Anyone "fire" a customer for not following recommendations

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by mikesturf, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    I have a customer who mows his lawn once every 3 weeks and when he does, he cuts it down to a height of 1 inch and leaves the clippings on the lawn. He also never waters nor rakes his leaves. The lawn looks like crap, I hate going there. I've told him many times about proper mowing heights, etc. but he views mowing as a pita. Has anyone dropped a customer because their lawn may give your company a bad reputation on that block? Yes the guy does pay on time.
  2. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    does he realize that fertilizer is making his job harder? I'm shocked that a guy that dosn't care any more than that would even waste a dime on fert and weed control.
  3. You say the lawn looks like crap, is there any evidence that you have missed out on new business because of this lawn?

    My short answer to your question is "No". I have never fired a steady paying customer because they won't follow my advice or common sense.

    On the other hand, if I had this sort of client, I would adjust my program a little to accommodate the client and use less fertilizer. If you have some flexibility on where you place your lawn sign, I would put it as close to the house as possible to make it difficult for passers by to see who treats this lawn.

    I might raise his price if I felt his crappy lawn was costing me somehow.
  4. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589


    in fact, earlier this week i sent out a refund check to a prepaid account that just plain refuses to follow any of our recmmendations. She calls often to voice her dissapointment in her she holds us responsable but she still refuses to follow OUR instructions. Instead she listens to her neighbors.

    now, she can call her neighbors to express her dissapointments

    (life is to short to deal with this type of thing, in my opinion)
  5. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    If your customer is not mowing regularly, the lawn will most likely contain more weeds than it should. We all know that mowing is an important part of weed control.

    If this lawn has required more post emergent herbicides than you normally expect, then you should fire him. He's running up your product cost.

    I have a customer like this and every visit there is something to spray. If he does not get his act together soon, I'm done with him at the end of the season.
  6. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Posts: 866

    As long as they're not complaining and paying their bill on time, just keep doing what you would do for the rest of your clients and keep leaving mowing and watering reccomendations. There are too many who will complain about nothing, drag out their payments forever, if pay at all and expect magic wand action, to give up a quality customer(from a payment/complaining point). At some point the client will weigh what they are spending for the results and either get with the program or give up all together, no reason to push what will eventually come naturally.
  7. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Yes, I canceled one lady, worked with her for years and she would only call me when things were looking bad. I would get her back on a good irrigation schedule and keep her fertilizer injector filled then when the grass looked good she would say OK thanks, we have it under control. Then a year later it would look like crap again. This spring I called her and said we were too busy and were only going to service our regular monthly accounts. She said that was fine I told her where to buy product and reminded her to follow the irrigation schedule I had written out. She says do you really think we need to spend the money on stuff for the injector? The lawn looks so good, cant I just use ammonium sulfate? :hammerhead: I told her the reason it looks so good is because we were on a good program last summer and if she stopped it now it would look bad again by late summer. I then reminded her we go through this every other year why don't you try something different like following my directions. All you have to do is look down the block at my regular clients lawn to see the results.

    Drop them, you will sleep better.
  8. tjgray

    tjgray LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    We do my Aunt and Uncles lawn and they are the worse when it comes to watering or mowing properly. We really hate going to service their lawn and seeing it look so bad. Right now the only thing growing in it is the Dallas grass. Yesterday when we were out we saw the neighbor watering his lawn and we were like please squirt some over here....and we warned my Uncle again that if he didn't water in 24 to 48 hours that the chemicals we applied would burn what lawn he had left up.

    They are on a premium program, always pay on time and never we just grin and bear it:)
  9. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    relatives are the worse!

    but in all likelihood they pay you ..for you...not for a nice lawn, know what I mean?
  10. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    i'd like another chance to answer

    as operations manager here one of the things I do is sit with each tech every Monday afternoon to discuss last weeks performance/production. we'll review how many service calls they had to deal with and why....and how many cancellations that came through in thier route.

    cancellations are not accepted. period.

    sooo, the manager in me says never cancel any account (other than non payment)

    my earlier answer said yes and that I mailed back a PREPAYMENT refund
    (shhhhh, no body here knows this) which I did....but that aint no way to grow a business?

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