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View Full Version : Customer claims you broke her irrigation


coastallandscapesolutions
12-16-2004, 07:01 PM
You get a call for a one time cut. The house is in an upscale neighborhood. You agree on a price and get a signature on the work order. Your crew arrives and does the job. They pay and you move on to the next job. A few days later you get a call with a complaint that her irrigation is not working. You go and inspect it and yes, there are broken heads. Yes, you can see the tire print from the z over a head. The head is hard-lined in and is "olderthandirt" (no pun intended :p ). It is a 50/50 call. The other heads were clearly not damaged by mowing. You offer to repair the one head but the customer (PITA X2) now wants her entire system fixed.

Here's the kicker, when you arrive she is having a lunch party and there are about 75 guest there, two happen to be your high $$$ customers.

How would you handle this situation. The total repair would run AT COST about $700 with labor.

Mico Landscaping design
12-16-2004, 07:08 PM
I would only fix the ones my crew broke.. tell her to get lost on the rest... sounds like yet another PITA!!! thats what i got to say.. i would not dish out $700 for 2 heads my crew broke... payup

YardPro
12-16-2004, 07:10 PM
bill her for the repair
the system is hardlined. this is no longer an acceptable installation method due to it's succeptability to damage. had the system been installed properly you would not have dammaged it.

richard coffman
12-16-2004, 07:19 PM
You get a call for a one time cut. The house is in an upscale neighborhood. You agree on a price and get a signature on the work order. Your crew arrives and does the job. They pay and you move on to the next job. A few days later you get a call with a complaint that her irrigation is not working. You go and inspect it and yes, there are broken heads. Yes, you can see the tire print from the z over a head. The head is hard-lined in and is "olderthandirt" (no pun intended :p ). It is a 50/50 call. The other heads were clearly not damaged by mowing. You offer to repair the one head but the customer (PITA X2) now wants her entire system fixed.

Here's the kicker, when you arrive she is having a lunch party and there are about 75 guest there, two happen to be your high $$$ customers.

How would you handle this situation. The total repair would run AT COST about $700 with labor.

I'm sure the customer would not want you there while the party is being taken place. Did you schedule that time to go do the repair job ahead of time?? Sounds like she's over reacting a bit much. out here in the desert climate of Utah, Allmost everyone has a sprinkler system and heads do get broken. I'd repair the heads that we're broken and then test the system for leaks. if there are ploblems in areas not related to where you worked, I'd tell the customer and exclaim what you have found. then tell them you can give them the # of a local sprinkler company that can fix the rest.

coastallandscapesolutions
12-16-2004, 07:28 PM
I'm sure the customer would not want you there while the party is being taken place. Did you schedule that time to go do the repair job ahead of time?? Sounds like she's over reacting a bit much. out here in the desert climate of Utah, Almost everyone has a sprinkler system and heads do get broken. I'd repair the heads that we're broken and then test the system for leaks. if there are problems in areas not related to where you worked, I'd tell the customer and exclaim what you have found. then tell them you can give them the # of a local sprinkler company that can fix the rest.


The only person going back was me because she called to complain. I happened to stop by while she was having the womens rotary luncheon. I didn't catch that until I was to deep in the visit to back out.

Oh yea... we got the call to cut it becuase her "Yardman" was on vacation.

DFW Area Landscaper
12-16-2004, 08:50 PM
I think I'd make her sue me. And if she had the balls to do that, i'd simply call the insurance company and forget about it. That's what its there for.

I find it hard to believe your crew could have damaged $700 worth of stuff by mowing the lawn. You should be able to drive a ZTR tire directly over a properly installed sprinkler head without damage. Only exception would be if the soil was completely waterlogged from rain, in which case you might be liable.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

coastallandscapesolutions
12-16-2004, 08:53 PM
What we ended up doing was replacing the one head that we might have damaged and spent two man hours "patching" the rest of her system. It was barly working when we left. A few weeks later we saw someone else mowing the grass and the next day he was replacing the sprinkler heads. All of the ones that we patched. He never cut another yard in that subdivision again that we have seen.

Garden Panzer
12-16-2004, 09:16 PM
SEVEN HUNDRED???? wsounds a bit high for pop ups, but what do I know....

coastallandscapesolutions
12-16-2004, 09:20 PM
SEVEN HUNDRED???? wsounds a bit high for pop ups, but what do I know....


Was a little more then "pop ups". That also included man hours to find everything....

lawnman_scott
12-16-2004, 10:25 PM
Why would you do that for a one time cut?

trying 2b organic
12-16-2004, 10:54 PM
He did go to some length to indicate that his primary concern was his reputation. That he knows for a fact that this customer is in regular contact with at least 2 other high end customers. He knows that someone else who made this customer unhappy was never seen in this premo subdivision again. If we factor in how much you would spend on advertising to gain the number of customers you stand to lose it makes sense to me that he at least gave it some thought. A well connected, premo neighbourhood PITA is the worst kind cause you cant just walk away without knowing you just hurt your reputation, although unjustly.

lawnman_scott
12-16-2004, 11:01 PM
That just sounds like small town hi-jacking. Better work for free for martha, so you can get big money from jane and sally. And if the reputation is good, jane and sally should know that by now.

out4now
12-16-2004, 11:08 PM
By fixed pipe you mean just PVC that had no swing joints or was it all galvanized? 700 seems high for just PVC.

coastallandscapesolutions
12-17-2004, 06:56 AM
By fixed pipe you mean just PVC that had no swing joints or was it all galvanized? 700 seems high for just PVC.

