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View Full Version : "What time will you be here" rant


j-ville native
03-27-2012, 08:04 PM
I'm sure all of us have heard the question "what time will you be here" when a customer wants to know the exact time you'll be there to mow their lawn. Why they have to know the exact time is a mystery to me. It's not like they do anything when you come... they probably won't even come out of the house. Sometimes I'll give them an exact time if that's what they're looking for and sometimes I'll give myself a 2 hour window. The problem I have is that committing to a certain time means that you have to be there at that time or else you become more unreliable. Committing to a time that I'll do a lawn makes me reschedule all my other lawns around that one lawn and leaves no flexibility in my schedule. I like to have some flexibility in case I get asked to do extra stuff like hedge trimming or a neighbor of a customer asks me to do their yard or something. I had a new lawn to do today and the customer of course asked me what time I'll be there. I answered "what time is good with you?" and the customer answered "after 11 is good." So I was thinking that sounds good to me so I don't have to come at an exact time. So as I am heading to the lawn at about 11:30, which to my understanding is after 11, I get a call from the impatient customer wondering if I'm still coming. Now that's not so bad, but man I'm getting sick of that question

grandview (2006)
03-27-2012, 08:12 PM
She wants to make sure that you turn the blades on your mower,just not drive around and not cut anything!:)

MCM1
03-27-2012, 08:13 PM
I tell them the same thing Michelangelo told them when he painted the 16th chapel. I start when I get there and I'll finish when i'm done.

Patriot Services
03-27-2012, 08:17 PM
She wants to make sure that you turn the blades on your mower,just not drive around and not cut anything!:)

This aint WNY. We're already back to weekly cuts for the most part. I may give a specific day for special circumstances but not a time. :usflag:

hackitdown
03-27-2012, 08:25 PM
My typical answer..."Jeez, I have no idea. Why do you ask?"

j-ville native
03-27-2012, 08:26 PM
I tell them the same thing Michelangelo told them when he painted the 16th chapel. I start when I get there and I'll finish when i'm done.

That's pretty hilarious

j-ville native
03-27-2012, 08:30 PM
This aint WNY. We're already back to weekly cuts for the most part. I may give a specific day for special circumstances but not a time. :usflag:

I normally don't even tell them what day if they're long time customers. Long time customers are the best... they never ask and most never even call you and it's just accepted that you'll be there to do your thing when you need to do it. It's the new customers that always ask what time

grandview (2006)
03-27-2012, 08:33 PM
Hey, I start cutting tomorrow!

ALEX'S LANDSCAPING
03-27-2012, 08:35 PM
Everyone knows that I shall show up on any day of the week. PERIOD.

yardguy28
03-27-2012, 08:36 PM
I always give a day, never a time though.

it's not that hard to narrow down a day. I mean you have to make a route and for me, once that mowing route is made for the season I don't stray from it.

GMLC
03-27-2012, 08:38 PM
I always give a day, never a time though.

it's not that hard to narrow down a day. I mean you have to make a route and for me, once that mowing route is made for the season I don't stray from it.

I agree. I do the same exact thing. I set the day and not a time. Then stick to the same schedule.
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Richard Martin
03-27-2012, 08:58 PM
My customers always know what day (it's the same day, week after week, sometimes year after year) and generally what time. I can't provide a specific time although I can tell them whether it will be morning or afternoon. If I was to say I'd be there at 9 you know what would happen. It would be that rare day when everything that could go wrong does.

Weekend cut easymoney
03-27-2012, 09:06 PM
I might say AM or PM on a particular day...but also say that it is a tentative time and weather or traffic might change the schedule-

Roger
03-27-2012, 09:11 PM
....

Why they have to know the exact time is a mystery to me.


....

The concern stems from other service providers at residential properties. When the telecom tech makes arrangements to visit a house, they provide a pretty specific time. When an appliance service tech arranges a visit, the arrival time is pretty exact. When the furnace repair tech makes arrangements, the time to be at the house is pretty specific. You can add others to the list.

So, there is no reason to think the grass cutter so do likewise. To be sure, there is usually no reason for interaction between the LCO and the homeowner, unlike the other cases cited above. But, the idea remains, until a trust relationship is built.

