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View Full Version : little PITA...now HUGE PITA


stephenslawncare
07-10-2007, 07:15 PM
okay, just got a check from a small PITA customer along with a note. this customer is a 30/cut customer. her bill was for $120.00 for four mowings in june. the letter reads as follows "I am deducting 15.oo dollars from the total because on 6/19/07 you only cut half the yard..." I do remember this day because i showed up, unloaded my stuff and then she came out saying to skip this week. the front yard was perfectly green and needed to be cut and the back was tall enough to be cut but was dried out and yellow. after about 10min. of arguing, we decided i would just cut/trim/edge/blow the front yard. We never agreed on 1/2 price. anyways, how should i handle this situation. and also if i dump her, how do i get the 15 dollars??? I have no problem dumping this PITA customer but I WANT MY MONEY!!!

stephenslawncare
07-10-2007, 07:17 PM
also, this is an old lady who has nothing else to do but B**** about every little thing.:dizzy: :dizzy: :dizzy:

bohiaa
07-10-2007, 07:21 PM
yea I kind of have the same sit going on....

this lady wants me to NOT edge except every other week, and drop her bill by 5.00, I informed her that a Biweekly edging will be 10.00 simply because it's harder on the equiptment and takes longer..

she still dont get it, I'm gonna drop her,

as far as your 15.00, I think she hurt your pride more than your pockett book.

Just take it on the chin, come here and Vent...

stephenslawncare
07-10-2007, 07:26 PM
should i just say "cough up the 15 dollar or find a new lawn service" ???

Mark in MD
07-10-2007, 07:30 PM
Dear Madam:

It has become clear that we are not capable of providing the level of service you require. Therefore, we will no longer be able to provide service from this point forward.

Regards,

Stephen

GrassyTomm
07-10-2007, 07:33 PM
If you want to keep her as a customer, I think you can live without the $15. But, if you are not hurting for customers and are feeling like you want to drop her, I'd tell her to cough-up the 15 bucks or find a new service.

howardsells2000
07-10-2007, 07:36 PM
If you want to keep her as a customer, I think you can live without the $15. But, if you are not hurting for customers and are feeling like you want to drop her, I'd tell her to cough-up the 15 bucks or find a new service.

I agree with GrassyTomm.

stephenslawncare
07-10-2007, 07:36 PM
the thing is, i just mowed her lawn on the 7th and i want this money too. how should i go about getting this???

daveyo
07-10-2007, 07:45 PM
Your actually worried about 15 dollars, you've been in business 4 years now, drop her and move on to an easier customer. about the extra cut bill her and in a polite letter explain you can no longer service her property. Whats the worse case scenario your out 45 bucks in reality how much is that to your business $16-20.

Bigray
07-10-2007, 08:13 PM
i agree with grassy tom
in this bus. just showing up counts for a portion of your expenses.
tell her if she does'nt want the service to give you notice !!!
not when you arrive @ the job.
set her straight now as to your bus. practices / or give her the boot

stephenslawncare
07-10-2007, 08:41 PM
just called her about this and she denied paying full price so i told her that her service was cancelled but she said she would still pay me for mowing on the 7th:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: but during this phone conversation, she said "i am the boss of what you do because i am the one paying you:nono: " and she "couldnt believe how I keep any customers arguing with them all the time" and she "couldnt believe my labor rate was so high" (20 dollars an hour) and that here friends services were doing work for 7-8 dollars an hour...all i can say is BULL S***. (that is if she has any friends) You guys have no idea how good i feel:cool2: :walking: :weightlifter: :usflag:

DiyDave
07-10-2007, 08:55 PM
Used my method of getting even/ getting paid! I have said it before, on the cut that you expect to be the last, leave a section of the front lawn unmowed, from the front door to the mailbox. When they call to complain, you say, with MOCK sincerity, I'm sorry, I must have forgotten to mow that area, of course, I'll be right out to mow that area, by the way you have forgotten to pay me for the last mowing, so can I pick up the check for what you owe me, when I drop by to mow that last little bit? Most of the time this works, and the rest of the time, you get to laugh at them! It helps if you arrange this action to co-incide with a holiday, or planned party at their home, gives you all that much moor leverage!:cool2: :cool2:

daveyo
07-10-2007, 10:48 PM
Thats the best thing for your business, 20/hr is to cheap evaluate your expenses and raise your rates.

stephenslawncare
07-10-2007, 11:05 PM
sorry but this has been buggin me all night. when on the phone with her she was talking about when we got into an argument over wether her yard needed cutting or not she said, (and keep in mind i am 14) "I was about to call your mother and discuss with her your business practices and how you should show respect for your customers" WTF! Dont you ever say a word to my mom you B****, got F*** yourself if you dont like my business practices...HIRE SOMEONE ELSE!!!(i didnt say this to her but i sure as H*** felt like it) AHHHHHHH. I cant stand this lady:angry: :angry: :angry: :gunsfirin :gunsfirin :gunsfirin I need some anger management classes BAD! sorry but i need to vent.

