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Old 08-30-2012, 12:37 AM
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OakNut OakNut is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 3,670
Speaking of billing...

I have a client that I picked up the beginning of last Spring - I cut her every Monday. The (verbal) agreement was weekly service unless there's a drought situation.
During the recent drought, I sent a text asking if the lawn needed cut since I don't drive by there on a regular basis. It was skipped a few times and that was fine - it really didn't need to be mowed at the time.

Several weeks back I mowed as usual after I pulled up and evaluated the lawn conditions. We had rain a few days prior, the grass was green except for a few spots damaged by the stress of the drought, and every other client's lawn was growing as well, so I cut.

I got a text saying she wished I hadn't, as it didn't need it and "it's been another dry week". Ummm... maybe she doesn't watch the weather - or have windows. It had rained at least twice the prior week - hence the growth.

Long story short, she doesn't want to pay the $30 as it was "unwarranted service" and - get this - "unauthorized".
WTF? Unauthorized? You authorized it last season when I said I'd be there every Monday after 11am so I wouldn't disturb your husband who works nights!

I told her I had texted her during the drought asking if the lawn needed cut as a courtesy. I explained that the lawn was green and growing when I cut, and that I'd never cut "just for the money", or if it would cause damage to the lawn during a drought. "I was never under the impression I needed to ask permission to mow the lawn", I replied.

I haven't been able to get in touch with her and her last text suggested that if I wanted paid for that cut maybe it is time to stop service. Good grief.

Here's the kicker. She was the first person to give me a review on Angie's list.
Just a few short months ago she added the following review...

Oak Leaf Lawn Service does our trimming of the bushes and mowing the grass, he is very dependable he is immaculate with the lawn work. He always asks if there’s anything extra we need to have done, he will do extra trimming by the sidewalk and he also takes care of the leaves. He is very professional and I will continue to use him. I highly recommend him.
I just want to talk to her and offer a simple solution to the "problem". If she doesn't want teh lawn cut, LET ME KNOW the day before. It's not my responsibility to call clients and ask if the lawn needs cut - it doesn't work that way.

If she wants to keep me on, fine - I'll finish this season, but I see no reason to keep her next year. She's made it clear (between that and a few other interactions) that the bottom line is "price".
I really only keep her because it's a high-traffic location and I get exposure while working there. My price of $30 is about $15 too low, so I'm not going to lose out financially.

On the flip side, I have a client that frequently gives an extra $5 and the lawn is an easy one that I think I'm borderline OVERcharging for in the first place.

Another client I mow for paid me $30 for work I didn't even DO.
I had to skip her one week due to rains. When I went the following week, there was $60 in the envelope (I collect at time of service, or take pre-payment) with a note stating that "everyone deserves a paid vacation - especially someone who does such good work!"

I emailed a client yesterday explaining that I needed to alter his schedule. He's a biweekly and when I had to skip some others on his route due to the drought, it threw off my route schedule and I was now going out to cut his lawn alone now instead of with the ones nearby.

He's not due to be cut until next Wed, but in order to get everyone back on the same day I explained that I'd mow today at no charge, then we would go to every other week.

He didn't have any issue with it. In fact, he said "I'll leave payment - I wouldn't feel right having you do work for free."

One person is complaining that I cut her grass (like I have just about every Monday since last spring) and won't pay and all these others are GIVING me money not asked for.

Go figure.
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