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  #1  
Old 09-09-2011, 12:48 PM
ashields4611 ashields4611 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: horesheads Ny
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dealing with bad customers.

I have a great bunch of customers. I dont have any customers that piss me off or anything , except 1 customer. Every customer I have loves the work I do and appreciate all the little extras I do for them. But like always someone has to spoil a good week. I have 1 customer who insists on me mowing every 2 weeks.(EVEN IN THE SPRING!) So whatever, I do what he says (customers always right). This is not really the problem the problem is he thinks I work on a schedule where I tell him the exact time im coming a day in advance. As most of you know that is impossible. I can give an estimated time but he doesnt want that. one time i came 30 min early and his wife must of been sleeping ( in the afternoon) and he had a fit. He also has obstacles all over his yard that prevents me from mowing easily.( I have to weed whack most of his yard) needless to say his yard is a piece of work and he wants it to look like a golf course. ( impossible) I do my best but everytime he has something to complain about. I love working in this profession everyday is a fairly good day. (always ups and downs) but when its this guys time to mow I want blow my head off. What are some good ways to get rid of a customer politely. should i give him to another company or just stick it out for the season ( approx 4 more mows)and not do it next year.

I could go on and on but no need to. Lets just say I dont want to mow his yard anymore.
I am always polite to him. Never rude or anything, thats not my style. but Its getting to the point where Im thinking about just telling him straight up how i feel
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:11 PM
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Turf Dawg Turf Dawg is offline
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If you will only be mowing it a few more times this year then I would give him a heads up and tell him you will finish out the year but will not be returning next season. This will give them the time and option of finding someone new now or waiting. If he does want to know why I wpuld go ahead and tell him in a professinal way. I have had a few of these over the years and soon after they start being a pain in the butt I tell them they have a couple of weeks to find someone new. When they want to lnow why I tell them the truth and I have ended up keeping a couple because they decided to change their ways.
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  #3  
Old 09-09-2011, 01:14 PM
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Keith Keith is offline
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Location: Central Florida
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Just tell him that you don't think it's going to work out. Air a couple of your grievances to make you feel better and to give him an explanation. If he complains about things frequently, just wait until then to do it instead of coming out of the blue with it.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:18 PM
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TNGrassCutter TNGrassCutter is offline
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Location: Tennessee
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Is it going to hurt your business to lose this customer? If not I would probably deal with it for this year and just don't renew next year. Or if its that bad just tell him you can not service his property anymore and it would be best for him to find another company, no explanations needed.
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  #5  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:07 PM
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Fireguy97 Fireguy97 is offline
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Location: Kamloops, in Beautiful British Columbia
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I would tell him at your next cut that, "It seems that there is very little of my work that pleases you. I enjoy and take great pride in keeping my clients happy, and I can’t seem to keep you happy, therefore I feel that it would be better for both of us for you to find another landscaper next year that would better fit your needs."

As for the time issue and schedule, I tell my clients that the only schedule that I can guarantee is the first one in the morning. After that, the only way that I can keep time guarantees is if my customers brought their complete irrigation systems to my shop to fix. I never know what I'm going to find when I get to a client's home or how long an issue will take to fix until I see it, or how much time a customer is going to take talking to me about issues.

A couple of weeks ago I fired a client that called me to her home to fix two "quick little problems", which took an hour to find and fix. Another hour of her pointing out more things that she broke or tried to fix herself. She figured that she shouldn’t be invoiced because the first problems where so small and that, "While I was there", I could easily fix the other problems. She also figured that with all of the money that she has already paid me she would have been able to have a new system installed. (less than $1000 in maintenance and client caused repair over two years compared to about $6000 to $7000 to replace her 25 year old poorly designed and inadequate system.)

I walked over to the last repair I did and started to remove it. She asked me what I was doing. I said that if she wasn't going to pay me, I was taking my parts back. She told me that I couldn't do that. My signed service contract says that until you pay me the invoice in full, I own all materials.

