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View Full Version : I am sooo pissed. Read and tell me if I handled this correctly?


ProStreetCamaro
10-30-2006, 11:19 PM
Now let me fill you in on a few things. This guy is a member of our car club. I have known him for a couple years and we are friends but not close friend that I hang out with. His previous company rarely showed up to mow and when they did mow they only charged $25 and I charged $32 which was more than fair. We would normaly get $35 for a lawn this size. I am going tomorrow (we cut it today) to take pics of the lawn to document how good it looks. This is a brand spanking new $800K to 1Mill house and they came from a townhouse. I think they just simply could not afford it and were to embarrassed to admit it to us.

Hey Patrick,

Keeping this purely business. I would like to cancel our lawn mowing/trimming service with your company. The trims and mowing haven't been done satisfactory, and the rate difference is hard to justify. You had mentioned you would have your dad come out on several occassions and he never has or never has inspected our yards as we discussed. There are still insects eating the leaves, and plants. There are a ton of spiders and webs that other landscapers treated to an extent that they weren't coming out.

When originally signing up with you, we were under the understanding that this would not remain a problem.

Anyway, please consider this PM notice that we would like to stop utilizing your service as of today 10/30/06. I have your last invoice of $210 that I will send out a check for this week.

Thanks,

Varun.



Hey no problem considering we just talked with your mom about 2-3 weeks ago and all she wanted done was the bushes trimmed in the front and a couple weeds pulled which we did the very next week. I never told you we could spray for bugs because that requires a pesticide license. She never said anything about doing any other bed work. If your previous company sprayed insecticide they were doing it illegaly. I would be willing to bet they dont have their license to spray if they are a mowing company. Thats why 99% of people have a mowing company and a seperate company that sprays for bugs, weeds and fertilizes. So if you want a bunch of illegals you dont know if you can trust or not on your lawn working for little to no money (the only way they could afford to charge so little for a lawn your size) then feel free to do so. I hope this didnt come across as being rude but I am sick of the trucks full of illegals doing work for almost nothing and working with chemicals that are dangerous to the environment with out going through the proper schooling and paying the high insurance like they should be doing.

"The trims and mowing haven't been done satisfactory"

That actually made me laugh out loud. The trimming has been perfect around the sidewalks, house and beds. Your backyard has looked fantastic and much better than the previous company or any of your neighbors. Was it the light and dark stripes you dont like (I do that on purpose because it gives a professional look and also looks like a ball field)? Also we havent left any skid marks on the lawn like the previous company did in a couple spots. So I am really curious as to what your referring to? If we didnt do a good job then all of our work wouldnt come from referrals like they do. We dont advertise because of this and to this day we still have out very first customer over 20 years later.

Runner
10-30-2006, 11:51 PM
I would use the first part (up until the quote), and leave it at that. After that, I would just simply state:
We are sorry that you find our rates hard to justify for the professional work we do. We thank you for your patronage, and hope that in the future, if you ever have need for our grade and quality of services, that you will consider utilizing our services. Please feel free to give us a call at any time if we can be of any assistance.


Sincerely, xxxx

By the sounds of it, it is NOT a quality issue. It is a "budget" thing. The statement he made "the rate difference is hard to justify" gave him away. If it was simply poor quality, he would have said that - and left it at that. Now, re-read this post 2 days from now, and you will see what I mean. Don't come off like "I laughed at you out loud", because that is essentially what you are saying. You are speaking out of emotion, right now. Don't burn your bridges...these people are VERY liable to come back to you...especially after they get a REAL experience with a poor lco. Now, once you write in the letter what I just put ; the part where I said. "We are sorry that you find our rates hard to justify for the professional work we do. " That will be clear enough. He will know what you are saying. He will know deep down inside that YOU know what the real deal is, but you did it gracefully....honorably. You just turned the hand over. You took the upper hand.

ECS
10-30-2006, 11:55 PM
I think you handled it wrong. You are assuming the other company was illeagal and told the customer that. You should have just thanked her for the opportunity and told her to call you if she ever changes her mind. There was no need to bad mouth the other company nor tell her how great and perfect you are and have been for 20 years. You are suppose to be a professional, then act like one.

fiveoboy01
10-30-2006, 11:58 PM
I agree with Joe, but I'm not as nice...

I think your letter comes off very un-professional and you are giving the customer an impression that you are a bonafide a-hole. Trying to divert blame to the previous LCO just makes you look worse.

