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AARRGGHH, Matey! I need to vent....

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Chilehead, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    .....or I might walk the plank myself right onto a barnicle barge off to Madagascar (AAARRRGGHH!). I come home today, late as usual. My wife summons me to the computer, and a nasty-gram from one of my clients: an HOA. Long story short, I am responsible for the mowing, chemicals, mulch, and annual color. The previous company they had last year decimated the property in the drought. Anyway, this email states that I have not performed up to their expectations, when in fact I have done everything that we have agreed upon. Their most profound complaint is the grass quality. The soil is rock-hard, and shrunk from the drought last year. I tell them to pay for an aeration. Their answer--NOPE. Not in the budget. I recommend a gypsum application--NOPE. Not in the budget. On top of that, they say I look "tired" when I am working, and may just not be able to handle it. Guess what? Five acres of slopes that need to be walked are tiresome. Here's the kicker: They want to meet with me this Friday when I go out to work, to discuss these issues in depth. I personally don't mind walking away from this account except for one thing: it accounts for 25% of my revenue. What would you do, and why? Thanks. :confused:
  2. Albemarle Lawn

    Albemarle Lawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,544

    These people have a condition that will not get better with age.

    Plus, they want to cut into your work session with a meeting....no way.

    25% of revenue but what % of profit?
  3. BryceBentleyLCS

    BryceBentleyLCS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 164

    Yarr just send them to Davy Jones locker!!!

  4. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    Aye, matey...aye! Quite the rudimentary way of divulging what be on my mind--and that you can count on that for certain! Am I to understand from your position that I should tell the scurvy scallawags to keep their cursed treasure for themselves, thus opening my vessel to new, uncharted waters? (AAARRGGHH!)
  5. BryceBentleyLCS

    BryceBentleyLCS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 164

    Ahoy cap'n, they be in Davy's Grip, from what me's thinks, after a few Grogs me and my fellow salts will offer no Quarter!!! Yo ho ho
  6. johnnie5

    johnnie5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 29

    dont get into an arguement

    you need to shut up and listen and ask them to list their problems , let them vent

    take notes

    from there you can properly go through their issues and explain the reasons behind the problems

    from there you will need to have an agreement as to what services you will provide and the costings of those
  7. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    Listen to their concerns, and try to sell them something they need. If they don't bite they probably dont really care about the place, and are looking for reasons to turf you. If they do bite, make damn sure you get results, or you will be on the way out. HOA suck and are a bunch of whiners, and listening to their stupididty makes me ill so I refuse to work for them and/or entertain them.

    Just last week I got a call from a lady (in an area we dont service) who just joined a board and thought their landscaper was overcharging for annuals, and wanted me to come in and quote her flower planting for the year. She somehow assumed the other board members and the property manager were on the take, and the landscaper was giving them a kickback. She was here to save the day. Told her to get her boardroom issues figured out and call someone else (a therapist) to listen to her problems. She snapped!!!! I then told her to call a shrink, as she has some anger management problems. She hung up. Truth hurts sometimes.
  8. Gmgbo

    Gmgbo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Tell them you will aerate for half price, but just charge them full price. How will they know, it sounds like they have never had it done before. Do whatever you can to save this account if it is 25% of your income.
  9. Gardens55

    Gardens55 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 98

    I'm enjoying the new pirate theme! I personally would try to save the account if it accounts for 25%.
  10. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,505

    Just meet with them and ask questions...like"how can I improve the lawn quality?". Or..."What can I do to provide the best service?" Be polite, use a low tone of voice, don't say "no" at this first meeting. Just ask questions and take notes. Ask followup questions to their answers.

    After they run out of steam, offer some suggestions in the form of a question. Like: "Have you considered aeration? Have you tested the ph level in the soil?"

    This works better than blurting out "Well your lawn looks bad because it needs aeration". Or.."You need gypsum, you dope!"

    This type of discussion will help clarify what they want, and what they need to do to get there. Once they realize what they need, you can offer to meet that need for a fair price. If the stuff they ask for is outside the scope of your agreement, tell them you will provide a written quote for the additional services, ASAP.

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