This time concern will undoubtedly be minimized if you have worked a property for awhile, and have shown yourself to be reliable to the day. A trust builds with repeated visits that are consistent with what has been said.

ShooterK2
03-27-2012, 09:25 PM
I tell them the same thing Michelangelo told them when he painted the 16th chapel. I start when I get there and I'll finish when i'm done.

Same as the other 15 chapels he painted before that one, huh?

I usually say something like "I'll be there Monday morning" or "Thursday afternoon." I can usually pull that off with no problem.

Richard Martin
03-27-2012, 09:29 PM
The concern stems from other service providers at residential properties. When the telecom tech makes arrangements to visit a house, they provide a pretty specific time. When an appliance service tech arranges a visit, the arrival time is pretty exact. When the furnace repair tech makes arrangements, the time to be at the house is pretty specific. You can add others to the list.

If specific you mean between 8 and 12 then yeah, the other services are pretty specific. I've never had a service provider get specific about a time.

I'm just saying this has been my experience of dealing with service providers over the last 35 years.

Florida Gardener
03-27-2012, 09:45 PM
None of my customers care what time we arrive. These people have a lot of money too. If someone wanted a specific time they wouldn't be a customer. I mean really, who cares. They must not have much of a life if they want you pinned down to a certain time each week.
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Ridin' Green
03-27-2012, 09:52 PM
If specific you mean between 8 and 12 then yeah, the other services are pretty specific. I've never had a service provider get specific about a time.

I'm just saying this has been my experience of dealing with service providers over the last 35 years.

Mine too. In fact, Comcast was getting so bad about not coming on time, even with the 4 hour window they will cite you, that they finally started a gaurantee program, but it's about as useless as everything else they do.:rolleyes:

Ridin' Green
03-27-2012, 09:54 PM
Same as the other 15 chapels he painted before that one, huh?


:laugh::laugh::laugh: Now that's funny!

JCLawn and more
03-27-2012, 10:00 PM
Guy asked me that today. I said tomorrow or more twoards the weekend hahaha I hate even giving a 4 hour window
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j-ville native
03-27-2012, 10:06 PM
:laugh::laugh::laugh: Now that's funny!

LOL I read through that so fast the first time that I didn't even realize he put 16 instead of sistine. I wonder if he really thinks it's called the sixteenth chapel

Ridin' Green
03-27-2012, 10:20 PM
LOL I read through that so fast the first time that I didn't even realize he put 16 instead of sistine. I wonder if he really thinks it's called the sixteenth chapel

I don't know. I hope it was an honest mistake:eek:. My mind went into hyper drive just thinking about all the possibilities when I read that:laugh:, but ShooterK2 beat me to it.

ShooterK2
03-27-2012, 11:18 PM
Surely he was just joking. I was just trying to add to the humor, and to let him know that it didn't go unnoticed.

knox gsl
03-27-2012, 11:39 PM
I tell them the same thing Michelangelo told them when he painted the 16th chapel. I start when I get there and I'll finish when i'm done.

Sistine Chapel not 16th!

Wecutgrass
03-28-2012, 12:32 AM
dude i was ranting about this today actually, and now this is what i say "before around or a little after noon. pretty much covers me from 7 am to about 1:30

2ExploreTech
03-28-2012, 01:01 AM
At a former co. I used to work at, they offered a time that best suited them or not. Such as -- a mother of 3 young kids not wanting the machines running during their naptime ; a business with a large outdoor patio wanting quiet during their lunch ; ... or don't start before 8am as the security gate won't open until then (for a developement).

I won't fault them for the question, although I understand that some tend to ask mindlessly and for most people it's a non-issue.

It gets interesting when there are a few different properties on the same street, but have 2 different crews on different days that maintain them... and then it rains :)

weeze
03-28-2012, 02:59 PM
i never give them a time. i just say i'll do it early in the week or later in the week which gives me 2-3 days to play with. the very first time i cut it i tell them i'll be there on a certain day but i don't give a specific time.

BOSS LAWN 2343
03-28-2012, 03:08 PM
I hate getting asked "what time" im going to be there. Especially after I already had a SET schedule to go with.