Re-write it, and leave out the part about the illegals, and how you laughed out loud, and the part where you accuse the previous LCO of applying pesticides illegally.

It's the customer's choice - might as well be respectful, because as was said, they might end up calling you back...

ProStreetCamaro
10-31-2006, 12:06 AM
I agree with Joe, but I'm not as nice...

I think your letter comes off very un-professional and you are giving the customer an impression that you are a bonafide a-hole. Trying to divert blame to the previous LCO just makes you look worse.

Re-write it, and leave out the part about the illegals, and how you laughed out loud, and the part where you accuse the previous LCO of applying pesticides illegally.

It's the customer's choice - might as well be respectful, because as was said, they might end up calling you back...


The fact of the matter is they got what they paid for with the other company. The other company only showed up once in a while after countless calls and this came directly from his own mouth. Then when they called and cancelled the other company kept showing up. They showed up while we were there and none of them could speak english so it is a 95% chance they were all illegal as are 95% of the lawn companies in this area. You almost never ever see a white man doing lawn work around here. I am going there tomorrow to take pictures to document how good the work we do is.

BTW we are not worried about them calling us back because we wouldnt take them back even for $40 a cut. We were doing it as a favor to them because I know them through the car club and they have had bad experiances with previous companies and now I know why. Lesson learned here. From now on we will no longer service anybody that we know personally.

ECS
10-31-2006, 12:30 AM
I guess if someone that doesn't speak english wants to do lawns Legal, I personally have no problems.

Just becasue someone doesn't speak english doesn't mean they are illegal.

Why do you want English speaking illegals to have all the lawns?

sheshovel
10-31-2006, 12:54 AM
Now let me fill you in on a few things. This guy is a member of our car club. I have known him for a couple years and we are friends but not close friend that I hang out with. His previous company rarely showed up to mow and when they did mow they only charged $25 and I charged $32 which was more than fair. We would normaly get $35 for a lawn this size. I am going tomorrow (we cut it today) to take pics of the lawn to document how good it looks. This is a brand spanking new $800K to 1Mill house and they came from a townhouse. I think they just simply could not afford it and were to embarrassed to admit it to us.

Hey Patrick,

Keeping this purely business. I would like to cancel our lawn mowing/trimming service with your company. The trims and mowing haven't been done satisfactory, and the rate difference is hard to justify. You had mentioned you would have your dad come out on several occassions and he never has or never has inspected our yards as we discussed. There are still insects eating the leaves, and plants. There are a ton of spiders and webs that other landscapers treated to an extent that they weren't coming out.

When originally signing up with you, we were under the understanding that this would not remain a problem.

Anyway, please consider this PM notice that we would like to stop utilizing your service as of today 10/30/06. I have your last invoice of $210 that I will send out a check for this week.

Thanks,

Varun.



Hey no problem considering we just talked with your mom about 2-3 weeks ago and all she wanted done was the bushes trimmed in the front and a couple weeds pulled which we did the very next week. I never told you we could spray for bugs because that requires a pesticide license. She never said anything about doing any other bed work. If your previous company sprayed insecticide they were doing it illegaly. I would be willing to bet they dont have their license to spray if they are a mowing company. Thats why 99% of people have a mowing company and a seperate company that sprays for bugs, weeds and fertilizes. So if you want a bunch of illegals you dont know if you can trust or not on your lawn working for little to no money (the only way they could afford to charge so little for a lawn your size) then feel free to do so. I hope this didnt come across as being rude but I am sick of the trucks full of illegals doing work for almost nothing and working with chemicals that are dangerous to the environment with out going through the proper schooling and paying the high insurance like they should be doing.

"The trims and mowing haven't been done satisfactory"

That actually made me laugh out loud. The trimming has been perfect around the sidewalks, house and beds. Your backyard has looked fantastic and much better than the previous company or any of your neighbors. Was it the light and dark stripes you dont like (I do that on purpose because it gives a professional look and also looks like a ball field)? Also we havent left any skid marks on the lawn like the previous company did in a couple spots. So I am really curious as to what your referring to? If we didnt do a good job then all of our work wouldnt come from referrals like they do. We dont advertise because of this and to this day we still have out very first customer over 20 years later.