We would have had to replace 14 Hunter Rotators, 11 pop ups, two valves (were leaking) and to inserts on the timer. This does not count the other maintenance on the system.

What we did was take a tooth brush to all of the heads to clean them. Of the 14 rotators, only 1 turned like it was suppose to. The others would go a bit and then stop or not make a full sweep. My goal was to turn it on and see water coming out of the heads so I could look at her and say "see it is working" turn it off and leave.

The only reason we even did that was becuase of all the people she knows and word of mouth can be a killer when we just started a few yards in this subdivision. Those few yards are in the highest priced homes on the beach, The Grand Dunes. She was happy when we left and she knew exactly what she was doing. She was trying to get a system fixed for free that was damaged by someone else.

lawnman_scott
12-17-2004, 07:48 AM
highest priced homes on the beach, The Grand Dunes. She was trying to get a system fixed for free that was damaged by someone else.This right here is why I wouldnt do it. I wont play games with these types of people regaurdless of what they can say. If you worry about word of mouth, I'm sure everyone already knows how she is.

rodfather
12-17-2004, 08:33 AM
Those few yards are in the highest priced homes on the beach, The Grand Dunes.

Is this the same area where the wife was feeding the geese and tore the sh*t out of the lawn?

DUSTYCEDAR
12-17-2004, 08:56 AM
PEOPLE LIKE THAT WILL ONLY KEEP MESSING WITH ALL THAT STOP BUY TO WORK ON THE HOUSE
its a no win thing u do what u have to to make her happy and run
that is why i try to never do i time cuts when i mowed u always lose in the end
there is a reason that the grass is not cut lol

out4now
12-17-2004, 09:56 AM
We would have had to replace 14 Hunter Rotators, 11 pop ups, two valves (were leaking) and to inserts on the timer. This does not count the other maintenance on the system.

What we did was take a tooth brush to all of the heads to clean them. Of the 14 rotators, only 1 turned like it was suppose to. The others would go a bit and then stop or not make a full sweep. My goal was to turn it on and see water coming out of the heads so I could look at her and say "see it is working" turn it off and leave.

The only reason we even did that was becuase of all the people she knows and word of mouth can be a killer when we just started a few yards in this subdivision. Those few yards are in the highest priced homes on the beach, The Grand Dunes. She was happy when we left and she knew exactly what she was doing. She was trying to get a system fixed for free that was damaged by someone else.

Ouch. Totally unfair. Like any of work caused that. I can see your dilema wanting to keep a good reputaion but at the expense of letting this lady get one over on you to stay in that area? I think you handled it well though, you minimized the cost and made it lok like you'd go the extra mile to make her happy but chances are she still badmouthed you afterwards anyway to her neighbors. Not much else you really could have done, it was a PITA customer.Get the ones you have on contract if they aren't already, then they will stick with you and as time goed by people will see your good work and think twice about whatever she may be saying. People watch what goes on, if you keep showing up every week to your other accounts and those clients are keeping you, so the neighbors will realize if you did bad work those customers wouldn't have you back week after week. I wouldn't sweat it, let your your speak for itself and shake off the PITA's as they come.

Tn Lawn Man
12-17-2004, 10:21 AM
She was trying to get a system fixed for free that was damaged by someone else.

A reputation goes both ways....Good Work or Being One to Take Advantage Of.

It is a slippery slope when you become the LCO that the customer can "bully" around.

I am not saying not to stand behind your work or not fix something that you are responsible for.....but don't let someone take advantage of you because they think they have the power over you.

News like that travels like wildfire.

Garden Panzer
12-17-2004, 10:39 AM
i still don't see the hunter heads gettin' broken...unless you guys were mud boggin' with the heavy mower gear....they don't just break like that.

dwc
12-17-2004, 11:49 AM
We had a neighbor of a client that we just started mowing in a nice neighborhood call us and tell us we broke one of her sprinkler heads that was on the edge of the 2 yards. I knew that we did not break it because that area was not accessible with the mower so it was done with a trimmer. We went out and looked at it and there were mower tracks everywhere and all over the head. I said what happened here, she said oh my teenage son just got done mowing the lawn this morning and when we turned on the sprinkler this afternoon this head was broke. I said I think your son had something to do with this because we were not around this head and I will not repair it. She got mad and stormed off.
Guess she knew I was right though because she has had us do other work for her since and she is always really nice. Just have to watch those kind that are ready to push everything they can off on the poor little lawn guys that make too much money.

coastallandscapesolutions
12-17-2004, 11:50 AM
OK.... whomever installed the heads hardlined them in. No funny pipe. They were installed so that they were 2"+ above the dirt line from where they should be. Whomever also installed what looked like used heads rather then new.

Why did we patch it? Because after we did this in June we have done $85,000 in additional business in the neighborhood and more work is scheduled.

YardPro
12-17-2004, 12:56 PM
coastal,
people without reputations worth protecting don't see the value in this strategy

coastallandscapesolutions
12-17-2004, 04:17 PM
coastal,
people without reputations worth protecting don't see the value in this strategy

Spoken from the heart!

tailoredlook
12-17-2004, 05:04 PM
if it aint broke, dont fix it. if you know you damaged that one head, then fix only that one. sounds to me though well if youre gonna replace the one head might as well do them all so they match. or if you are gonna replace them all, charge her for them.