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View Full Version : Another "How would you handle this customer" Thread...


FrankenScagMachines
05-02-2006, 01:28 PM
Ok well so I'm at the gas station and this PITA customer calls..
Lemme take a second to explain his property- he has two garage doors, one on each end of the garage (which is attached to the house) and the back yard is fenced in, with a 36" gate. When he's home, I go through the two garage doors into the backyard to get the 60" back there to mow. Its not a large backyard but would take a little while to cut with a 21" which I don't own one anyway.. So once in a while he's not home and I just skip the backyard, not a huge deal, it doesn't grow that much. He's never made an issue of it. But this guy is a bargain hunter if you have ever met one... he's as cheap as anyone and is always asking me to drop the price, and everytime I stick to my guns and he pays the price and shuts up. Well last week I went to mow and he wasn't home so I skipped the backyard. He calls today had his panties in a bunch, wanting to know why didn't I go through the garage doors to mow? I said you never told me it would be unlocked, it would not be proper for me to go up and try to open your doors without being told to. So he then complains it was clumpy (well this would be because he being the brilliant moron he is, decided to fertilize it himself this year, which he apparently used a drop spreader and skipped every other pass or something, so it looked like he had sewage fingers throughout the whole yard, and he overdosed on the fertilizer too... so, yea it was tall and nasty... of course it was clumpy! I already give him a great deal on this yard, I can't afford to double cut it for free and of course he is way too cheap to even think of paying for that... so anyway, after chewing me out for not attempting to open the garage door to mow the back yard, he asks if I can bag it this week, I told him thats not profitable for me, to go back to the shop and install the bagger, then go back and do his one yard, then dispose of clippings and come back to shop, uninstall bagger and continue on with life, all for this low price I mow it for... He said not profitable?! so I had to explain all that to him... then he gets upset and says well how bout a price cut? I said ok I'll knock $3 off of it to make it an even $30 for that cutting (will you please shutup and go back to whatever it is you usually do while sitting around the house!) he says well, by my figures that backyard is 1/6 of the property and so you should (and I can tell he's punching numbers on a calculator here) knock off 1/6 of the bill, making it $27.50 for that cutting. I'm like, well I will see what I can do. He says what do you mean! He said "That is my offer, $27.50 for that cutting!" I about just hung up on him, but at this point he has just received the monthly mowing bill in the mail (in which I just now realized I have forgot to include a spring cleanup charge) so if I just hung up on him and left the account, I probably would sacrifice my hard earned money.. So now I gotta send him a revised bill, to include the cleanup charge, and discount the $5.50 for his 1/6 section backyard (what a jerk)... and suck up for a week or so until I get paid for that bill, then I guess I plan to just drop the account, having sacrificed one mowing (or, let him send the payment now and not mow this week, but lose a few extra bucks on the cleanup....)

What a crock I can't beleive this... this guy I've always said would be my first one to drop, but I can't beleive he's trying to pull this crap... what would you do?

FrankenScagMachines
05-02-2006, 01:32 PM
Yea I know this might be able to be taken care of with a contract, but I never liked contracts and rarely have problems like this, easier to deal with these problems individually than to try to convert everyone to contracts and lose a couple jobs in the process...

All last year this guy never complained about charging full price if I didn't mow the backyard because he was gone... if they go on vacation they leave a garage door opener with me to use... I just can't stand this guy I just want my money and out of the deal. All my other customers are quiet and never say a single word except "hi how ya doin, yard looks great!" if we happen to cross paths... one whiner ticks me off...

dkeisala
05-02-2006, 01:39 PM
What is this, Deal or No Deal and he's the banker? We all know by now that the price of the mow isn't simply time spent on the ground so the 1/6th thing isn't working for me. Tell him to go find someone else to screw with.

FrankenScagMachines
05-02-2006, 01:50 PM
Thats what I'm planning to do, but I need to get paid for my one month of service, and I don't plan on ticking him off till I have money in hand... then its CYA!! Guess I just want ideas how to handle him until I get the money...

Frosty03
05-02-2006, 02:00 PM
Ok, let's look at the facts.