You don't need to go all through it like this. Yes you did handle it wrong. Who your customers hired before and who they might hire after you is none of your business. It has nothing to do with your quality of work and you embarrass yourself by even comparing your work to theirs. You need not brag to him about how long you have been in business and how you don't need to advertise.
I guarantee you he could care less. This kind of talk will not help you at all.
No the whole reason you are pissed is because YOU made the mistake of doing this lawn cheaper than you normally would because you know the guy. You created this problem.
Had you quoted the job at $35.00 or $40.00 like you normally would have he probably would not have hired you at all and you would not have any reason to be pissed.
Now did you tell him that your dad would come out and evaluate his lawn? Did you tell him this several times and not do what you said you would do?
You should be experienced enough and have enough faith in your work to know that his unsatisfactory work comment is just a way for him to justify to himself( NOT TO YOU) in dropping you. I am sorry but I would not have let him see my anger or lowered myself to even reply to this person.
Not worth it. Really you need to keep your business correspondence business like and polite, regardless of how angry a customer makes you.

DFW Area Landscaper
10-31-2006, 12:59 AM
ProStreet,

I feel you pain, man! If there is one thing that will ruin my day, completely, it is a client who sights dissatisfaction as the reason they are cancelling.

Having said that, I do have an exception to this rule and I am learning to deal with these types of cancellations better each time they happen. I have one crew who is by far my best. This crew has gone weeks at a time without generating a single complaint. I even had one client call to pay these guys each a $10 tip, billed through her credit card. Only tip I've seen in 4 years of being in the business.

Anyway, I had a few clients cancel service this year who were being serviced by this crew, who sighted quality as a reason for cancellation. Each time it happened, I just thought to myself, "you know, if they aren't happy with this crew, there is no pleasing them."

That is the truth, too. Some people just aren't gonna be happy no matter what you do.

This client wasn't happy with the last lawn mowing company, and, surprise, surprise...he's not happy with you, either.

As for clients who cancel by e-mail or letter, I can't stand it. Especially if they sight a quality issue and never made you aware of what their concerns were. It is hard to believe a guy in a million dollar home would be hung up on a price difference of $7, but he did mention it, so it must be a factor.

Generally, the larger the house, the less concerned about price they are, but not always. I've got a lady in a half million dollar home who called me today complaining that our shrub man, who is outstanding, is too slow for $36/hr and she will be hiring someone else to trim her shrubs. Oh well. I take comfort in the fact that my shrub-man has generated one complaint in a year at this position and literally dozens of compliments. The last shrub-man I had generated a complaint on every fourth job. I hope she gets someone like that to trim her shrubs.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Envy Lawn Service
10-31-2006, 01:08 AM
I'd say the real truth is that he can afford $25 a cut once or twice a month, but not $32 every week and now that everything is slowing down, the figure they won't need you again this year.

People would rather insult your work as justification to cancel in hopes you'll also discount their last bill... they would rather do that than admit they can't afford you.

My target market has been shrinking, and I ran into a few of those right along this time last year, and early on while I was trying to secure renewals for this year. It's hard not to take this personally.

My advice to you is to gather your composure and then just 'drop in' on them in person later. Waste a little time confronting them for your own personal satisfaction.

I'm sure you'll find out for certain they just can't afford you is all. Either that, or he was trying to 'squeeze' a free pesticide app out of you to take care of his bug problem. Otherwise, you'll be able to clarify things and iron them out if there was a real mis-communication.

Me... well I seem to have a knack for being really 'frank' with people without crossing the line to unprofessional and downright rude.... and I'm good at asking 'leading' questions to get the information I need in order to analyize such situations.

But in any event, take this experience with you into the winter and think about what I'm about to say.... "this is just one more reason why you should never perform services for someone without having a written agreement that covers the scope of the work you have agreed to do for the price... in detail."

Runner
10-31-2006, 01:16 AM
There. Now THAT's a post and response (DFW's). As I started reading these other posts on this, I was actually getting a bit frustrated. I don't think we should be TOO hard on him (Pro Street), because as I said, he was acting out of emotion...he is human, and some people handle things different than others. I am willing to bet, that when he reads the outgoing letter 2 days from now, he will make some changes before sending. I loved what someone else said on here just a few weeks ago. Whoever it was, they told someone that anytime you are angry and writing someone a letter (like this), wait to send it, and read it over again a day or two later, and you wil see things different.
Addition: Envy's post of suggestions is excellent as well.

