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View Full Version : How do I drop this customer?


Tinkerer
02-04-2006, 02:22 AM
I have stored my lawn equipment and 2 trucks at an old farm for the last 3-1/2 years. 1-1/2 years ago he sold off another part of his property for development. He hired me to mow tall 3-4 foot tall weeds and grass in un-developed lots. Dusty with some rocks the size of a muskmellon. Doing this with my Toro 117 and a beat up 52" deck. I had 2-3 flat tires and broke 2 $40 deck belts within 24 hours. I normally get along with the owner very well. But when a project is going on like this one he gets on me like a 5 ton Gorilla, even after I have some serious health problems. Well the Toro breaking down and snow ended the lawn mowing job from H***. His son who I have met once is now in charge of the developments projects. Yet the conditions are too hard for my Toro. Any ideas or suggestions as to how to get out of this one?

tiedeman
02-04-2006, 02:26 AM
just tell him the truth

ask whether there is a way to smooth out the area and make it better.

kleankutslawn
02-04-2006, 08:38 AM
is this where you store your equipment at?

BobR
02-04-2006, 08:48 AM
just tell him the truth

You are attempting to do a job designed for a tractor with a brush hog attachment with a FINISH CUT LAWN MOWER and are ruining your equipment.

BobR

Tinkerer
02-05-2006, 05:31 PM
Yes this work is for the guy I rent out storage space from. I've told him my machine isn't really suited for this work. I told him about the flat tires, rocks and $80.00 worth of belts ruined in 24 hours and that didn't mean anything to him at all. His thinking was "just get the job done". Pretty much H*** bent no matter what else is going on, come break down, health problems, earthquake, tornado, you name it.

zim bob the landscaper
02-05-2006, 05:39 PM
just tell him if he wants you to do it he has to give you some money to rent a mechian then get a bulldozer and plow the whole thing lol no just get a bobcat with a brush hog attachment and if he doesnt like that idea then tell him that your mower cant do it unless he will buy you a new one.

sheshovel
02-05-2006, 05:55 PM
Find another place to store your equipment 1st.

richard coffman
02-05-2006, 07:35 PM
i'm not sure of your location, most of us either have a garage we keep all our equipment in or a big storage unit we pay for monthly. I'd tell your customer the truth and explain that his property is too hard on your equipment. if he has a hard time excepting your alternative solutions, move on.

respectfully,

richard coffman
owner

work_it
02-05-2006, 08:18 PM
Dang!!! Is this a no brainer or what? Tell the guy to take a flying leap of a short peer. Find somewhere else to store your equipment and be done with the entire situation. Done deal! Now you can move on to profitable jobs.

tiedeman
02-05-2006, 10:23 PM
Find another place to store your equipment 1st.

yup, that is the number one priority before anything else

befnme
02-05-2006, 11:04 PM
i agree with telling the truth . you dont load a dump truck with a shovel because it aint the right tool right ? so why make your lawn mower cut brush ?

K.Carothers
02-05-2006, 11:38 PM
How about finding someone else to cut this field? This way you can keep your equipment there.

kc

burns60
02-05-2006, 11:54 PM
My suggestion would be to not say anything else to him until you have moved all of your equipment out to another storage site. Make sure you leave the place looking better than it did before you rented it. Then just tell him that you can't do anymore work for him. That is the advantage of non-contractual work. You owe him nothing (assuming you pay on time) and leave on a good relation with him on your part. This guy sounds a little "nutty" to say the least and you don't want to give him any cause for bringing trouble to you. The spring is not far off and you don't need your equipment to be locked down or torn up from this one bad deal.

Tinkerer
02-06-2006, 12:26 AM
Aside from the mowing tall grass for him I get along with him really well. The storage is cheap. I can do (truck) motor changes and all kinds of stuff in the garage. The only time he is a major pain is when there is mowing to be done for him. I have a lot of stuff stored at his place and don't want to move it out. Commercial storage places cost a lot more, have shorter access hours and don't allow you to work on your stuff, period. This is my 3rd private party storage place in 11 years and they are not easy to find. If I could buy a house I would. He is on vacation now and his son is taking over the property management. I'm working on a prototype mower for manufacturing. I'm gonna tell the son I need time to work on the prototype and doing the tall grass is too hard on my Toro.

geogunn
02-06-2006, 08:19 AM
You are attempting to do a job designed for a tractor with a brush hog attachment with a FINISH CUT LAWN MOWER....

exactomundo.

around here a farmer will bush hog for $30 an hour. that is so cheap I can only figure they do it because they like to drive the tractor......:dizzy:

GEO :)

Az Gardener
02-06-2006, 08:53 AM
Aside from the mowing tall grass for him I get along with him really well. The storage is cheap. I can do (truck) motor changes and all kinds of stuff in the garage. The only time he is a major pain is when there is mowing to be done for him. I have a lot of stuff stored at his place and don't want to move it out. Commercial storage places cost a lot more, have shorter access hours and don't allow you to work on your stuff, period. This is my 3rd private party storage place in 11 years and they are not easy to find. If I could buy a house I would. He is on vacation now and his son is taking over the property management. I'm working on a prototype mower for manufacturing. I'm gonna tell the son I need time to work on the prototype and doing the tall grass is too hard on my Toro.

