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View Full Version : customer: only spray after 4:00 p.m.


americanlawn
09-16-2009, 07:29 PM
One gal says we can only treat her lawn after 4:00 p.m. or after 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays (says she usually goes shopping on Saturday mornings). Reason: They recently installed a new in ground swimming pool, and they keep the gate locked.

They have been a customer for several years, and their lawn always looks nice. They had an older in ground pool, and we always called them the night before so they could unlock the gate. But she would forget to unlock the gate half the time, so we would have to schedule a special trip just to treat the backyard.

We did a summer app about a month ago, and we were not able to access the backyard cuz the gate was locked (even though we called the night before as usual). Her backyard still has not been treated, and I have no intention to make any more special trips to her home -- enough is enough. It was the "straw that broke the camel's back" for me.

Turns out she put on a new lock, and she is unwilling to unlock it before she goes to work. She won't give us a key cuz she is afraid we might forget to relock the gate. We told her we have many gate keys, and we are very careful to lock the gate when we're done. BTW we work six days a week, but we wrap it up on Saturdays by 2:00 p.m.

She has proven to be forgetful on a regular basis over the years, and now she has more demands. :confused: Is a personal gardener needed?

Guys -- What are you're thoughts? thanks, rscvp

chrisby316
09-16-2009, 07:44 PM
we fire customers like that

CHARLES CUE
09-16-2009, 08:14 PM
Dont have that many costumers to fire them but now that i know she wants us there after 4 i can route that in but i wont keep coming back Theres no money in that
Charles Cue

lka123
09-16-2009, 08:15 PM
Next year, I hope I have the confidence in this business to not put up with difficult or demanding customers. Butt is hard to turn down the money!!!

turfman59
09-16-2009, 08:15 PM
Sounds like you already made your decision....How about a round up water balloon as you drive away or would that not be professional? LOL

Greg Amann
09-16-2009, 08:18 PM
Get rid of them!

Here is a letter we sent to one of our customers that did us the same way.


Dear X,
Your account has become increasingly more difficult to service. After setting appointments at your request for liquid turf applications, once we were asked to come back another time, and once the gate was locked on the service date. After setting appointments twice for core aeration and coming out to do the job you eventually cancelled the service all together. We are a small company and try to go out of our way to take care of our customers pest control needs. We feel we can no longer continue to do business with you, therefore consider this our notice of cancellation of your account.

Dr.Simon
09-16-2009, 08:22 PM
Fatherhood kicks in at 3:00 here for my 10 year old. Homework, post school snacks, and guidance. Schedule 1st stop of the am before she goes to work so the gate can be locked when she leaves; Offer front only. If not.... next. No Saturdays here for residential. Maybe am commercial idustrial weed control, but never residential lawn care. The customer has to understand we have families too. For goodness sake, it's only a friggin lawn care application.

sedge
09-16-2009, 08:56 PM
it is called a combo lock......

americanlawn
09-16-2009, 09:00 PM
Too funny guys (thanks). Yep, she ain't on our priority list for sure. Plus, she lives on the south side of Des Moines. Rush hour around there begins at 3:00 p.m. so it takes 30 minutes or more just to drive back to our shop from her location. Then we have paperwork & phone calls to return when we return to the office. Having to pay overtime sucks. Add this all up = LOOSING MONEY.

Just received a written letter "today" from this customer complaining about our recent "poor service" cuz her backyard has not yet been treated. (hence my post today) She threatened to go elsewhere. My wife (bookkeeper) always says, "We're in the business to MAKE money ....NOT give it away".

If this "bag" calls back & asks for ME, I'll tell her "a dollar per minute" if she wants a special appointment. And that includes drive time, cuz she CHOSE to "lock us out" prohibiting us from providing a service.

BTW she's a school teacher.

