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I think this'll be a no then!

My business partner and wife has just received this text 

Elizabeth, been given your details by Grant. We need some gardening design/advise at .................would you be available to have a look today or over the weekend ?

I have obviously deleted their address, but they didn't even give their name!

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  • PRO

    Love these. People who message you and ask if I can tidy their garden up for them, ideally on Friday this week. 

    Like I'm just sitting around waiting for someone to offer me some work.

    I can understand maybe if it was over the winter months but bang in the middle of May you have no chance. A good one to two months wait I say.

  • PRO

    I normally say. 'Garden consultantion that a be £150'.

    I had one 15yrs ago asking me to relay/repoint there patio and brick work telling me it was a days work offering me £100. With the measurements sounded like two weeks work. I just ignored it. 🤣

  • We get similar Glen.  My wife, Heather, also does design and people seem to think we're just sat round waiting to be contacted.  Like HB says, charging for initial consultation sorts out the genuine ones and there's always a wait for a gap in our schedule to see their garden.

  • PRO

    Loving this thread.  You have to wonder what goes on in peoples heads these days?

    email received last night:- 

    "Have been taking part in no mow May, but wondering what you would charge for doing the first cut and strim?"  

    This is roughly an acre and a half with loads of mature trees and other obstacles.  Weirdly I have no availability before 15th June and suspect the ballpark quote of £300 will have put them off.  Hopefully they won't follow any stupid Facebook trends in future!

    • Fortunately none of my customers have taken part in no mow may. The way the grass has grown the last few weeks I wouldn't fancy going back to lawns that have been left for a month. 

  • PRO

    I've had one this week, can I look after the garden, 2 hours a week? No name, just a general location. 2 hours will bugger up my days atm so I suggested 4 hours a fortnight, although guessed they wanted the lawn trimmed weekly.

    3 days later I get a reply, 'Ok then, can you do TWO hours a fortnight instead' I sent a lol reply pointing out that this is twice the work in half the time..... No thank you I didn't get a chance to scare them with my rate either. No reply.... so far!

  • To be fair to them, they might be looking for you to design/advise and then for you to do the work?  If I had spare capacity, I might have given them a ring to clarify exactly what they were after.  Certainly no spare time this time of the year. 

  • Kind of a new potential client I suppose – here is the story.

    For seven years I mowed these two particular churchyards. These came under the control of one Rector [Rector is the higher rank, not like a ‘team vicar’ – we will come to that].

    I was approached to take the churchyards on. For seven years I did them like clockwork. I never missed a beat and everyone was happy. I very soon got to know the Rector [John] and soon took on his grass cutting and hedge cutting. We became firm friends and often sat in the Rectory garden drinking tea and discussing life, religion and politics. Then in September last year, John retired. He said to me ‘don’t worry, everything will continue as before, just carry on’. Great.

    March this year. My phone rang. A lady team vicar who is looking after things until a new Rector is employed had called me. ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’ she said, ‘but the PCC have got someone cheaper to mow’. I said ‘we will see how that works out’. [I actually know that it was her decision and that she was lying to me]

    Two months later in the middle of May this year I get another call from her saying ‘You were right, can you come back and mow for us?’

    It is worth mentioning that both churchyards at this point had not yet been touched with a mower. The grass was now knee high. All the little stone pots that are only a few inches high were now invisible. Imagine going over one of those with the deck.

    Also by this point, Chatsworth had given me yet more work, along with other work that had just turned up. I did not need or want the work back again.

    So I told the ‘team vicar’ that I would think about it. Although I had no intention of going back, I like to consider my full response before I deliver it and why should I cooperate with her? It was she who was now in trouble and really up against it, not me. I could afford to take my time. Both her and the PCC were taking a right beating on the Facebook community page. I’ve never seen the like of it.

    I never got back to her.

    These old churchyards are badly laid out and are very hard on the machines. At the end of 2021 I snapped the rear transaxle on the Stiga in one of these two churchyards, costing £2175.

    Had I been left alone I would have just carried on mowing. But I will not be messed about like that and then go back for more. Not even nearly.

    • As I'm sure you know, the problem with parish council/ churchyard work is that some retired chap from the village says he can do it for exercise and beer money. Then it gets to this time of year and they realise that actually it's hard work and their domestic mower isn't up to the job!

      • The vicar claims to have gotten another proper contractor – maybe that wasn’t true either. The churchyards [whilst open and still accepting internments] are run by the PCCs - Parochial Church Councils. They aren’t run by Parish Councils. All funds come from the collection plate and donations only. This is why they can’t afford many cuts per year. The two churches in question only get maybe 8 or 10 at services. There is no funding from Council Tax.

        But, once the churchyard is full and closed to new burials, it is usually the District Council that mows them [it is here at any rate]. The church or PCC then then has no input or costs incurred for mowing.

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