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willjones4
12-14-2007, 02:42 PM
I got this 70-something woman that I did some one time shrub and tree work for back in the summer. She said she already had someone to do the lawn. Anyway, I did the work, got paid and was on my way.

She calls me a couple of days ago and asks if I can come cut her lawn as her guy apparently jumped ship. She keeps telling me over and over that he charged her $40 for the front and back. I know this is a lie as this is a minimum $50 cut. So I went ahead and made my first mistake of giving her a deal even though I know she's full of it. I finish the yard and she wants to tell me I missed a few leaves. Whatever, I run over them again. Then she wants to know if I will sweep down all the cobwebs from her carport and front porch cause she's afraid of spiders. I do it as a gesture of good will to an old lady, no charge. BIG MISTAKE. Now she's calling and asking if I can spread winterizer on her yard. FOR FREE. Im tired of being nice to this old bat. Its my own damn fault for letting her go too far. If I ever get another one that starts asking for me for free add ons-- I will stop them in there tracks and tell them I DONT WORK FOR FREE. Rant off...

green horizions
12-14-2007, 04:29 PM
Is this normal in this line of work. Im gearing up to start my own business next year and do not know what to look for in a good customer or how to even get a good amount of work being that 2008 will be my first year to ever mow for money.

shane mapes
12-14-2007, 04:36 PM
what we offer as standard service is blowing off all hard serfices in the front and back lawns after we mow. even if the surface is 25 feet away from the lawn..that way we are cover on all phases of the job... also in our price we do all the fertilieing when it needs to be done and we tell the customer that... a one time customer what i do is tell them that we will do this one-time mow do you need fert. or anything else done. that way i now befor i give the price what i'm in for . this does not work all the time though. i'm sure you guys know that...............

Sweet Tater
12-14-2007, 04:38 PM
I don't think that no matter how hard you search or screen your customers, your going to get one. I have one that wants an exact time I will be there so she can com home from work and put the dog up.
I don't believe this will last long next summer, I can give you a day and a round about time, but exact???? not hardly, to many variables.

QualityLawnCare4u
12-14-2007, 06:21 PM
I had one just like her (and her daughter). Posted on here several times about them. Make her GO AWAY right now and save yourself an ulcer, she will not stop, believe me on this one. Wonder why the other guy jumped ship:laugh:When I see a new one starting this crap it stops right then, if you don' start it then they know where they stand. She will keep trying you untill you will hate this yard with a passion!

Jusmowin
12-14-2007, 06:31 PM
Put the old timmer in her place by explaining to her that you dont mind doing a freebie every once in a blue moon however, spreading fert and anything else conserning her yard cost money to do. Its ok to be nice but get paid while doing it.

Jay Ray
12-14-2007, 06:42 PM
Wonder why the other guy jumped ship:laugh:

When they say we had someone regular, but his truck broke down and he can't get it fixed, you know that trouble is already brewing if you take the lawn.

PaproskiLandscaping
12-14-2007, 10:34 PM
If the customer is a good one and they are appreciative (and send me a Christmas tip) I don't mind doing it and usually don't charge them. When people start to abuse it, I send them a bill. A minimum one hour charge even if I came out and helped move a bird bath for 5 minutes. Doing little things like this can help save a customer. But doing too many things like this will loose us money.

The best thing I have learned is to let the bad customers go (and you will feel much better when you see 8 different companies working there over the next 3 years). It's better to not work for a day than to go out there and loose money.

Pflat1
12-15-2007, 06:31 PM
I got this 70-something woman that I did some one time shrub and tree work for back in the summer. She said she already had someone to do the lawn. Anyway, I did the work, got paid and was on my way.

She calls me a couple of days ago and asks if I can come cut her lawn as her guy apparently jumped ship. She keeps telling me over and over that he charged her $40 for the front and back. I know this is a lie as this is a minimum $50 cut. So I went ahead and made my first mistake of giving her a deal even though I know she's full of it. I finish the yard and she wants to tell me I missed a few leaves. Whatever, I run over them again. Then she wants to know if I will sweep down all the cobwebs from her carport and front porch cause she's afraid of spiders. I do it as a gesture of good will to an old lady, no charge. BIG MISTAKE. Now she's calling and asking if I can spread winterizer on her yard. FOR FREE. Im tired of being nice to this old bat. Its my own damn fault for letting her go too far. If I ever get another one that starts asking for me for free add ons-- I will stop them in there tracks and tell them I DONT WORK FOR FREE. Rant off...


Now you know why the other guy doesnt come around anymore.
Why do this to yourself? Your already losing $10 since its a $50 cut and she pays $40. This sweat little old lady is getting over on you and she knows it.

