View Full Version : Leaf clean-up customers are driving me nuts

General Grounds
12-13-2001, 01:33 AM
:blob2: i'll give you a little backround 1st, we do about a 140 leaf cleanup in the fall, blow beds,weeed if needed and remove every last leaf, we charge by the hour ($150 per hr), we sent up our leaf schedule usuing the date we did them the previous year, for instance if Mrs. Jones had her clean-up done on Dec. 15 in 2000, we send this years proposal with dec 15 the target date, this is clearly spelled out in the agreement. Now i have people who are scheduled later this month screeming why i have'nt gotteb there yet and its rediculous that there leaves have'nt been picked up yet. i've just about had enough,i did it this way so the phone would be quiet at night, i even added to my answering machine that the clean-up would be done on or around the date show on proposal and i still have 5 pissed people a day. Amazing how people have nothing better to do than ***** about leaves. anyone else in these shoes, i sure hope not because it sucks, thought i could take it easy in the fall. Tony

12-13-2001, 01:45 AM
are you getting to them on your target date? if so, remind them that it is the same day that you were there last year and that is why you sent them the prop. with the target date. And remember, You can't please everyone! ->(to lift your spirits......)-> If you don't like the unhappy people you could fill out an app. with McDonalds and make $7.00/hr, oh wait people ***** at you there also!!

12-13-2001, 01:53 AM
I have a select list of 3 customers who will be recieving Roundup balloons on their lawns for rude, ignorant phone calls regarding late leaf clean-ups.

2 man crew
12-13-2001, 02:54 AM
Casey holly **** !
I cant beleive that!
I thought i was the only one with that idea
I only have one on my list but she has been there for 2 years I guess i dont have the ***** to do it.lol

12-13-2001, 05:42 AM
$150 an hour, how many per the crew?
What is you system to do 140 leaf jobs?

First, I hate to give target dates. With weather always changing, it's like trying to fly out of an airport during a blizzard.

He's one for you. Customer calls and is mad why we haven't done his leaves yet. I call him back to see what he wanted. got ahold of him 1/2 hour after he called. He said he called to find out why we haven't done his leaves yet, then said I figured it out when I looked though my stack of papers in my out box. Your contract and check were still in it. In an envalope with check, signed and stamped. He said well I guess I found out why and was just going to call you back to tell you but you beat me to the call.

I thought it was funny.

Back to your problem, to me it sounds like your over booked if customers are calling to why you havent been there yet.

I try to schedule 2 leaf clean ups in the Fall per a customer. This way they have a choice of 1 or 2 and I charge by T&M. Then if they choose 1 they know why we haven't been there, they will try to give some kind of "Do my leaves after this date" kind of thing.

It's not perfect but I have only had a few calls and none were realy bithcing, more just curious, or trying to get scheduled.

Maby this eased your greiff a little.

General Grounds
12-13-2001, 07:11 AM
:blob3: i give the target date with the understanding that weather is a hugh factor, this has worked great in the past, i quess i was just saying the people have become very impatient over the years, people who i have done for years without cause are bitching, unbelievable, casey i hear a super soaker does wonders as well :). T

mdb landscaping
12-13-2001, 08:29 AM
i can kind of understand why they would be pissed. i usually do 2 cleanups like mentioned above at each house. now if youve already done them once, i understand why youre mad, but if you havent done them at all yet, i can see why they are nervous with snow breathing down their necks.

12-13-2001, 11:47 AM
This has always been a great way to ge back to clints who are extreemly rude! I thought that it was only done in Joisey though!! After all, we do have bad reps!

We still have just under 150 clean-ups to go. Some people have called just to make sure we'll be out again. Turf is fine for most if not all, we just don't touch the beds until the end.


12-13-2001, 02:48 PM
Roundup balloons? How professional is that? Do you really think that helps the industry, let alone your business?

Comments like that just about pinpoint your age and how serious you really take your business.


12-13-2001, 03:00 PM
Lol, Chuck I think it was a joke. I seriously doubt the truth in that. At least you didn't close it.


12-13-2001, 04:22 PM
You say that they are asking why you haven't been there, "yet". It sounds like they haven't got any kind of pickup at all, thus far. When is the last time you have been to your LEAST recent job? As someone else stated, it sounds like you're over-booked. If I hadn't seen you in a month - to a month and a half, and I had all the wet leaves smothering my lawn, (by now, there is a GREAT chance for mold and other fungus) choking it out, totally deFEATING the purpose of a season's worth of fertilizer aps., and being tracked into my house, I would be a bit upset, too! These people want SERVICE! Be thankful they haven't called someone else, by now, because we're still getting calls and flagdowns by the late ones. Maybe you should look at subbing a little of it to alieve the congestion. (and the frustration of customers) I'd rather keep a happy customer and just do his seasonal, than to try to get that extra little bit, and lose them. On a bad note at that. A happy customer wil tell 3 people, while an UNhappy customer will tell 6. Think of it this way, also. If you try chasing two rabbits, you will lose them both. Not trying to be hard on you, just trying to be helpful from an outside perspective. I wish we lived around each other, I'd be more than happy to help you out. I hope it all works out for you, and you get them all up. Good luck with it.

lawrence stone
12-13-2001, 04:52 PM
Originally posted by Administrator
Roundup balloons? How professional is that? Do you really think that helps the industry, let alone your business?

