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Lowcountry Lawn Care
11-03-2004, 12:31 AM
Nothing bothers me more than doing an excellent job (in my opinion) and still getting that little annoying complaint. I am speaking about a customer I did a shrub trimming and pine straw job for. I always take pride in my work so as always, I make sure to estimate enough time and profit to make the job worth my while. The job turned out even better than I expected, because it was such a large job and the shrubs haven't been trimmed in several years. I left with a smile on my face and pride in the job that I had done. Then I get the call..... "The job looks great but I was expecting more." When I asked what more did she want, she replied "I don't know. Just not what I expected." I then ask what she expected and she says "she isn't sure." This really bugs me because I run my business off of word of mouth. This is not someone I think will be helping with my effort to get positive word out. What do you guys do for or say to your customers similar to this? I'm lost for words in this case. Sorry, just letting off some steam. Thanks as always guys.

lawnwizards
11-03-2004, 12:41 AM
do what bobbygedd would do....

get your shovel and convince her otherwise.... :p

tiedeman
11-03-2004, 12:54 AM
I would just tell her point blank, "What can I do to make you feel that it is what you expected?"

If she can't give you a definite answer, then she is just being a jerk

Lowcountry Lawn Care
11-03-2004, 01:06 AM
Thanks guys. The shovel idea does sound great but she hasn't paid yet..

LB Landscaping
11-03-2004, 06:52 AM
Get the payment and shovel to the head!!!!!

bobbygedd
11-03-2004, 07:23 AM
mistake #1=doing a big job and leaving without cash in hand. she is saying she expected more? she will lead you around like a dog on a leash, getting you to do extras, while holding your money hostage. seen it a million times. get paid immediately upon completetion next time. don't give them time to think and look at everything and ponder. the wheels start turning in thier heads, "a lowlife lawnboy just charged me $1200 to do yard work, o my god.......my husband works 80 hrs to make that much." give them an inch they take a mile. this is why i act unstable and unpredictable, they pay me in fear i may snap. good luck to ya kid

Littleriver1
11-03-2004, 07:50 AM
May be she just want to see you bent over with your butt in the air. It may be the best view she had all day. May be that is what she ment by she expected more. Show her a little more butt crack.

cutnedge
11-03-2004, 08:47 AM
I suppose it's too late now, but a before/after picture would be ideal in this situation. This is something I will be incorporating in my business from now on.That little 35mm goes a long way. If she can't look at the "after" picture and decide what it is she wants--well, there just isn't a whole lot you can do about it. Word of mouth from this woman? Not a whole lot you can do about that, either. It would be my guess though that if she carries this attitude 24/7, people that know her will consider the source and dismiss any negative remarks toward you.

JustMowIt
11-03-2004, 08:50 AM
Nothing bothers me more than doing an excellent job (in my opinion) and still getting that little annoying complaint. I am speaking about a customer I did a shrub trimming and pine straw job for. I always take pride in my work so as always, I make sure to estimate enough time and profit to make the job worth my while. The job turned out even better than I expected, because it was such a large job and the shrubs haven't been trimmed in several years. I left with a smile on my face and pride in the job that I had done. Then I get the call..... "The job looks great but I was expecting more." When I asked what more did she want, she replied "I don't know. Just not what I expected." I then ask what she expected and she says "she isn't sure." This really bugs me because I run my business off of word of mouth. This is not someone I think will be helping with my effort to get positive word out. What do you guys do for or say to your customers similar to this? I'm lost for words in this case. Sorry, just letting off some steam. Thanks as always guys.

I agree with Bobbygedd... Do the work, have her look & if there is something specific, do that, then get the money while she is out of reasons. Depending on "word of mouth" for your business will run you ragged. This is the reason we changed our name to "Just Mowing" several years ago to get away from the scrub, flowers, all installations.

Pecker
11-03-2004, 09:16 AM
mistake #1=doing a big job and leaving without cash in hand. she is saying she expected more? she will lead you around like a dog on a leash, getting you to do extras, while holding your money hostage.

I'd be willing to bet this is whats going on here. You asked her twice what she expects and she couldn't answer. I think you should have let it be known you were proud of the job you did and that you can't believe it turned out so nice. The longer you go without getting your money from her the less likely you'll get it. You earned your money, now its time to pay.

Randy Scott
11-03-2004, 09:38 AM
I would just tell her point blank, "What can I do to make you feel that it is what you expected?"

