View Full Version : Anyone ever dealt with something like this

10-07-2010, 10:00 AM
Had a customer last year, do the estimate, he signs, pays, we install, he cancels payment because he doesn't like the fact that the Y stakes didn't look as good as shepherds hooks. So all over the area I go, find enough shepherds hooks to change out the y stakes, all said and done, take it down he says.

Decides he wants all mini's instead, 39 sets to be precise 4 lengths of garland, 200 plus feet of leads to get to power source for lamp posts. He pays, then continues to complain when all is removed and placed into storage.

Send him the reinstall, removal contract for this year. Wants it done for half that, took 2 guys 5 hours to install last year, figure it takes 3.5 hours to install this year, 1.5 to remove, plus 40 minutes each way. I stand my ground, he replies, not interested in the service then.

The kicker, he is one of the wealthiest investment bankers in the state. Amazing how they try to beat up the little guy all the time.

turf hokie
10-07-2010, 11:41 AM
First he is lucky, I would have gone to the sheriff and had them pay a visit for writing the check and then canceling it. You can't do that.

2nd, I would have taken ALL the deco's down as a repo.

3rd, I would have forgotten to send him a renewal contract. I don't have any use for customers like that.
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10-07-2010, 12:09 PM
I gave thought to it, but being new to everything, I felt compelled and obligated to do anything possible to please him. Honestly, I was on the phone with Mike from there, I was so p'd off, I wanted to just pack everything up and leave. But again, new to it all, didn't want to risk losing on recovering some of what I had laid out for product.

Then we go out, take it down, store everything, and against my better judgement, decided to send him the renewal. I now have all the mini lites, garland and etc in my storage and he is gone. So I guess in the long run (so far anyhow) I made out.

Out of all the people I met and worked with last year, he was the only as**hole really.

Have had adds running with 2 chambers of commerce up here, so far, nothing yet. Hoping that the HBL mailers work, I headed up towards the Saratoga region with them this year.I have been up there a fair amount lately and see Lamborghini's running around. So with any luck. How you doing down your way, things picking up??

turf hokie
10-07-2010, 08:31 PM
Usual stuff down here, lost some, sold some to replace them. Had a few downsize and a few add-on. So far it is about a wash.

What bothers me right now is I am only at a 50% response rate and we start installing on the 25th.

We did a booth at the street fair again this year, got 3 good qualified leads so it was a good day.

Direct mail piece goes out 2x in November and a magazine ad in late October so we will see. I have never done direct mail in the past so I am hoping to get in front of some new people.
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David Gretzmier
10-09-2010, 12:36 AM
I would say that last year you played it very well. in the end, you need to do what it takes to get the money. also I think it is a good idea to not reduce rehang prices just because folks ask. I am all for super early and early discounts and prepay discounts, but not the "I want you to make less on this job" discount. I do think you can and should make deals from time to time the 1st year when you sell a job. but never the rehang.

I had this check thing come up before with a consulting client, and yes, it is a felony in my state to write a check for work and then cancel it after work is done. it is treated the same as a hot check.

we also have the "75%" rule in civil cases of contractor/client. if you do 75% or more of the work, as described in your contract, then you are entitled to 75% of the contract, period, regardless if the customer was unhappy.

I hate when folks treat me badly, but I try to remember that 95% of the customers I have like or love what we do for them, and probably 4% don't really care one way or the other, and only 1% don't like us, and I figure 1% of folks don't like anything anyway.

10-14-2010, 09:52 AM
I guess this fits here also.

I sent out all the renewals, after all said and done, nothing back yet, with the exception of the noted above individual whose answer was "remove me from your list." Truthfully, with the aggravation that I know was going to occur, I made out in that one. Ironically all last years clients, I have all their decor.

So in conjunction with that being said, I also spent a ton of money with the COC's this year advertising, fliers in the newsletter of one, and an actual magazine add with another, roughly 4K all together. Ready for this, not one viable call.

Got the direct mail starting up this month with HBL, hoping that will generate something. Right now starting to feel like I may be out of business really soon. With the COC's and direct mail, my advertising budget is spent. The only other option I have, I still have about 18 or so lawn signs that I ordered last year, Thanksgiving weekend, I will get those all put out.

What do you guys think, am I waiting for the fat lady to sing?>?

turf hokie
10-14-2010, 09:47 PM
Not sure, its a tough call on when to pack up the toys and go home....

We are doing ok here, about 60% response. new jobs are on par with cancels and upsells are making up for customer cut backs. Couple big estimates out that would make the year if any of them come back.....

I dont know how the COC ads work so I cant comment on that.

We had our first ads hit yesterday and a couple of calls, bulk of advertising is going out in November.

I would suggest not waiting until Thanksgiving to get those signs out. I suggest you put up lights at your house now....we do halloween now at my house because everyone knows our house but the first year, we did my house up for christmas a week before halloween, everyone thought we were nuts but it was a huge hit and people started to notice us, the kids thought it was great "your house got dressed up as christmas for halloween"

Good luck, give me a call if you want...

10-14-2010, 09:57 PM
Thanks Brian

It is discouraging, against my gut I went September and October as opposed to October and November, seems that most commercials would be thinking Christmas then. The residential, I am not surprised as of yet. It is a new thing here, and I am sure people are even more surprised to see renewals coming in the mail in September let alone still adjusting to the idea that a service like this exists. The HBL direct mail starts the end of the month, with two going out in November. I am headed North this year, up towards Saratoga, so hopefully that will prove worth while. That is also where the signs are going to go as well. People in my area, are in an entirely different income bracket than that which we all shoot for.

I really scratch my head on last years clients, I have their product, and the biggest job I had, McCarthy Building in Troy, That wreath came from downtown decorations in Syracuse, at about 10k. So I am hoping it is just the transition issue from you do what, to when do we schedule this.

David Gretzmier
10-15-2010, 12:40 AM
don't fret man.

the first few years we were in business, 95% of our sales came from Nov 10-30.

looking at my sales poster from last year and the previous, even accounting for all the new add-on sales that come from existing rehang customers, 75% of our new sales still closes from Nov 5-Dec 5.

even though we are closing out week 5 on rehangs tomorrow, and two of our boxvans have been all over the place the past month, we are only at 7 new customers for the year and around 10% of my sales goal for new customer and new add-on sales for the year. we are starting to put out yard signs here and there, and the calls are trickling in on the early adopters.