Dave_005
12-15-2007, 06:48 PM
as soon as she said "but the last guy did it for less" i would simply tell her to call him back again and good luck, then leave. like most i have a set Mininum price, if i give a quote of $50 then i don't go under that or do free add ons, every min i spend on her yard doing free be's i'm losing money. so i won;t do them for any one.

deere615
12-15-2007, 06:55 PM
I had a pita customer this year. Its a shame you try to be nice and thats how they treat you.

topsites
12-16-2007, 12:03 AM
Not long ago I would've given you all that same lecture but don't worry about it, today I know where you're coming from, which means I have been there, at least as bad if not worse, more than once lol.

Anger, although certainly not productive, does help in building a thick skin.
So this was, bad as it may sound, good for experience.

Sadly, it seems we have to do x number of these before we learn for good.
The good news is, one day soon you will.

Have a nice day.


/////////////////////////
Other notes: My favorite sayings to this kind of customer are: "No, thank you!" And, "sorry I'm not interested"
Sometimes I sound frustrated, other days just plain bored.
That part sounds sick too, but I got the grey hairs to prove it lol.

Runner
12-16-2007, 01:37 AM
Where does it say anywhere on my truck or card that we will "meet or beat anyone else's prices?" I set my prices to maintain MY standard of quality and reliability...not the guy that doesn't show up.

SLR
12-16-2007, 01:58 PM
So I went ahead and made my first mistake of giving her a deal even though I know she's full of it.. tell me I missed a few leaves.. I run over them again..wants to know if I will sweep down all the cobwebs, a gesture of good will no charge. BIG MISTAKE. Now she's calling and asking
---------------
Come on..1st sentence says it all "even though i know she's full of it"..and now here's the keys to this 70yr old door knob..it goes a little something like this:








"NO"

lifetree
12-16-2007, 02:31 PM
Is this normal in this line of work. Im gearing up to start my own business next year and do not know what to look for in a good customer or how to even get a good amount of work being that 2008 will be my first year to ever mow for money.

By reading the posts that followed yours, you should have a pretty good sense of what to expect in this line of work when you are just starting out !!

topsites
12-16-2007, 03:34 PM
I think it boils down to having a thick skin, as in, they're going to do this to you a little bit for some time, until one day you will probably have had enough.

Where does it say anywhere on my truck or card that we will "meet or beat anyone else's prices?" I set my prices to maintain MY standard of quality and reliability...not the guy that doesn't show up.

See that's what I'm talking about, this guy you want to flap your jaw about the price he'll get up in your face and no ifs ands or buts it is over right here and now.

But this takes time, you're either born with a thick skin, or you grow it.
Most all of us been through this, one way or another, at least I have.
It just takes time man, you'll be all right.

TPnTX
12-17-2007, 04:04 PM
hey will you wash my truck?

jiggz
12-17-2007, 07:11 PM
AUGH, I feel your pain man.. I have had a ton of em in the past.. the easiest way I found to weed out the weirdos.. Is i always try to gently pry.. lfor instance...."soo did you guys do it yourself or did you have a company coming out??..If they said they had a company.. Im really not feeling doing any work for them.. cause chances are they didn't have a fly buy night dude.. and there was reasons hr "stopped showing up" lol... i always ask what happened to him.. cause there has been times where the company folded or it was a 1 man opperation and the man got sick.. but if there like " i dont know one day he just vanished" LOL stay verry far away

landscaper22
12-17-2007, 10:24 PM
But this takes time, you're either born with a thick skin, or you grow it. Most all of us been through this, one way or another, at least I have. It just takes time man, you'll be all right.

I had to grow my thick skin. I think a lot of it comes with age and experience combined (for those of us that are not born with it). I used to be real shy and wanted to please everyone. I am still a nice guy to deal with, but I now know where to draw the line. And I can usually do it with out making people too mad.

landscaper22
12-17-2007, 10:51 PM
AUGH, I feel your pain man.. I have had a ton of em in the past.. the easiest way I found to weed out the weirdos.. Is i always try to gently pry.. lfor instance...."soo did you guys do it yourself or did you have a company coming out??..If they said they had a company.. Im really not feeling doing any work for them.. cause chances are they didn't have a fly buy night dude.. and there was reasons hr "stopped showing up" lol... i always ask what happened to him.. cause there has been times where the company folded or it was a 1 man opperation and the man got sick.. but if there like " i dont know one day he just vanished" LOL stay verry far away

I agree...I always ask if they had another LCO before calling me also. I think that is a great question to ask. If they say they did, my next question is "Oh, well who was it?" Because I am familiar with more than half of the LCO's in my area. If they name someone that I know has a good reputation, I will not service the property, in most instances. There are a few LCO's I know that do not have a good name. I am willing to take the customer if they name one of these.
Another question I will ask is "What sort of things did the other LCO do or not do correctly, or what did you not like about them." They are usually quick to point out the problem areas. Take notes (mental or written if necessary), because they are pointing out the things that bother them the most. If you avoid or correct the mistakes of the previous LCO, they will love you.

