Customer's who don't speak english

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Scag48, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Just wondering if anyone services customers who don't speak ANY english, or very, very little. About a week ago, a guy stopped me while I was out mowing. He can speak about 3 words of english, if that, but doesn't understand any at all. Told him it was going to be $65, I wrote the price down on paper, and from what I could tell it was more than he wanted to pay. The lawn was terribly long, hadn't been cut in over a week, and at $65 he probably would have had a deal on his hands. I wouldn't have made off with tons of money, but I wasn't on the shallow end either. I did give him my phone number before I left. I got a message on my phone today, instantly know it was this guy, he was fumbling through some sort of message, have no idea what he was trying to say except for something about "tomorrow morning" and he left his phone number. I can only assume that the lawn is even longer than it was now, in which I would have to charge even more for extra time, but how could I ever explain the situation to the guy? That and I don't know if I want a customer who I can't even communicate with, just doesn't seem like it would be easy to do anything. Thoughts?
  2. Raven386

    Raven386 LawnSite Silver Member
    from CT
    Posts: 2,160

    i have a customer that i cannot understand. i think he is speaking english but i cant tell. only thing that matters is he comes out with his money every time we cut, so i dont complain. thats a real tough one you got. if he knew some english that would make it a heluva lot easier. id let that one go IMO. too many things can go wrong with that, he might misunderstand you about something or vice-versa. dont want to tell him $65 and then he comes out with $25 because he couldnt understand you.
  3. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    If he can't speak English he probably can't read it either. Run far away. he may think you mean $65 for the month or whole season even.
  4. Chop Stuff Up

    Chop Stuff Up LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 457

    he pays first, then you cut.
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Well, he called and left another message this morning before 8, then has called me 3 times since then. I just don't see any good way of doing this job, I'm not answering the calls. He should have taken me up on my offer the first time, I guess I'll teach him a lesson about having services done in this country. When the offer is on the table, take it, if not, don't count on me to show up at your whim.:dizzy:
  6. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 384

    Try having a customer that's QUEER'er than a 3 dollar bill, AND can BARELY speak english! Paid cash every mow though! I think he liked me! LOL heeebe-jeeebeeees! Broken English with a fruit cake twist!;)
  7. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,306

    I've had my run of different customers, plenty of which I can barely understand anything they say. Which brings me to the point its a good idea to have a property maintenance contract. Mine is simple, includes lawn service, spring & fall cleanups. You tell the guy these are my prices and ill need a signature to confirm you understand the contract and prices.

    If the guy needs work deal with the language barrier, just get everything in writing. My contract says right above where people sign. "I agree and understand all the terms of this contract."

  8. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    I have a pakastani (sp?) guy that I can't understand hardly at ALL on the phone, but in person I can figure out what he's saying better. Owns a couple hotels I mow at, if he calls I usually just offer to stop in and talk to him there. Sure easier than trying to figure it out over the phone!

    Had a friend of mine call me one day last year, he has a gal that lives down the street that's ********, can't formulate ANY words, but lives on her own, takes care of her own place and so forth. Guess her mower was broke in the lawn and he stopped, not knowing that she couldn't TALK, and was trying to help. He ended up calling ME to help him fix a couple sprinklers in the lawn too. She was getting mad at him cause he couldn't understand her squaks and noises. She called some lady that works with her who came over and could understand what she was trying to say! Good thing... Because we had no idea.
  9. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 448

    Yeah, you showed him. :weightlifter:

    :confused: :confused: :confused:

    How about at least trying to work with the guy. Perhaps call a friend that speaks his language. Sounds pretty narrow minded ignoring him like that and "teaching him a lesson" like that. What a joke.
  10. Frontier-Lawn

    Frontier-Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,949

    if i cant understand them i just tell them im full up on clients this year. i just dont need any :hammerhead: from anyone but my WIFE.

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