Had another one this morning -- I made an appointment for 10:15. I got there at 10:10. She showed up at 10:40. Turned out she wanted 500 s/f of numblewill killed out with Roundup. (She could have told us this over the phone ....... but she "needed a special appointment"). She too was a 'teacher' (Grandview College). So she wasted the time of an expensive spray rig and a 30 year plus veteran w/hort degree to sit in her driveway. This is a profit-killer.

I want HER job! No weekends, no holidays, working only 180 days per year sounds like Heaven to me. ChemLawn Corp (70' & 80's) warned all of us to "beware of teachers". Now I can see why.

hughmcjr
09-16-2009, 09:43 PM
Customer: only after 4

Owner: No.

Within reason most of us will be dead in 30 years or less, so nothing is worth crap as I get older. I am tolerant and reasonable, but there is certainly a healthy selfishness here.

As far as teachers, there are way too many erroneous beliefs about their jobs. First, they do not only work 180 days. They work past the school year ending sometimes two weeks past and start back two weeks before students come back which usually equates to one full month off in JUly and two weeks in Aug and two weeks in June if they are lucky. They do not all make 80k, the nationwide average is half that and that is what most make around 40k. They generally start at 7 am and most don't finish till 4 sometimes 5. All those "holidays" and weekends they have off during the school year they are often and most likely reviewing work they have to present and or reviewing students work. These days teachers are so bogged down in bureaucratic paperwork over and above lesson plans and grading that they have to do in their "off "time. And the number one reason you don't want to be a teacher is if you are the type to have little or no patience with kids that are generally good, imagine ones that are problematic or really bad. Imagine 30-40 kids at a time in a 30x30 room. Imagine little kids, shitting, puking etc in your classroom, blowing boogers and god knows what all over the room and you. Then imagine having to answer to superiors like principals, superintendents and maybe worst of all ignorant parents.

That is my rant, and trust me you would much rather have the freedom and movement you do and really I will bet even when you are working are you really "working" that hard and every day? I as an owner certainly am not and I have more time off than on, but then again I don't consider most of the stuff like paperwork, running here or there actual work as much as I do on the job. I think we have it good compared to most is what I am saying....the grass in always greener, till you climb the fence and find upon closer inspection that it is browner than the side you were on. :) At least the grass you were on is manageable, who knows what kinds of diseases the grass over the fence has.

RigglePLC
09-16-2009, 09:56 PM
Combination lock. Promise not to forget to lock it. No charge for ap if you forget.

However...charge her trip time, if she wants a special trip. Dollar a minute is fair. 50 cents a min for your time--50 cents a minute for gas. She is intelligent--she will understand this. She can have a discount if she brings the lawn to you.

Try to sell her account to another company. If you can't, explain it to her--why not.

ksJoe
09-16-2009, 10:03 PM
Sounds like you already made your decision....How about a round up water balloon as you drive away or would that not be professional? LOL

Watch out man, that violates the label. You better be careful posting that kind of thing around here. Some dude with a label fetish started a thread about nit picking label details and last I checked it was at 61 posts and still a blazing along.

Just cross your fingers and hope that guy doesn't see your post!

VARMIT COMMISSION
09-16-2009, 10:27 PM
When a customer "forgets" to unlock the gate when I call ahead, I only treat front lawn and bill for the whole lawn. I do not go back and treat the back lawn. I put on my invoice front lawn only. Have never had a customer call me to complain. They always pay the bill in full.

americanlawn
09-17-2009, 07:04 PM
First, I take back my 'dig' regarding school teachers - got many nice customers who are. My sister is one, but she takes sh$t from me all the time. :laugh:

Combination lock: We recommended that to her already. No go. Too paranoid. :confused:

Then she asked for a "signed statement" from us accepting all responsibility if her gate was left open. Red flag :hammerhead: right away, cuz we are not the only service company who goes into her backyard. If the pool guy or lawn mower left her gate open, all she would have to do is blame us...No way.

