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View Full Version : This guy made me nervous


JFizzle
06-17-2007, 04:02 PM
So I picked up a new account about 6 weeks ago. The lady is a nurse, very friendly on the phone, and sounds young and energetic. I had never met her in person because she works at night and sleeps all day. It had been about three weeks and I hadnt received a check so I stopped going and sent her another statement. She calls up and says "my lawn really needs to be cut. Your check is in the mail. etc." I called her back and said "I still havent recieved a check but I'll be happy to cut your lawn when I get one."

A week goes by an no check - so I still hadnt cut her grass. I go by on wednesday and see a new guy doing her lawn. I stopped and approached him.

"are you the guy who used to do her lawn" he asked
"yeah"
"she said she wanted something a little more weekly." he said in a jerky way.
"oh" i said "well i stopped coming because she hasnt paid"

He didnt seem to care.

We kept talking and he tells me he has 80 accounts. Its just him and one other guy and they cover a pretty big area (or so he says)
Hes using a pitchfork to pick up piles of grass his old toro 36 left. Has no shirt on. Pants falling off. Hes got a dumpy old ford, trashy unorganized trailer and some beater equipment.

He says "if you ever want to sell your business let me know. I'm in the process of aquiring two other lawn companies right now."

He gives me a card and I recognized the logo. I asked if he has another truck. "Yeah my 06 f150. It was getting too beat up so I bought this beast."

We talked for a few more and then I told him good luck and he said the same.

I was first left wondering if I handled the customer right. Should I have done something different?

My second thought was: should I feel threatened by this guy? All 40 of my accounts are in this neighborhood and he seems to be doing something right if hes got 80 accounts in his second year. I dont know why, but I've been bothered by it this week. I keep my truck and equipment and crew always looking the best possible. We are very professional but should we worry about this dude?

I lost two other accounts last week to crews like this.

Do you guys get nervous about this sorta thing?

PerfectEarth
06-17-2007, 04:07 PM
Sounds like I would take what he says with a grain of salt. Concentrate on your own thing- don't worry about this guy. Like you said, he was using a pitchfork to get grass of the lawn... Do outstanding work and you'll never be wanting for customers. Maybe he won't make it.

1MajorTom
06-17-2007, 04:17 PM
More importantly, what about the nurse? When you were there at day, did you bang on the door to wake the nurse so you could get paid?

No need to get nervous over this guy. If you are doing dependable decent work, then you won't have a problem. if you lose an account that isn't paying, then what's the big deal? you should be glad to lose every one of those kinds of accounts to the guy. Let him deal with the headache.

JFizzle
06-17-2007, 04:27 PM
Thanks to you both. Thats what I needed to hear.

MuleCutter
06-17-2007, 05:15 PM
More importantly, what about the nurse? When you were there at day, did you bang on the door to wake the nurse so you could get paid?

No need to get nervous over this guy. If you are doing dependable decent work, then you won't have a problem. if you lose an account that isn't paying, then what's the big deal? you should be glad to lose every one of those kinds of accounts to the guy. Let him deal with the headache.

i'll have to second this.... i'm going through the same thing with a couple of mine but i dont have enough customers at the moment to justify dropping them. i collect from them eventually but i have to harrass them about collecting.

dKoester
06-17-2007, 06:41 PM
The quality of your work says alot about your company. When you complete say a landscape job or something of that nature and the quality is remarkable, people will notice and get your name and number. We put our signs out at each job and the calls come in fast for either sod or landscaping. We also try to sell package deals including complete maintenance of the property after we are finished with the install. Don't even think about this guy. If you do your focus is in the wrong area. Your going to be fine. Sell as many services as possible.

JohnsonLawn
06-17-2007, 06:59 PM
Brother, just keep this in mind from now on, there are alot of clients who are willing to pay good money and pay on time for a great, reliable, professional landscape service and those are the people you want. There is always going to be a group of "lower-end" LCO's out there willing to do anything for a buck, so let them pick up your scraps and chase the money down. Just do awesome work, never promise anything you can't deliver and above all be a professional in both work and appearance and while the "shirtless superman" is chasing down his money from the nurse, you can be counting yours in your checking account. Best of luck and do not sweat it!:usflag:

LushGreenLawn
06-17-2007, 10:16 PM
Honestly,
From the way you described this gentleman, and what he is telling you, I would not believe for a second what he is saying. 80 accounts in two years? He has a helper that goes out solo and he is out solo? Does not add up...

He is lying because he is intimidated by you.

sheshovel
06-17-2007, 10:25 PM
Don't let this get to you, happens all the time in this biz. Just get paid for what you have done and move on. Doubt he has 80 accounts. Hope you have your clients on a contract stating your policy for late payments, so they know.

Mowing Freak
06-17-2007, 11:00 PM
I had a competitor tell me he did almost twice what I did and he was much older and smoked a lot. When he sold out, I know who bought him out and he had about 50 less accounts than he bragged about.

cantoo
06-17-2007, 11:14 PM
You were there and did what you thought had to be done. In the past we have had customers who have said the check was in the mail and it took weeks before we got it. We live in a pretty rural area so we know or know someone who knows everyone so a few phone calls and you can find out alot about the person. Some people are just really really lazy when it comes to paying bills. We provide an addressed envelope and some people put in inside another envelope and mail it back to us with payment. We have a customer who is always 2 or 3 months behind on payment, they always pay but it just takes forever. I have talked to other people who do work for them and they are the same way. We have never stopped service on anyone and have never been stiffed. We have fired a few customers but always do it in the fall to provide them with enough time to find someone else cause we don't want them back.

Vikings
06-17-2007, 11:23 PM
People are real lazy about sending in checks. I stopped asking if they sent a check because then they almost always say they did (better then saying oh I forgot all about it).

So I just say, I was wondering if you got my bill. Then I say leave the check in your mail box. If they don't like leaving checks in mail boxes I say leave it in your barbeque.

I hate slow payers but have rarely quit on them for non payment. (too greedy:()


Additionally, I have to be real careful with myself. I always over react thinking I'm going to get ripped off and in the end I rarely have. Though I've gotten in some pretty heated umm... let's call it debates, with customers who were then non customers.

Just a week ago I got a new customer and their lawn was like a hayfield. I'm on my 5th cut and this is their first cut for their lawn. There was some grass left on the street and I went back to get paid, it was bi weekly. I got into an argument with the husband and his friend and they started talking in some foriegn language, maybe Russian, in front of me. I almost lost it completely. I went past him and knocked on his door and started talking to his wife. He didn't like that. I told him then PAY ME somebody pay me!

Finally I told my guy to blow that grass back onto his property and I told him that I can't make a hay field into a pristine lawn in one cut. You can't let it go that long. Finally his friend paid me.

Long story short, I was wrong and now I make sure never to leave grass on the street. He was right, it looks pretty bad. But I still almost b!tch slapped him and his friend. Just too stressed sometimes.