Another "How would you handle this customer" Thread...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FrankenScagMachines, May 2, 2006.

  1. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Ok well so I'm at the gas station and this PITA customer calls..
    Lemme take a second to explain his property- he has two garage doors, one on each end of the garage (which is attached to the house) and the back yard is fenced in, with a 36" gate. When he's home, I go through the two garage doors into the backyard to get the 60" back there to mow. Its not a large backyard but would take a little while to cut with a 21" which I don't own one anyway.. So once in a while he's not home and I just skip the backyard, not a huge deal, it doesn't grow that much. He's never made an issue of it. But this guy is a bargain hunter if you have ever met one... he's as cheap as anyone and is always asking me to drop the price, and everytime I stick to my guns and he pays the price and shuts up. Well last week I went to mow and he wasn't home so I skipped the backyard. He calls today had his panties in a bunch, wanting to know why didn't I go through the garage doors to mow? I said you never told me it would be unlocked, it would not be proper for me to go up and try to open your doors without being told to. So he then complains it was clumpy (well this would be because he being the brilliant moron he is, decided to fertilize it himself this year, which he apparently used a drop spreader and skipped every other pass or something, so it looked like he had sewage fingers throughout the whole yard, and he overdosed on the fertilizer too... so, yea it was tall and nasty... of course it was clumpy! I already give him a great deal on this yard, I can't afford to double cut it for free and of course he is way too cheap to even think of paying for that... so anyway, after chewing me out for not attempting to open the garage door to mow the back yard, he asks if I can bag it this week, I told him thats not profitable for me, to go back to the shop and install the bagger, then go back and do his one yard, then dispose of clippings and come back to shop, uninstall bagger and continue on with life, all for this low price I mow it for... He said not profitable?! so I had to explain all that to him... then he gets upset and says well how bout a price cut? I said ok I'll knock $3 off of it to make it an even $30 for that cutting (will you please shutup and go back to whatever it is you usually do while sitting around the house!) he says well, by my figures that backyard is 1/6 of the property and so you should (and I can tell he's punching numbers on a calculator here) knock off 1/6 of the bill, making it $27.50 for that cutting. I'm like, well I will see what I can do. He says what do you mean! He said "That is my offer, $27.50 for that cutting!" I about just hung up on him, but at this point he has just received the monthly mowing bill in the mail (in which I just now realized I have forgot to include a spring cleanup charge) so if I just hung up on him and left the account, I probably would sacrifice my hard earned money.. So now I gotta send him a revised bill, to include the cleanup charge, and discount the $5.50 for his 1/6 section backyard (what a jerk)... and suck up for a week or so until I get paid for that bill, then I guess I plan to just drop the account, having sacrificed one mowing (or, let him send the payment now and not mow this week, but lose a few extra bucks on the cleanup....)

    What a crock I can't beleive this... this guy I've always said would be my first one to drop, but I can't beleive he's trying to pull this crap... what would you do?
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Yea I know this might be able to be taken care of with a contract, but I never liked contracts and rarely have problems like this, easier to deal with these problems individually than to try to convert everyone to contracts and lose a couple jobs in the process...

    All last year this guy never complained about charging full price if I didn't mow the backyard because he was gone... if they go on vacation they leave a garage door opener with me to use... I just can't stand this guy I just want my money and out of the deal. All my other customers are quiet and never say a single word except "hi how ya doin, yard looks great!" if we happen to cross paths... one whiner ticks me off...
  3. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    What is this, Deal or No Deal and he's the banker? We all know by now that the price of the mow isn't simply time spent on the ground so the 1/6th thing isn't working for me. Tell him to go find someone else to screw with.
  4. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Thats what I'm planning to do, but I need to get paid for my one month of service, and I don't plan on ticking him off till I have money in hand... then its CYA!! Guess I just want ideas how to handle him until I get the money...
  5. Frosty03

    Frosty03 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    Ok, let's look at the facts.

    You actually didn't cut his backyard by your own admission. Whether he was out of town or not, that is not the point. Your price reflects cutting front and back each time unless requested by the customer. SO technically, you are in the wrong there.

    Now, you have to send a revised bill to include a clean-up charge.

    My advice in order to get your monies that are due to you:

    Do NOT call him anymore.
    Send him the revised bill listing your services.
    Below that, deduct the $5.50 for skipping his backyard, which you did.
    Wait until the check clears.
    Dump the sucker.

    Then you are only out $5.50 and got most of your pay and have now rid yourself of a PITA customer.

    Then you can chalk that $5.50 up as a cheap learning experience and be done with it.

    Next customer please.
  6. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    A restaurant manager of mine told me years ago when I, as a waiter, was dealing with a difficult customer "Take the path of least resistence - tell him what he wants to hear then get the hell out of there as fast as possible".

    Placate the guy until you get your cash then bolt. But then, you already know that.
  7. bwilder10h

    bwilder10h LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    I agree. Get your dough and split. People like this always end up being more trouble than they are worth.

    I had a guy call me (after he agreed to $30 weekly cuts) the week before I was to start mowing for him saying he needed me to do it for $25. I told him my minumum is $30 and I don't drive to house and get a mower off the trailer for $25. He said "I'll have to shop around" and I replied "Good luck, thanks for the call"

    If he calls me back, I will not mow the yard for any price because I know he will more than likely become a PITA. In fact, when people like this call back I make sure they will not want me to service them because my typical response goes like this.... "sir or maam, I'm sorry but my offer to service your lawncare needs are no longer available. When you called me back to ask for a lower price, let me know the type of customer you would be in the future and in an effort to reduce the amount of stress and frustration in my business, I am no longer offering my services to you. I wish you luck in finding a lawncare company that will give you quality service at the prices you are trying to get"

    They are usually speechless at this point so I say goodbye and hang up.

    I realize for every guy like me, there is a hundred others that will just go ahead and do it to get the job... but I don't work that way.
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    Awesome. You guys are great. This is what I wanted to hear LOL... Just feels good to know that I have other pro's backing me in a decision on something tough like this. And its not that everytime I have a hard decision I ask someone about it, but, this is not your everyday situation and for me its the first time I've had someone be this rude and open with me like this and I'm left here wondering if there was something I did wrong or should have done better... Of course he made no mention of the spring cleanup... Now I have to send him another bill with that charge minus the $5.50 and now I have to wait for that money, we're probably lookin at 2 weeks, which he will want me to cut his yard during this time with no resistance or he will threaten no payment... so he'll be holding that over my head the whole time, and I could mow it one time, but then I would certainly not get paid for that cut. He's a very pushy and rude person, I hate these people because I'm too nice to people and tend to get run over sometimes in my nice-ness... So now I'm either going to lose the extra money for the cleanup by keeping my mouth shut and taking a reduced payment, or i'm going to lose the cost of one mowing, during that time he will send the bill for the cleanup but then I likely won't get paid for this final cut... screwed either way... why do the good guys die first... aarrgghhh
  9. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    I thought you got out of the green industry?
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Well I will agree sounds like a PITA ..BUT this garage door thing should have been settled BEFORE
    you even began mowing the lawns for him.You should have made some kind of agreement and had it settled with the price of mow the back when he is home or no mow and a discount.My point is Comunication was not good and this is what caused the problems.Not the customer..but you not getting these issues straight with the customer from the very start.That is my opinion.

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