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View Full Version : Customers testing you ......


alpine692003
10-04-2004, 11:32 PM
Geez,

I always have a few bunch of new customers that like to test the limits of what you are doing..

I just had an estimate where a lady wanted me to cleanup her front yard.. It was just a general cleanup.. ie) flowerbeds weeding, leaves removed and some shrubs trimmed back.

She started asking me all these questions, ie) How would you trim these shrubs? What type of shrub is this? When's the best time to weed flowerbeds?
Do you know how to trim the rose bushes? Yes I do, at an angle below the buds..

She then saids good, Im just seeing if you know what youre doing ...

God, I hate these customers... I felt like saying, I want a credit check on report on you to see if you pay your bills ontime..

geogunn
10-04-2004, 11:53 PM
I don't think I have ever had a customer test me in the manner you are speaking.

I have has a few play "trivia", but that isn't the same thing.

my experience is the customer tells me what they want and it gets done.

GEO

alpine692003
10-05-2004, 02:55 AM
Yes, how low do you want me to trim these shrubs etc..

But to the extent of asking me how to trim cedars, laurels for that matter is different..

I should say, how's your credit rating? I want to see if you pay bills ontime..

Geoffrey
10-05-2004, 06:49 AM
Alpine,
That's too funny, but don't stop at the credit report. Why are you driving that car? What's up with that outfit? Why is your house so small? I believe this (the testing) can be contributed to the Internet and HGTV. I can see on the pesticide side of lawncare this happening more often. Like Geogunn said I've never been "tested" or sadly maybe I have and failed. Huh Oh!

Geoff

mcclureandson
10-05-2004, 10:50 AM
I've seen alot of posts on this site complaining about 'scrubs' in the business...I would think having homeowners 'testing' a potential lawn service is a good thing. You should have good knowledge of the local varities...and if you don't then take every opportunity to learn. I've picked up alot of good information from homeowners (but had to disregad alot of b.s as well) no one knows thier own garden/yard better...

g-scapes
10-05-2004, 11:16 AM
I agree with Alpine. I had a guy call the other day for a cleanup job, and Landscape Makeover, and while there, he pointed to a 4 foot tall weed growing up through one of his shrubs and asked if that was a weed? Well, yeah......and then he went on to question every little thing I did. PITA...man, you got weeds taller than your kids, you got no reason to look over my shoulder. Slightly annoying.

upsondown
10-05-2004, 11:38 AM
"me thinks" they are just kicking the tires......... if ya got the money - then kick away !!

alpine692003
10-05-2004, 12:52 PM
Oh ya, after that I told her it would be $180 to cleanup the front..

It will take me less then 2hours to do the front, lol ... trim the hostas, rose bushes, weed the flowerbeds, blow out the leaves..

She said wow, $180 to do the front? how many hours is that?

Well, i dont count the hours I just do the job until its completely to my satisfaction then I tell you and we're done..

She's like oh, okay... Well, i'll see how you do in the front then i'll see about the back.. THE BACK YARD, I DO NOT WANT TO DO HER YARD!!!!!!

How do I get away from her back yard? I told her $375 to do the back, but I think I misquoted her a little bit.. It shoulda been $475 ...

payup payup

alpine692003
10-13-2004, 10:48 PM
Uhhh. we just finished this customer's house yesterday, she was satisified with our work in the front and CAME out every 10-15mins to check up on us.. Whats up with that? "How's it goig over here?"

She would literally come out a few times, my guys were thinking she was ****** ****

Then she calls and wants more work done in the front, trimming some fruit trees and once again asked if we knew how to do that!

:dizzy: :dizzy:

tiedeman
10-13-2004, 10:55 PM
God, I hate these customers... I felt like saying, I want a credit check on report on you to see if you pay your bills ontime..


that is too funny. I always have customers try to test me with prices. One guy in particular tried to tell me that TruGreen fertilized his lawn (approx 2 acres) for only $65 per application and was wondering what I was going to price it out as. :dizzy:

ken50
10-14-2004, 12:07 AM
Alpine, I have to wonder if it may have something to do with your age? If you are a young looking 23, then she might think you aren't experienced yet. Just goes to show you though, I am 50, my first year in the biz, and haven't been quizzed...hope they don't either, I might not pass their little test! lol

alpine692003
10-14-2004, 12:17 AM
Ya, I've had a select few that quiz me..

Next time, I'll say you can do it yourself..

:realmad:

DALMlawn&landscaping
10-14-2004, 01:30 AM
haha, one time this lady was talking to me while me and my boss were trimming her trees and she was like, "when you have a chance, i'd like you to move that pot with the tree in it" and it was like, 150yrds away but i already knew what she was talking about, so i was like, *squinting eyes* is that a ficus? and she was all like, whoa, you know your plants! and blah blah, it was damn funny, the thing was so far away, even with my 20/20 (with contacts) i could barely even tell what color the pot was, it was funny stuff. after that she loved me and wanted me to do all this handy man work around the house and yard.

