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View Full Version : I got fired! Not my fault!


Andre_Hedegaard
05-10-2007, 12:48 AM
My first job doing someones lawn and it ended bad because of a dimwitted customer.

I get a call from a guy that has a lawn which dosen't look too good and asks if I can do a job repairing it for him.
I say sure, no problem, done this a million times.

So I go over there, bring my equipment and his wife is there to show me the lawn and what they want it to look like, showing some magazine pictures of what looks like an almost golf course green.

I take a few 'before pics', before work commences.

I read somewhere its good to start by trimming the grass as short as possible and then aerating it so that the grass will grow back stronger and to fertilize and after-sow a few seeds here and there to get it just right.

So I tell her my plan and what needs to be done and she accepts and goes back inside.

I start by the above procedure and after that, get underway by aerating the lawn. Then a few 'after pics' to document the progress.

But now, get this, just about 5 mins after I'm done aerating, the guy comes home, parks his car and quickly calls his wife and approaches me, asking what the hell I've done here!

I tell him to chill, that I've already explained to his wife how to get a good golf course grass gowing and the procedure involved.
He has the nerve to tell me that its all wrong, that I didn't use an aerator but a cultivator and that I've completely ruined and chunked his lawn to bits.

I tell him that if hes so clever he could do this himself, instead of hiring a professional and reassure him that is it what needs to be done, that the grass will grow back stronger and it'll be flatter than before.

His wife was just standing there with gaping jaw and red as a turnip, as if she forgot to take her medication or something. So much for telling him that we've talked this through before work commenced and taking my side of the matter.

After a few moments of silence and I can clearly see their anger, I decide to further reassure them that this is the best thing to do as it also kills many of the harmful bugs in the lawn, like the ghastly earthworms that do no good whatsoever.

At this, his wife flings out a stream of insults and I get angry too and tell the husband to keep her on a leash if he can't control his animal.
He gets all menacy and I decide the best thing to do is quickly pack my things and just take off, WITHOUT payment!

I think the problem is they're having maritial problems and they needed to vent it out on me.

Have any of you also encountered some non-paying jobs because of stupid customers that can't tell the difference between lawn and concrete?

Attached are pics of before, during and after the aeration.

Sandgropher
05-10-2007, 03:11 AM
I got to hand it to you this is funny stuff, i wonder how many dimwitts you will hook on your line haha :rolleyes: :laugh:

Runner
05-10-2007, 03:59 AM
Yeah,...Keep phishin', buddy. I guess some people have a little too much time on their hands. Kind of ironic for this time of year...:rolleyes:

YardPro
05-10-2007, 07:21 AM
i think you referred to the wrong person as a dimwitt.

Sandgropher
05-10-2007, 07:31 AM
i think you referred to the wrong person as a dimwitt.

Oh sorry this guys a friend of yours, sorry about that ;)

Sandgropher
05-10-2007, 07:51 AM
ooppss i think i misunderstood you Yardpro, you are addressing the poster ?

Primolawn
05-10-2007, 08:47 AM
Can you post a pic of your machine?

topsites
05-10-2007, 08:52 AM
i think you referred to the wrong person as a dimwitt.

Fact is you told the guy you've done this a million times, yet then off you go to read up on it...
This isn't jibing and I think that might've been part of the problem.

Because, I don't have any pics of my aerations, but it's never looked quite like that! :laugh:
Most of my aerations, well you can see it but for the most part it still looks like what their lawn was before...
Are you sure you rented an aerator?
Because that yellow machine looks like a rear-tine tiller to me, I could be wrong, but ...

The other part of it is, no customer ever controls HOW the work is to be done. You got this part right after the fact, but once they came outside and you guys started discussing things, that's when it already went too far... What came after the aeration is predictable, I would've ran before that but I don't always see it coming either...