S man
07-10-2007, 11:29 PM
Don't worry about fifteen bucks man, just move on and find better customers. I have had some pita customers before but they're all gone and now life is easy mowin.

Envy Lawn Service
07-11-2007, 01:19 AM
Well, you are 14 and since she is talking about calling your mother, I would assume she is a neighborhood lady.

So you really can't make the same argument adults can about travel expenses and other fixed costs that don't change just because you only cut half the lawn.

Understand that people like this like to hire the neighborhood kid/teen to cut their lawn because they are too cheap to pay what it costs to retain an adult professional. They also can't find someone twice your age that will put up with their bull.

I would just tell the lady I did not appreciate her deciding what she wanted to pay instead of paying the bill sent to her. I would tell her that frankly if she is worried that much over $15, you would rather not do any more work for her and risk extending her any more credit for a whole months worth of work.... just makes you feel uncomfortable about her ability to pay.

Thank her for the business she has given you up to this point and advise her that you think it would be better for her to find someone else cheaper that she can afford, or maybe do it herself.

This is all coming from a guy who was your age once, the neighborhood kid once, and in your shoes in this business once.

For you, in this stage of your game, it's about learning as much as possible while you can still afford the learning process. You learn how to handle yourself, your business, your clients, your schedules... and in this case you learn a whole lot about the kind of clients you don't need... how to keep them in check... how to avoid them... etc...

The learning experience is well worth the $15.
Take that motivation and channel it towards how to better set up your future business to avoid these types of situations.


As for the customer really...
I mean seriously...
I don't know about you, but I have my time... and my pride... and whatever else.

No freakin' way I'm wasting my time or embarassing myself like that over $15.
How about you?

stephenslawncare
07-11-2007, 01:56 AM
I think I am just going to let this go and move along...and hopefully learn something. I know I got F*** for $15.00 but who cares i have 21 other account that i can do an even better job on now that i just freed up 30 min a week and if she sends the check for the mowing a few days ago...so be it. if she doesnt...so be it. I just need to learn from my mistakes and move on. Im just glad this is over:dizzy:

Liberty Lawn & Landscape
07-11-2007, 02:02 AM
Used my method of getting even/ getting paid! I have said it before, on the cut that you expect to be the last, leave a section of the front lawn unmowed, from the front door to the mailbox. When they call to complain, you say, with MOCK sincerity, I'm sorry, I must have forgotten to mow that area, of course, I'll be right out to mow that area, by the way you have forgotten to pay me for the last mowing, so can I pick up the check for what you owe me, when I drop by to mow that last little bit? Most of the time this works, and the rest of the time, you get to laugh at them! It helps if you arrange this action to co-incide with a holiday, or planned party at their home, gives you all that much moor leverage!:cool2: :cool2:

Hey, now there is a great idea! I'll use it tomorrow.

stephenslawncare
07-11-2007, 02:09 AM
All in All, how did I handle this situation? Is there anything different you all would have recommended that I do if this happens again? I am so glad I am done with this customer. Also, I dont know why I didnt mention this sooner but i have been having problems with her all year but this pushed me over the edge. Thanks for all your imput guys.

Envy Lawn Service
07-11-2007, 02:45 AM
All in All, how did I handle this situation? Is there anything different you all would have recommended that I do if this happens again? I am so glad I am done with this customer. Also, I dont know why I didnt mention this sooner but i have been having problems with her all year but this pushed me over the edge. Thanks for all your imput guys.

Well yes, since you asked, I can share something with you I learned the same hard way....


In the end, what it comes down to, is that you have to plan to make a shift. Everything has to shift, including your mindset, self-perception... and most of all... WHAT you sell and HOW you sell it.

As long as you are trading tangable labor for dollars you'll continue to have this problem recur. So you have to stop selling a sweaty grass cut for $30 and start selling them on retaining your basic services for $1,080 a season.

In order to do this, you really honestly have to change the way you think about YOUR time and YOUR earning potential.

I mean let's you and I come off it here and be realistic about it.... this is about making money and harnessing as much of your earnings potential as possible.

So I look at it as selling a customer a slot or reservation in my weekly schedule when I take on a new customer, or renew an existing customer.