At the risk of sounding like an azz and offering advice that was not asked for. If you can't buy a house after 11 years in the biz you are doing something wrong. Are you a mowing contractor or a mechanic. Pick one and make some $$$ Truly I say this as a friend get your priorities in order and become a professional at one trade.

Sammy
02-06-2006, 09:46 AM
Dang!!! Is this a no brainer or what? Tell the guy to take a flying leap off (sic) a short peer. Find somewhere else to store your equipment and be done with the entire situation. Done deal! Now you can move on to profitable jobs.
Bad advice..... Tinkerer took a job that he is not equipped to handle. He needs to get the equipment in order to do the job, sub it out or talk to the guy and let him know he can not do the job properly. I don't see where this would be a problem with him storing his equipment at the guys place. 2 different deals..... (Disclaimer....This is based on the little information that has been posted so far.:) )

grass_cuttin_fool
02-06-2006, 10:12 AM
Bad advice..... Tinkerer took a job that he is not equipped to handle. He needs to get the equipment in order to do the job, sub it out or talk to the guy and let him know he can not do the job properly. I don't see where this would be a problem with him storing his equipment at the guys place. 2 different deals..... (Disclaimer....This is based on the little information that has been posted so far.:) )
I agree Sammy, if I read the post correctly he states that he pays to rent the storage space. If he is trading work for the space then it may be different.If it was me, I would sub it out and get the lots under control and then keep them mowed on a regular basis.If he expects you to mow them 1 or 2 times a year then you have to figure what the storage is worth and if its worth subbing out the brush hog work or finding a new storage place.

wayne

Envy Lawn Service
02-06-2006, 10:51 AM
Here is how I would handle this...

"Look Mr. ______ I have done this for you for $______ . But in the process, doing this with my Toro 117 is beating up the mowing deck. Plus I have had 2-3 flat tires and broke 2 $40 deck belts within 24 hours. While my Toro is a good mower, it is a finish mower. It's not designed to do the kind of work you are sending me out to do with it. Obviously this is destroying my lawnmower because it is not designed to do bush hog work.

I understand your urgency in getting the job done and the fact that you don't have time to worry about my problems. So as it stands, I can continue to do the jobs for the price we agreed on. But if you want me to do the work, I need to bring in a _______ . So that means you are also going to have to allow for an extra $______ per hour/day/week to cover MY cost of renting the proper equipment to do the job with."

You are going to have to do something like that or find some other means like subbing it out to get it done. While the son is overseeing things might be a good time to get things straightened out. Often the second party is less caught up in things and thinking more logically. They can often also get the point across to the other person a little better.

Tinkerer
02-07-2006, 12:28 AM
Well I called his son who is taking over management of the development and told him I can't do the tall grass work this spring. He said thats o.k. I'll look for someone else with the right machine.

I'm sure I will hear from his dad when he gets back from vacation but I'll just have to tell him it was beating the crap out of my machine.

When I wrote up the last bill I thought of adding in the cost of the two $40.00 belts, but he was so wound up at the time I thought to myself, forget trying to get another $80.00 out of this guy.

I'm sure all of us sooner or later will deal with someone like this who is a teddy bear in casual circumstances, but turns into a mad grizzly when he's on a mission.

work_it
02-07-2006, 12:34 AM
Of course we have. That's why we were telling you to make tracks. On the other hand, since you know the guy pretty well I'll recant my original post. Usually, with some diplomacy, situations like yours can be worked out. I'm just wondering if the guy is going to raise your rent? All you can do is hope for the best and brace for the worst.

Tinkerer
02-07-2006, 12:59 AM
Since he threatened not to pay the last bill I gave him (he paid it), I've gotten a bit uneasy about my storage situation there. The guy is just not predictable. So I am working on cleaning out excess stuff in case I have to move out.

One of the previous replies asked why I hadn't been able to buy a house in 11 years of doing this.... Well I've had a lot of goofey health problems of which sugar was making me A.D.D. times 10 some days. Now I'm off of sugar and my health is coming back. I have been delivering pizza at night after mowing grass. I did some cleanout jobs (hauling out junk from houses), misc hauling and also some parting out of vehicles. A few people besides you have suggested I just focus on one thing and I think that would be a good idea. I sure haven't made an enormous amount delivering pizza.

Runner
02-07-2006, 02:52 PM
Well, whatever you do. do NOT add money onto the bill for vroken belts. You just can't do that. It is your equipment - your responsibilty. Yu know what your equipment is designed to do and what it does. Even though you were coaxed along to cut that stuff with it, it was still your choice. If I break a sholel handle because I was using it as a prybar to move a rock in someone's yard, I'm sure not going to put a shovel bill on there. It sounds like you were making the right choices preparing to leave, but now that someone else may be doing the cutting, your relationship MIGHT be even better with this guy than it was before. You had mentioned that the only time things got tense, was when he needed work done. Good luck with it...and I hope it works out for you.

the ace
02-07-2006, 03:02 PM
pay for the storage, and tell him to get someone else to ruin their equipment!

adam's landscaping
02-09-2006, 01:17 AM
if you normally like the guy, stay with him, either tell him that he will have to give you enough money to purchase another mower or to more than compensate you for your trouble and repairs plus the normal hourly rate.
If you just want to get out of it completely, tell him that you cannot complete the job because it is tearing up your equipment and you would no longer be able to maintain your other accounts with a busted mower.