If she can't give you a definite answer, then she is just being a jerk


Same advice here. She needs to be nailed down to a reason for being dissatisfied. If she cannot give one, then tell her you did what was expected and agreed upon, end of story. Not every customer out there is going to think your gods gift to lawn work. We have customers that we do repeat work for year after year and they never really let us know we did a great job. They aren't dissapointed, I fel that they just don't want us to think we'll get the upper hand by praising our work. People, for whatever reason, do and act strangely. Funny, how we have customers we can do no wrong for and they couldn't be happier with our work. Yet another person merely tells us it's fine. When you know you do good work, you build your business from that work, and then someone comes along that isn't completely happy, but doesn't know why, that person is the one with the issues.

I know when we leave a job-site, we have done what the client asked. If something isn't right, we make it right (we are only human). I don't sweat the people that seem empty with our work or the results. It's now their mental problem, not mine. You certainly will not be able to forecast who these nuts are either. The people that start out real understanding are the ones that usually turn into head cases.

Get your money and move on.

work_it
11-03-2004, 09:48 AM
You need to call her up and tell her that you completed the job as agreed. Then follow that by telling her that you'll be by to pick up a check at _:__. If she's not going to be there she needs to leave the check in an envelope taped to the front door with your name on it.

You should also be keeping a log of times, dates, and a summary of all conversations with the woman. This will help you if you end up having to take her to court.

Ability
11-03-2004, 11:23 AM
This is really why I concentrate on cutting more than landscape type of work.

If I have found out one thing for sure that is everyone has a very personal and distinctly different point of view on landscaping (to include hedge pruning).

Everyone wants YOU to help THEM decide on what THEY want. Then they want to blame you when it doesn't meet their mind's eye of what they expected.

The closest thing to a solution I found is to:

1) keep them as involved as possible throughout the ENTIRE process. If I can keep them out there with me as much as possible telling me exactly how they want it then they can't complain later.

"How far do you want this bush cut back Ms. Jones?"

"I wouldn't recommend that at this time, Mr. Smith but if that is the way you want it well then...."

I find that residents usually ere on the side of cutting too much and then want to blame you for their plant dying.

2) I REFUSE to decide what kind of plant or tree or shrub they should have in their yard. I will throw out ideas but the decision is THEIRS. This way when their lawn is covered in leaves in the fall because of the type of tree they picked it is not my fault.

This does relegate me more to be the hired labor than a "landscaper" but I always get paid and never get complaints.

pema
11-03-2004, 01:51 PM
[QUOTE=cutnedge]I suppose it's too late now, but a before/after picture would be ideal in this situation.

Digital photos have gotten me paid enough to justify the expense of the equipment. In my business (Fertilizer/Pest Control) the results aren't as immediate as with your business. Having a photo taken months or years earliers have quited the few complaints I've had.

I imagine for me, after working all day pruning, clipping and cleaning someones lawn who feels they are "above' that type of work, and feeling good about a job well done only to be rewarded with such a unspecified gripe, my mouth would explode with a string of explicatives that would ensure this woman would not recomend me. Kudos to you for keeping your cool.

Lowcountry Lawn Care
11-04-2004, 08:29 PM
Well I stood up for myself and it worked well. She sent the check and it's only 2 days after her complaining. She now even tells me she has more work for me at a friends house. Guess she's satisfied after all. Thanks for all of your advice on this matter guys. Keep it goin. Next time I will get half up front on big jobs. I can use her friend to test that one out. Thanks again.

tinman
11-14-2004, 11:15 PM
mistake #1=doing a big job and leaving without cash in hand. she is saying she expected more? she will lead you around like a dog on a leash, getting you to do extras, while holding your money hostage. seen it a million times. get paid immediately upon completetion next time. don't give them time to think and look at everything and ponder. the wheels start turning in thier heads, "a lowlife lawnboy just charged me $1200 to do yard work, o my god.......my husband works 80 hrs to make that much." give them an inch they take a mile. this is why i act unstable and unpredictable, they pay me in fear i may snap. good luck to ya kid
You "act" unstable and unpredictable.... :) :)

chuckers
11-14-2004, 11:21 PM
i always tell them that i operate landscape tools not a magic stick. explain that hedges need up keep in order to get them shaped. and that stuff will not look better because you a professional. some people think that just because you are a professional that you can perform magic.

HighGrass
11-15-2004, 01:44 AM
Well I stood up for myself and it worked well. She sent the check and it's only 2 days after her complaining. She now even tells me she has more work for me at a friends house. Guess she's satisfied after all. Thanks for all of your advice on this matter guys. Keep it goin. Next time I will get half up front on big jobs. I can use her friend to test that one out. Thanks again.


Just walk softly and carry a big stick.