Don't feel too bad, I have a similar situation where I'm not all that willing to bend over and take it like a man, even if I should, see this thread:
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=185712&highlight=customer

I mean, I am thinking the best solution is time, and in that time chew it over in small pieces so you can let it go, that's what I'm doing, I'm not over it yet but one day I'll take care of my customer's problem, thou it'll likely be the end of it, too.

sux, such is life

lawnMaster5000
05-10-2007, 08:53 AM
what did you do to their lawn? I dont know about your area, but around here you would have been sued for doing that to a lawn w/o written documentation of what you were going to do. I would have NEVER made a lawn look like that unless it was a complete tear out and re sod.

Nathan Robinson
05-10-2007, 08:55 AM
WOW! I would have approached this lawn in a different direction. let me know how the lawn turns out.

lawnMaster5000
05-10-2007, 08:56 AM
and to address your post title, you got fired, YOUR FAULT

topsites
05-10-2007, 09:08 AM
To fix the problem, I would either get a landscape rake (this is HARD work) or maybe some kinda harley rake or some kind of something to smooth out the turf, or what's left of it... But before you do that, I would dump about 50 pounds of seed, THEN smooth it out, then water it bigtime, like soak it wet and then keep the area at least somewhat moist for a good 30 days.

But, it's likely too late for this...

Thanks for the thread, it's helping me deal with my dilemma heh

topsites
05-10-2007, 09:09 AM
To fix the problem, I would either get a landscape rake (this is HARD work) or maybe some kinda harley rake or some kind of something to smooth out the turf, or what's left of it... But before you do that, I would dump about 50 pounds of seed, THEN smooth it out, then water it bigtime, like soak it wet and then keep the area at least somewhat moist for a good 30 days.

But, it's likely too late for this, somehow I don't think they want you setting foot in their yard...

One lesson that might can be learned is, in the future, if it's a first for you, either admit to it or at least don't act like it's so par for the course, that has helped me before and still does... To me, if it's a first, I say so. I might even tell the customer I can't guarantee the results, and I've done that, and it helps, but like I said, I don't always see the problem coming either :cry:

The problem with being upfront about first times is you tend to get a lot of 'oh heck no but thanks anyway's..."
Way I've tackled this is to tell them it's a first and that it would be educational and I'd like the opportunity, but in return I'd be willing to do the job for 20-30% off, and this can work out, but the customer has to understand I am learning (and they get a discount in return) but that in the end it might not turn out, more than a few are ok with that, so long they know about it beforehand.

Thanks for the thread thou, it's helping me deal with my own dilemma heh

caslong
05-10-2007, 09:20 AM
This is a joke? Right?

There is no way you are serious? I'm confused!

Sandgropher
05-10-2007, 10:20 AM
Yes its a joke but some posters are taking the bait :rolleyes:

MarcSmith
05-10-2007, 11:49 AM
...............If that was your idea of aerating,, not only would you be fired but you be paying for a new lawn.....

Andre_Hedegaard
05-10-2007, 12:19 PM
Yes, this thread is a joke, I thought it would be a fun way for me to introduce myself on this forum, you know, to add a little humour to a forum that is serious most of the time.

So, I am not a professional, thank goodness.
I lack the education and know how of landscaping, maintenance on just about any topic what concerns gardening.

The pics are from my own yard and this lawn (I have 2 main lawns and 2 smaller ones) is to be used for "fun&games with family".

I'm 33 years old and started gardening for fun when I was 32. (I never thought I'd enjoy gardening, so this has taken me by surprise)

However thanks to this great site and others, I've managed to carefully bring one of my lawns from "less than average" to "higher than average" and that gave me the confidence to do a re-seeding job on this lawn.
Never done any gardening for others either, other than helping my old pensioned neighbour with a few garden chores.
I'm not from the USA, but from Scandinavia, where our climate is probably similiar to USA northern states.
Luckily for me, since I have made our own water supply/pump when we bought our house 2 years ago, we pay a set amount each month for our water to the municipality, regardless if we use 2liters or 2000liters a day, which is fantastic during the summer months, as I never have to worry about watering bills.