I also look at it like this.... when they want/need me to get there that week to do lawn work, they expect me to be committed to being there. If they want that kind of commitment from me, I expect a similar commitment from them. [b]If I am going to reserve a slot in my weekly schedule to allow time to perform the work and be reliable, in return, I expect them to make a commitment to me of equal proportion, and in exchange provide me with a reliable predictable amount of income for the season.

Time is not a renewable resource for any of us. We all only have so much time in a week/month/year to earn a living. That time still ticks off the clock rather they want me there doing work and earning money, or rather they want me to waste my time coming by to be turned away, only to go home early. I mean if I have reserved that time slot in my schedule for them, it's not like I can just go somewhere else on the spot and fill that slot with money making activities because they want to pinch a few pennies at my expense.

And if you think hard enough about what I just said, you'll see it's an apparent truth that anyone can and should understand.

stephenslawncare
07-11-2007, 03:02 AM
okay envy so i think what you are trying to say is that if i make a commitment to them, they should be making a commitment to me (paying)
and if they break that commitment then that is when you should get rid of them???

freddyc
07-11-2007, 03:11 AM
All in All, how did I handle this situation? Is there anything different you all would have recommended that I do if this happens again? I am so glad I am done with this customer. Also, I dont know why I didnt mention this sooner but i have been having problems with her all year but this pushed me over the edge. Thanks for all your imput guys.




Sorry, but I can't be as supportive as most here.....I do agree with everyone that time is money and how to maximize profits and so on, but there's some real issues with your original post.

Here's a couple comments...


In your first post you said that all you did was argue with her. You said you didn't agree on half price. You also said that you only cut half her lawn...

1/ she's an older woman and although most of your generation missed out on the concept of respect for your elders, I'm pr etty sure that's where some of her comments come from. In your eyes you're a business man--in her eyes you're a kid. Due to the fact that you can't hold any license, ins or even be held liable in most cases because of your age, sorry, but she is more right than you in that respect. Doesn't mean she should talk down to you but you need to understand that business is about customer service too--- from your statement that you only argued with her my guess is that she'd like to fire you more than you wanted to get out of there. Neither one of you deserve to be dis-respected. Here's a cold hard fact----the man with the gold makes the rules. She's right-- as long as she's paying you, she is the boss.....it's her property, not yours. If she wants you to do something and you don't agree, make your case in a positive not argumentative manner. You're standing on her property that she pays a lot of tax on--- that gives her the right to decide what happens there---you don't have to agree or even do it, but if someone comes to my property that I am paying for a service and they start being pushy enough, they're off my property in a heartbeat. Again, when you own a house and pay taxes you will understand.

To the main point--- you said you didn't agree on half price----sorry but from a customer standpoint she's using a completely logical argument--- you did half the work, you deserve half the pay. It's not up to her to think about you're getting to her property, and its clear that although you didn't agree on half price, you ASSUMED that she'd pay full price---you failed to communicate to her --probably because you were too busy arguing about what should have been done. If you assume anything, always assume that a customer will consider that less work costs less money. Sometimes this needs to be spelled out.

So the up-shot---

1/ make your stance known at the time and don't expect that everyone thinks like you or has your perspective--it's your business not theirs--give her the options but don't expect her to read your mind. And no, it's not common sense that you get paid full for doing half the work--she doesn't mow lawns for a living, and frankly, except for gas in your mower, I highly doubt she has any concept of other expenses for anyone your age---you don't have a mortgage or rent, no kids, no wife, no car, no insurance, and nobody thinks of wear and tear on equipment except the guy using it. So from her shoes, you're a kid who uses about $3.00 in gas an an hour of time to mow her lawn. And now you're telling her that you're going to charge her the same price for doing half the work.

2/ until you actually become an adult (not trying to talk down to you--just a statement of fact), learn a little respect for your elders-- stand your ground but don't expect anyone to look at a 14 year old like they would a 25 year old. I know this sounds harsh but the fact is that she's already been your age and probably knows more about how you will act and react in the next few years than you do. She's already paid her dues and in 20 or 30 years you will understand. Do you want a 4 year old arguing with you??????

3/ stop dropping the F bomb all over---sooner or later you're gonna slip and it will be in front of your customer.

4/ and finally, be glad that you have good customers and realize that in any business that there will always be a percentage that you don't want to deal with. And always remember that everyone that you crap on will return the favor in bad mouthing you ten times over. It's a small neighborhood which turns into a small town which turns into a small county.

Good luck and now go and find another customer to replace her. Overall, I'm sure you're right and she's probably was the one customer you wanted to get rid of all along. Sounds like it went on way too long.

Envy Lawn Service
07-11-2007, 03:20 AM
okay envy so i think what you are trying to say is that if i make a commitment to them, they should be making a commitment to me (paying)
and if they break that commitment then that is when you should get rid of them???