I hate to lose her as a customer cuz she really is a nice person. Plus we treat 3 lawns in a row (including hers). So I finally called her late this afternoon. Turns out her "partner" (yep - they're a gay couple) has every other Monday off. I'm hoping this will solve the problem. We'll see how it pans out.

phasthound
09-17-2009, 07:30 PM
Larry,
Just let it go. The customer is not being reasonable.
BTW, what does their personal life have to do with when they want their lawn treatment done?
There is no need to insert your prejudice into the matter.

ted putnam
09-17-2009, 07:59 PM
Customer: only after 4

Owner: No.

Within reason most of us will be dead in 30 years or less, so nothing is worth crap as I get older. I am tolerant and reasonable, but there is certainly a healthy selfishness here.

As far as teachers, there are way too many erroneous beliefs about their jobs. First, they do not only work 180 days. They work past the school year ending sometimes two weeks past and start back two weeks before students come back which usually equates to one full month off in JUly and two weeks in Aug and two weeks in June if they are lucky. They do not all make 80k, the nationwide average is half that and that is what most make around 40k. They generally start at 7 am and most don't finish till 4 sometimes 5. All those "holidays" and weekends they have off during the school year they are often and most likely reviewing work they have to present and or reviewing students work. These days teachers are so bogged down in bureaucratic paperwork over and above lesson plans and grading that they have to do in their "off "time. And the number one reason you don't want to be a teacher is if you are the type to have little or no patience with kids that are generally good, imagine ones that are problematic or really bad. Imagine 30-40 kids at a time in a 30x30 room. Imagine little kids, shitting, puking etc in your classroom, blowing boogers and god knows what all over the room and you. Then imagine having to answer to superiors like principals, superintendents and maybe worst of all ignorant parents.

That is my rant, and trust me you would much rather have the freedom and movement you do and really I will bet even when you are working are you really "working" that hard and every day? I as an owner certainly am not and I have more time off than on, but then again I don't consider most of the stuff like paperwork, running here or there actual work as much as I do on the job. I think we have it good compared to most is what I am saying....the grass in always greener, till you climb the fence and find upon closer inspection that it is browner than the side you were on. :) At least the grass you were on is manageable, who knows what kinds of diseases the grass over the fence has.

Amen on the teacher thing. My wife is a HS Science teacher. I promise it's all you said minus the small kid stuff. No cake walk I assure you. Up till all hours grading papers plus mine is getting her Masters in Education right now...Brutal! Workshops and seminars for CEU's in the Summer. It's no 8-3 job like some folks think it is.

Larry, I have customers leave keys under doormats in electric shutoffs for AC units and pool pumps. I even have a customer that has a key holder made of plastic resin that is hollowed out and looks like a pile of Dog Sh!t. Now who in their right mind would pick that up except the lawn guy that knows the key is inside because the information appears on our copy of the invoice. Point is, if you explain the situation to her, I'm sure something can be worked out...Oh Yea, we don't work Saturdays around here. We all have lives other than Lawn Care...

americanlawn
09-17-2009, 08:52 PM
Not sure what you are referring to.

Regarding the 'customer not being reasonable' -- she just offered us another option/ opportunity to serve her (every other Monday). I see this as an "opportunity" to build good customer relationships because she has now become "reasonable" by suggesting a win/win situation for both of us. Thank God. (Being a sales rep, I figured you would know that).:hammerhead:

I agree that their personal life is important, yet it has NOTHING to do with when they want stuff. Duh? Same with mine. Same with all my employees. Same with everybody. (not sure why you said this) :confused:

Finally, I never realized I was "prejudice" :confused: . If so, why did I not say so in the first place? You must be a dreamer, cuz YOU brought it up - BTW we have nearly 3000 folks who trust us. Just signed up a new customer today (did the app right on the spot) who barely speaks English cuz he moved here from Korea. I could go on and on, but buddy -- You are DEAD WRONG.....especially cuz you don't know me or have ever met me in person. We always treat ALL equally.

IMO YOU are the one who "inserts prejudice". Cuz we deal with all kinds of customers everyday. (This includes "gays" if that was what you were referring to??) Not sure, cuz your post was not specific. Merely an attack on me.