Olylawnboy
10-14-2004, 02:54 AM
In another respect I've had many requests like this and I've found the majority to be renters asking me to please come mow there lawn and ask the very same questions. The reason why is the landlord is too cheap to have it done. So they try a prod me into telling them how to do it. (prunning right?) In these parts they are small yards with lots of overgrown shrubs and such. My standard spiel is, look folks I can't take the time to teach you how to trim these things but for fifty bucks I'll do it and you have to clean up and dispose the trimings. The plus
for them is they get the stuff trimed and they can somewhat keep up with it over the year. The plus for me is I just made fifty bucks for running my headger for twenty min tops, works for me! Come on, everyone's not a jerk! :)....oly
opps, outside of Jersey anyway :)

Soupy
10-14-2004, 03:35 AM
that is too funny. I always have customers try to test me with prices. One guy in particular tried to tell me that TruGreen fertilized his lawn (approx 2 acres) for only $65 per application and was wondering what I was going to price it out as. :dizzy:

The sad part is he was probably quoted that price over the phone. I have had the so called 14 point inspections left in my door. On them they say I have no fence, which I do. Last spring I had just finished aerating and overseeding (which I do every spring and fall) and the 14 point inspection said I needed aerating and that I also needed pre-emergent. When I received the follow up call the next day, I asked the guy why he didn't notice the cores on my lawn. He says, oh well we have a good starter fertilizer (which is their fall fert applied at a lower rate)that will help that seed tremendously. Needless to say, I hung up on him.

The way TGCL bids work in my area is off of the neighbors lawn that they service. They will pretend you are the neighbor and send you out a bid. The guy leaving it on the door is just a delivery boy. I have seen were they take the price from one neighbor and give it to the guy that is on the corner and has 3x the sq. ft. If the tech complains then they either give him a credit so it is worth while for him to do the commission work, or if they are way off they will just cancel. It is just funny when a new customer shows me their last TGCL bill (so I know what has been done up to date) and it says the lawn is 5,000 sq. ft. but actually it is 14,000 sq. ft. If the tech never complains (which a lot of them don't care) then TGCL thinks everything is hunky dory and this is why they drive prices down. they hardly ever step foot on your property to give you a estimate.

Sorry I got off topic, but I love talking about TGCL.

jimmyq
10-14-2004, 03:41 AM
I did an install (re and re) of some large (48" basket, 20 some feet tall) western red cedars for a fella last year. I chainsawed the dead ones to about 24" stumps, lassoed the stump with a sling and craned the stumps with most of the rootballs into the back of my truck. went and jumped in the holes to dig them deeper and wider to fit the new trees. I hop out of the navel deep hole and start to direct the crane guy for the new flying cedar landing zone and the guy (customer) is like three inches behind me and ogling... we drop the first tree in and then I jump in the second hole. He stands on the lip of the hole and proceeds to point and alert me to the points of the hole that need adjustment, " this should be wider, this should be deeper" etc etc. This goes on for about 5 minutes and then I looked up at him, leaned on my shovel and said " I know what needs to be done and I know how to do it, we agreed on the price and unless you want me to put this shovel back in my truck and leave you to deal with the (burly) driver of this lovely truck and crane unit, you need to stand OVER THERE and BE QUIET." After a few seconds of awkward disbelief he mumbled about having to go to work and went inside. Rest of the day went great!

jimmyq
10-14-2004, 03:46 AM
a pic fer fun

DALMlawn&landscaping
10-14-2004, 03:47 AM
yeah, and then you meet a customer on your own, and they quiz you on bushes and pruning, and trees, and grass, and you're like, well, i work for one of 8 arborist in san antonio, so i guess you're more educated from hgtv on staurday mornings.

SWD
10-14-2004, 07:20 AM
I have a bucks up customer, probably one of the most financially wealthy people I know. My crew and I were doing some turf installation and irrigation extension work and she checked up on us constantly. After about the tenth interruption, she asks me if I mind this (the interruptions)? I replied with a Nope, not at all - as a matter of fact I appreciate them. She looks at me funny and I explained I was charging her by the hour for this work, so the more she wanted to talk, the more she paid for the work being performed. She beat feet after that, we finished, no more problems. I have had her as a customer going on 3+ years now.

Tvov
10-14-2004, 09:22 AM
Uhhh. we just finished this customer's house yesterday, she was satisified with our work in the front and CAME out every 10-15mins to check up on us.. Whats up with that? "How's it goig over here?"

She would literally come out a few times, my guys were thinking she was ****** ****

Then she calls and wants more work done in the front, trimming some fruit trees and once again asked if we knew how to do that!

:dizzy: :dizzy:

So she may end up being a good customer? She liked the work and wants you back?

She may end up being a great customer after you do some more work and she sees how you and your guys operate. Then she may even leave you alone when working!

Most times, I hate working at a customer's house when they are home, but it is something you just deal with.

I have been "quizzed" a few times by customers. I am honest and don't BS them. It fries me when I see or hear of other landscapers falsely presenting themselves, screwing up a job, and then trying to blame everyone and everything else but themselves. It is idiots like this that make customers suspicious of contractors.

DALMlawn&landscaping
10-16-2004, 02:20 AM
as wierd as it sounds, but you can blah blah blah to a customer, and then all you do is bust out some terms (i.e. scientific plant names, or pruning terms) and they're just like..... yeah, yeah thats what i need. one of my new favorite words to use is applicable dominance (?spelling?)

"well due to the applicable dominance of this one branch, we would have to make the cut before this applicable dominant shooter in order for the applicable dominace of the tree to grow in this direction"

and wow, they're lost, when basically all you said is, "this branch goes this way, and it goes that way cause i told it to go that way three-five years ago, and you like it"

gotta wake up in 5 hours to work on more applicable domination! peace out.