I particularly liked the "Mr. Compost" faq's from this site, which further inspired me to do a reseeding project and not just aerate it. Yes, luckily I know the difference between aerating and tilling ;)
So I'm very keen on doing something good for the "ghastly worms" to help the lawn. By adding a good layer of mulch. Sure the lawn may not end up "picture perfect" but I'm looking for it to be healthy, strong and "above average".

Thanks for being good sports about it, I see not everyone bit the bait, but thats to be expected.
As per the few questions, since I'm a newbie, I only have a lawn mower and a rake or two, thats it. I borrowed the tiller from the inlaws. So yes, I've moved the thatch with a $5 hand rake and has taken 2 days so far (Its been raining on/off this week). Hard work and this aspect isn't enjoyable, but in the end hopefully I'll have something to appreciate from my efforts. The thatch is being thrown into the hedge of trees, which I believe is better than just driving them to the dumpyard. Trying to 'recycle' as much as possible.

In the near future, I will be installing a garden pond myself but holding off until I've acquired a good set knowledge about the aspects. Again thanks to this wonderful site, I know I need the "garden pond bible".

Sorry for rambling, just thought I'd introduce myself and happy to be here amongst you "professionals", I really admire your dedication to your work :)

Included are work in progress pics and also some of my other lawn, where the before pics, which was aerated and the 'after' pic which is only after 3 weeks.

sheshovel
05-10-2007, 01:00 PM
Whats funny is, we have a member here does that kind of thing all the time! He hAS done it a million times, and gives advice on how to fix it too! LOL!!
He's well used to scenarios such as your funny imaginary one above, for him they happen almost everyday. I won't say who he is...you figure it out.

PatriotLandscape
05-10-2007, 01:48 PM
Topsites, You really crack me up man I hope to god you were kidding and again with your damn dilemmas just too funny.

LindblomRJ
05-10-2007, 02:06 PM
Topsites...

caslong
05-10-2007, 02:14 PM
Is Andre a masculine name in Scandinavia? If your named Andre in my neck of the woods, you are doomed to a life of hell.

Andre_Hedegaard
05-10-2007, 03:44 PM
Is Andre a masculine name in Scandinavia? If your named Andre in my neck of the woods, you are doomed to a life of hell.

Yes, its a masculine name, derived from the French.
My girlfriend hasn't complained about my masculinity :)

Not sure what you mean though? Surely you must be thinking of the name "Andrea" and not "André" ?

Andre_Hedegaard
05-10-2007, 03:47 PM
Whats funny is, we have a member here does that kind of thing all the time! He hAS done it a million times, and gives advice on how to fix it too! LOL!!
He's well used to scenarios such as your funny imaginary one above, for him they happen almost everyday. I won't say who he is...you figure it out.

Only been reading the forums a few days, but am guessing topsites? I could be wrong though, but read his post about his destruction of some bushes and PITA customers.

I need to find out what PITA stands for?
(Hopefully not someone like me)

Andre_Hedegaard
05-10-2007, 03:55 PM
One lesson that might can be learned is, in the future, if it's a first for you, either admit to it or at least don't act like it's so par for the course, that has helped me before and still does... To me, if it's a first, I say so. I might even tell the customer I can't guarantee the results, and I've done that, and it helps, but like I said, I don't always see the problem coming either :cry:

Thanks for the thread thou, it's helping me deal with my own dilemma heh

Thanks for your replies.
I read your other post about the ferns/bush things and hmmm I would say install new ones and then leave the customer if they are bothering you that much. Your idea of leaving a letter stating the reasons why is good too, at least you're giving them an oportunity for closure. Not sure how your business works, but if you don´t have a contract with them, then abort future jobs, such as the lawn cutting.
I am guessing that no matter what, they will remain unimpressed with you and so its useless offering large sums of money in redemption. What I mean is, buy them their ferns/bushes, but don't overdo it with expenditure. They will tell all people they know that you asasinated their plants, so its doomed anyway.

warren piece
05-10-2007, 04:29 PM
PITA stands for pain in the butt.