You actually didn't cut his backyard by your own admission. Whether he was out of town or not, that is not the point. Your price reflects cutting front and back each time unless requested by the customer. SO technically, you are in the wrong there.

Now, you have to send a revised bill to include a clean-up charge.

My advice in order to get your monies that are due to you:

Do NOT call him anymore.
Send him the revised bill listing your services.
Below that, deduct the $5.50 for skipping his backyard, which you did.
Wait until the check clears.
Dump the sucker.

Then you are only out $5.50 and got most of your pay and have now rid yourself of a PITA customer.

Then you can chalk that $5.50 up as a cheap learning experience and be done with it.

Next customer please.

dkeisala
05-02-2006, 02:03 PM
A restaurant manager of mine told me years ago when I, as a waiter, was dealing with a difficult customer "Take the path of least resistence - tell him what he wants to hear then get the hell out of there as fast as possible".

Placate the guy until you get your cash then bolt. But then, you already know that.

bwilder10h
05-02-2006, 02:40 PM
I agree. Get your dough and split. People like this always end up being more trouble than they are worth.

I had a guy call me (after he agreed to $30 weekly cuts) the week before I was to start mowing for him saying he needed me to do it for $25. I told him my minumum is $30 and I don't drive to house and get a mower off the trailer for $25. He said "I'll have to shop around" and I replied "Good luck, thanks for the call"

If he calls me back, I will not mow the yard for any price because I know he will more than likely become a PITA. In fact, when people like this call back I make sure they will not want me to service them because my typical response goes like this.... "sir or maam, I'm sorry but my offer to service your lawncare needs are no longer available. When you called me back to ask for a lower price, let me know the type of customer you would be in the future and in an effort to reduce the amount of stress and frustration in my business, I am no longer offering my services to you. I wish you luck in finding a lawncare company that will give you quality service at the prices you are trying to get"

They are usually speechless at this point so I say goodbye and hang up.

I realize for every guy like me, there is a hundred others that will just go ahead and do it to get the job... but I don't work that way.

FrankenScagMachines
05-02-2006, 03:04 PM
Awesome. You guys are great. This is what I wanted to hear LOL... Just feels good to know that I have other pro's backing me in a decision on something tough like this. And its not that everytime I have a hard decision I ask someone about it, but, this is not your everyday situation and for me its the first time I've had someone be this rude and open with me like this and I'm left here wondering if there was something I did wrong or should have done better... Of course he made no mention of the spring cleanup... Now I have to send him another bill with that charge minus the $5.50 and now I have to wait for that money, we're probably lookin at 2 weeks, which he will want me to cut his yard during this time with no resistance or he will threaten no payment... so he'll be holding that over my head the whole time, and I could mow it one time, but then I would certainly not get paid for that cut. He's a very pushy and rude person, I hate these people because I'm too nice to people and tend to get run over sometimes in my nice-ness... So now I'm either going to lose the extra money for the cleanup by keeping my mouth shut and taking a reduced payment, or i'm going to lose the cost of one mowing, during that time he will send the bill for the cleanup but then I likely won't get paid for this final cut... screwed either way... why do the good guys die first... aarrgghhh

GraZZmaZter
05-02-2006, 04:36 PM
I thought you got out of the green industry?

sheshovel
05-02-2006, 04:43 PM
Well I will agree sounds like a PITA ..BUT this garage door thing should have been settled BEFORE
you even began mowing the lawns for him.You should have made some kind of agreement and had it settled with the price of mow the back when he is home or no mow and a discount.My point is Comunication was not good and this is what caused the problems.Not the customer..but you not getting these issues straight with the customer from the very start.That is my opinion.

StBalor
05-02-2006, 05:47 PM
Ok, let's look at the facts.

You actually didn't cut his backyard by your own admission. Whether he was out of town or not, that is not the point. Your price reflects cutting front and back each time unless requested by the customer. SO technically, you are in the wrong there.


