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customer's family

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Big Bad Bob, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 1,074

    yesterday, an acquaintance, i had not seen for quite a while, approached me and asked if i was still in business. i said i was and he handed me a slip of paper with addresses on it and said, take these over. this is his father in law. the guy who does it now is charging an arm and a leg for the mowing. i took the paper, put it in my pocket. after i got home i was working on some bids, and got to this one. i looked at the addresses and realized it was for a regular customer.

    i have (had) this customer, 83 years old, for 4 years now. 3 properties, lots of trimming, has his daughter apply weed and feed, she does it by hand broadcasting and burns the yard most of the time. he was a marginal acct since he was one of my first customers and i hadn't raised the price.
    last summer he had his daughter apply fert, in july and then accused me of burning his lawn by mowing too it long. we have had discussions about doing stuff that he said we agreed to but when we started, he specifically asked us NOT to do these things.
    on and on and on. for the most part, strangely, our relationship has been trustful however. we have always been able to work it out. after the fert debacle last year, i just stopped showing up. i removed him from my schedule and notified him. he called me, begging us to take him back. :dizzy: we did because he offered more money and we agreed in writing that extras will be charged separately from mowing, as i have always done.
    since he hadn't called to cancel i had him on my list of soon to mow yards.
    today i met with the son in law and added 50% to the price i now charge. he looked at me funny and said he'd pass that on to the father in law. i told him, that while he was talking to the father in law, to please notify him that he has been dropped by my company so we won't show up, unless he agrees to the new terms. the son in law just stared at me and said, what are you talking about? i told him that the "gouger" he was looking to replace was me. i didn't know he was the son in law and he didn't know i was doing the acct. he looked a bit flustered and said he'd tell the customer.
    waiting to see if i hear from the customer because i think this is a case of, "dad's spending my inheritance too fast.".
  2. Mowman16

    Mowman16 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    That must have been fun, lol.
  3. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 1,074

    83 yo man calls me today asking that we do all 3 properties, get 'em spring cleaned up and then just mow the big property. he's got someone else mowing the 2 small properties. good luck with that as i was just above break even on those 2. i told him i'd see if i had room on the schedule and would get back with him. now, i guess i need to explain that this was a package deal but that now i need to re evaluate the large property only. i really could and should get 50% more for this property so i am giving that as a condition. as you can probably tell, i'd just rather drop this customer but i can't help but play it as a ................................. business experiment and see how far this guy will go to keep our service. he hired us originally because he said he was tired of the hassles of hiring lowballers and was willing to pay for good services. i think daughter in law is worried that daddy is spending her inheritance too fast.:laugh:
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,201

    I am not to sure that trying to out-wit an 83 year old will help your lawn business in the future. Just remember one thing, don't work for old people unless you have to.
  5. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 1,074

    i'm not sure i could "out-wit" him if i wanted to. i don't think he is the real problem. daughter has a lot to do with it, although daddy has the final say.
    i'm simply concerned that if i mow the "big" property 4 times a month and the family mows the other properties twice a month, that some comment will be made as to why we mowed so much. i can see it coming and will be interested to see what his reaction will be.
    hey, they play with us all the time.

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