grassmanak
05-10-2007, 05:47 PM
dude wtf did you do to their lawn, if you did that to mine, id be pissed as well. you should have overseeded and hit it with some fert for now, not roto till it. wth

Sandgropher
05-10-2007, 08:16 PM
Welcome to Lawn Site Andre , good first post i thought it was the funniest thread i have read for a while, i am sure you may get some more "answers" to your problem, as some folks read the first post only then reply, i am looking forward to more replys ;) :laugh:

Vikings
05-10-2007, 08:29 PM
If he was growing potatoes I would say that is good work.:laugh:

daveyo
05-11-2007, 09:46 PM
Joke or not you made 10,000 x the work you needed too.

anthonyr
05-12-2007, 12:50 AM
Great post!! Thought that it was very funny!!

Andre_Hedegaard
05-12-2007, 02:16 AM
Joke or not you made 10,000 x the work you needed too.

I had so many dandelions, I started to take each out individually and after an hour of that nonsense, I got so fed up.
Last year I only aerated and seeded a little and fertilized, but the ground is so compacted and a few holes and inclinations.
There were also patches in places and since I've never done a reseed project before, I thought I'd want to try this for fun and see what the results bring.
At least I have my own lawn to experiment on.
This isn't my day job, so I've got lots of energy, although the raking wasn't that fun.

sheshovel
05-12-2007, 02:28 AM
Only been reading the forums a few days, but am guessing topsites? I could be wrong though, but read his post about his destruction of some bushes and PITA customers.

I need to find out what PITA stands for?
(Hopefully not someone like me)

BINGO!!!
PITA is pain in the arse

carcrz
05-12-2007, 08:25 AM
You would have been much better off just verticutting & bagging the lawn. Follow this by aerating & overseeding. Good post though.

topsites
05-12-2007, 09:13 AM
Yeah, but then I read about other Lco's problems and I laugh pretty good, too, because each and every one here has their own little set of problems, some of which quite simply never bother me. The needling is a bit unnerving, but some comes across as a compliment, it is simply the path we decide to take, I think.

Because where I have problems you never have, you have problems I never face, I'm sure we all get our share thou.
What is it Martin Stillwater said... Life is an unrelenting comedy, therein lies the tragedy of it.

It is interesting thou, this Yin and Yang of it...
Take one set of choices and one can of worms opens.
Tire of that so try it the other way and suddenly another can opens up, thou the first set of problems is gone.

I suppose it has to do with which set of problems one tolerates best, which way we find works for us, which is another way of saying 'what works for you may or may not work for me' (and vice versa).

I would do things your way, but either way it's 6 of one or a half dozen of the other, I'm sure of it.

mexiking
05-13-2007, 11:16 PM
you shoulda called me to kill the dandelions with my pesticide does wonders

CSlawnscapes
05-17-2007, 02:37 PM
Man now thats funny

NiceSpot
05-18-2007, 02:18 PM
No offense...but an aereation mach. leaves the lawn looking like a bunch of geese were there not a stampede of buffalos.

PatriotLandscape
05-18-2007, 03:59 PM
A stampede of buffuloes who needs to crap?

mag360
05-18-2007, 09:48 PM
No offense...but an aereation mach. leaves the lawn looking like a bunch of geese were there not a stampede of buffalos.


Caught another one.:drinkup:

Bull
05-20-2007, 12:43 AM
Andre the Giant looked masculine.

dougmartin2003
05-23-2007, 12:28 AM
man im glad that was a joke, i was starting to get worried

fargoboy
05-23-2007, 03:46 PM
so what you are telling us is that Lawerence Stone moved to Denmark to get a sex change The old timers on this site will remember Larry

johnnywill08
06-01-2007, 06:36 PM
is this guy serious or just seriously moronic?

AndyTblc
06-01-2007, 10:06 PM
That looks like rototiller work or cultivating, not aeration. The aeration I know is it pockets little wholes and leaves little round dirt pieces. Not like what you did.