I have a clause in my service agreements just for a problem like this. It states that if we come to the property and cannot gain access to any part of the yard you still owe full price for the cutting. So if they lock the gate for some reason and leave. Then i come along to cut the grass and cannot get in the backyard, i just cut the front and leave them the bill.

dkeisala
05-02-2006, 06:30 PM
This whole garage door aspect of the situation. Being on the property is one thing but having access to the interior of the structure when the homeowner isn't present is another. This opens up a whole can of worms. I would NEVER attempt to open a door without having express permission to do so first. It's basically breaking and entering. Additionally, what if something from within turns up missing? Who's the first person the guy is going to come looking for?

I have the garage door code AND security code for a client of mine. I would never pass it along to an employee nor would I use those codes to access the structure unless the client knew in advance I planned on doing so.

If his client doesn't understand this, that's the clients problem. If anything, the client should appreciate his reluctance to do so in the first place. It's an honesty and respect issue and that's worth far more than the $5.50 he's trying to skate on.

bobbygedd
05-02-2006, 08:21 PM
i can't believe, at this stage of the game, you are allowing this man to hold your money hostage. you have every right, to cancel service anytime you want, and collect what is owed to you, for what was already done. it goes down like this, " mr jones, you fat miserable b@stard, i'm cancelling your service effective now. you have a balance of "xyz" for mowing + cleanup, i'll be over b4 u can lift your butt off your chair, TO COLLECT MY DOUGH. CLICK!"

LawnBrother
05-02-2006, 08:38 PM
Cancel service and send him the bill for what he owes. The faster he is out of your hair the better. I have never had a customer attempt to withhold payment after a cancellation, and if I did, I would tell them exactly how it is, in plain english (although not quite so eloquently as Mr. Gedd), "I did the work at the price we agreed upon, and you know that. There is no need for any further discussion on the matter, so pay up."

lawncarepros2004
05-02-2006, 11:57 PM
who's running this business? You are my man. Get some balls and tell him how its gonna be. Your terms are not negotiable.

grassyfras
05-03-2006, 12:08 AM
When he says you should of taken 1/6 of the bill off you need to explain that $33 is just for the trip over that and that gives him say a half hour of work or whatever it is. I wouldn't drop this guy. I have some people like him. Also get the garage so you can always mow the back yard without him there if at all possible.

topsites
05-03-2006, 12:12 AM
What a crock I can't beleive this... this guy I've always said would be my first one to drop, but I can't beleive he's trying to pull this crap... what would you do?

I would tell you the story of the one I ran into that's similar to yours, but for simplicity's sake, if you re-read your own quote you might can see how you've answered your own question.

For what it's worth, I only tolerate bs from folks who have a LOT of money and are not afraid of my quotes and who write a check as if it didn't phase them when I hand the bill to them. The more moolah they are throwing in my direction, the more bs I put up with... Some do test me, but so long they pay and argue little about that factor, no problema.

topsites
05-03-2006, 12:14 AM
Thats what I'm planning to do, but I need to get paid for my one month of service, and I don't plan on ticking him off till I have money in hand... then its CYA!! Guess I just want ideas how to handle him until I get the money...

Ohhhh, that problem, hmmmm....
shoot I got one owes me 110 and technically I'm supposed to go cut their grass but they haven't sent me a check and it's been 2 weeks and I should've seen it coming and I can't say for sure for sure, but I get this feeling if I go out there again then I'm just throwing more good labor after bad, so to speak.

How much money's the guy owe u?

topsites
05-03-2006, 12:18 AM
"sir or maam, I'm sorry but my offer to service your lawncare needs are no longer available. When you called me back to ask for a lower price, let me know the type of customer you would be in the future and in an effort to reduce the amount of stress and frustration in my business, I am no longer offering my services to you. I wish you luck in finding a lawncare company that will give you quality service at the prices you are trying to get"


wow that is good, a bit tough but real upfront and to the point, I like it!

I am the same way, I've thought about quoting higher the next time they call but I've been down that road and doing that just doesn't work either. You can quote higher but the bs is all the same, these folk are bound and determined to get over on you so it doesn't matter if you quote them a price a thousand times higher, they're still going to try and try and try to get you.
It's like you said, they've already let you know what kind they are...
Best off to drop them and really, to do so before you even go out there the first time.

dkeisala
05-03-2006, 12:22 AM
wow that is good, a bit tough but real upfront and to the point, I like it!