Yes... and you should be working towards the mindset I'm talking about.

In the future, you'll be able to sell them seasonal agreements, where both of you are making complimenting commitments to each other.

These pay-by-the-cut customers, and customers you send monthly billing to at the end of the month for work performed.... they will often crop up and put you through this same type of stress over stupid stupid stuff like trying to beat you out of $15, or driving you nuts asking you to skip, which makes you work harder the next week for the same price, etc.

That in itself is enough to start making plans for how to avoid it. But honestly, at the same time, these types of customers will kill your earnings potential because you can't count on them to be a reliable source of income, nor will you be able to earn nearly what you project to for the season. Every time you turn around, they will be punching a hole in your schedule and costing you money. And since you only have so much time, they are killing your earning potential because you have reserved that time slot for them, and it's not like you can snap your fingers and majically get a fill-in job next door to fill the slot for the same rate of pay.

See what I am saying...

Anyways, this is a business model to start working towards, and as you mature into an adult, your business will mature with you and provide you with a reliable income. You replace these penny pinching $30 cut customers with good customers who will commit to spending $1,080 a season in exchange for that reservation in your schedule. This way you have sold your time to someone who is willing to pay $1,080 for it without bickering.... instead of to someone you expect to make $1,080 from, but end giving much of it away and being lucky to make the $840 because they are always looking to save a buck or skip when they can....

stephenslawncare
07-11-2007, 04:49 AM
Hey Freddyc, I do understand that I am a kid and that people will judge me differently than a person with a truck/trailer. I do have a huge respect for our elderly. They built this country and fought for our freedoms and now were working for thier social security. The reason for the argument was because the front yard was probably 6-8 in tall and i had skipped the week prior to this so she wanted to go THREE weeks without mowing and i was not going to do just WHATEVER she wanted so that was the reason for the argument. I held my ground and she started getting mad and you know what happens next. Also, the next visit, the back was so tall that i had to bouble cut it AND blow it off and didnt charge extra. The f bomb had nothing to do with the situation, it had to do with her wanting to talk to my mom thinking that my mom would ground me because I wouldnt conform to every one of her demands. I do give a little more wiggle room for my elderly customers (allowing a few more days to pay, be a little easier on "skipping" weeks, etc...) Also, probable more than 25% of my customers are over 60 and whenever any of them call me for a little favor, i will always do it and dont charge them. I have hung curtains, changed lightbulbs on high lights, hauling stuff, fixing their computer. you name it ive done it and i dont charge a penny for it. my elderly customers love me and I respect them to the highest degree. Trust me i dont think im some bigshot. I know i am a kid and have much much more to learn. Last, when i only mowed 1/2 the yard, it was actually more like 60% of the yard PLUS trimming and edging ALL of the property (lots of edging) and blowing off the entire property. normally this property takes me about 35 min and the time i cut "1/2" it took me probably 25-30 min plus the "argument time" Finally I do see her piont of view about her perspective of me and my expenses and the 1/2 work, 1/2 pay thing but with all the other little things she has B**** about and this. thats why she got dumped. Also, how is it that my other elderly customer are always telling me how much they love me and always writing notes with their bills saying how much they love my service and this is the ONLY customer that had problems with me. There has to be something to say about that. :usflag:

PS: All year she had been making threats that she was going back to her old service if i didnt do something for her so i knew she wouldnt have no problem getting a new lawn service.

cpel2004
07-11-2007, 07:09 AM
Do like Sprint/Nextel just send her a letter and drop her? You could move on, keep in mind if you can keep her and pick up a couple more accounts in her area your drive time would be cut. How much is that worth to you? I would send her a letter stating you would make an exception this time but going forward you expect to get paid for the entire lawn. Then let her make a decision to keep you or drop you.

delphied
07-11-2007, 09:50 AM
I sure wouldnt worry over 15 bucks and I would set her straight from this point forward or drop her.

upidstay
07-11-2007, 11:08 AM
Stephen:

IT'S ONLY FIFTEEN BUCKS. Let it go. Dump her and move on. I'm still owed $500 for my very first landscaping job. Did the work, and then the lady refused to pay me. Told me she and her husband were both lawyers and good luck trying to get the money. Such is the glamorous world of landscaping. Consider this your first lesson in dealing with stupid customers. Welcome to the club, my friend.

Eakern & Dog
07-11-2007, 11:32 AM
What about showing her this angle :

You explain to her that your minimum stop charge is $30.00 .Her yard size falls within your $30 charge whether or not you mow the front and back or just the front. Explain that it is cost prohibitive for you to drive there and just mow the front for $15.00. Maybe she will see the light ?

Frontier-Lawn
07-11-2007, 03:42 PM
This is why contracts come in so handy.