Comments like that just about pinpoint your age and how serious you really take your business.


I must agree with our esteemed Administrator.

If you deliver your package in a balloon what is left of the balloon will remain on the lawn. Now how professional is that?

Now what I do is have a separate tank and pump (a windshield washer tank and pump from the junkyard) that has the nozzle in the right front fender of my car.

This is a much better clandestine non-selective herbicide delivery system.

Now take the pebble from my hand grasshopper.

12-13-2001, 05:08 PM
Stone when you got it...you got it!

12-13-2001, 05:49 PM
LMAO! That is too funny!


General Grounds
12-13-2001, 07:18 PM
:blob3: i think some of you guys were missing my point, this has nothing to do with "subs" or being "overbooked". the system we use worked well for six years, cutomers knew the approx. date give or take a day or so, it seems like this year those who have scheduled date for 2 weeks from now are demanding to be done yesterday regardless of how they were done in the past, i was just trying to see if you guys had normally queit people turn very demanding out of no where, thats it. T

12-13-2001, 07:34 PM
I understand what you're saying, but the middle of December IS late. Even if they ARE scheduled and told it would be that late, that's too long to wait! You have to figure, aLOT of people like to have their Christmas lights and decorations out by now. What do you do in THIS predicament, with all the extension cords, and lights in the bushes? You have to remember, these people are tracking all this stuff in, and in MANY cases, we could have snow already on the ground. This doesn't happen with your Spring cleanups, too, I hope, does it? Who would want to wait until the middle of June? Again, I think overbooking MAY be an issue here. Atleast a work to manpower situation may be at hand, if it takes this long to get through them. When you give them a late date, they may not like it, but they just go along with it, because, well, what ELSE are they gonna do at that point? Another idea would be, that, what if you were to just go in with your mower once in a while, like every two weeks or so, and do some shredding, real quick. It would keep those leaves shufled up on the surface, which then you wouldn't have all the decline, which is inneveitable. Also, it would keep your customers pacified, so to speak, because they're not looking at the same clumps of wet leaves at their front door, week after week, and you're keeping their drive, porch, and walks clear as well. This would take a little time out of your cleanup time, but would be worth it for the customer satisfaction, and the ease of cleanup, as the leaves would come up easier if they haven't been matted down for 2, 3, or 4 weeks. Just an idea.

Albemarle Lawn
12-13-2001, 07:51 PM
You gotta be kidding, right?

I pull my 25HP pressure washer up and empty a gallon of roundup super concentrate into 80 gallons of water.

Use a flat wand. You can NUKE an entire front yard in 30 seconds flat!!!

Nobody messes with me. Those that do are LIVIN IN FEAR OF A DRIVE-BY!!!

Yo! Straight G!!!:angry:

12-13-2001, 08:16 PM
OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could use my 200gal Lesco sprayer, will shoot 100'+ on high pressure.

I've done it in the past at night, with a back pack sprayer, and wrote some nasty words in the lawns.

But come on guys, let's grow up here. I was 16 when I did that.

Back to topic:

General Grounds, we are not busting your chops, we read what you had wrote and decifered in our own train of thoughts.

It does sound like what runner said, short of man power vrs work amount issue.

I would personaly complain also if I was stuck waiting 2 months for my leaves to get picked up, or to do whatever with them.

There is no proven method to keep customers from comlaining, but I would rethink your secheduling situation. And/or your business plan for next leaf season.

I have found the best way, is to give them their choice on how many clean-up's to keep them from calling.

More guys out working, many more times the clean-up's, more money for you. Less leaves each time.

General Grounds
12-14-2001, 12:20 AM
:blob2: if i was short labor and to much work why is it a problem this year and not for six years now, 80% of my customers ask to have final leave pick-up after dec15, so i quess thats my fault many are not done yet, and im short labor,again people who had previuosly prefered to be picked up late all of a sudden need it right away that all i was saying.T

General Grounds
12-14-2001, 12:35 AM
:blob3: P.S., had a fewe beers with 4 other landscaper buds of mine and they are also still doing leaf pickup and are saying the same things about there customers that what made ask you guys, does this mean were all under staffed with to much work. Many lawn care peopleare still doing leaves here, the recycling place says up 40 landscapers come in in a day. :confused: T

12-14-2001, 12:54 AM
We're still doing leaves, too, but the places are shaped up enough that they are not complaining. (Granted, all the regulars are done, I'm just doing extras, now) If they are complaining, it has to be for a reason. I would get to the bottom of that, and remedy it. Now, first you said that you sent your cleanup schedule out (same as last year), with the target dates on them and you have people who are scheduled later this month who are screaming. Well who did the scheduling? Was it the company? Or, was it by THEIR choice that they are scheduled this late? If THEY picked that late of a date, (which I can't understand why ANYbody would say the middle of December), then so be it. That's when they wanted it done, they have nothing to scream about. But, I'm willing to bet, that if you were to send out a little questionare, asking them when they would like to have their leaves picked up, then I'd be wiling to bet, that they'd say a bit sooner than now. Again, many of times we have snow on the ground by now.

