Close The Friggin' Gates!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Back when I was still cutting lawns myself, I don't think I ever left a customers' gate unlatched or open. Probably the same for most of you. It's just common sense, right? You go through a door, you close it behind you. I never even had to think about it. It was just second nature.

    Well, ever since I've had employees this is an ongoing problem with them. Now to their credit, they are good about closing the gates 99% of the time. But 99% don't cut it when it means that that 1% of the time when you forget, FIDO is going to escape as soon as the customer gets home and lets him out into the back yard, assuming his gates are closed, like he left them.

    You know how frustrating it is to chase a dumb dog around your neighborhood at 7:00 p.m. at night? Well, I don't. Because I trained my dog to come when he's called. But apparently for a lot of people, it's a major hassle because their dogs don't mind. And I sympathize with that. I can see where it would be hella frustrating.

    I even went so far last year as to add this to the checklist that we leave on people's doors every visit;

    ____ Closed, Latched, and Checked all gates.

    And at the time, I told our crews that EACH person on the crew had to check EACH gate EVERY TIME. They were ALL responsible for closing the gates. We lost 3 accounts last year because of this and I was sick and tired of it.

    Well, guess what happened again this week?!?!? You guessed it; They left one open again. And of course, Fido got out too. Fortunately for me, these clients were fairly nice about it. They didn't fire us. They just emailed me and asked that we be more careful.

    So the next day we had a company meeting. First, I started off by having the guys that did it bear their azz and bend over while I whipped it with a leather mexican whip they had given me from their recent trip to Mexico. Ok, just kidding. But I felt like doing that! Anyway, I did have a company meeting and I explained that if this happens again, each member of that crew is going to lose 50 cents per hour for the entire next 15 days. They all understood and agreed it was fair.

    Anyway, it's just so frustrating! My workers are great in most ways. Don't get me wrong. They do great work and our clients love them. But this part just aggravates me! Anyone else have employees that do this?
     
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    No, I don't have employees lol...

    But...

    Sometimes, when I have a problem remembering something, I find that repeating this thing to myself 50-100 times a day for 2-3 days helps engrave it into my brain, but that's me.
     
  3. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    ive gotten complaints on employees in past from customers without pet bichin bout gates being left open. leave the property as you found it.
     
  4. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004


    to quote the comic store guy on simpsons... "shortest post ever"


    lol! send me some photos sometime.
     
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Just gimmie a call Jim if it happens again..I would love to beat their bare azzes with that whip of yours..or I could even bring my own .I'll teach them
    (sorry couldent help myself on that one):laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    You know... For some reason, I bet you probably would!
     
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Yea but then they would start leaving the gates open on purpose!
     
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Just be glad it was dogs and not kids and pools. Quite a while ago we had a clients grandchild drown in a spa. The news came on and I recognized the house and my heart just fell. It was the day after we had serviced the home, we were not at fault as the other grand kids admitted to propping the gate open to get in and out of the pool area. But that is one feeling I never want to have again. Our system is to hang the truck keys on the pool gate. But any system is only as good as a persons ability to follow it. The reduced pay is a good punishment but given the severity of the crime I would make it a buck an hour.
     
  9. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 911

    I lost a client last year due to this as well. I actually think it's a stupid reason for a client to fire us over, unless it happens repeatedly, but it's the clients perogative. These particular clients had gone from great to bad (sorry, but lesbians are the worst types of people to please, they feel they can do everything better themselves) and the gate issue was the straw that broke the camels back. Hated losing a client but then sometimes problems have a way of solving themselves. It did, however, drive home the point to check and double check that gates are closed. I'd probably be annoyed by it too if it happened to me.
     
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    I hear ya. I think it's a little silly to just fire someone over first time it happens. I would never do that to someone. But like you said, it's their perogative.

    We only get fired about 25% of the time when a gate is left open. The remaining 75% of the time, people just call and register a mild complaint and ask that we be more careful. But like you, I hate losing accounts for any reason. So the 25% who do fire us on the spot bugs me. It's just a stupid reason to lose an account. And it's stupid because it's so preventable - just close the freakin' gate! How hard is that?
     

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