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View Full Version : How do you handle these situations?


Ryall Landscaping
07-03-2009, 04:59 PM
OK. We finished a 2 day job up today. It was mulching, trimming, weed removal, clean-up etc.. We charged our normal markup for the mulch, and for the rest of the time we billed him on hourly (we agreed on everything before hand and he was fine with it). His total bill for both days was $800+. Normally, for what a bigger company would charge for this, I think it would be probably much higher (1000-1600 depending on things). So, we finish the job all up and he wasn't home at the time. So we head home, get everything cleaned up and put away, and I go inside. Not 2 minutes into the door, I get a call from him. Sure enough, he says that it looks pretty good but he wants to settle a few things (didn't sound mean or upset or anything, so I figured it was stupid little stuff).

So I cleaned myself up and headed over to see what was wrong. There was a little bit of a dry spot where we had mulched (keep in mind, this is ONLY a touch-up, not a full mulching job by any means, but we did lay over 5 yards) by his driveway. It can just be spread some and fixed, the bare spot is just maybe 1x2'. Pulling out of the driveway, maybe a half of a handful of mulch must of fallen out of the truck somehow onto his driveway. We, extremely thoroughly like we always do, cleaned all paved surfaces before we left. There was one area where one of my workers simply trimmed some things and they need pulled out, and I agreed because that is what needs done. That, I can understand, and is my/our fault.

To me, the simple little things really aren't a huge deal, especially when you just saved hundreds on the job we just completed.

So, my question is this: Is he being picky, like I think he is (with the exception of the spot that the weeds need removed and my worker didn't do it correctly -- that is my fault by all means)? He is definitely upper-class. From my experience working for my fathers company, and so far with my own, a fair amount of them think that they "own" you, for lack of a better way to put it.

Now, I got the payment in full for everything, and he seemed a bit upset at that (he wanted to pay all but $100 and then give that to me when we came back and fixed these things, but I assured him to not worry about it). I told him we would come back sometime early next week and fix all of those things free of charge of course, and that I was sorry about that.

Was I wrong? Would you guys have handled the situation a different (better) way?

Thanks. Just want to keep my customers pleased and do my job correctly.

Toy2
07-03-2009, 05:14 PM
Some people are very picky, especially when they have to write the check.......I think you did a great job.........

Lesson learned, don't give a customer anything to complain about, meaning just before you drive off, one final walkthrough and go......heck, even take a picture....you never know who will show up between the time you leave and time they get home...


Great job..

Ryall Landscaping
07-03-2009, 05:18 PM
Some people are very picky, especially when they have to write the check.......I think you did a great job.........

Lesson learned, don't give a customer anything to complain about, meaning just before you drive off, one final walkthrough and go......heck, even take a picture....you never know who will show up between the time you leave and time they get home...


Great job..

I thought it was a good job too :\. The one bed that needed the weeds pulled didn't look too pretty, and I admit that we did that wrong, and I did agree to come back and fix it for FREE out of my own time. Otherwise, I don't see how it's my fault.. We did do a final walk around and made sure everything looked good, we cleaned up extremely well, I thought, and we had an amazing price for the work that was done. I think he just is picky.

If he IS just being picky, and it's not my fault, where does the line get drawn? Where do you guys stop getting stepped on about stupid stuff even though it may harm a relationship with a customer? I'm all for great service, but I, especially if I get busy/bigger, just don't have time to be picky about an ounce of mulch that fell on the driveway or something stupid. But that little harmless thing could mean the difference between a solid, repeating customer and a one-time, angry referral-giving customer. Where do I draw the line?

White Gardens
07-03-2009, 07:37 PM
I agree, you need to triple check your work. If you have a worker, he should pay attention too. 2 sets of eyes are better than 1.

When I hand somebody a large bill, I need to be 100% confident that there will be no issues.

THC
07-03-2009, 08:04 PM
I don't think that customer was being too picky. Sounds like he did the final check over that you should have done before you left.

