customer skips regular scheduled date.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by A.V., Jul 16, 2004.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Hi guys, need some help solving some business problems. I just started cutting grass full time this year. I do all residential. I have 25 costumers. some times ive ran into the problem that my customers will call me and tell me that i don't have to come next week because they are going out of town for two weeks on vacation and nephew will be cutting front yard. all my customers leave my money somewhere on the property. Anyway all my costumers are set on a biweekly. so that means that i dint get to cut until after a month. Grass was not to bad in the front but the back was high. I don't have no type of contract with my customers. so i just try to work with them. The other day one of my customer calls me and tells me that i don't have to mow back yard because she got her nephew to cut it .do to exterminator was going to spray for ticks. These are just a few crocks some of my customers are pulling on me. I'm trying to keep all of my customers because i don't have any to spare. but sometimes i feel they are taking advantage. I live in San Antonio t.x. and the going rate is 30 to 35 dollars. I decided since I'm always doing a little extra here and there i charge 40 and sometimes 45. and my customers pay it. because i do a good job. o by the way all of the properties are under 9,000sq ft. 10,000 i charge 45. so you can see why i try to work with them. how would you guys handle these problems with out offending the customer.:confused:
  2. DALMlawn&landscaping

    DALMlawn&landscaping LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Posts: 186

    A.V. i'm in SA also, and i have some advice: there are alot of cheap asses here, but the only way you'll make them pay is to say that when you came, you cut, both front and back, regardless of the height, and from now on, if any nephew of theirs decides to cut, that you will still charge 30? 45? for the yard for your scheduled maintenance, and if they would like, they can sign a "written agreement" on how often the yard should be mowed. and also, try to get them to let you cut every week, charge 5 bucks less, and you'll be in and out 20 minutes faster... any more questions, let me know, i'd be glad to help you out with what ever i might know.
  3. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 458

    Since this is your first year you are gonna run into that a lot until you build up a good customer base. If all your accounts are bi weekly you are on the low end of the client base. Just keep pluggin away and stand your ground on the issues that are most important.

    I had two issues today one was after the rains we got a couple of weeks ago a customer mowed her own lawn I showed up to mow and left took her off the schedule. she called me said why haven't you mowed because I took you off the schedule due to your mowing your prop. We now have an understanding

    2nd issue one lady has been a PITA she was 3 days late on payment I put her account on hold she called and said check was taped to door come get it(Oldest trick in the book) Wrong when I receive your check via mail I will reinstate you.

    You have to be willing to lose the customer if the problem is important enough to you.
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    WITHOUT OFFENDING THE CUSTOMER???? what does this word, "offending" mean? it's business kid. be unlike most lawn guys. have everything in writing, including what each service includes, the fees for said services, policies on rain, equipment break downs, due dates, and cancelation policy. i cancelled 2 recently, playing cat and mouse with the bill. they got a call on the 2nd. bills were due the 1st. they said they didn't recieve a bill. here it is the 16th, made another call yesterday, well???? they were both like, "how much did you say it was? send another bill." yea, ok, i'll get right on it. in fact, i'll send two, one will be certified. pay within 10 days, or i'll file a complaint of theft with the police station. your policies should be made to fit your businesses needs. they should be enforced if need be. it's your life. don't be a punching bag
  5. gator-town

    gator-town LawnSite Member
    from bfe
    Posts: 92

    a well written contract ( I like to call it a schedule/agreement) should cover all issues when descrepancies occur ... "your scheduled lawn service will be on (day of the week) weather permitting, otherwise it will occur the next available day" ... now you have established what day you will be there ... "payment is due by the 10th of each month to our office or (add penalty to encourage on time payment-if you wish)" ... no more plastering it to the door, under the door mat, in the mailbox, etc ... if you are planning to do this as your job, strive for schedules, agreements, contracts, or anything written so that you have established an understanding ... if its in black and white you will always come out on top ... if its gray it is only a matter of time before you will be doing something for free .
  6. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    I've been having similar problems. You guys answered a question I didn't have the heart to ask. I have learned my lesson.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I have to concur with everyone here. If you are going to be in this business, you have to run it as a business. No doormats, mailboxes, etc.. These things are for the little kid "Jimmy" down the street that mows when the "customer" calls and thinks it needs it.
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    If customers were allowed to have us mow their lawns only when they though it really "needed" it, we'd all be starving.

    Look, it's hard enough to make money in this business mowing 34 weeks a year.

    My contract says I scalp in Late February. Then, I start weekly mowings in late March. The weekly service goes to mid-October. At that point, it converts to every other week until we get our first frost, which is usually around Thanksgiving. It's about 34 cuts per year, but remember, the year is 52 weeks.

    If a customer elects to skip a scheduled mowing for any reason, they still pay full price. It's in my contract. Because of this, I never get that dreaded phone call...the "can you skip me this time, it doesn't really need it this week" phone call.

    In my area, if customers were allowed to dictate when the lawn needed mowing, they would probably have it mowed every other week from late March through May 1st. Then they'd go every week until the middle of June, maybe the end of June, depending on rain fall. Then, they'd go every other week again through our annual summer drought. By the time the drought ends on October 1st (or so), there isn't enough sun light for grass to really grow, so it still only needs mowing once a week.

    Basically, if the customers are allowed to dictate things, you might be lucky to get 25 cuts per year. Maybe even 20. You're cost of living runs 52 weeks per year. And if you allow your customers to walk all over you on this, they will. They could care less about your finances or whether or not you make any money.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  9. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 983

    YOU are running YOUR BUSINESS. NOT the customer! YOU set the program & price. Only option they have is to TAKE IT or LEAVE IT! Also, get contracts as mentioned by others. Set it up so YOU GET PAID IN ADVANCE. I do this by offering a "budget plan" that allows the customer to budget for the year. Estimate how many services (mow, fert, edge, etc.) in a year, times the price you want and then divide it by the number of months of the season (7 for me since I have an 8 month season). Have it due on the 1st for $xxx amount (TOTAL Estimated divided by # months). Helps with CASH FLOW immensely! Also prevents you from getting "stung" by slow/late/no payers.

  10. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Definitely gotta stop this taping payments to the door crap. That reeks of "the neighborhood kid". We all learn from our mistakes though. At the bare minimum set up written contracts and a real billing system.

    I cancelled one customer recently because he was insistent on leaving a check for me. Of course, I would never catch him at home when I mowed. So then he expects me to come by after hours to pick up the money.

    So I asked him if he has some sort of complex with the mail system, maybe stampophobia? He says "I know you live around the corner, what's the big deal?"

    So I said "Do you mail your mortgage payment, or do you tape it to the front door and request someone from the bank come get it personally after they get off work" This ticked him off (to my delight) Told him I'm not working with him anymore and I gave him one week to pay, or I'm filing in Small Claims.

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