I am the same way, I've thought about quoting higher the next time they call but I've been down that road and doing that just doesn't work either. You can quote higher but the bs is all the same, these folk are bound and determined to get over on you so it doesn't matter if you quote them a price a thousand times higher, they're still going to try and try and try to get you.
It's like you said, they've already let you know what kind they are...
Best off to drop them and really, to do so before you even go out there the first time.
Workin' on gettin' that post count higher?

FrankenScagMachines
05-03-2006, 08:07 AM
Ok so I got this idea...
I was supposed to go mow it again today. So far, ALL of the work for the season is on that one bill I sent him. I will show up and hand deliver the revised bill with the cleanup fee and minus the $5.50, and get a check written on the spot for that. Then once I have check in hand I will hand him a cancellation letter and get outta there... while walking back to the truck he will think I'm going to get my equipment off and start mowing, but he'll start reading the letter and about the time i'm getting in my truck and taking off, the letter will sink in and realization will come to effect... hahahaha.. I love it!

Will post back tonight and let you all know how it goes.

Frosty03
05-03-2006, 08:30 AM
Then drive straight to his bank and cash that check in just because he might put a stop on it.

Always be professional in what ever you are doing pertaining to your business.

Years ago before I got into the biz, I let one lawn guy go because every other word out of his mouth was a four-letter one. I have kids. The next guy stayed with me until I moved and he didn't cover the area where I moved to.

However, years later, he helped me get into the business. Funny how things come back and in a way you least expect them.

Thanks Kenny.

FrankenScagMachines
05-03-2006, 09:20 AM
Thanks Kenny. Always good to hear from you :)

I plan to hand him the bill, which is now $120.50 (One light cleanup at $60, two mowings at $33, and discounting $5.50 for the last mowing) the cleanup was just blowing a few leaves out of a couple beds and bagging the whole yard. He even said it sounded like a fair price to him though it only took 1/2 hr for me to do, he came out and talked the other 10 minutes I had alloted for the job...

So I'm going to hand him the revised bill, request payment immediately (which as I know him he won't have a problem with, too cheap to pay for a stamp and envelope if i'm already there LOL) then once I have my money I will hand him a folded peice of paper with this printed on it:

"Sir, I'm sorry but my service for your lawn care needs is no longer available. When you called me back to ask for a lower price, it let me know the type of customer you would be in the future and in an effort to reduce the amount of stress and frustration in my business, I am no longer offering my services to you. I wish you luck in finding a lawn care company that will give you quality service at the prices you are trying to get."

As I walk to my truck, he will be getting the full effect of that just as I hop in and drive off... perfect timing!

Thanks BWilder10h !!!

Will update you all later today.
Thanks,
Eric

FrankenScagMachines
05-03-2006, 11:32 AM
Hahaha!!! went to his place first, he opened the door and I explained the mistake about the cleanup, which I think he already realized, and he said yes thats correct (no arguement with it) so I handed him the revised bill for $120.50 (one cleanup @60, two mowings @33, one discount $5.50) he went and got my check, i got check, then handed him the letter (I actually made it longer reviewing the troubles we'd had and where he went wrong and that our company is about premium service, he's about cheapest price, etc. LOL) and said " you can read this letter explaining how we can handle this situation, while I get to work! " I went to truck, he went inside house. I got in truck and left, laughing all the way to the bank, literally! now i have cash in hand i'm happy LOL..

His yard was still lookin bad from the mis-fertilization... lumpy rows of thick juicy mixed with straggly LOL.... what a joke.....

attached is my cancel letter, anyone feel free to use it or modify and use it.

FrankenScagMachines
05-03-2006, 11:34 AM
Oh! The best part is, that now all the rest of my yards are $35 and up, none of them were less than 35 so now thats my new minimum (which it was anyway but no exceptions now!) I feel really great now guys i'm going to have a killer day today!!!

Thanks for backing me in this.
Eric

chimmygew
05-03-2006, 01:25 PM
Kinda like that commercial on tv said, "Kinda my way of stickin' it to the man".