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  #1  
Old 09-24-2010, 12:23 AM
WildcatMowing WildcatMowing is offline
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Location: KY
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How do you handle P.I.T.A. customers?

I just picked up a new customer about a month ago. Since this is my first year of operation I am pretty much willing to take every new customer I can get because that's how it works. I get that.

However, I have only mowed this gentleman's yard a few times and on each occasion he has asked me to do something "extra" from the agreed upon price to mow, trim and blow his lawn. It's nothing really out of the ordinary, and twice he has kicked in a couple (and by a couple I mean $2) extra bucks for me doing so, but I am getting the feeling that this may become a trend. These tasks took me about 15 to 30 minutes to do.

I am happy to go the extra mile and all that in order to establish myself as a trustworthy service provider, but I think he may be trying to take advantage of me.

What are your thoughts on things like this? How far will you go to satisfy, retain and keep a customer that may or may not be worth it in the long run?

On a side note, he is horribly obese, sometimes answers the door in only his underwear (not a pervert or anything like that) and is generally unpleasant to be around.

I know how an established business would handle this, they'd tactfully tell him to go to Hell because he isn't worth the trouble, I'm just wondering what I should do as a newbie? He's in a neighborhood that I would like to get more customers from in the future, so I don't want to piss him off.

It's not a great paying yard, but for its size, it isn't that bad either.

Whadayathink?
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  #2  
Old 09-24-2010, 04:23 AM
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mikesturf mikesturf is offline
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I would not say he is a PITA customer, instead of "letting" him tip you $2 for extra work you do, you need to quote him a price before you agree to do any extra work. If he says no, then you don't do the work. You are not in business to work for free.
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2010, 09:57 AM
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GravyTrain GravyTrain is offline
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If you don't want to do the work for free, you need to let him know soon. I've got a few customers that have asked me to this, but it has only been once a year, or if it is more often, they pay me for it. Like Mikesturf said, when he asked you to weed the flower beds after you get done mowing, simply state that it will be an extra $35. and depending on your time schedule, you tell him that you will do it when you get done, or you can do it next time you are there.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2010, 05:11 PM
Southern Elegance Southern Elegance is offline
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you have nothing but time to sell.. send him an invoive for all the extra work at the end of the month.. he may just suprise you and pay for it.. getting rid of my slow pays and pita customers is the best thing ive ever done
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2010, 10:41 PM
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StihlMechanic StihlMechanic is offline
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Remember, you didnt start this biz to be taken advantage of, If you wanted that you could go work for someone, not yourself. I say if you can afford to lose him, charge him for the extras, if he pays cool, if not, dump him.
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  #6  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:53 AM
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Southern Pride Southern Pride is offline
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You get rid of them, so you don't have a re occuring PITA situation with the same customer. I let go of 4 total this season that wanted to just call during August (3-4 weeks between cuts) so I show up to 3 ft tall grass and have to mow around their sketchy 250 lb Rotweiler that is unchained. Oh, and they "need it cut but gotta get they money right" so it will be some weeks before the check. THAT, my friend, is a PITA customer.

This was my first season and I never wanted to turn down work, but I ended up going from 3-25 clients. The most important thing in the business aside from quality and equipment, is building a quality customer list. These pains in my ace customers are not on the list.

Oh, and I just replied to the thread title. I just read your post lol. If it becomes a trend confront him. Time is money. These "little extras" will be set into a fixed amount from now on and come to a new estimate agreement with him. Example: Have a great customer far away originally $40. He asked me to weedeat out all the cracks everytime front and back because he accumulates alot of weed growth in his concrete. So we agreed on $50 a cut and this was his idea. That's why he's a great customer. He gets the whole I'm a freaking business thing SO, as soon as this does become a trend, it's time to come to a new estimate because the extra work that is now included weekly or whatever is compromising your original estimate. Explain that to him and if he b!tches, walk. Then it can be someone elses charity work.

Stuff like that is all cool in the beginning to brush off but when you get busy, it becomes a real issue.
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Last edited by Southern Pride; 09-25-2010 at 12:58 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:02 AM
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soloscaperman soloscaperman is offline
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Here is how it goes. You start a business you get clients that the big guys don't want. When you have the money and build up your business you slowly throw them away so another young business kid gets them. It's a cycle.

TIP: If you keep these people you will go out of business and PITA customers tell other PITAFC which means Pain In The A** Future Customers. Made that up. Cheap people spread the word fast to there cheap family and friends. These kind of clients are like sluts there good for short term but not for the long term.
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:45 AM
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Puddle of Oil Puddle of Oil is offline
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Just slap them across the face!
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2010, 07:23 AM
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mikesturf mikesturf is offline
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I would not title him PITA yet. He is offering you "add on" services. You can quote him a price. He will either say yes, you make money and you title him a good customer or he will so no. Upselling additional services is one thing to make you extra money. You are not required to do anything for free.
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2010, 10:02 AM
yardguy28 yardguy28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildcatMowing View Post
I just picked up a new customer about a month ago. Since this is my first year of operation I am pretty much willing to take every new customer I can get because that's how it works. I get that.

However, I have only mowed this gentleman's yard a few times and on each occasion he has asked me to do something "extra" from the agreed upon price to mow, trim and blow his lawn. It's nothing really out of the ordinary, and twice he has kicked in a couple (and by a couple I mean $2) extra bucks for me doing so, but I am getting the feeling that this may become a trend. These tasks took me about 15 to 30 minutes to do.

I am happy to go the extra mile and all that in order to establish myself as a trustworthy service provider, but I think he may be trying to take advantage of me.

What are your thoughts on things like this? How far will you go to satisfy, retain and keep a customer that may or may not be worth it in the long run?

On a side note, he is horribly obese, sometimes answers the door in only his underwear (not a pervert or anything like that) and is generally unpleasant to be around.

I know how an established business would handle this, they'd tactfully tell him to go to Hell because he isn't worth the trouble, I'm just wondering what I should do as a newbie? He's in a neighborhood that I would like to get more customers from in the future, so I don't want to piss him off.

It's not a great paying yard, but for its size, it isn't that bad either.

Whadayathink?
i deal with what you call "pita" clients the same way i deal with all my clients, with a professional, friendly, business minded attitude.

him being obese and unpleasant to be around has absolutely NOTHING to do with the situation.

the client should be told any extra work beyond the mowing needs to be quoted a seperate price or you will have to adjust the weekly mowing price.

i don't care how long you've been business no one should be told to go to hell your not worth the trouble. and IMO no good, professional business would have this attitude toward any one.

am i the only one to be happy i have business? am i the only one who concentrates on the fact that i was hired to mow the turf, trim around the obsticals, edge the walkways and clean up the hardscapes and NOT to make friends or be treated nice by people?

i'm not saying i want everyone to walk all over me but i'm in the business of providing a service, NOT in the business of making friends.

as long as someone hires me to do the work and pays there invoices on time i'm fine. any crap i'm giving just goes in one ear and out the other.
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