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View Full Version : I need to fire a customer that loves me ( predicament!)


LawnMower
03-01-2004, 11:06 AM
I took on a new customer last summer. A bunch of people warned me not to take her on. I noticed she bad mouthed all the other land scapers that shes had.

She is on a prestiges road, and it was a good size place so I took it on. $50.00 a cut and it takes me about an hour.

However shes the type to complain that I missed a spot here or there. Oh the last guy always mowed under that bush, or this bush. ( stuff that hadn't been touched in years). It got to the point where if I saw her car in the driveway I would keep driving and mow her another time.

To to top it off she doesn't pay on time. She still owes me around $300 from the season still. She will come up to me and hand me $200 and say I think this covers everything. Then she always has questions about my statement ( invoice). I don't think you even came on this day, she would say.

One day I helped her run a string along her property line. It was through woods and prickers. She has a bad hip, so I thought I would do her a favor. I never charged her. Then she has the balls to say I'm over charging her, because I didn't mow on a particular day, when I know I was there.


The problem is she loves me. When her dog died she broke down a cried right there in front of me. I think I even gave her a hug. Some how I got elected to be her emotional tampon. If I'm there and she is, I'm in trouble.

She likes to damage people her hurt her feelings. She will drag my name through the dirt like she has every one else. Shes also politically powerful in town.

How do I drop her and not hurt her feelings?

geogunn
03-01-2004, 11:45 AM
john--you don't need to fire her. you need to fire yourself for letting her get behind and for bidding a job at $50/hr.

as for the complaining, pay no attention.

as for her loving you, pay no attention to that either.

she'd cry on the paper boys shoulder too if he'd slow down long enough to let her.

GEO

alpine692003
03-01-2004, 11:45 AM
uh, ask her if she wants sex

NCSULandscaper
03-01-2004, 11:48 AM
If it bothers you that bad who cares if it hurts her feelings if she is that big a pain. Its obvious people know she does it intensionally, because you were warned by many people. I dont see how she could ruin your reputation when people dont believe her in the first place. Next time listen to all the people who said watch out.

precisioncut
03-01-2004, 11:53 AM
emotional tampon-that's a new one! LOL

Just drop her. You have tried different things to make her happy and still nothing. You don't deserve so much frustration over one client.

Avery
03-01-2004, 04:13 PM
Don't let "feelings" run your business. Drop her.

Ryan Lightning
03-01-2004, 04:18 PM
Raise the price to $75 and tell her you switching to a pay first system, because people are always paying late, and then you cant pay your bills.

bobbygedd
03-01-2004, 04:20 PM
let me do her lawn for 2 months, she'll hate me so much she won't even remember that you dumped her. then she can badmouth me. who cares, everyone else does it too, and i havn't lost a minutes sleep over it yet. dump her. send a dear jane letter.

ElephantNest
03-01-2004, 04:21 PM
Due to downsizing, some maintenance scheduling will be changed. This will unfortunately impact certain customers in certain areas, as we will no longer be doing maintenance in these areas, or doing this type of work with the particular crew that will be servicing the area. We are sorry for any inconvenience, and will gladly pass your account on to one of our professional peers, if so desired. Thank you and blah blah blah.

Something like that?

DUSTYCEDAR
03-01-2004, 04:22 PM
u win the statement of 2004 emoitional tampon
just drop her tell her she is behind on payments and u r going to turn it over to a collection agenciy and when u mail this to her send it as a registered letter so u have a reciept
she will pay up she wont want her friends to think she is a dead beat:cry:

mow2nd
03-01-2004, 04:22 PM
I'd make her leave the money under the door mat, if that money not there, keep on going.

otherwise, drop her..................good luck

GrassBustersLawn
03-01-2004, 04:24 PM
I'd be more upset about her not paying then "her feelings". I'd get on her about that and tell her the only way you can keep her this year is if she pays you UP FRONT, at least a month at a time. I've done that with my people that are late and it resolves the LATE PAYMENT issue (one way or the other). INdustry Consultant Charles VanderKooi says to use a "ding dong" factor. I do this when I get the similar story from new clients. My "ding dong" factor is 20% more than what I'd normally charge her, then I get a little something for putting up with her stuff. At this point, I'd give her the "heave ho" for the new season as she is too much a PITA.


Mike

BOTURF
03-01-2004, 05:35 PM
You call it the ding dong factor? i call it the pita surcharge and believe me they pay bigtime for this , if i have tolisten to their crap they have to pay me

bastalker
03-01-2004, 05:56 PM
Elephant nest described the scenario I would personally use. No feelings get hurt this way. There are all kinds of new lco's starting up around here I could refer her to...

