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Gimp
04-26-2007, 09:15 PM
What is the industry standard on someone not leaving acess to the back yard? I got this email today.
What is the industry standard on someone not leaving access to the back yard? I got this email today.



"It seems I forgot about the lock on the back gate. If we could work out a set day I can leave the gate between the garage and house unlocked. If you can also let me know when you will be near our house to cut the back yard I will leave the gate unlocked then. I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Thanks,

Jim "

I have just started and have a pretty busy schedule. I do not want to lost a customer, but I also do not want to be taken advantage of. Should I charge a fee? Refuse to do it? Thoughts???

I am sorry if I missed a thread on this somewhere...

fiveoboy01
04-26-2007, 09:19 PM
Huh?

The guy is asking for a set day(I'm assuming each week) that he can leave the gate unlocked for you. Pick a day, let him know and be done with it.

That's what I get out of your post, unless I'm missing something.

Either that, or see if he is willing to give you a spare key to the gate lock.

Gimp
04-26-2007, 09:24 PM
Well yes he is asking for a swet date, but what I am asking about is what to do when you do a job and you can not get into the gate. What do other people do? This guy obviously wants me to travel to his house, unload my stuff and do the back yard for free. That is not going to take time, and it was hiss fault that I did not have access.

Lksd Lawn
04-26-2007, 09:35 PM
the best way we do it is ask him for a key or have him put a key somewhere hidden.
We have had that problem before. Sometimes you just cant get there due to weather or a holiday and your day maybe switched. Other times they will forget to leave it unlocked.
Since he forgot to unlock it, then we would just come back to it next week and cut it all. It sucks but sure beats going out of your way to cut it when it probably isnt in your route the next day.
Just a thought.

Gimp
04-26-2007, 11:26 PM
It is an every other week account. I can get by there easliy, but there are many places that I mow that I can not. I was thinking I need to have a policy on it...

Scagguy
04-27-2007, 12:08 AM
I'd say let it ride this time. However, I would get the key or combination to the lock. If your customer refuses and it happens again, then I would bill him the full amount. Make sure he knows this in advance. I have keys and/or combinations to all of my customers gates. You should too. Just my .02

General Landscaping
04-27-2007, 12:33 AM
Extra key or combination lock.
Leaving it unlocked won't be secure until after you leave and it also leaves room for human error.
If the customer can't deal with it, you can skip the back and charge the same or charge extra for another trip next time you find it locked.
Somebody has to eat the $$, no reason it should be you.

topsites
04-27-2007, 12:58 AM
I think we all run into this once or twice until we learn, but here's what I have gathered for solutions:

1) The first time or two, chalk this one up to experience.
> Do NOT use a bolt cutter (I did and the customer got all bent out of shape even thou I put a brand new lock on there {I keep a few handy}), but don't do it, and if you cut half the yard, heck with it, see ya, no charge {but in this case I'm not showing up again}.
2) Always check for this possible issue in the future.
> Soon as I see a lock or a dog, time to ask (and chances are you can save yourself a headache...)
3) Either be provided with a spare key or a guaranteed way you can get into the yard, or thank the customer for their time. No, a verbal assurance is no guarantee, I mean some kind of way for sure you can get in.

Do NOT set up appointments to where they can let you in:
1) They have too much control over your work, things don't usually improve much once this starts.
2) It won't take long, you show up and guess who isn't there?
You can count on this foolishness if this is the case, sooner or later it will happen, in my case it happened the very next time (which is how I learned this bit). If this does happen to you, maybe customer has a cell you can try and call but I wouldn't wait around long at all (in my case I didn't, and good thing, the customer showed up 4-5 hours later {and called me right away which is how I found out})... Yeah, it's a bad moment waiting to happen.

Always check for this problem, and IF you absolutely need the money, then do yourself a favor and make sure he is home before you even get started, but be ready to leave for your next scheduled stop.

Don't feel bad thou, the other day a customer was supposed to leave payment under the mat for me, and me like a dumbo did the work first, then went to get my money (you can guess the rest).
So, we learn in time, check the stuff out first, if it's a no go, get back in truck and move on to your next job.

StBalor
04-27-2007, 05:56 AM
Well yes he is asking for a swet date, but what I am asking about is what to do when you do a job and you can not get into the gate. What do other people do? This guy obviously wants me to travel to his house, unload my stuff and do the back yard for free. That is not going to take time, and it was hiss fault that I did not have access.

If i give them a price on their whole yard, Say 35.00 for example. If i Only cut either the front or the back it's the same price. If the gate is locked and i only cut the front, it's the same price, i just come back on the next scheduled visit. However, if they call me and want me to come back and cut the back i will the next day as long as i am in the area. If not, it waits.

ed2hess
04-27-2007, 05:17 PM
We provide them with a lock and a key.....it is the only way we will take an account.....

Ravenwood Landscaping
04-27-2007, 08:54 PM
If i give them a price on their whole yard, Say 35.00 for example. If i Only cut either the front or the back it's the same price. If the gate is locked and i only cut the front, it's the same price, i just come back on the next scheduled visit. However, if they call me and want me to come back and cut the back i will the next day as long as i am in the area. If not, it waits.