As for the original post...Some customers just enjoy seeing how far they can push you, or see just how much they can get out of you for free. Some people are able to be pushed, others are not. When a customer starts this, the best thing to do is RUN fast. Thick skin or not.... just Run!

Valk
12-18-2007, 01:44 AM
Favors are appreciated once......then EXPECTED thereafter.

Dave_005
12-18-2007, 08:22 AM
Favors are appreciated once......then EXPECTED thereafter.

Oh Yes. i just had this happen again, i do snow removal for all my lawn customers and we just had a big snow the other day, one older couple i have with the first snow a couple weeks ago was a heavy snow so they are in thier late 70s i did them a favor and brushed the snow off thier car for them, they happy and appreciative, well we got a big snow the other day and i was very busy, i cleared thier driveway which is all they pay me for and all i charge them for, then a couple hours later they called and complained that i didnt brush off thier car for them, NEVER AGAIN ! i told them they have to request it next time and would be an extra charge. Favors are now No More

Lawn-Sharks
12-18-2007, 11:44 AM
I have an old lady i mow for and every now and then she asks me if i can move this or lift that for her but i dont mind because she has got me a lot of $$$ mowing & landscaping for her friends. but to keep things on a professional level when freebee's get a little out of hand and they do. and when it gets to be a little much and she's starts asks for something as soon as shes done talking "I Say" well would you like me to shoot you an estimate for the the work or do you want it to be time and material? and by saying that im Reminding her i am a professional that Operates a legit business! (my time is money)

Sammy
12-18-2007, 03:14 PM
Sure, I can sweep those cobwebs for $30.00 !

landscaper22
12-18-2007, 03:51 PM
I have an old lady i mow for and every now and then she asks me if i can move this or lift that for her but i dont mind because she has got me a lot of $$$ mowing & landscaping for her friends. but to keep things on a professional level when freebee's get a little out of hand and they do. and when it gets to be a little much and she's starts asks for something as soon as shes done talking "I Say" well would you like me to shoot you an estimate for the the work or do you want it to be time and material? and by saying that im Reminding her i am a professional that Operates a legit business! (my time is money)

I don't mind doing some very small good deed for some older customers of mine. But it has to be very quick. Like bring them the paper, mail, move something too heavy for them to lift, etc...It makes you feel good when a good deed is appreciated. But when it is expected, I put a stop to it. :nono:

B_gerrits
12-18-2007, 07:34 PM
I have an old lady i mow for and every now and then she asks me if i can move this or lift that for her but i dont mind because she has got me a lot of $$$ mowing & landscaping for her friends. but to keep things on a professional level when freebee's get a little out of hand and they do. and when it gets to be a little much and she's starts asks for something as soon as shes done talking "I Say" well would you like me to shoot you an estimate for the the work or do you want it to be time and material? and by saying that im Reminding her i am a professional that Operates a legit business! (my time is money)

I have been on both sides of the stick I have had what I call (adder oners) the ones that are trying to get something for free. I have also had little old ladies ask me for a favor like take the trash to the curb, I even have one that I clean her dogs crap for (she has had a stroke and can't do it). Let me tell you something some of the little old ladies that I have done favors for tell their friends about what a great guy I am and I get a call from them and they hire me without even asking how much it will cost. Favor = time, no estimate new customer= save time. Lawn Sharks has a great way of dealing with it, a few little favors no big deal, if it is beyond that in a polite way he informs them he will do it at an added cost. Lawn Sharks i like the way you do buis!

J&R Landscaping
12-18-2007, 07:46 PM
When they say we had someone regular, but his truck broke down and he can't get it fixed, you know that trouble is already brewing if you take the lawn.

Normally and most of the time I will agree with this. But,,,
I picked up an account this year in an upscale ($399-$599k) devlopment. The customers reason for looking for a new lco was that their previous one had a mower die and he could not afford to get it repaired.
I didn't know what to hope for but I knew what to expect. It has been the complete oposite with this 1 customer. I have done lots of extra work (mulch, aerating etc) and have gotten a few refferals from them as well!

Normally it is a sign to run the other way but not always! Just something to think about.

