The Landscape Lighting FEE That EVERY Experienced Contractor Knows How To Charge, But Most Homeowners Don’t Even Know Exists…..Being A “Headache client” will cost you

The Landscape Lighting FEE That EVERY Experienced Contractor Knows How To Charge, But Most Homeowners Don’t Even Know Exists…..Being A “Headache client” will cost you

By Mike Gambino

This will probably turn some people off to doing business with us, but if it does, we probably weren’t going to be a good fit anyway. So be it.

The reason I say being a “Headache client” will cost you is that Experienced contractors gauge their pricing on their anticipated or past experience with you.

Contractors do have set pricing for most things, sure. But if they sense you’re going to be a “headache client”, stop right there. “Headache client” ?

Isn’t the client always right? Yes, accept when they are wrong. Isn’t the client the very reason we are in business? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we have to work with those that we don’t work very well with. That being said what do I mean by a “Headache client”?

It could be any number of these traits. Non pleasant disposition, can be difficult to reach and communicate with, does not make you a priority while your project is ongoing. Even thought they can well afford it they will bitch and moan about every cost. Insist on getting extras, more value for what they are not paying for. Try to get the contractor to lower their standards against their better judgment to meet their small budget, expect the contractor to stand behind the work when it fails and hold the contractor fully responsible to make it right. The type that loves to micromanage with impossible standards (requesting meeting after meeting, nit picking small details, being unable to make definitive decisions, withholding critical information and expecting the contractor to be a mind reader, doing a Houdini disappearing act when it’s time to get paid. Phone calls and texts in rapid succession (usually during off business hours or when contractor is sitting down to dinner with their family) until they get a response. Borderline or full blown certifiably psychotic behavior. If you posses several of these behaviors or traits  then you can probably expect to pay more.

The logic behind this (which me telling you this will probably get my fellow tradespersons angry) is that if you’re going to be a headache to work with, then they don’t really want to work with you, so they’ll increase the price for the work… If you don’t agree to the price, great, they don’t have to deal with you…

But if you do, it’s now worth it to them.

Let me explain.

When you first meet your landscape lighting design build contractor, you’re going to be looking & listening for characteristics that you think would qualify them for being a good fit for your project.

Well, what most homeowners don’t know is that good contractors that KNOW THEIR VALUE, are also doing the same to you as a client…

Now when most homeowners don’t like a contractor, they’ll just never contact them again.

But for the contractor with the good reputation, he’ll at least respond (unless you’re reputation or negative experience precedes you) with an estimate for your project.

Sounds normal, right?

But it’s not just a normal landscape lighting estimate.

The cost of your landscape lighting system on that quote is higher than the price of what he would normally charge a client.


Because you were probably perceived to be a “headache client”… And to be honest, if you’re not going to be a client that is pleasant to work with… that doesn’t understand that there are always variables in any and all kinds of home improvement construction… that doesn’t understand that you won’t get away with nickel and diming a contractor to death… And that doesn’t realize that if you didn’t pay for a service, it’s not getting done…

Then chances are, you’re going to pay the price.

Either you’re going to say “this guy is crazy, his estimate is way too expensive.”

Or, You’ll say “looks good, let’s do it!”

But even if you’re a headache client, and you accept the offer that is higher in price, your project is now “worth” the headache to the contractor…

Make sense?

Bottom line is, for the most part, the treatment you receive from your contractor is most times a reflectance of the treatment you give your contractor.

The old saying you attract more bees with honey than vinegar is true. Work crews perform their best when morale is high working for pleasant and appreciative owners.

Fortunately here at Gambino Landscape Lighting, in almost 30 years of doing business, we have been blessed to not have too many of these types of undesirable clients.

This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 27 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .

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