MowingMowingMowing
03-28-2012, 05:43 PM
None of my customers care what time we arrive. These people have a lot of money too. If someone wanted a specific time they wouldn't be a customer. I mean really, who cares. They must not have much of a life if they want you pinned down to a certain time each week.
Posted via Mobile Device

Was there any relevance to mentioning they have a lot of money?

lawnguyland
03-28-2012, 07:39 PM
Dude said he would "appreciate it" if I could do his spring clean-up early afternoon on a friday so he could be home. My Spidey senses already had gone haywire and said to run away from this guy (nice guy, not afraid to pay a fair rate, just toooooo anal about his lawn and shrubs). He told me what direction to move the hedge trimmer to trim the shrubs when the time came to do so. I got a contract from him, but the day I was supposed to go I had absolutely no desrie to go to this guy's house. I hate people watching my every move. I was dreading it. I don't need to feel that way so I (nicely) fired him before I even started working for him. I felt much less stressed instantly and now I don't have to worry about what kind of annoyance there would be each week. There is one of those guys in every route, but not in mine anymore! Maybe not the best business move, but definitley the best personal move....Hooray me!

Florida Gardener
03-28-2012, 07:49 PM
Was there any relevance to mentioning they have a lot of money?

Yes. My point is the middle of the road people are more of a pita and they pay a lot less...wealthy people round here don't care what time you come, they just want the job done.
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j-ville native
03-28-2012, 08:03 PM
Yes. My point is the middle of the road people are more of a pita and they pay a lot less...wealthy people round here don't care what time you come, they just want the job done.
Posted via Mobile Device

Dude you kind of sound like a snob calling the middle class pita. You should not assume all people of a certain socioeconomic status are the same. I'm sure there are a good share of picky wealthy people as well

Florida Gardener
03-28-2012, 08:06 PM
Dude you kind of sound like a snob calling the middle class pita. You should not assume all people of a certain socioeconomic status are the same. I'm sure there are a good share of picky wealthy people as well

I'm speaking from personal experience. If I sound like a snob oh well. I have had more problems with middle class customers that run you ragged and want everything for nothing. Just my experience.
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j-ville native
03-28-2012, 08:06 PM
Dude said he would "appreciate it" if I could do his spring clean-up early afternoon on a friday so he could be home. My Spidey senses already had gone haywire and said to run away from this guy (nice guy, not afraid to pay a fair rate, just toooooo anal about his lawn and shrubs). He told me what direction to move the hedge trimmer to trim the shrubs when the time came to do so. I got a contract from him, but the day I was supposed to go I had absolutely no desrie to go to this guy's house. I hate people watching my every move. I was dreading it. I don't need to feel that way so I (nicely) fired him before I even started working for him. I felt much less stressed instantly and now I don't have to worry about what kind of annoyance there would be each week. There is one of those guys in every route, but not in mine anymore! Maybe not the best business move, but definitley the best personal move....Hooray me!

Haha... spidey sense gone haywire. That's funny stuff. I hate being watched too. Especially if the person staring at me isn't even my customer, but like a neighbor or something. I just wanna say to them that's most children even know it's not polite to stare

yardguy28
03-28-2012, 10:00 PM
wow I'd be out of a job if I had that attitude.

middle class makes up 95% of my business and the other 5% comes from the lower class.

I refuse to work for the upper class. they are way to fussy about there properties.

BOSS LAWN 2343
03-29-2012, 12:27 AM
80% of my work is Middle class the other 20% is a mix. The lower class always want the $15 mow/trim/blow.

That;s the only thing I dont understand, upper class are the ones that if you spend an hour on their postage sized property perfecting it, load up and pull down the street and they call you complaining that you missed a blade of grass at the end of the sidewalk...

MTenterprises
03-29-2012, 12:37 AM
One of the reasons I enjoy lawn service so much is because I'm in control of it and on MY schedule......for the most part lol. I do not like pita customers and will only put up with it fora short time. I cn replace them quickly.

Ridin' Green
03-29-2012, 12:41 AM
I hate being watched too. Especially if the person staring at me isn't even my customer, but like a neighbor or something.

.... and they're staring at you through a knothole in the fence.:eek::laugh:

BOSS LAWN 2343
03-29-2012, 12:57 AM
.... and they're staring at you through a knothole in the fence.:eek::laugh:


:laugh: just made my day!

