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Another "What Would You Do?" Thread

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tn Lawn Man, May 3, 2005.

  1. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    Got a customer into his 2nd year with my service. Been a good/prompt payer. Has purchased some additional services and has done some on his own. Always seemed pleased with the job we did. No complaints. Just recently asked to have the cutting height lowered so we did.

    Then he calls up and says "Don't need ya to mow it for the next couple of weeks I am putting weed and feed down".

    I explain that putting weed and feed down will make it grow faster not slower and that mowing is a must otherwise he will have a jungle in two or three weeks.

    He then says, "Well actually there is this friend of mine who is a kid (teenager I think) that owes me some money. So I said he can work it off in the yard".

    I then ask if he is dropping me and the kid taking over? He says no. It is just for a few cuts until this kid works off his debt.

    How would you all handle this?
  2. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,793

    tell the guy to have the kid pull weeds the grass is a big part of his landscape.
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    Just like customers rely on you to provide a good service, you rely on your customers to be loyal to you. We get rid of these types of customers that think we are disposable when they find a cheaper alternative. These types of clients don't keep food on our table for the winter. The guy would be gone.
  4. rodzilla94

    rodzilla94 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    drop him i think its a slap in the face to us lco's if they request this....think about it he is treating u like a boy down the street with his Murry....if he respected u he would tell the kid to wash his car a few times instead
  5. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 654

    Well unless you have a contract with him you have no choice ...but if you have a contract I would not change the price
  6. jpp

    jpp LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,128

    He would have to go. The work you have put in to get the yard looking good and under control is now a thing of the past. Once the kid does it with a 21 or whatever he will use I bet you will see rows of grass and clumps of dead grass lying there.Then he will expect you to come back and get it looking good again. Sorry sir but you should not have let the kid do it.

  7. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    I don't know if this is right or not, but i tell my customers that the quote they get is for a 7 day service based on a full season. It's formulated to take into consideration the trucking and scedulling. You're on a route that has been designed to pay so much a mile. Eliminating a spot does more than just loose money for a single lawn. If they upset the apple cart, it ends up costing more money. Which it seems, is more than true.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    That is a tough situation. But I guess this is how I'd handle it if one of my customers tried that crap with me.....

    "Ms. Smith. We value your business very much. But I have to explain that in order to run things smoothly, for us to be able to predict cash-flow, etc. I have to be able to depend on my clients to send me regular business throughout the entire season. We really kind of frown on people who want to start and stop service at will. We start our service at the beginning of the season and mow each week until the end of the season. During that time, as a customer of ours, we block out a specific time for you for the entire season. If you decide you don't want us to stop by certain weeks and want to resume later, that leaves a hole in our schedule that I could have filled with another customer. I want you to know I understand your situation. Perhaps it's the case that your needs simply don't fit our company's needs. There are probably several other lawn care providers in the area who'd be happy to mow your lawn on-demand like that. But I am not one of them. If we're going to continue servicing your yard, I need to be assured that it will be every week, or else we will have to part ways."

    That's what I'd say and then I'd just shut up and wait for them to respond. They may say, "Oh! I am sorry. I didn't realize...please! We love your service. I'll make other arrangements. We'd love for you to stay."


    They may say, "Ok. Well I guess I'll find someone else who will accomdate me then. Thanks."

    Either way, you win. You only want customers who fit your needs. There are plenty of good customers out there. Don't waste your time with people who want to cut on-demand. You have to stand your ground on these. The money you give up in the short term will be replaced by a better, long-term client.
  9. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    I'd drop him, too. Jim's explanation is as good as any, you can't go wrong with it. But yeah, if this customer thinks he's got an a la carte service and you let him get away with it, he has an a la carte service. No way I'd ever let anyone set that kind of precedent. This aint Pizza Hut.
  10. Bob-Cat#1

    Bob-Cat#1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 110

    I think I'd just tell him about my fee for a break in service. Then if he's willing to pay, all things are good. If he wants to just keep the kid, well then he was probably headed that direction anyways.

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