And you DON'T EVEN want me to post having to push a spreader at six pounds per K using your stuff just cuz "it's organic". Or half organic or whatever. :confused:



Larry,
Just let it go. The customer is not being reasonable.
BTW, what does their personal life have to do with when they want their lawn treatment done?
There is no need to insert your prejudice into the matter.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-17-2009, 09:01 PM
is she a hawkeye fan or cyclone fan Larry? Make your decision based on that:)

ted putnam
09-17-2009, 09:47 PM
And you DON'T EVEN want me to post having to push a spreader at six pounds per K using your stuff just cuz "it's organic". Or half organic or whatever. :confused:

:eek: Karate Kick to the Kahunas!!!

LIBERTYLANDSCAPING
09-17-2009, 09:53 PM
:eek: Karate Kick to the Kahunas!!!

Ha Ha! I was thinking the same thing! Get em Larry!:hammerhead::laugh:

phasthound
09-18-2009, 07:12 AM
Larry,

I made an assumption that because you mentioned the clients are gay, you had some bias against them. I was wrong in making that assumption. And I was wrong in making that post.

While I do not know you personally, we have had a few phone conversations and I read all your posts on lawnsite. I have come to respect you as gentleman who conducts himself with honor.

You have my apologies for jumping to an unfounded conclusion about you. And I apologize to the forum for my post.

naughty62
09-18-2009, 08:36 AM
I get couples who have differences of opinion and usually the wife tries to interfere with apps. . adult children move home and do not want to spend their inheritance on lawn service . Stay at home moms don't want the kids or animals in the house all day .Just the other day a gal stopped me and said money was tight and they can not afford it ,shes good as far as I am concerned.a week ago,a 30year old ,flip-flop -sweat pants wearing ,adult kid run me off when I woke him up .I seen homeowner at the gas station he was not happy with his kid when I told him the kid cancelled his fall fert/weed control .He called the office 2or 3 times ,so he will get his irragation drained on the same day .Sometime, maybe

txgrassguy
09-18-2009, 09:25 AM
One of my favorite accounts is a weekend/lake side home owned by two lesbian women.
I get along great with them, they are always pleasant, look pretty good in bathing suits - just one of those unique situations where a client becomes a friend.
I mention all of this as when I first started their account they were demanding to the nth degree. Clearance had to be obtained for all the work, estimates given with specific dollar quotes, you name it they wanted it documented.
Fast forward the three years or so I have known them and both them and me couldn't be more pleased.
However, this is a call only you can make - a good trait for any small business owner is to know when to say when.

heather lawn sp
09-18-2009, 10:10 AM
Is fence hopping an option. I've done that more than twice, and drag the hose under the fence. Fert spreader gets lifted over empty and bag sent over behind it.

Ric
09-18-2009, 12:57 PM
it is called a combo lock......

BINGO We have a COMMON SENSE Winner in a world of.........(delete)

I have a Key ring in my truck for those places where Combination locks are not used. I mark them with account Numbers from my bookkeeping program and that account number appears on the invoice. To make use of the keys you would need to steal my Customer account list also. Maybe not a totally fool proof method but it has some security. Combination locks can be made simple also. Take the word "CHARLETONS" It is 10 letter none the same. The Combo or gate code is CH-AR-LE or 12-34-56. This also can be set up to print on the invoice or route sheet automatic. Someone who gets a hold of that invoice wouldn't understand what the letters are for.

IMHO Some people just aren't smart enough to make life simple. It doesn't take much to adjust to any situation. Take that PITA customer who has to follow you step for step every time. By being super friendly you learn they bowl on Wednesday mornings. Guess what morning of what day is their new spray schedule.

