View Full Version : Had a bad day today.

01-05-2005, 01:12 AM
First out...Helper is 1 hour late....not good. So I start with equip maint. (done everything but check the gas level because I THOUGHT only lite use since last fill)

Second....Get to a job and start mulching...run out of gas in the TTHP (lite day...thought I had enough.)

Third....I didn't put the gas can on the truck so I put mix in TT to get on trailer....go to the closest store only a mile or so away. Get out my checkbook...NO CHECKS..jump in go to the next closest station of the gas credit card that I use for business 5 miles away. Fill up and back to the job site where my helper is on the Z mowing.

Fourth...Start unloading my TTHP and notice my edger missing...yep..either stolen at lunch or fell off top rack..gone...Stihl FC 85.

Fifth...Get home ready to watch the ballgame. A customer calls. This customer is 89 years old. I've been doing his leaf clean up for 4 years straight. Been charging him $250.00 for the job since year one. Customer says " mr osonso, I tought you said you charged me the same this year as last year". I say "thats right mr. customer it was the same $250.00." Customer says " you only charged me $200.00 last year. I say "I'm sorry mr. customer, I'll return your $50.00 tomorrow. Mr. Customer says "I would have never paid $250.00 to get those leaves up, I'd lettem lay before I paid that.

Now, I make a copy of all checks recieved. I go back and sure as the world turns, I charge him $250.00 last year. I have the check. Now tomorrow I am going to his house (about 25 miles away) and give him a crisp $50.00 bill and a copy of last years check as well as this years check and say this " I 'm sorry that you thought I would be dishonest to you. Its not worth $50.00 to me for you to think that I have taken advantage of you. Here is your 50 and also a copy of the check you gave me last year for this very same service. I'm sorry mr. customer that you will have to find another person for you leaf clean up from this point on. Have a great day, and tell the mrs. I said hi. take care.

That what I call a slightly bad day....


01-05-2005, 01:25 AM
Unfortunately we are not working but I had a similar day last fall.

Broke printer - printing invoices
Broke PDA - with schedule information inside
Broke wifes LCD monitor
Broke light on trailer
Bend bagger on Z

I just started to laugh as I am sure you did.

Tomorrow is a new day my friend........sleep tight !

01-05-2005, 08:06 AM
Why are you giving into him?? Why don't you show him last years invoice?? Your doing that job for the same amount that you were when you first started? Are you making a any money on it??

01-05-2005, 10:32 AM
Im not giving all the 250.00 back, just the 50.00 over what he thought the charge should have been. It was a money maker. Im not even interested in continueing the business relationship now because Im sure this old man has drug my name all up and down his road..

01-05-2005, 10:39 AM
O-SO--how did you get paid first and then him call to complain about how much he paid you?

GEO :confused:

01-05-2005, 10:49 AM
Man,you're in so much money right now you won't miss that $250.That new customer,who you did the leaf job for,will more than make up for this guy.Sorry about the edger though.

01-05-2005, 11:02 AM
He is only giving back $50 not the whole $250. He is still keeping $200.

01-05-2005, 01:32 PM
I feel for you on all the issues, and can most closely relate on the matter of the $250 bill as I've dealt with similar situations in my previous retail businesses, and, I always got madder than a hornet. However, remember for a minute that this guy is 89, and, in all likelihood, really believes he only paid $200. I'm a whole lot younger than that, and still sometimes don't remember things exactly like they really were.

Now, maybe he is just a pain anyhow, but it seems to me that writing him off is one of those "cut off the nose to spite the face" scenarios. I would go visit him, with last years cancelled check, and nicely try explaining it to him. You might end up with an apology and the leaf job for as long as the old fellow lives. If not, you can shove the $50 in his face and leave with your pride. Just a thought. Neill

01-05-2005, 01:45 PM
Why are you giving into him?? Why don't you show him last years invoice??

No kidding. ESPECIALLY, if you plan on getting rid of him as a customer anyway.