Completely agree with you. Seriously though, the guy apologized and asked you to set a date. What the heck is so hard about that? Set a day of the week and mow on that day. If you can't mow that day, call and reset the date. Charge the same price you normally would no matter how much you cut. If it becomes a problem where the grass is too high than have a talk about raising the price because of the extra time and effort.

lsylvain
04-28-2007, 08:58 PM
I'd say. What? you afraid someone is going to go into your back yard and steal the dog crap. Good thing people can't climb fences or cut locks off if they wanted to steal something. lol First I would do like the others have said and just ask for a key or ask that they hide a key somewhere first, then if they won't do that, set a set day to mow and a backup day incase you can't make it then. Tell them upfront that if this is the case that is you come and the gate is locked you will not return until the next schedualed day and they will be billed for the full price. 90% of the price is just showing up and driving there. If they are fine with that, who cares. The biggest problem I see with this type of situation is you are going to be pissed at them when the gate is locked and they are going to be pissed at you everytime you get behind schedual and miss the day to mow. Another issue with this is what if you are ahead of schedual and can bust it out last thing Thursday night while you are on that side of town, but instead you have to come all the way back out to hit that property.

In my limited experiance with residential accounts I found that crap like this never works. I had 2 customers with dogs that were a pain. The dam dog was always out in the back yard when I mowed. I'm not affraid of dogs or anything but it always made me nervous having someone elses dogs running around while I mowed. Then you had to fight the dog to get in and out of the gate and keep them from escaping. You end up getting agrivated and streesed out over a stupid dog and a $40 job. These jobs at least for me didn't last very long.

my .02

dwlah
04-28-2007, 10:22 PM
I would go with one of these
(1) provide a lock and key have a master key system you can set up you have one key that works all the locks on your runs the homeowner has a key that works only his lock
+you have one key to keep up with
-you have the responsibility for maintaining the lock so on Sunday afternoon you get a call he cant get in the gate or he cuts it off and doesn't tell you
(2) provide padlocks keyed alike
+ see above
-see above
- if you have a group in the same neighborhood could cause a problem with kids going in backyards and doing things they shouldn't when they find out the locks are keyed alike
(3) provide padlocks keyed different
+no problem with (2) additional -
-see above
-handful of keys to keep up with
(4)have customer provide you with key to their padlock
+ his responsibility
-handful of keys to keep up with
(5) combination padlock with the combination kept in the truck/on his note sheet
+no keys to keep up with
-losing the paper with the combination on it

lifetree
04-28-2007, 10:36 PM
... However, I would get the key or combination to the lock. If your customer refuses and it happens again, then I would bill him the full amount. Make sure he knows this in advance. I have keys and/or combinations to all of my customers gates. You should too.

Are you bonded ? Is that why their willing to give a key to their gates ? If not, I'm not sure I would be willing to give out a key, or combination, to my gate lock !!

ed2hess
04-29-2007, 05:51 PM
Are you bonded ? Is that why their willing to give a key to their gates ? If not, I'm not sure I would be willing to give out a key, or combination, to my gate lock !!

You are kidding right.....you do realize how easy it is to get past a gate lock or get over a fence:hammerhead: Over almost 30 years we have never ever ever retained a customer that had a lock that they controlled and said they would have it open......we don't take any more customers with gate locks unless we control the lock and key.

Woody82986
04-29-2007, 06:13 PM
I hate clients that insist on keeping locks on their back gates, but I won't refuse their money. I just make sure they know that they can either give me a key, give me the combination, MAKE SURE it is unlocked on the day I am supposed to be there, or let me put my own lock on it. They all know by now that if they forget to unlock it, I won't come back this week and they will be billed the full amount. That seems to alleviate all problems.

topsites
04-30-2007, 12:26 AM
If it's such a big matter of trust I have bolt cutters so if I had wanted to get in I would've snipped that lock already, now either I get a key or I'm not servicing this yard. The ONLY exception I'll make is I can call the day before the schedule indicates and let them know I'll be out, and IF that works out then ok. I have one customer I do this with, and only because of a big dog.

Y'all do whatever, but I don't deal with this if per chance they're not home or anything else goes wrong and I can't get in nonsense, but the one thing to remember is if there's a lock that's supposed to be left open, then this is the first thing that needs to be checked upon arrival (so at least you don't waste time cutting the front).

Because I speak from experience, setting up appointments where the customer has control over whether or not you can cut their lawn does not work out, hopefully you get 3-4 cuts out of them but sooner or later it's over.

I can't tell which is the case here, but I suppose you can try and call the day before, still it's annoying but at least you can make sure the customer doesn't forget.

Scagguy
04-30-2007, 01:25 PM
Are you bonded ? Is that why their willing to give a key to their gates ? If not, I'm not sure I would be willing to give out a key, or combination, to my gate lock !!

No, I'm not bonded, but I have refs out the wazoo that will vouch for my integerity. That's is better than any bond imo.

bcg
04-30-2007, 02:49 PM
If it's locked, it gets skipped and we don't go back until the next scheduled mow. No discount (we're going to spend more time on the next cut because it's longer). All our accounts know what day to expect us and it's their responsibility to leave the gate unlocked. We'll provide a combination lock if they want us to but if it's their lock, it's their problem.