View Full Version : You're all-time worst account, and why?

Critical Care
02-27-2004, 06:39 PM
Out of all of your accounts past and present, which one would you consider to be your all-time most dreaded account that you would have to go to, and why???

02-27-2004, 07:37 PM
Here's one that I will be dumping this year as soon as she returns my call. About 2/3 of an acre, mostly flat, but divided into 7 areas by chain link fence. The very front of the property is a hill that climbs about 8 feet in a 6 foot span. Too steep for any of my larger mowers, so I do the whole 60 feet with a 22" lawnboy pushing from the sidewalk below. Homeowner has no clue about landscaping (thinks dandelions are pretty) so she just puts "neat " plants all over the place. No defined beds, just stuff to try to avoid. Its a freakin obstacle course. To top it all off, she only wants me to mow once a month. Up till now I've done it for her because she lives next door to my uncle so I have known her since I was like 12, and her husband passed away a couple years ago. The biggest bummer is what I get for doing the place.....$25.

I kinda feel bad dropping her, but the property is way outta my way, and I just don't want to dread going there any more.

02-27-2004, 09:29 PM
The will you do this and will you do that account. Old lady on fixed budget wanting everything for free. No No No . Mow and go unless you want to pay more. I thought with the 25 every two weeks was enough to trim my 5 million feet of shrubs and take some garbage to the dump.
Heck NO.
Dumped her and won't even go close to her house cause when she sees my truck, any where in town, she will stop and try to talk my head off. She would walk behind a closed gate that I was parked in frount of if she heard the mower running.
Crazzzzzzy Lady.

02-27-2004, 10:05 PM
Had one guy in particular that the he wanted the height changed every week we came. And then he would watch from the windows. He only wanted the lawn bagged, and no striping. Only certain mowers on the lawns at certain times. Sometimes switching the mowers to different parts of the lawn. All of stuff added 15-30 mins to the time and he refused to pay the extra amount.

02-27-2004, 10:27 PM
Many moons ago I mowed this appartment complex. Bidded for weekly, but when they called conferming they wanted every 10 days. Beeing new and stupid I said OK :o . Second time mowing manager lady comes out and asks if I could cut lower. Beeing new and stupid I said OK :o . Third time mowing manager lady comes out and asks if I could cut even lower still. Beeing new and stupid I said OK :o . Fourth time------ well you get the picture. Now here I am trying to cut 6" tall grass down to 2" and unsuccesfully trying to make it look good. I got a lot of pleasure telling her to find a new lawncare guy after her second or third complaint about grass clumping. Was a good learning experience for me though. All PITA's are good learning experiences

02-27-2004, 10:32 PM
i don't mow much anymore, but when i did...

there was this one lady that would talk my head off everytime she could. 15-20 minutes after every mow that she could catch me. you know, i knew it was coming, it was like a game. i would try to arrange it so i could finish in the corner of the lawn near the truck so i could make a quick getaway. sometimes it worked, sometimes not. i would stand there for 20 minutes with a backpack blower on, looking at the crew in the truck, thinking about how much this was actually costing me while she droned on and on.

02-27-2004, 10:41 PM
I have an account in an affluent neighborhood and the owners continuously plant these hideous small flowers everywhere, not in a flower bed but right in the middle, or wherever, in the grass areas, and then mark them with bright orange marking flags...,last year there were at least forty of these things all over the lawn areas..........Its a beautiful lawn too, what would normally take about 45 minutes on the ZTR takes about an hour and a half just dodging these flags and then even more time trimming around them...........Whenver we see that happen anywhere else we say "they must have gone to the "customer's name here" school of flower planting and landscape design school"...........

02-27-2004, 10:43 PM
Originally posted by charlies
. i would try to arrange it so i could finish in the corner of the lawn near the truck so i could make a quick getaway. sometimes it worked, sometimes not.


Ah yes, the things we have to go thru to earn a living......

Good stuff.

Kelly's Landscaping
02-27-2004, 10:54 PM
Worse one tuff call but I'm going to go with one my ex boss had on the river. Front yard is just shrubs and woods and very narrow grass pathways. You get to the back and the lay out was 125 across and 60 feet of lawn to you get to the marsh the entire back was roughly 40-60 degree grade changing though out it has dips and valleys then in the middle it has a rail tie stair case that was a test of strength to get the mower across to do the other side which was completely cut off. They had grass growing though out their shrubs so they wanted that weed wacked each week as well some 2000 square feet of them. Hehehhe it gets better just wait.