EVM
07-03-2009, 09:12 PM
$800.00 for two days? what?

airsoftamazon
07-03-2009, 09:23 PM
OK. We finished a 2 day job up today. It was mulching, trimming, weed removal, clean-up etc.. We charged our normal markup for the mulch, and for the rest of the time we billed him on hourly (we agreed on everything before hand and he was fine with it). His total bill for both days was $800+. Normally, for what a bigger company would charge for this, I think it would be probably much higher (1000-1600 depending on things). So, we finish the job all up and he wasn't home at the time. So we head home, get everything cleaned up and put away, and I go inside. Not 2 minutes into the door, I get a call from him. Sure enough, he says that it looks pretty good but he wants to settle a few things (didn't sound mean or upset or anything, so I figured it was stupid little stuff).

So I cleaned myself up and headed over to see what was wrong. There was a little bit of a dry spot where we had mulched (keep in mind, this is ONLY a touch-up, not a full mulching job by any means, but we did lay over 5 yards) by his driveway. It can just be spread some and fixed, the bare spot is just maybe 1x2'. Pulling out of the driveway, maybe a half of a handful of mulch must of fallen out of the truck somehow onto his driveway. We, extremely thoroughly like we always do, cleaned all paved surfaces before we left. There was one area where one of my workers simply trimmed some things and they need pulled out, and I agreed because that is what needs done. That, I can understand, and is my/our fault.

To me, the simple little things really aren't a huge deal, especially when you just saved hundreds on the job we just completed.

So, my question is this: Is he being picky, like I think he is (with the exception of the spot that the weeds need removed and my worker didn't do it correctly -- that is my fault by all means)? He is definitely upper-class. From my experience working for my fathers company, and so far with my own, a fair amount of them think that they "own" you, for lack of a better way to put it.

Now, I got the payment in full for everything, and he seemed a bit upset at that (he wanted to pay all but $100 and then give that to me when we came back and fixed these things, but I assured him to not worry about it). I told him we would come back sometime early next week and fix all of those things free of charge of course, and that I was sorry about that.

Was I wrong? Would you guys have handled the situation a different (better) way?

Thanks. Just want to keep my customers pleased and do my job correctly.

I think you handled it fine, everyone one makes mistakes and overlooks things from time to time, and I don't care how many perfectionist out there who don't make those mistakes , I would've handled it the same way. Being that it's a holiday weekend, other than that, I would've returned the next day to fix it given the amount he paid in full. Even if it seemed petty, if you pride yourself on great customer service, I'd take the high ground and be the better person. That's what being in business is about. Sometimes you just have to eat the BS and move on to the next.

JDiepstra
07-03-2009, 09:35 PM
$800.00 for two days? what?

Thanks for that great post Mr. Cool! :rolleyes:


Anyway, fix it ASAP! Just cause you gave him a low price it doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best.

White Gardens
07-04-2009, 12:04 AM
$800.00 for two days? what?

Sounds good to me, why the question marks ?

EVM
07-04-2009, 12:29 AM
Sounds good to me, why the question marks ?


Seems a little under priced to me but hey, he is doing the work not me. What I read was; this was a two day job for a total of $800+ How many workers were on this 2 day job for $800.00?

And to the original poster; you handled it fine. Were you in a rush to finish this two day job for $800.00. Do you think everything would have been checked over if you were getting $1600-1800 for this job?

You are doing the right thing by fixing your mistake but don't get caught up with customers like that because they always want something on the cheap. Damn the guy is still trying to cheap you on a cheap job to begin with.

Ryall Landscaping
07-04-2009, 01:37 AM
I think you handled it fine, everyone one makes mistakes and overlooks things from time to time, and I don't care how many perfectionist out there who don't make those mistakes , I would've handled it the same way. Being that it's a holiday weekend, other than that, I would've returned the next day to fix it given the amount he paid in full. Even if it seemed petty, if you pride yourself on great customer service, I'd take the high ground and be the better person. That's what being in business is about. Sometimes you just have to eat the BS and move on to the next.