12-14-2001, 01:07 AM
why unprofessional random splashes of round up? I'm a pro and intend to prove that to the pissy client! I look at the lawn like a picaso canvas. I take the time to detail the fine mature message like "Don't hate me because I'm gay" or a great outline of an unmetionable male organ. j.k. I will tell you though that round up works great for killing pines planted on your prop. by a neighbor!

12-14-2001, 01:31 AM
Doesn't anybody use round-up dry?

12-14-2001, 01:42 AM
Yes, I use roundup dry and I love it. I switched to it from the liquid earlier this year.

General Grounds
12-14-2001, 07:12 AM
:blob3: Runner your right if many did'nt ask to be done late then i can see them bitching,but the people bitching are the ones who where done later than sooner for five years without a word, on my proposal i tell them if they need to be done early for any reason please state and it will be done, many people that are complaining said nothing and intialed the appox, date thats why im stupified. also we many pin oaks here which drop very late if not until spring, our bradford pears drop late as well, many cutomers ask to done late because there neighbors are done late and they want to wait until there done so they dont get there leaves.T

12-14-2001, 01:27 PM
Around here the grass is still growing when leaves are falling. We usually will 2 or 3 leaf removals, the last being final cleanup. Average being there every two or three weeks. I would think that would be better for the grass. Plus there are some applicators that won't apply while ground is covered in leaves. Although we use granular and don't sweat the leaves too much. I guess you have to do what client wants. 140 thats a s--- load. If it snows do you just wait till spring or till you can get out again?

plow kid
12-14-2001, 02:01 PM
You guys are still doing leaf cleanups, WOW~ I have ben done for a week and a half now ~ BigNate

12-14-2001, 06:00 PM
Won't finish clean ups until 12/21. Always that way here. 90% of leaves are already out though and just have to do a final clean up. Leaves drop very late like oaks,beech, pear. If done earlier they would look crappy all winter.

General Grounds
12-14-2001, 06:48 PM
:blob3: lawnboy, i think many of the guys writing in dont realize that our lawn maintenance does'nt end util the week of thanksgiving, i quess i would be second guessing as well. T

12-14-2001, 07:05 PM
I schedule 2 leaf cleanups for those customers who are not so picky. Some want it done every week or 2 weeks and some dont care long as you get it done before Christmas. But with all this rain we are having I will finish up by jan 15th. I know up north your leaves fall sooner than ours and they been sitting awhile by December the 15th. Maybe move them up to december the 1st. You have ot be a little more flexible when working with the public. They change year to year day to day minute to minute second to second

12-14-2001, 10:52 PM
A sprinkler installer I know finally got a customer to pay his bill by threatening to pour roundup into the system at the backflow valve. He got paid the next day :blob3:

plow kid
12-15-2001, 12:19 AM
LOL!!!! :D

12-15-2001, 12:44 AM
Back to the original question, the only thing I could suggest is listen to the news... The first thing is that people have not been going out in the same frequency they were before 9-11 or at this time, last year.

And the other report is that online sales are through the roof this year, with many electing to do their shopping online, rather then trudge out to a mall, etc..

So, you have a part of the population that is sitting home right now, alot more so than last year.

Maybe some of those same people are sitting home, looking out the window, seeing the leaves laying there and they wanna complain about them, whereas last year, they were too busy going out doing this, that, and shopping...

Just a thought because I just heard both reports on the news in the last 2 days...


12-15-2001, 01:05 AM
Some customers are just ignorant when it comes to what is involved in leaf clean-ups. We do a 2 hr. job, a day later customer calls & complains because there are leaves on their lawn that have fallen since the clean-up was done. Customer goes out, rakes for 20 min. & believes he has done the brunt of the work. Indignation for over billing for the initial clean-up follows. This type of customer is immediately dropped for next years service & depending on the extremity of rudeness in their contacts with me, varying degrees of retribution are occasionally required.

12-15-2001, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by casey
Some customers are just ignorant when it comes to what is involved in leaf clean-ups. We do a 2 hr. job, a day later customer calls & complains because there are leaves on their lawn that have fallen since the clean-up was done. Customer goes out, rakes for 20 min. & believes he has done the brunt of the work. Indignation for over billing for the initial clean-up follows. This type of customer is immediately dropped for next years service & depending on the extremity of rudeness in their contacts with me, varying degrees of retribution are occasionally required.

Retribution? Now that is a really professional approach.

I would have to believe that most forms of retribution (round up, or any of the other things mentioned here and on other posts) would probably be, oh, lets see, maybe against the law.

Why don't you just beat up the customer or burn their house down? That would really get the point across.

Grow up!

12-15-2001, 05:29 PM
:( Welcome to the club. Like some one has said already you can always go to Mcdonalds and get a job.;)

12-15-2001, 06:44 PM
Originally posted by Randy
you can always go to Mcdonalds and get a job.;)

And invoke my right to refuse to service to problem customers, & actively seek reinbursement for services performed.