JKOOPERS
10-31-2006, 01:33 AM
bad mouthing another company is about the worst thing you can do imo .

ECS
10-31-2006, 02:10 AM
ProStreet, as much as you would want to tell them to stick it up their arse, you have to resist. I was fired from my last job, and I do not even know the reason why. I have a 99.99% idea as to why though. I decided to do the same thing I was doing for them, only on my own. I went to the people I took care of for 6 years with that company and told them that we had parted ways and was starting my own business. It was up to them to keep them or to go with me. That was two years ago, and I never have bad mouthed them. One of the reasons they went with me is because I mind my own business and do not talk bad about anyone else. You have gotten a lot of good advise on here, and I hope you see fit to take it for the sake of you and the business. You will see this many times in your future, and each time it will suck, but each time it will be easier to deal with.

dlm17
10-31-2006, 06:58 AM
runner said it best when he said thank-you and if i can be of service again, burning bridges doesnt help your buisness i have had many customers over the years leave and come back a year or two later, they usually come back because they see the difference in what i offer, if it is because of money that situation may change, most people when they buy a new home have things a little tight at first. just remember every bridge you burn is a bridge you cant cross again, so what happens when you run out of bridges?

ProStreetCamaro
10-31-2006, 07:20 AM
Thanks for the replies guys and gals. I did take it personal because we went out of our way to do an extra good job at this lawn just to have them turn around and say the work wasnt very good.

And yes my father did look at the lawn and talk with this guys mother and she only wanted the bushes in the front trimmed which we did the very next week.

I wish people had the balls to admit the real reason they are quiting is because they cant afford it.

DFW Area Landscaper
10-31-2006, 08:37 AM
One question: If you have been in business for 20 years, why is this client concerned about your dad's involvement?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

olderthandirt
10-31-2006, 09:06 AM
I would'nt say anything but, Thank You for the opportunity to serve you.



You have NOT received final payment yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fga
10-31-2006, 09:33 AM
bad mouthing another company is about the worst thing you can do imo .
Unless you're defending yourself against another companies accusation, I wouldn't even comment at all on another business to a customer.

However, on the issue of buring bridges, i usually detonate it rather then burn it... depending on the reason for cancelation. If they tel me they ran into hard times, going to attempt it themselves, etc.. they're always welcome back. But to degrade your quality and dispute price in one letter?? If this customer has taken this approach, why would you even want him back in the future? let him deal with whatever comes down the road.
there are way too many available accounts to worry about headaches like this guy.... or maybe that's a benefeit of city postage stamp lawns. lose one, 2, and don't skip a beat.

Another shame is that you will still see this guy in your "car group"

John Gamba
10-31-2006, 10:16 AM
[QUOTE=fiveoboy01]I agree with Joe, but I'm not as nice...


Re-write it, and leave out the part about the illegals, and how you laughed out loud, and the part where you accuse the previous LCO of applying pesticides illegally.

QUOTE]


First off you are liable for the statement "Illegals" if they are not. second, send them the list of company's that can apply the chemicals, see before hand if the other company is on there or "not", if not then point it out.


Tell them thank you for your business and sorry you where disapointed and leave.

coolbreeze
10-31-2006, 11:09 AM
But to degrade your quality and dispute price in one letter?? If this customer has taken this approach, why would you even want him back in the future?
well, he may actually refer you to someone who won't do the same thing.

Another shame is that you will still see this guy in your "car group"
don't try to avoid him or intimidate him. i would actually carry on like it never happened. if it did come up, i would reinforce the idea of being helpful and doing it again it the opportunity arose, but no discount.

fga
10-31-2006, 11:26 AM
well, he may actually refer you to someone who won't do the same thing.
.
possible but unlikely. We can ssume this customer is going to look for a low budget guy to replace him. Chances are that guy would get any referrals in the near future.

and you didn't read me right. what would taking this headache customer back have to do with referrals by that customer?

coolbreeze
10-31-2006, 12:48 PM
yes, you are correct. i read that wrong. i was thinking "why would you want to deal with him in the future".

ProStreetCamaro
10-31-2006, 01:32 PM
One question: If you have been in business for 20 years, why is this client concerned about your dad's involvement?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper


It is my fathers business and everything we do is based around his say so. I am 27 soon to be 28 and have been doing this since I was 12. Its only about 1-2 years away till my father tottaly turns this business over to me.