Thanks for that great post Mr. Cool! :rolleyes:


Anyway, fix it ASAP! Just cause you gave him a low price it doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best.

Seems a little under priced to me but hey, he is doing the work not me. What I read was; this was a two day job for a total of $800+ How many workers were on this 2 day job for $800.00?

And to the original poster; you handled it fine. Were you in a rush to finish this two day job for $800.00. Do you think everything would have been checked over if you were getting $1600-1800 for this job?

You are doing the right thing by fixing your mistake but don't get caught up with customers like that because they always want something on the cheap. Damn the guy is still trying to cheap you on a cheap job to begin with.


Let me verify to those of you who said I should have checked it before I left. I DEFINITELY checked it over before i left. I was kind of in a hurry (Both of my other workers had to work at part time jobs shortly after, was trying to get them home) to get done, I'll admit, and I did overpass these things. However, I didn't think it was worth complaining about a handful of mulch. I mean, really, you just saved hundreds of dollars - can't you grab a broom???

If I was getting paid more, no, I would not have checked it any better I don't think. It wasn't really about the money..Just it's a holiday weekend, my guys had other work they needed to get to, and it had been a long job. Nobody is perfect =\.

I tried to handle it the best way I could, and told him I'd come next week and fix it for free. I figured that was the best I could give him. At the same time, though, I feel like I gave him a great price, and yet he still complains over such stupid things. If it were me, I would think I'd just sweep the mulch away.. I don't know.

I'm trying to just simply make him happy, but he seems a bit over analytical to me.

My only question is: where is the line in the sand? Where does it change from giving amazing customer service to being used unfairly for a service & being stepped on.

THC
07-04-2009, 02:05 AM
It happens. Just today I drove away from a customers house and realized I forgot to blow off the drive way. Almost talked myself out of not going back because it was so light. But I did drive around the block and blow it off, if I didn't I'd probably still be thinking about it but I wouldn't make a post about it, LOL.

And it still sounds to me like you rushed out of there, I think you feel like YOU got ripped off because you didn't charge enough and that customer should be happy with a sloppy job (not saying it was a sloppy job but you admit YOU rushed out of there because ....1. It was a long weekend. 2. Your guys had other part time jobs. 3. He saved hundreds of dollars..

Lot of excuses. In the time you spent making this useless thread you could have cleaned up that mess and made a happy customer. Remember out of 10 unhappy customers only 7 will actually complain. This guy might not be happy with the job as a whole and that's why he's pointing out obvious things, things you admit you overlooked. I'm on the customers side on this one.

White Gardens
07-04-2009, 02:06 AM
Seems a little under priced to me but hey, he is doing the work not me. What I read was; this was a two day job for a total of $800+ How many workers were on this 2 day job for $800.00?

And to the original poster; you handled it fine. Were you in a rush to finish this two day job for $800.00. Do you think everything would have been checked over if you were getting $1600-1800 for this job?

You are doing the right thing by fixing your mistake but don't get caught up with customers like that because they always want something on the cheap. Damn the guy is still trying to cheap you on a cheap job to begin with.

After Re-reading the post, I agree, 800 seems a little low for two days.

My other question is why it took 2 days, three guys to weed and put down 5 yards of mulch.

Not trying to bust your hump Ryall, I can do a weeding, cleanup and 12 yards in one day. Just curious why it took so long.

Ryall Landscaping
07-04-2009, 02:09 AM
After Re-reading the post, I agree, 800 seems a little low for two days.

My other question is why it took 2 days, three guys to weed and put down 5 yards of mulch.

By 2 days,i meant that it totaled 10-12 hours -- not an 8 hour day as most are probably thinking.

And I was just summing it up, there was plenty more work than spreading 5 yards of mulch ;)

White Gardens
07-04-2009, 02:10 AM
By 2 days,i meant that it totaled 10-12 hours -- not an 8 hour day as most are probably thinking.