BTW How professional you or your employee cares them self will make all the difference in the world. It is much easier to get Keys and Combo if the customer perceives you in the correct light.

americanlawn
09-18-2009, 06:46 PM
I apologize to you Barry, cuz I was rude. (but I had some good comebacks:laugh:). (thanks guys):laugh:

We figure we have dozens of customers who are gay. All are very nice folks who take great care of their properties. Many are professionals, and they pay on time. Many gay customers refer friends as well - some gay, some not. I have the utmost respect for gays cuz they are clean cut and polite. I have never criticized anyone for being gay. (I figure they were born that way, but I'm no expert) Tomorrow I will attempt to treat this gal's backyard. Hope to visit with her and confirm that the "every other Monday thing" is possible.

Thanks phasthound - you're a good dude.

Larry,

I made an assumption that because you mentioned the clients are gay, you had some bias against them. I was wrong in making that assumption. And I was wrong in making that post.

While I do not know you personally, we have had a few phone conversations and I read all your posts on lawnsite. I have come to respect you as gentleman who conducts himself with honor.

You have my apologies for jumping to an unfounded conclusion about you. And I apologize to the forum for my post.

phasthound
09-18-2009, 07:52 PM
Larry,

Again, sorry for the post. My bad.

phasthound
09-18-2009, 08:44 PM
Oh hey Larry before I forget, Nutrients PLUS 16-2-3 is best applied at 4lbs/K, not 6. Same green up with less N and it lasts a long time.

americanlawn
09-19-2009, 06:37 PM
Good news today. I met with these two nice ladies this morning. Finished treating their backyard. They thanked me about 'six times' for stopping back, saying it was "out of my way", even though I had two other stops close by. From now on, we'll just call ahead for ANY Monday or ANY Saturday. I also changed their lawn to a "ride-on account" cuz it's so easy. These gals were so nice...saying they want to stay with "American". They even opened BOTH gates! I apologized for our delay finishing the backyard, but before I left, they offered me a Coke.

WOW! I guess it pays to have an open mind. These gals are "keepers". I don't care if they're 'partners' or whatever - it's just refreshing to have fine customers like them.

Thanks Barry for the 16-2-3 at 4 lbs/K. We accept the fact we have to apply up to 4 1/2 lbs per K when also using preemergent w/fert, but after that, we prefer to apply 3 pounds per K after round 2 to give a breather for my guys in hot weather. Our program was developed by Iowa State University, but they have done no research regarding your products. So you may want to contact Dr. David Mineer at ISU to see if they can test your products. You can tell him we buy products from you and would like to see them compare your fert with others.

Peace out, americanlawn. :usflag:

turf hokie
09-19-2009, 06:49 PM
Our program was developed by Iowa State University, but they have done no research regarding your products. So you may want to contact Dr. David Mineer at ISU to see if they can test your products. You can tell him we buy products from you and would like to see them compare your fert with others.

Peace out, americanlawn. :usflag:

Larry,

Virginia Tech did studies, that is enough for this alumni:waving:

americanlawn
09-19-2009, 07:16 PM
Sounds promising. What were the comparisons/results? Is there a link? phasthound has always sold us high quality stuff, and local competitors swear by their fertilizer. Thanks.

phasthound
09-19-2009, 08:42 PM
Sounds promising. What were the comparisons/results? Is there a link? phasthound has always sold us high quality stuff, and local competitors swear by their fertilizer. Thanks.

I have posted this study on lawnsite in the past. For some reason the forum does not permit re postings of attachments. VERY frustrating.

The Virginia Tech study shows Nutrients PLUS 16-2-3 applied at 3.9 lbs provides the same quality of green as Lesco 28-5-12 applied at 6 lbs. I'll be glad to send the info to anyone who is interested. Email me at
techterra@comcast.net

We're not talking synthetics vs organics with this product. Forget the politics. Most of Nutrients PLUS products are a blend of the two. When used properly, they perform very well together and provide the agronomic benefits of both nutrient sources.

But, you'll never know without trying it. 65% of Nutrients PLUS' growth is from companies that have tried a pallet, seen the results and returned with truckload orders for traditional lawn care programs. We have a 90% retention rate with truckload buyers. The results are that good.