Now the marsh was the real kicker one day they came out (god I hate liberals) and asked my boss at the time if he could cut the cattails down but not harm the marsh grass meaning turn your weed wacker sideways and surgically remove the cattails rather then swinging the weed wacker side to side the area in question was 125 feet wide and about 175 to the river with all sorts of hollow water features some 6 feet deep if you were to step in them. Took 3 guys on weed wackers 30-45 mins and you would all get bit to hell from mosquitoes when you were out there he had one guy quit on the spot when asked to do that. This went on for years and they got bolder each year went from 2-3 times a year to finally they wanted it ever 2 weeks thank god I was in charge and one day said NO we were mercifully fired hehehe. No way I will ever do a marsh for any one I would rather kill them on the spot then take that job.

02-27-2004, 11:21 PM
Had a property that was ok to mow. A big drainage and kinda steep slope, but ok. Set a price with the owner. Mow it like he said, grat job, so I thought. Next visit, the owner's wife is there. She says "Oh, well the proerty line goes to there" (adding about 1/4 acre). I said "Well, Mr. -- told me it goes to there, but I'l take care of that for ya", thinking I was such a nice guy and really taking care of my customer, right. No big deal. Next week Husband is back and adds even more. Now I know they are playing me. Meantime, the shop part of their store gets a big job and requires extended use of a saw (one that uses lots of water like a concrete saw), which creates a swamp on the prop. The place starts severely holding water. Told the owner I'd be happy to weedwack the parts I can't get to with the mower, for xxx amount more. He says "don't worry about it. It's not too high, mow it next week when the water dries up". The water never dried up. After about the fifth cut, knowing the whole time I am getting screwed from their miscommunication act, I'm getting pi**ed, now the grass is about 3 feet high in the water part. Then one day I had a sudden change in schedule, so I dropped them. Darn, just when the water part was really getting outta control and they wouldn't pay extra. Funny how things happen. Must've cost 'em a fortune to get it bush hogged once it dried. I hope the bush hogger got the money out of them that they played me for.

Critical Care
02-27-2004, 11:56 PM
Good stories. Hmm... Interesting that no one so far has mentioned anything about having to mow over dog sh**. Maybe you guys tolerate more sh** than I do.

Charlie, you should have charged that lady by the hour.

02-28-2004, 12:21 AM
My worst ones were the ones that I underbid on!!!

02-28-2004, 12:33 AM
My all time worst account is a work in progress.See my "I Think I got BobbyGedded" thread :D
Just got my dear homeowner letter finished for that one.

02-28-2004, 08:38 PM
We maintain a cemetary and the owners property. He has been a thorn in my side from the beginning. When I first started mowing his lawn i mulched the whole lawn, for about 7 years. At the beginning of last year he asked if i would bag the lawn, because he said grass just blows around after i cut it. So the nice guy that i am i said i will bag half the yard and that half will be around the base of the house, he agreed the whole year went buy and it was about the last 1 or 2 cuts and he comes out and asks if i will start bagging the whole yard, so i did.Now i know he expects me to bag his whole yard this up coming year with out a price increase, but i think im just going to raise it and see what happens. My only concern is losing the cemetary oh well we all must take a chance and gamble sometimes, right

02-28-2004, 10:32 PM
One of my worse accounts was one I had last year. 16 acres condominium association at $60,000.00 per year. I lost my butt on this one. Whenever we performed a service the treasurer (a retired book keeper for a large construction company) followed my guys around with a journal that she kept all her observations in. Each month she wanted me to sit down with her and answer to all of her critiques that she recorded. She did stuff like walk around with a ruler measuring the grass length through out the entire property as the guys cut to make sure it is all the same length. When it wasn't she would have them "correct it". She would have the foreman tied up with complaints for at least an hour each time we went out. When it came time to pay the bill she would challenge almost everything I billed for, always wanting discounts or saying we didn't do something we billed for and didn't want to pay for it. She refused to pay me for two months until I agreed to credit their account for a service they recieved but said they did not.

When they asked me to submit my proposal for this year I declined. This property has the potential of being extremely profitable when this lady leaves the board.

The thing is, every homeowner there said the property has never looked better.

02-29-2004, 02:58 AM
don't worry about losing him, a cemetary sucks anyway.

02-29-2004, 08:19 AM
I have a stop where I mow 10 places. They are all on steep hills, have narrow gates, steps and other obstacles, but I cant pass on that much$$$ at a stop. Half of these are around a small cul-de-sac, their backyards are accessible to each other but not from the front with my eqipment. I can get my mower in through the yard on only one of these and then pass to the others through this guy's yard. The man was elderly and eccentric and very hard to extract payment from, but I dealt with it because I needed his access to make a profit on the other four. Eventually he passed on and a new owner moved in. He is not a client but is a major PIA .He won't allow my access through his yard so the other jobs reqire an additional 1.5 hr to mow with a 21" and forget about cleanups there, you cant get the debris out without his permission. He piles his $#@! on my clients front lawns, so I need to move it. Now he doesn't like me to park on that street,when I come to work he moves his truck, boat, car etc onto the street so I can't park. Not sure what to do with him but if he let me do his yard free just to shut him up it might be worth it. I'll need to deal with this soon so any ideas are appreciated.