EvandSeby
03-01-2004, 08:25 PM
Should have listened to the "bunch of people" who warned you. Dude, if she really liked you that much she would pay you on time! Been there, done that many times. Now I listen to the little voice inside me that says, " Run, Forest, Run"

locutus
03-01-2004, 08:36 PM
She sounds like a master manipulator. Dump her with flattery. Tell her that you are starting to develope strong feelings towards her that you know can never be acted upon and that you just cant deal with that level of sexual frustration.

Aleman
03-01-2004, 09:07 PM
Milk her for everything shes got...............

TXLAWNBOY
03-01-2004, 11:16 PM
Business is business, and personal is personal. You can't worry about someone's feelings in business, especially when that person is stiffing you on the money they owe you. Collect your money and DROP her like a bad habbit. Trust me, if the table was turned she'd do it to you.

LawnMower
03-01-2004, 11:17 PM
Originally posted by locutus
She sounds like a master manipulator. Dump her with flattery. Tell her that you are starting to develope strong feelings towards her that you know can never be acted upon and that you just cant deal with that level of sexual frustration.

Well see I shot my self in the foot. Shes a bit older and I noticed that shes always trying to look good....and she dose for her age. So I tell her so. I simply say you look beautiful today. She gets all bashful and says I'm a nut.

It comes down to this. I don't mind being her bar tender or emotional tampon . However I don't want her as a customer any longer.

You guys have some great advice, thank you.

John

p0965c
03-01-2004, 11:21 PM
I think you might be being too nice. Be a little tough with her and let her drop you if she can't handle the way you want to do business. Here's some possibilties for some of the problems:

(1) Not paying on time: Send a generic form letter informing you that you are changing your policy due to cash flow problems. You now require people to pay at the time service is rendered or else you will not return for a second visit.

(2) The talking too much: Simply say you are in a hurry and thank-you for your understanding, wish her a good day, and walk away.

(3) The complaining: don't give her the opportunity. As soon as you finish the job, get the mower in the trailer and tell her your policy is that once the mower is in the trailer, there's an charge for unloading it. Tell her you are happy to unload it for $25, or whater it's worth your time to do a re-do..

lawnagent
03-01-2004, 11:23 PM
Originally posted by alpine692003
uh, ask her if she wants sex


Originally posted by locutus
She sounds like a master manipulator. Dump her with flattery. Tell her that you are starting to develope strong feelings towards her that you know can never be acted upon and that you just cant deal with that level of sexual frustration.[QUOTE]


[QUOTE]Originally posted by Aleman
Milk her for everything shes got...............

Wow, now these are real professional responses.:angry:

dkeisala
03-01-2004, 11:35 PM
Political power?!! I take care of one of our state congressmens place and if I was nit-picked like that, I'd drop him in a heart beat. Nobody knows THAT many people.

bastalker
03-02-2004, 03:18 AM
Originally posted by Aleman
Milk her for everything shes got...............

Your buisness will prosper..........

bastalker
03-02-2004, 03:22 AM
lawn agent, you got some excellent replies! Dont single out the idiots. Take the replies that will help you with the dilemma, an go from there.. You will get all kinds of off the wall replies. Its your job to pick thru them.

You will know what you need to do...Good luck to you!

geogunn
03-02-2004, 08:06 AM
Originally posted by lawnagent
Wow, now these are real professional responses.:angry:

well lawnagent...where is your "professional" contribution???

and bastalker... FWIW...LawnMower started the thread...not lawnagent. lol.

GEO

Currier
03-02-2004, 09:13 AM
Send her a professional letter stating that due to increased fuel/insurance/operating expenses you are changing your billing system and increaseing prices. Add how you surely hope to keep her as the valued customer that she is but you must do this price increase in order to continue as a business.

She'll drop you. It will be her decision. About the only thing she will be able to say is you were too expensive (personally I would rather be thought of as "too expensive" it can weed ou the tire kickers).

In the letter give her a higher price and state that it will be a flat monthly fee paid over x number of months. If your season is 7 months long have her payments stretch over 8 or 9.

She will drop you....or it will be worth the hassle.

KathysLGC
03-02-2004, 10:18 AM
One thing that I did to a customer that was always late with intentions of me dumping them and they not pay the $400 they owed me for previous work was as follows,... They wanted me to make them flower beds and put mulch down. They where going to order the shrubs and flowers them selves but just wanted me to do the hard work and mulch. So i measure out where they wanted the beds to be, calculated them needing 15 yards of mulch. I told them It was going to be $800 for the mulch and that I need a bank check to give to the saw mill for the mulch and that i would just bill them for my labor in there regular bill. Well i got the check and ordered 6 yards delivered. I got my money back and never went back.

dishboy
03-02-2004, 10:56 AM
I would not drop her. I would ask for payment before continuing and keep the rest of my conversations brief. I try not to let a little insanity[mine or theirs] get in the way of making a dollar.
Tom