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Back from vacation... still no word (what to do?)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    OK guys... got back from a vacation getaway tonight... and I already have the week ahead on my mind (have had since I arrived).

    The deal is that I have this customer who was nice enough to give me a courtesy call on 8/28. My best customers will always do this and leave me a courtesy message if it's a week they think it is ok for me to skip (per my standards) if it will save me time or a trip, just in case it works out that I don't have to drive right by them anyways.... The idea behind this setup is that it helps me to shorten routes or skip entire routes some days if enough people call.... and I try to return the favor here and there when it works out.

    Well anyways, I did end up getting to cut a route real short because of this call and a few others. So I skipped the scheduled cut for 8/29.

    Well, on 9/5 I ran the full route as normal, and on the way I actually passed this customer on the road leaving home. When I arrived at the site, I'm telling you it looked like a strong twister or weak tornado passed over. Like maybe one dropped down but didn't "touch down".

    I mean it is like to the point that what leaves are left on the trees are heavily wind-beaten. It twisted two trees off completely, a few trees are leaned over and there are leaves and branches, etc everywhere. No damage to any structures I could see though (very lucky!)

    Both properties still dry, but rather shaggy after 14 days... but neither was accessable to cut. Obviously here, I did take time to stop and evaluate the damage, etc... and I also took time to leave the customer a thoughtful note.

    My assumption was that we would end up playing a little phone tag over the issue... and depending on how that went I might cut the customer a little break or do something in-leu of that work. But I did not write anything to the effect in the note because they were going to have to earn it and I wasn't going to go the full amount BECAUSE I RECEIVED NO NOTIFICATION AT ALL.

    Well, it's been 4 days... tomorrow makes 5 and not a word.
    No call, no message, no letter, no nothing.

    If the customer makes no effort to contact me Monday or Tuesday... sorry, I cut no slack at all on the 9/5 scheduled work.

    But the question is, what the heck do I do then if I hear nothing because I need to know for 9/12?

    Yeah sure, I know I can call to see if the trees and mess have been cleaned up.

    But I am a little snubbed over it, and what if I find out it is NOT?

    I'm almost half a mind to just say screw it and not... and show up on 9/5 and cut no slack if I can't cut again... or at least cut no slack on one of the two dates (9/5 and 9/12) and call it even on the courtesy call from the previous week.

    What do you guys think on this one?...
  2. stick9

    stick9 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 262

    Interesting situation.

    First (and, as it is, only) thing that comes to mind is that you are in a service industry.

    If the people are cool, I'd cut them some slack (no pun intended.) They may have other, more pressing matters to attend to.

    Good luck.
  3. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,785

    just be careful, one time i was begged to cut a lawn out of my range by an old woman who said her husband just died. i told her i'd do it 1-2 times so she had more time to find someone since she was too far a way for me. so she said she would leave some cash for the one time deal. i show up, cut, no money. i call, leave messages, call, knock, LM, call, knock, etc. finnally i call and say, listen, i dont like to be taken advantage of and im calling the police to report you for theft of services. well a week later (after a total of over a month), the phone rings and its the old lady. she was in the hospital then a nursing home for the time. i felt so stupid. so, give them a chance if they had been a good customer, or even if they are a new one time deal
  4. Nosmo

    Nosmo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    Well lets see -- he called on 8/28 for a skip but didn't say a windstorm had really messed things up. Now comes 9/5 the next regular day and you find this mess -- with no notice from him .

    Now only 2-days off 9/12 is on the schedule. Maybe the guy has had other problems too just besides the property damage. Could be he is waiting on the insurance company's check so he'll be able to clean the place up.

    If he has been a good customer I think I'd give him a call and see if the property has been cleaned up . If not ask him if he has a cleanup date in mind. If you want to keep the guy as a customer give him some leeway and ask him to call you when the property is ready for a cutting etc.

    Oh another thought -- we had a hell of an Ice Storm last January -- oodles of limbs , branches and whole trees down. Be sure and walk that property before you start mowing that high grass because I'd bet the farm there will be hidden stuff still in the grass.

  5. Daddy Joes Lawn Service

    Daddy Joes Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 124

    I have one customer who was in the hospitial for 6 weeks told me just to keep cutting it and i'll see you when i get out. She called and said i just got home please come by so i can get my billed tacken care of. I did counted the money there was a extra $100.00 she said i know thank you. Very Very cool!!
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    This is off-thread but ...

    Been there, done that, more than once.
    With the exception of a few regulars, over the years at least a few have told me this and so I cut, and then I found no money.
    Yeah I eventually got paid on some to most, but not all.

    So I learned the hard way, anytime they say they will leave the money or the check always look for it before the gate comes down.
    Doesn't matter if they forgot or if they put it someplace other than where they said they would.
    No money, no cut, keep on driving.
    Once I started doing this I saved myself a few good headaches, yup, more people came around and said they would and did not.

    Gee, I've heard this song and dance before...
    Well maybe it's true and it probably is, but I'd still remember to check for the money before the gate even gets dropped.
  7. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Posts: 2,869

    I can't believe you have to skip anyone during the growing season. We are lucky here they all have sprinkler systems and if I don't show up they are on the phone asking me when I'll be there. Plus we don't get any storms period, a few sprinkles is all mostly sunshine all summer long, except the occasional volcano eruption Mt St Helens that can ruin the whole season if that ever happens again.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Yes, the customer gave me a courtesy call before the scheduled 8/29 visit. the customer informed me it had been dry and I could get by with skipping if I wanted to.... which I appreciated and ended up benefitting from efficiency wise. That's the point of the courtesy call. If enough call ahead to let me know it's ok either way, I can choose to run the area, or not... and I can afford to trade a favor here and there for this if it works out right for me, which they understand.

    This area is about 15 miles out from me, and I had no idea the tad of rain we got missed them out there. I was able to cut my day short on that route without having to do a drive-by inspection.... more efficient.

    So yeah, the customer called me for that. But at some point between 8/29 and 9/5 the storm damage occurred and I got no call for that. So my scheduled 9/5 visit was an automatic due to being skipped the previous week. So then I arrived to find the trees down all over the turf.

    After leaving the note, I had expected some contact effort at least by the time I returned from my little vacation getaway. But no call.

    This was bugging me some while thinking about the week ahead. But I kind of figured it was bothering me more because maybe I was suffering a little 'first day back' syndrome due to coming back and not having recieved the expected call.

    Monday passed with no word either.
    I guess I will break down and call 9/11 to see what I can find out by inquiring myself....

    I'll wait to see how it folds out before allowing myself to think any more about the financial aspect.
  9. Rickco

    Rickco LawnSite Member
    Posts: 135

    All of our customers are full service property maintenance so we wouldv'e ben there with the chipper,a few saws,rakes,blowers and cleaned up the mess. For an extra fee of coarse.

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