David Haggerty
10-31-2006, 02:58 PM
ProStreet, You and your dad are similar in age to me and my son.

I wouldn't put anything in writing to this guy. He's already identified himself as a prick and a liar. He's involved in illegal and perhaps even criminal activity.
Nothing good can come with further dealing with him.
He'll never admit he was wrong, apologize or get any smarter.
If you put ANYTHING in writing he'll only use against you.

Just drop it. If you need to vent that's what this forum is good for.

MarkintheGarden
10-31-2006, 07:23 PM
It is my fathers business and everything we do is based around his say so. I am 27 soon to be 28 and have been doing this since I was 12. Its only about 1-2 years away till my father tottaly turns this business over to me.

So how does a pita like this get your goat? You know better than to let yourself get angry and waste time sending letters or email like that. Just forget about it!

Remember a good deed never goes unpunished!

PROCUT1
10-31-2006, 10:13 PM
Holy hell. Its a residential lawn. A dime a dozen. Whats the sense in crying your eyes out over it? Go get another one.

mike lane lawn care
10-31-2006, 10:41 PM
send him a letter saying

Dear Mr. snodgrass,
Keeping this strictly professional, I understand that you do not wish to continue paying for a service that you feel is inadequate. There for i must ask you to go f*** yourself. in the even that you will be needing our services again, feel free to f*** yourself again.

Thank you for you buisness.


***********************************************
But seriously, if he doesn't like your work, or can't afford you or whatever, then go out and find yourself another account who will appreciate your work.

fiveoboy01
10-31-2006, 10:43 PM
He's involved in illegal and perhaps even criminal activity.


Funny you come to that conclusion.

I'd like to know how you did so.

topsites
11-01-2006, 02:19 AM
May I recommend not doing business with friends, family or neighbors in the future.
Ok, car club, close enough... So he's an acquaintance, unfortunately still too close for comfort.

It's not personal, it's just better that way, took me several years to figure that out.
Other than that, chalk one up and try to let it go, hard as it is to do that, you'll be better off in the long run keeping a distant friendship and forgetting all about this little incident.

btw, it would've teed me off, too...
one learns over the years how to avoid these things :)

lawnwizards
11-01-2006, 05:39 PM
I would'nt say anything but, Thank You for the opportunity to serve you.



You have NOT received final payment yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!
that right there says it all. good advice mac.:waving:

bearmersch
11-02-2006, 11:06 AM
To hell with them. Just let them go. Take one on the chin this time. If you know you do a good job, dont worry about them. Let them deal with a "less expensive, (cheap work too) ' company. Their loss not yours.

Randy Scott
11-02-2006, 11:40 AM
Its only about 1-2 years away till my father tottaly turns this business over to me.

I would suggest changing your tact towards customers and this type of situation, or what your father spent 20 years building will take you 2 years to destroy. Your e-mail, Pm, whatever, back to him should have never occurred. A personal visit or phone call is protocol for a problem like this. Conversation and tone cannot be identified through e-mail. Actually, when I heard you say "your dad" and what your following e-mail to the customer said, I thought you were like 16-17 years old. You pretty much did everything wrong in that message. Assuming others are not licensed, they're illegals, and ripping on work/damage the past company has done to the lawn. You sound like a baby. Be professional!

A simple hey, sorry we did not live up to your expectations, maybe you misunderstood our agreement and our lines of communication got crossed. I am sure we did what was discussed and agreed upon. I'm sorry you feel different. Maybe it would be best for us to go separate ways so this doesn't affect our relationship (car club) outside of this business issue.

At this point and time, you have stated that you were sure you did what was agreed upon, and that maybe he misunderstood.
You have now politely told him you are right and he is wrong. At least from your point of view. Let it go at that. These are battles that nobody wins, and arguing or bad-mouthing just makes you a bigger idiot because no matter what you say, they are unhappy with you. It's best to suck it up, be a professional, and move on.

Now, when at the car club, you can say (to the others that will surely be gossiping about it), hey, the guy misunderstood our agreement, it's too bad that happened, I told him let's part friends.
Instead, the customer now has the ammo necessary to gossip about " all they did was bad mouth the other company and call everyone illegals, and basically did nothing to solve the issue.

Sometimes you just need to politely and professionally state your opinion, listen to the client, and move on.

Take it as advice or not, it's your choice. I know which way will yield the best result on this type of matter.