And I was just summing it up, there was plenty more work than spreading 5 yards of mulch ;)

Makes a little more sense.

topsites
07-04-2009, 02:30 AM
I'll make it short and sweet, that is a high maintenance customer,
and take it any which way you want but they do "own" us.

Up to you, took me years before I could deal with them, some I still can't do.

It takes time, it's all Yes sir / Yes Ma'am, how would you like this, what color, where, 3 or 4,
I have an open spot next Wednesday afternoon will that suit, and so on...
Eventually they do respect us, but it takes a lot of that, time, patience.
It is to a point almost not worth it, some WILL run you around too far, not sure what to tell you there,
the good news is among these live the folks who have disposable income like none other
(but there exist cheapos and folks up to their ears in hock too).

I dare say most of us have a few of these accounts, from a financial standpoint it would appear a nice thing
to have nothing but, however I found it doesn't seem to work out like that.

In my earlier years I had more lower maintenance customers, more towards the middle working class,
other than for some Jedi mind tricks that can get in the way I find these folk even today far more
respectful towards me right off the bat, and easier to deal with.

EVM
07-04-2009, 02:46 AM
My only question is: where is the line in the sand? Where does it change from giving amazing customer service to being used unfairly for a service & being stepped on.

Just make sure you get paid for the work you do. Do not under price yourself and little things like this will not matter. I think you were between 600-$700 below what you should have charged.

I had a customer call me about the "size" of the four hydrangea we planted for her. She did not like the size. I simply told her I had no problem replacing the hydrangea at the difference in cost for the plant. She already paid my rate for the mulch install and plant install and pays my rate for every other service I provide. You can't be stepped on when you get paid, the little things become even smaller?

You just need to punch them in their wallet, then you get their respect.

airsoftamazon
07-04-2009, 09:13 AM
You just need to punch them in their wallet, then you get their respect.

For some that can be a fine line to walk. Got to use some common sense before pricing though. If you don't need the money, then I would take that approach.

As far as the line in the sand, if they aren't just down right nasty, then as a business owner, you should throw it over your shoulder like a grain of salt, think of it as income, then smile and take your medicine. Now if they are down right abusive, like one of my old customers, then you have the right to fire them the same. If you don't want the account, then leave it. If it's worth staying, then do the previous that I've mentioned. No one is asking you to keep them if you are unhappy with them. If you're under contract, then I hope you built in an escape clause. That's how I handle it. I don't have time for the drama. If it is a burden and not to my benefit, obviously, it's gonna go.

Just my two cents.

bighaydenslawn
07-04-2009, 01:28 PM
$800.00 for two days? what?

I would be estatic to get land a cleanup job that would pay me that.

To the OP, I have had a couple instances like that on a much smaller scale. Just do it and make them happy, and then they will call you back when it needs work again!

Ryall Landscaping
07-04-2009, 05:56 PM
It happens. Just today I drove away from a customers house and realized I forgot to blow off the drive way. Almost talked myself out of not going back because it was so light. But I did drive around the block and blow it off, if I didn't I'd probably still be thinking about it but I wouldn't make a post about it, LOL.

And it still sounds to me like you rushed out of there, I think you feel like YOU got ripped off because you didn't charge enough and that customer should be happy with a sloppy job (not saying it was a sloppy job but you admit YOU rushed out of there because ....1. It was a long weekend. 2. Your guys had other part time jobs. 3. He saved hundreds of dollars..

Lot of excuses. In the time you spent making this useless thread you could have cleaned up that mess and made a happy customer. Remember out of 10 unhappy customers only 7 will actually complain. This guy might not be happy with the job as a whole and that's why he's pointing out obvious things, things you admit you overlooked. I'm on the customers side on this one.

Sorry. I didn't really make the thread as a complaint...I just was curious if I handled it correctly, and if he was being picky or if it was sincerely my mistake -- either way, I like the guy moreless, and I'm going to go next week and fix it for free and hopefully we get some more work from him.