MowingMowingMowing
03-29-2012, 02:53 AM
Dude you kind of sound like a snob calling the middle class pita. You should not assume all people of a certain socioeconomic status are the same. I'm sure there are a good share of picky wealthy people as well

I'm speaking from personal experience. If I sound like a snob oh well. I have had more problems with middle class customers that run you ragged and want everything for nothing. Just my experience.
Posted via Mobile Device

That is what I got out of it initially as well...

MowingMowingMowing
03-29-2012, 02:57 AM
wow I'd be out of a job if I had that attitude.

middle class makes up 95% of my business and the other 5% comes from the lower class.

I refuse to work for the upper class. they are way to fussy about there properties.

Middle class made up about 60% for myself, generally the easiest people to please in my experience.

When I think of PITA customers in the past, almost all were upper class. One in particular comes to mind, lady wanting to put off mowing (obviously needed it) and proceeded to give me the "We're watching our expenses speech."

I am a very understanding person, but I don't know who she thought she was kidding with a pair of 1 year old Cadis sitting in the open garage (about $100K between just the two of them lol).

BPS##
03-29-2012, 03:53 PM
Middle class made up about 60% for myself, generally the easiest people to please in my experience.

When I think of PITA customers in the past, almost all were upper class. One in particular comes to mind, lady wanting to put off mowing (obviously needed it) and proceeded to give me the "We're watching our expenses speech."

I am a very understanding person, but I don't know who she thought she was kidding with a pair of 1 year old Cadis sitting in the open garage (about $100K between just the two of them lol).





Its the corporate mentality. Watch the pennies but piss away the $100s.

BPS##
03-29-2012, 03:57 PM
Normally I won't give a time for the obvious reasons.

Flat tire slows you down, phone call at the wrong time, took longer to mow the previous two yards, neighbor flags you down etc.

Most folks understand, if not.... move on down the road.
If they want me to look at a special project or some thing like that I do try my best to set them a time.

Years ago I had one customer that had to be home when I was there. It wasn't an option. So I set his time first in the day, 7:30 to 8.
It was a pain but he paid good for his demands.


Once I had a new customer that called me about 1pm and left a message wanting to know exactly where I was and exactly why I didn't come mow her lawn today, blah blah blah.
What she didn't know was that her yard was the next one on the route. But because of her actions I put her at the end of the day to prove a point and rolled up about 6pm.
She meets me at the curb, "I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO MOW MY YARD TODAY".
I just looked at her and asked "Is it dark yet"?
"No", I replied "then its still today isn't it."?


She left me alone after that.

RLS24
03-29-2012, 05:28 PM
For the most part, we stick to our schedule of where we are going to be on what days, and most years after the first few weeks of cutting, we get in our "routine" and usually end up at the same places at the same time on a weekly basis. But I never tell customers anything more than a general day we'll be there and that can easily be thrown off if something happens or it rains. I do have one guy though, that if we come every week at 12:00 and then the one day its 12:05 and we're not there he's calling worried that we forgot him. But he is also the customer that is running down the driveway waving money in his hand before we can even open the doors of the truck! My running joke is that I can't wait to be retired and of age where my biggest worry in life is when the guy is coming to cut my lawn!

I hate being watched too. Especially if the person staring at me isn't even my customer, but like a neighbor or something.

I have one customer that I swear to god the neighbor is more concerned about the lawn than the actual homeowner. It gets kind of annoying but I just ignore him.

StanWilhite
03-29-2012, 08:59 PM
I didn't read the whole thread so I may be duplicating an answer but, have you thought about printing up a sheet that addresses FAQ's, such as "why we (I) can't give an exact arrival or departure time"? (You have the choice of narrowing the time down to a certain day of the week, or a certain time of day, or even morning or afternoon"). You control how flexible your expected appointment time is.

You can then list reasons such as "variables we have no control over". You can then give this literature to each customer when quoting the job. If you already have their business, you can give them the sheet along with your bill.

I've never actually done this, but when I read your post this came to mind as maybe a good way to avoid little things that aggravate you and your customers. It's a way of answering questions with a "flyer" so that you don't have to verbally do it day after day.

If you do this let me know how it works.

Stan