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View Full Version : Mowing Is Under Contract. Customer Calls And Says, "Don't Think It Needs Mowing..."


mcw615
05-13-2010, 07:47 PM
Any suggestions on word choice on how to respond to this. A contract is a contract. I say the lawn will be mowed every week, and bi-weekly August and November. Your part of the agreement is you pay $XX.XX each month. A contract is not built to cater to change orders of doesn't need mowing this week, credit a mowing to the monthly price.

I don't take calls after 5:30, but just listened to the message from one 5 minutes ago where the customer said, "I don't think it's going to need mowing tomorrow since we are just getting some rain for the first time in 3 weeks, so call me in the morning before you come out here." ((My guess is to if we skip because it doesn't need it be sure to give her a credit, if not then if she is paying for us to mow it then mow it 'even if it doesn't need it' in HER opinion.))

Anyone have anything come to mind on how to/how you politely respond to this request without playing these credit games??? It's a $24 lawn, I mean seriously....

Charles
05-13-2010, 08:05 PM
Keep charging her the contract price no matter what. Once you break the contract then there is no contract. No since mowing grass that hasn't grown any since you mowed it last if the customer doesn't want it mowed and you agree that it doesn't need mowing

clean_cut
05-13-2010, 08:27 PM
Just say I won't mow it if you don't want me to but I'm still going to have to charge for it.

Unless you really want to break the contract with your customer.

Mike Blevins
05-13-2010, 09:01 PM
I had a customer try this same thing last week. I don't have a contract though. I simply told her that it had rained and it would need mowing. Its simply a case of the woman trying to save a dollar. She kinda gave me the "well I will call you when I need it mowed." I have mowed for this lady for 6 years. I called her bluff and told her that I had a few people that wanted me to give them estimates for weekly mowing and I understood that she wanted it mowed when she said, so I was going to let her get someone to mow it when she wanted it mowed. She asked me if I was trying to get rid of her and I told her no I was trying to make her happy and help her find someone that will mow her yard when she wanted it. I had to mow it when I could no exceptions. She said just mow it when you want to.

topsites
05-13-2010, 09:03 PM
So the grass isn't growing?

Cboy7
05-13-2010, 09:10 PM
You simply explain that you dont charge extra when it rains like crazy and you are cutting so much heavy growth. It is legitimately more work, but you do not charge her so when it is less work and needs no cutting, its the same thing.
dont back off the contract

Raymond S.
05-13-2010, 11:25 PM
I just dropped one of those today. Lady put off the first mowing of the season when I was in the driveway. Next week it was horrible. Took me over an hour to bag the property (emptied my Exmark tripple bagger 4 times) I was doing a dethatch down the street monday and she came down and said to skip her because it didn't grow last week. Mind you after one week of growth I had to double cut her last week at 3 1/2", now she tells me it's (holding her hands up showing a wee bit of space between her fingers.) She got chitty when I tried to explain to her about the extra time it takes etc. She said "Well you were only here for 40 minutes last week. That's when I knew it was time to drop her when she starts timing me. I said if I spent 40 minutes on every $30 yard I'd be out of business.
Long story short, I try to avoid these type of customers. The time spent dealing with them and the headaches they cause could be better spent maintaining machinery or making an extra phone call to a property manager during the day.

Glenn Lawn Care
05-13-2010, 11:37 PM
$24 lawn eesh!!!

lifetree
05-13-2010, 11:52 PM
Just say I won't mow it if you don't want me to but I'm still going to have to charge for it. ...

$24 lawn eesh!!!

Yeah, continue to charge her and if she still gives you grief then drop her for breaking the contract !!

Robert Pruitt
05-13-2010, 11:53 PM
this is why i only do irrigated lawns

Roger
05-14-2010, 06:59 AM
One more thread to demonstrate the value of a contract for residential customers wanting only lawn mowing services.

MarcSmith
05-14-2010, 07:16 AM
Lawn will be cut as needed to maintain a quality appearance from April through November at the contractors discretion.


This puts the decision in your hands as to when to cut.

Explain to her that if she wants to go to a price per cut you will void the contract and recalculate the price per cut fee @ 35 bucks per cut....

I had a hard time explaining to clients in Florida that yes you still need to pay the agreed upon monthly price in december when i was only their twice. since I was there 4 times each month in may-October... Its called an amortized pricing schedule

mcw615
05-18-2010, 07:01 AM
I called her back and said I haven't seen the lawn yet this week since we are just getting some rain but you have already paid for the mowing so I would be more than happy to still do it anyways-Im sure there are some weeds or two sticking it. She was fine.

It's $24, but it's on the way through the regular route, she was one of my first customers 5 years ago, plus it only takes 8-10 minutes $15 to show $66/man hour. I looked back, it is actually $27 a mowing. Easy small lawn.

1grnlwn
05-18-2010, 09:33 AM
I just dropped one of those today. Lady put off the first mowing of the season when I was in the driveway. Next week it was horrible. Took me over an hour to bag the property (emptied my Exmark tripple bagger 4 times) I was doing a dethatch down the street monday and she came down and said to skip her because it didn't grow last week. Mind you after one week of growth I had to double cut her last week at 3 1/2", now she tells me it's (holding her hands up showing a wee bit of space between her fingers.) She got chitty when I tried to explain to her about the extra time it takes etc. She said "Well you were only here for 40 minutes last week. That's when I knew it was time to drop her when she starts timing me. I said if I spent 40 minutes on every $30 yard I'd be out of business.
Long story short, I try to avoid these type of customers. The time spent dealing with them and the headaches they cause could be better spent maintaining machinery or making an extra phone call to a property manager during the day.


Your mistake here was spending all of your extra time for free on the poor decision of the customer. I would have either jacked the height for a one pass mow or left plenty of hay behind letting every one know it was mowed way to late. We don't mow lawns that don't need it, but we don't let people take advantage either. Look at it from her point of view she stretched it and her lawn looked good when you left. Why would she not try it again? I think contracts are fine (don't use them) but they are not the end all. To really enforce it you have to go to court anyway. It kind of keeps honest people honest. Ignorant people will be ignorant with a contract or without.

Shockley
05-18-2010, 11:54 AM
Another option to consider is to ammend your contract to state that after a certain date, i.e. 7 days before service date, there will be a service charge for a change. Changes within 7 days of the service date will be charged a change fee equal to the full amount of the service call. In other words, if you are only getting $24-27 for a full cut, then if the customer notifies you more than 7 days ahead of the service date, you charge a Change Fee of 50% of the service rate. After the 7 day time frame any changes are charged at the full rate.

You have to look at yourself as a business. You are not just some monkey mowing yards. Most of your residential customers see you as the latter. That is why they try to take advantage of you. As a business person, large or small, you have to act like one. Contracts are written for you and your customers. If it is in black and white up front, there is no excuse.

Think this is a radical idea? Try reserving a hotel room, Bed and Breakfast room, event tent, etc... Think like a business. Add this into your contracts and the next time one of your customers tries to do this then you can state, "If you will see Paragraph 15, Sentence 2, you will notice that you agreed to these charges. I will make the appropriate changes to your billing statement. Thank you for your continued support. We will see you next week."

Also, you should consider a cancellation of contract fee as well. Have that in writing. You are a business. Even if it is just you, there are bills to be paid.