I've had things like this happen several times. It's pretty easy to handle, if I am not in my office when they call, I tell them that I'll research it as soon as I get back and if I owe them a refund, I'll gladly refund the money I owe. Then, when I get back in the office (or if I was already in the office) I check their history in Quickbooks real quick (takes 10 seconds or so to find a year-old transaction). And then I say, "Here we go...Let's see. Last year I sent out an invoice on October 15th for $250.00. And my records show I received a check - check number 452, from you, for $240.00 on the 29th of that month. Do you have your check register handy?"

That pretty much puts them in check mate. I get out of the situation with my respect and still have my $50.

It also shows the customer that you keep maticulous records and they aren't going to be able to pull a fast one on you.

p.s. a business owner should always record the check number whenever they receive any payment. I can't tell you how many times that's saved my butt over the years.

01-05-2005, 01:47 PM
BTW, let us know how this goes. I am curious how it turned out with the old fart.

01-05-2005, 04:35 PM
there u have it. why on earth are u giving him back $50? that's nuts

01-06-2005, 10:28 PM
Decided to keep my 50. I have a copy of last years check for 250.00. Can't get any better than that. I am simply going to call the customer and have him look in his bank records and confirm my honesty. The 50 will go towards a new edger (or maybe gasoline).

thanks for steering me in the right direction.

01-06-2005, 10:32 PM
i'd make a special trip over just to crack him in the knee caps with his own cane, just for trying to insult my intelligence

01-06-2005, 10:45 PM
Thats great that you are keeping the $50 dollars. Buy a gas card with it. Buy a savings bond. Jusr don't give in to a old forgetful man.

01-07-2005, 02:34 AM
Excellent choice. Glad you decided to keep it. Chances are you can use that money more than he can anyway. Plus, you earned it.

01-07-2005, 03:48 AM
p.s. a business owner should always record the check number whenever they receive any payment. I can't tell you how many times that's saved my butt over the years.

Exactly! I had a customer that was real slow to pay. I had just about given up on the account and was about to write off almost $600 as uncollectable when they called and asked about the last statement I had sent. We went round and round until I sent them a printed Quickbooks statement for the entire account including all the check numbers I ever received. Customer finally coughed up the amount owed less the finance charges. I called it even and we have since parted ways.

Now I'm always nice about it and tell them that it's possible I missed recording a payment and if they'll send me a copy of the canceled check I'll make an adjustment, muy pronto. Generally, they send in the owed money soon after getting a statement that goes all the way back to day one.

I think it really amazes folks that the lawn boy keeps better financial records than they do.

01-10-2005, 09:16 PM
Well the old man didn't like the fact that I didn't give in and just give him my money. I think it made him mad that I had a copy of last years check. He then reverted back to saying that the leaves wasn't as bad this year as last year. Then he said the neighbor said she would have got them up for $200.00. Bingo..........thats where he got the $200.00. Told him that I appreciate his business and If i could help him next fall to call me...for $250.00 or just let the neighbor get em up. He said "I'll see ya next year".

He also told me twice that he could depend on me to do the job right. Go figure...i think he was playin me. "Old Fart" is right.

richard coffman
01-10-2005, 09:54 PM
I'm glad you did the right thing. Jim lewis is right, having a record history is pretty important. sorry to hear about your equipmet coming up missing.

01-11-2005, 03:34 AM
Wow. Well that was pretty odd.

You do realize that your costs have gone up every year for the past several years, don't you? I mean, unless you're one of the lucky few who have learned how to actually decrease your fixed costs and have gotten more efficient each year. It's fairly standard practice to eventually raise prices a little. Some people raise them a little every year. Some people raise them a lot every 5 years. Regardless, how long are you planning on keeping this PITA customer at the same low rate?

01-11-2005, 09:39 AM
Oh yea I do understand all of that and I have raised my prices in general all across the board over the past two years. This customer has never been a P until this year and I think his neighbor got him stirred up.
I think this opens the door for a price increase though, if he calls me back. Its all good................start vacation right. NOW.

talk to you guys next week...........so long. O-O