02-29-2004, 11:46 AM
i definetly wouldn't mow him for free. talk with the other four about creating access. if you sell it right, you can even charge one of them, or all four of them for it.

02-29-2004, 09:07 PM
Originally posted by charlies
don't worry about losing him, a cemetary sucks anyway. Mowing a cemetary does suck but the profit is nice and i need it.

Lawn Dog2001
02-29-2004, 09:33 PM
Had mine this past year.

Front of the property was a hill any way you did it. Back yard was a very steep slant. But worst of all the drive way was extremely steep, and right off of a highway. But even worse yet it was on the crest of a hill on the highway, and there was really no way to effectively stop 60 mph traffic before the driveway. I cant tell you how many accidents we almost caused backing the trailer out of this drive.

But even worse these people were just strange. Also very slow payers. They bought a fertilization package, and got a discount for buying the whole package. They asked me if they could send the package check after we already applied the first treatment, waiting for their payday. Well they only sent half the money. Then everytime they got a bill they would only pay half.

They would watch us work out the window, but never come to the door when I would try to collect. They also called to complain about something or other after every service. Too high, to low your scalping, I dont like those big machines, your not trimming right.

But we kept working because they owed money, and I knew if we stopped, we would not get payment. So finally I left a another note that the demanded payment in full. We finally did get a check for most of the balance after the last note. They were only about $25 short so I figured that was as close to paid as it was going to get. So I sent a cancellation notice, siteing nopayment as per terms of our agreement.

She was upset about us dropping her and kept calling. I was avoiding her, I admit that. So she came to my house! :blob2: Finally we had it out on my porch. She demanded that we continue service until she finds another company. I told her where she could go and sent her on her way kicking and screaming.

I am considering a PO box for my payments this year over the incident. We are talking straight pshyco here.

02-29-2004, 09:37 PM
I've got 2 . 2 year customers that decided aug. they would stop paying me !been thru the 4 mts of bills an a letters from my attorney ...now i'am gonna go to the court house an let the good ol "judge" take care of it !

Jim Feder
02-29-2004, 11:32 PM
Had a property mgt comp only let me do snow did snow only for 3 years and this guy maid all the rules I went along with him becase he was paying me lots When he compland I would make it back down the road (charge more). This year he was real bad do this dont do that he never wanted the full service only half. He then has some one fall becase he was cheap. The next day he calls and said I have to let you go becase your services are not up to are standards. Thats the best thing that happened to me. I have never hated a custmer so much. The only bad thing is he beat me out of 3 hundered bucks. But I sleep a lot better.

02-29-2004, 11:58 PM
We had an account up until last year that was basically in the woods.About 9K of thin turf to mow weekly for a quick $ 35.00 was OK, but we had to do the leaf removal in the falll as well . I tried to talk her into bi weekly cleanups from mid Oct to Dec., she agreed.Long story- short version:her husband died, she moved to CT, and left the property in our care.Biweekly cleanups were running about $ 600.00 a month, so she wanted it changed the following year to only once in late Nov.Well , her bill was $ 1900.00 for one cleanup, and she was pi$$ed b/c she spent less the previous year on bi weekly.We were there for 13 hours(3 men) to do her removal.There were 25 assorted Maples,Poplars, Pin Oaks, and Cherry trees in her yard.Everybody hated going to her house, and it felt so good to drop her last year.

03-01-2004, 12:18 AM
some great stories

03-01-2004, 01:05 AM
Nice enough guy, picky but we do what he wants and pays well for the services he receives. Beautiful house in a top neighborhood. Decided last year to have TGCL handle his chemical services rather than us. Fine, whatever floats your boat. Now, the lawn has never looked worse. Has the nerve to ask me what's going on with his grass. Of course, my reply is "not really sure, why don't you call Tru Green?!!!"

03-01-2004, 10:09 AM
when i mowed and i did the fert and they hired tg because of price i droped them and told they why most swiched back

03-01-2004, 06:35 PM
Ant account that the owner is an Indian.

Critical Care
03-01-2004, 06:49 PM
OkayÖ perhaps the one account that I dreaded the most was one on the side of a hill at the end of a long residential road. Surely someone had an evil mind because there wasnít any way to turn the truck and trailer around. The trailer had to be backed down the hill for a quarter of a mile before being able to get turned around, and for a stinking dead end road there were always people on it.

A Honda 21 had to be lifted up onto a four foot retaining wall, and the yard was steep enough to where the mower had a tough time with traction. To top it all off, there was always bottles, garbage, and toys thrown out all over the place.

I had a friend fill in for me one day; he didnít even get out of the truck when he saw this place, but he sure complained a lot later on about having to back down that hill.