Az Gardener
12-18-2007, 07:54 PM
You got to have some fun with this work and be quick witted too.

Next time they ask for you to do something for free just say sure if you don't mind doing my laundry :confused: or can you watch my pit bull for the day.

B_gerrits
12-18-2007, 09:59 PM
I picked up an account this year in an upscale ($399-$599k) devlopment. The customers reason for looking for a new lco was that their previous one had a mower die and he could not afford to get it repaired.
I have done lots of extra work (mulch, aerating etc) and have gotten a few refferals from them as well!

Normally it is a sign to run the other way but not always! Just something to think about.

I am always willing take take accounts from the competition in fact some of my best accounts were ones where I have replaced an lco. Worst comes to worst you work for them once and if it doesn't go well you never do it again. There a few triggers that will make it so I won't take a job like it's obivious they are cheapscates, or they go on and on about how good the last guy was. I really don't care if they are picky as long as their willing to pay for being picky.

willjones4
12-24-2007, 11:13 PM
I had another one today. She approached me as I did her neighbor across the street's yard. I mowed, trimmed, blew it off and left as I was racing nightfall to finish. She emails me today and says I left leaves all along her curbs. Yeah, I did. We never talked about that, she wants those included. Should I say, yes, for an extra fee or go ahead and do it? This is one of four houses side by side that I will be doing weekly this spring/summer and I dont want to blow it. Guess I better suck it up and do it----and learn to look at all these items and discuss them with the homeowner BEFORE I even crank a mower. Live and learn, eh?

Whitey4
12-24-2007, 11:27 PM
I had another one today. She approached me as I did her neighbor across the street's yard. I mowed, trimmed, blew it off and left as I was racing nightfall to finish. She emails me today and says I left leaves all along her curbs. Yeah, I did. We never talked about that, she wants those included. Should I say, yes, for an extra fee or go ahead and do it? This is one of four houses side by side that I will be doing weekly this spring/summer and I dont want to blow it. Guess I better suck it up and do it----and learn to look at all these items and discuss them with the homeowner BEFORE I even crank a mower. Live and learn, eh?

I as a matter of rule remove leaves at the curb as part of a cleanup charge. Why would you leave those leaves in the first place? :confused:

willjones4
12-25-2007, 12:04 AM
I as a matter of rule remove leaves at the curb as part of a cleanup charge. Why would you leave those leaves in the first place? :confused:

because this was a $40 cut, no cleanup was discussed.

Sweet Tater
12-25-2007, 08:09 PM
I say suck it up and do the curb. If you leave the curb nasty it makes the rest of the yad look nasty, that shoould be included.
But I have only 1 yard with a curb and its on a major highway so the traffic keeps it blowed clean.

FordLawnLandscape
12-26-2007, 06:54 PM
I as a matter of rule remove leaves at the curb as part of a cleanup charge. Why would you leave those leaves in the first place? :confused:

Ya beat me to the punch. I , personally, blow off all the hardscapes . Thats included in the cut, trim , blowoff package. Honestly, to me, thats just a given.:confused:

AI Inc
12-27-2007, 08:07 AM
When they say we had someone regular, but his truck broke down and he can't get it fixed, you know that trouble is already brewing if you take the lawn.

He cant get it fixed because they beat him down so bad he dosnt even have lunch money!

topsites
12-27-2007, 04:00 PM
Oh Yes. i just had this happen again, i do snow removal for all my lawn customers and we just had a big snow the other day, one older couple i have with the first snow a couple weeks ago was a heavy snow so they are in thier late 70s i did them a favor and brushed the snow off thier car for them, they happy and appreciative, well we got a big snow the other day and i was very busy, i cleared thier driveway which is all they pay me for and all i charge them for, then a couple hours later they called and complained that i didnt brush off thier car for them, NEVER AGAIN ! i told them they have to request it next time and would be an extra charge. Favors are now No More

Well I tell you I learned that one the hard way but good comes of it too:

If I consider doing something special, I immediately consider if I can do it for all my customers.
If the answer is still yes then I start doing it and keep on doing it.
And if the answer is Oh no, then don't do it, that simple.
It's fair, and it works.

Same thing if a customer asks me to do something extra, I consider their suggestion.
Can I do this, and for everybody, from here on out?
If no you can still do it this time but it costs a few bucks, how that works.

That was one of the better solutions I have found in a long time, the results are pretty much win-win.

............
Other notes: On those occasions where I get caught up in a mess and it's really bad, I do it that one time and kiss up and all that, and they can go ahead and rip me off because it's also over, I don't let on but that's almost always my last time out there.