away, in these cases I rent a dump trailer from a friend, he leaves it the night before and I call when it needs to be dumped, he gives me a rate of $150 per load and I charge the client back.

I am smaller than the big guys so I pick up a lot of jobs they don't want plus I can get where they can't so it works well.
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picframer View Post
We all have customer that make us sit back and wonder what the heck we are doing in this business, had a few this summer.....then there are these customers that make us want to do even more.

Back in May I had a call from the Deere dealership, there was a German man and his wife in looking at an excavator as they needed some work done, decidced it was to much $$$ and asked the sales guy who did good work, the sales guy gave me a call and explained what was going on the job was mainly drains, anyhow I talked to the guy then met with him, he is a captain of a big shipping rig, was going on a three month term but would be home in September, anyhow we talked about the project and my rates and he said he would call when he got home.

His neighbours son is one of my sons best friends and they travel together for team Canada in track, anyhow I talk to the boys parents quite often and the subject of this job came up a few weeks ago, based on their comments I was a little concerned, they have an amazing house on the ocean, the landscaping is simply amazing, I was told they are extremly hard to work for and very fussy and go through contractors like water.

Anyhow I started the job this Monday with two excavators and a loader, brought my two best operators, we finished today....what a job....128 ton's of rock and 760 feet of drains were made.

The client(s) were beside us every second we were there, we did everything they asked, after all they were paying per hour per machine, fussy would be an understatement, I took my two guys out for beer and wings tonight and we talked about them, you know as difficult as they were, their constant kind comments made them one of the best clients we have worked for this year, and their parting comments really made us smile "You are the best contractor we have hired, we will tell all our friends and we want you back next month to build gardens" they gave each of the guys a $100.00 tip as they knew there were University students, he gave me a 40oz of rum.....which I don't drink but it was nice and they want us over for beer and a barbacue Friday night with some of their friends, I never turn down food

Anyhow it was really nice to have worked for them.
You can send me the Rhum, i'll take care of it
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
I was told they are extremly hard to work for and very fussy and go through contractors like water.
Andy,

Do you feel when you get a heads up about a customer like this it's going to be a crap shoot where it could go either way? Or do you try to take extra special care with them to give them the attention they want while you are working?

It seems like some customers want to simply be customers while others want to be the general contractor and tell you how to do it all.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:16 AM
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Andy,

Do you feel when you get a heads up about a customer like this it's going to be a crap shoot where it could go either way? Or do you try to take extra special care with them to give them the attention they want while you are working?

It seems like some customers want to simply be customers while others want to be the general contractor and tell you how to do it all.
I do appreciate a heads up, at the same time I can probably cound on one hand the number of people in this world I simply could/can not work with, I am pretty easy going and we do good work.

I learned long ago when working with people, not all but most, if they are difficult and you involve them when stuff happens they were part of the problem and it makes like a lot easier.

If a client says put that large rock here even though we may feel it isn't right,we will do it, when they change their mind well, it's their nickle.

Seth, Shaun and I actually really like this client as difficult as it was having someone constantly tell you what to do or having to stop all the time and explain something, their attitude was right so it's all good.

At the same time I have had clients want to act as general contractor, as always if I have an uneasy feeling, I never take the job, that happens a few times a month, happened this Wednesday on a retaining wall, I knew without question there was going to be problems, so I thanked them and suggested they go with one of the other six quotes......that is another subject, I can get out of people just how many others have looked at their project and by the time they tell me they haven't realized where the probing questions were leading. If you get more than three quotes, IMHO something is up.
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:31 AM
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This is very interesting!

So I am guessing there is a fine line between a homeowner that wants to get involved and one that wants to be the general contractor.

How can you tell the difference? Where is that line drawn?
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