I think he honestly was happy with the job in general. He told us several times how it looked really good, and we asked him and he said he was satisfied (until he called me to complain about those few things). But, either way, on this one at least, I'm going to fix it free of charge and hopefully keep him as a customer.
I would be estatic to get land a cleanup job that would pay me that.

To the OP, I have had a couple instances like that on a much smaller scale. Just do it and make them happy, and then they will call you back when it needs work again!

I really only charged 25/person/hour for labor and then 60-70/yard for mulching -- shouldn't be that hard to get that on a clean-up.

We thought about it some, and 25/person/hour seems really low. We are bumping it up to 30 and if that works well we might even try 35 but I don't know yet.

Disgruntled_Veteran
07-04-2009, 07:37 PM
Ryall , hey man stop trying to explain yourself... From reading your post , it sounds like you are sincere about your work and actually give a crap (otherwise it would not have bothered you so much to post up the story on here )..

You did the right thing... I used to wait tables after I got out of the military while I went to college.. I served from casual to fine dining.. Bottom line is this , YOU CANNOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY ..... PERIOD..

There are alot of picky people , you did the right thing and even went the extra mile by offering him corrective service after the job was done. Just keep that in mind that you cannot make everyone happy . Do your best , never slack off and drive the "F" on...

STIHL GUY
07-04-2009, 10:48 PM
well as long as you fix it. it doesnt seem like too big of a deal

bighaydenslawn
07-04-2009, 11:10 PM
I really only charged 25/person/hour for labor and then 60-70/yard for mulching -- shouldn't be that hard to get that on a clean-up.

We thought about it some, and 25/person/hour seems really low. We are bumping it up to 30 and if that works well we might even try 35 but I don't know yet.

Oh ok, sounds like a great price on the mulch and yeah it is hard for people to pay much more than $30 an hour for general labor such as weeding and cleanup because they thik it is easy work. Say you can spread 2 yds. of mulch in an hour in a big open bed and gross $125 while pulling weeds for an hr. at $30, I would rather spread the mulch for an hour not only for the price but for more easy and enjoyable work!

hackitdown
07-05-2009, 01:18 PM
Could you have fixed the minor issues right then and there? Maybe rake the mulch around with your hands, pull the weeds, and if you had no broom, ask to borrow his.

Save you a trip, make him happy, get paid.

Ryall Landscaping
07-05-2009, 02:42 PM
Ryall , hey man stop trying to explain yourself... From reading your post , it sounds like you are sincere about your work and actually give a crap (otherwise it would not have bothered you so much to post up the story on here )..

You did the right thing... I used to wait tables after I got out of the military while I went to college.. I served from casual to fine dining.. Bottom line is this , YOU CANNOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY ..... PERIOD..

There are alot of picky people , you did the right thing and even went the extra mile by offering him corrective service after the job was done. Just keep that in mind that you cannot make everyone happy . Do your best , never slack off and drive the "F" on...
Well thanks. I actually work nights at a Red Lobster as a busser..So, I know you can't make everyone happy..Sometimes you forget I guess.

Oh ok, sounds like a great price on the mulch and yeah it is hard for people to pay much more than $30 an hour for general labor such as weeding and cleanup because they thik it is easy work. Say you can spread 2 yds. of mulch in an hour in a big open bed and gross $125 while pulling weeds for an hr. at $30, I would rather spread the mulch for an hour not only for the price but for more easy and enjoyable work!

60/yard - 23/yard (mulch) = 37/yard profit. Minus fuel and that for delivery..Not bad depending how you spread mulch I guess.

Could you have fixed the minor issues right then and there? Maybe rake the mulch around with your hands, pull the weeds, and if you had no broom, ask to borrow his.

Save you a trip, make him happy, get paid.

He has a rather...large..lawn, so, I just missed some minor things (which in his mind apparently are larger than life lol).