I was tired of her crap. I removed all the materials that I placed that day, and told her not to call me again. It was well worth the two lost hours to see the look on her face when I got in my truck to leave. Since then Suppliers in town have told me that “this crazy lady” keeps coming in, her name is XXXXX XXXX, and she keeps buying bunches of parts and sprinkler heads, and keeps saying, “Maybe this will work”.

Long story, but its fun to tell.

Life is too short to have crappy clients.

Mick
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  #6  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:31 PM
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Lawn Pawn Lawn Pawn is offline
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Location: zone 3
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As you said.... be polite and honest.

I tell them.... I'm cutting back on properties that are not profitable enough, or tell them sorry it's just not working out, I cannot meet your requirements. Too big of a mower.. too small of mower.. not the right equipment.. blah blah blah.

Many times it is the honest truth. I am selective about the properties I take on. I want to be efficient, profitable and make the customer happy.

Life is short and misery is optional.
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:36 PM
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THIESSENS TLC THIESSENS TLC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireguy97 View Post
I would tell him at your next cut that, "It seems that there is very little of my work that pleases you. I enjoy and take great pride in keeping my clients happy, and I can’t seem to keep you happy, therefore I feel that it would be better for both of us for you to find another landscaper next year that would better fit your needs."

As for the time issue and schedule, I tell my clients that the only schedule that I can guarantee is the first one in the morning. After that, the only way that I can keep time guarantees is if my customers brought their complete irrigation systems to my shop to fix. I never know what I'm going to find when I get to a client's home or how long an issue will take to fix until I see it, or how much time a customer is going to take talking to me about issues.

A couple of weeks ago I fired a client that called me to her home to fix two "quick little problems", which took an hour to find and fix. Another hour of her pointing out more things that she broke or tried to fix herself. She figured that she shouldn’t be invoiced because the first problems where so small and that, "While I was there", I could easily fix the other problems. She also figured that with all of the money that she has already paid me she would have been able to have a new system installed. (less than $1000 in maintenance and client caused repair over two years compared to about $6000 to $7000 to replace her 25 year old poorly designed and inadequate system.)

I walked over to the last repair I did and started to remove it. She asked me what I was doing. I said that if she wasn't going to pay me, I was taking my parts back. She told me that I couldn't do that. My signed service contract says that until you pay me the invoice in full, I own all materials.

I was tired of her crap. I removed all the materials that I placed that day, and told her not to call me again. It was well worth the two lost hours to see the look on her face when I got in my truck to leave. Since then Suppliers in town have told me that “this crazy lady” keeps coming in, her name is XXXXX XXXX, and she keeps buying bunches of parts and sprinkler heads, and keeps saying, “Maybe this will work”.

Long story, but its fun to tell.

Life is too short to have crappy clients.

Mick
I would've paid to see the look on her face! haha, thats awesome!
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  #8  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:37 PM
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Lawn Pawn Lawn Pawn is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: zone 3
Posts: 571
As you said.... be polite and honest.

I tell them.... I'm cutting back on properties that are not profitable enough, or tell them sorry, but it's just not working out, I'm but I cannot meet your requirements. Too big of a mower.. too small.. not the right equipment.. blah blah blah. Many times it is the honest truth.

Life is short and misery is optional.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2011, 02:41 PM
GainesvilleLawnscaping GainesvilleLawnscaping is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Posts: 59
There's other fish in the sea. If you don't want to service him anymore, than don't. Give him written notice that you will not be serving his property anymore and fill his timeslot with someone who appreciates you. I've gotten rid of 3 customers this year and it was the best decision we could have made.
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  #10  
Old 09-10-2011, 04:42 PM
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RLS24 RLS24 is offline
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Location: Amherst, NY
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Well, I don't do bi-weekly cuts to begin with, but I have turned down people who want to go the "custom-cheap" route with their service...IE mow but no trimming, or "well would it be cheaper if you mowed this half of the back yard one week and the other half the next?" and of course the people who want you to show up and cut the lawn at a moments notice like you have nothing else to do. I only do weekly full service accounts. Be honest with the guy and be like I'm going to more full-service weekly accounts on a schedule and I can't fit in the type of service you're looking for.
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