View Full Version : Lost an account due to customers ignorance.

06-27-2003, 03:04 PM
I acquired this account last year. Customer calls me up for a price. Do the bid thing and come up with $50.00 per weekly service. He cuts me to $40.00 and I accept. ( my first mistake) I service his lawn all last year with no complaints. He even brags about how the neighbors comment on how good his lawn looks. I even done some add on shrub trimming and leave removal that he was well pleased with.

Now, This year rolls around and I start his service. He comes out and informs me that he's not getting the overtime on his job and wants to go to service every 2 weeks. I explain to him all the negative and accept. ( my second mistake)

Yesterday... I roll up to the property and it has just been cut by another LCO and just so happens the customer is backing out the drive. I hop out of my truck and ask whats up with someone else cutting the lawn. He says, "I thought you forgot about be so I called someone else." I explained that this was the second week by his choice and he thought it was the third week. He took a business card from me and said don't count me out yet.
( I mow, blow, and edge every time. The LCO that done it yesterday didn't edge and left large clumps of grass everywhere. I honestly think it was a price issue. Takes me and a exp. helper 20 min to service for a $40.00.)

This is how I intend to handle this x-customer.
Send him a bill for the one unpaid service done 2 weeks ago. Enclose a cover letter stating the only way for me to re-start service is with a check for unpaid service, signed copy of the (weekly) contract enclosed, and first months payment and thank him for choosing me as his LCO.

If he signs, good. If he don't, good. I move on..........

Would you handle this any different?

06-27-2003, 03:12 PM
I would send him the bill and get paid first, then send the letter and contract. He might get an attitude if you send the contract with the bill.

It sounds like you are handling it well, though.

06-27-2003, 03:17 PM
I agree, get paid for the services owed first. If he calls you in the meantime you can explain it to him on the phone. Otherwise, just send the contract and make sure it has an expire date that he needs to get back to you by, or he might just wait too long and then you will have to explain charging more because his lawn is too long.

06-27-2003, 03:19 PM
Make sure you send him a bill for a service call.

06-27-2003, 03:55 PM
I sound like a good plan of attack. I would make sure and try and get that money that is owed to you.


06-28-2003, 01:17 AM
Thank you all.......

06-28-2003, 07:31 PM

Dont even sweat losing the client, their are millions of them out there, and the ones that are always looking for something for nothing are the worst.

I lost a client today too. Here in Jersey weve had rain something like 27 out of the last 40 days. So when we finally could cut everything was ridiculously high and took twice as long to do. Two weeks ago we finally juggled the schedule around enough to get everyone back on their proper day, and then had 5 days of rain in a row last week, from Tuesday to Sunday, to shoot it all to hell again.

It finally stopped raining and we just completed 5 days in the mid to upper 90s and on the first sunny day, this client calls to ask when we are going to do the fert and weed control app. Ive explained in the past that to do the app I need 48 hours without rain and temperatures under 85 degrees, and have cut her lawn within the previous 3 days. She called twice more during the week, leaving messages with the answering service, and I called her last night to let her know that Id be there sunday as we cut her lawn on Thursday.

Today she called and canceled all services. Tried call to confirm the reason but got the answering machine. Ignorance. That and probably because she received her bill today with the 1.5 time charges for cutting the lawn during all that rain. She pitched a fit about it last year too, but Im in this business to make money not friends. Dont worry about it. Another clients just around the corner. Oh and the best part, hes a mercerdes dealer/salesman and was just regaling us with his stories of how hes not trying to get something for nothing, and wants to buy the lots next door to his house for 300,000 each. All show, but they left cause of the dough.

Lifes too short.


06-28-2003, 07:51 PM
Get you money that he owes you and bail out! I guarentee this wont be the only problem you'll face with this customer. If he thought that you had forgotten him, why didn't he call you instead of someone else?

06-28-2003, 10:12 PM
get the money first, then send the letter. I hope that you raise the price though for two reasons:
1. he switched over to a bi-weekly schedule
2. he hired someone on for the cutting, and then will hire you back on.

06-28-2003, 10:58 PM
I think your right on it Bob.

I did pick up an new account today next door to an existing account. This is a "fairly NEW" high end residential area that most owners do there own lawn. They've all seen me for the past couple of years service the account at the entrance way and finally today a neighbor came to me fed up with lawn work ( about 95+ with high humidity today) and ask the big question. How much would you charge to ????????
Right now I'm the only LCO doing work in the area.
Lost one, added one, and increased my bottom line in 2 days.

Thanks again for the comments.........

06-29-2003, 12:20 AM
Originally posted by bob
Get you money that he owes you and bail out! I guarentee this wont be the only problem you'll face with this customer. If he thought that you had forgotten him, why didn't he call you instead of someone else?

I agree. If he thought you had forgotten, why not call? You'll be lucky to get your $$ and then take off. That is definitely NOT a customer to fight with another LCO about.


06-29-2003, 09:31 AM
I cancelled a client last week for much the same reason.

We started last year based on every 10 days. Twice over the summer I showed up and it had been cut already, by the client.

As well, they wanted a rock garden installed to keep the cats from digging in the sand. I hand picked stones to match what she already had, delivered them, dry installed them to show her and then properly set them once she approved.

I go back this spring to check for settling and finish up some loose ends and she says she wants all larger rocks now and she wants to use it as a path. when I explain the situation and the extra cost, I get this blank "what do you mean" stare. Last week, I show up to cut and its already been cut - about an inch high and brown. That was the last straw.

This client has never paid on time (and never paid enough), has never provided a reference and has never complimented me on my work. We replaced her with a new client by the end of the day.

I learned when I owned a much larger LCO in the past that a small percentage of clients will drive you nuts and ruin the enjoyment of the business, which can affect your ability to professionallyy service good clients.

06-29-2003, 01:22 PM
The worst part is, I had an exact image of one of my clients in my mind as I was reading your post. I pictured him backing out of his driveway in a blue Cherokee, could even see his whiney face!

I TOTALLY sympathize. The others are right, though. Get your money first and then address the issues....


06-29-2003, 06:35 PM
This guy Always bragged about what a good job I was doing, never had a problem with the payments. He said at one time " I want the best looking lawn in the neighborhood" and I gave it to him. It all went bad when he went to a two week rotation. I honestly think his financial status had changed since last year. When I confronted him about his outstanding bill he said he would pay it with no problem.
I'm not mad at the guy nor have a problem with him changing LCO and I was very professional in letting him know this. The problem is why lie about it. The part about losing my number is bogus......I could have worked out a solution to give him a weekly service with a 12 month payment plan to fit his budget only if he would have give me an opportunity.

I think Bob could be on to something. Usually, this type of conduct from a client just displays his morals. If he can straight face lie about something that don't really matter, what will he do down the road when it come to a real issue.

Do I really want this guy back?

I honest believe I could call this guy up and get his business back by just explaining to him what I could do for him with an 12 month agreement signed. My work speaks for itself. His wallet is speaking for him.