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Do these "problems" exist for everyone?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JCW-G, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. JCW-G

    JCW-G LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    This thread is in no way meant to: belittle,humiliate or discredit anyone. I have a serious question and,the only way I can find to ask it will sound like I am questioning another persons business practice.
    I'm not in the business now but, I plan to make Lawn care my full time occupation in the future. I have been visting this site for about two months to learn as much as I can about all aspects of the business. My only concern is having as many problems as you (Bobbygedd) have on any given day. I am the first to admit I have alot to learn but,it seems as though everyday you have some sort of conflict with something. I know in the past when you have been asked the question "why do you have so many problems",you have the reply of: you don't let customers dictate your actions,that's fine but not all your problems are focused on customer controversy. Is this what I have to look forward to when I am on my own?,allways having to post a thread on this site asking others "what would you do". Everywhere from estimate to collecting when the job is done,you seem to have some struggle with something. WHY Bobby WHY. There are people here that can help you.

    "It's clearly a budget.It's got alot of numbers in it.

    George W.Bush, Reuters, May 5,2000
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    As much as people disagree with me on this, it's all about handling yourself as a professional. That is a BIG item that I push to my customers, employees, and so on. Bottom line is as a business owner you WILL wear alot of shoes, and problems are about a size 14 1/2.

    For instance, I had a customer call us on Friday night and said he was having a shed delivered first thing Monday morning. He needed an area of his backyard leveled, graded and RCA put down and tamped. As a professional I looked at my cleanup schedule, knowing where my guys were and the fact that it rained 2 days prior and were expecting rain t2he next day I told the guy "I would love to help but I just can't get it done by Monday morning." He went and hired someone else to do it. First problem, they couldn't get in the back without taking down the fence. After that was done, I watched as they backed in and were sinking. After they got their 6 wheeler stuck in the back, they had to bring in another truck just to pull it out. these guys tore the snot out of the backyard, and now had to wheelbarrow everything from the front to the back. O yeah, and got a flat tire while trying to get out. Never finished and were out in the pouring rain today trying to get done. I can tell you there was no way they were even trying to tamp in that slop from all the rain.

    I guess the point that I am trying to make, is that sometimes people bring on their own problems. Yes, I am out that money but I knew that I would get stuck in the case of what I call the "PPP"... Piss Poor Planning. I have yet to find out what these guys charged, but I can tell you they definitely lost their shirts on the deal. not worth the headache to me. you just have to know when to say no sometimes. :)
  3. wrestlingcoach

    wrestlingcoach LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 251

    NO, but at the same time you need to be able to let a customer go (fire them) if they are not willing to work with you. And at the same time don't take offense if you are CANNED. Frankly, you can not please everyone nor can you expect yourself to please every person.

    As for me being a coach and math teacher, If a customer wants a certain day every week and I know I can not deliver that day because of family obligations/coaching duties or just because it is not even close to being in the same route for that day. You must be able to walk away and say sorry and be able to tell the customer, "NO, thank you."

    Another example, we refuse to bag, plain simple period, if you want us to we will not do business. And I tell them that up front if they don't like it I recommend someone else.

    Just set your guidelines and stick to it.
    Good Luck.

    Also I sure do enjoy Bobby's situations, because you can learn from him. Plus it is just funny
  4. CharlieBingo

    CharlieBingo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 400

    Almost every bizaar situation that Bobby's endured has happened to me. If your in business long enough you'll see it all. I gurantee an LCO will have more entertaining stories than an accountant!
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    jcw, the gentlemen on this website swear they don't have any of the problems that i have. i find that incredible. i know several men that have been in this business for many years, and they ALL HAVE SIMILAR PROBLEMS. now, they don't become "blown up" problems, because the lawn guy will always step back, bow his head, and sweep it under the carpet...in other words, give in and forget about it, and move foward. this practice has been going on for so long, that it has become considered "part of doing business." what i bring to the table, is something that clients have never been exposed to. i'm fair, courteous, and respectful. i'm knowledgable. the one thing i DON'T DO, which clients are accustomed to from the lawn service community, is- #1- i don't work cheap. #2- when i'm right, i'm right, period. no backing down. #3- the payment is due on the agreed due date. if you DON'T make payment, and you DON'T contact me to discuss it, your service WILL BE DISCONTINUED. this is a BIG problem. it seems my counterparts never, ever enforced due dates or late penalties.they don't even have written agreements. i know veterans in this area that let thier clients go anywhere from 2 months all the way UP TO 8 MONTHS behind. and never even address it. contrary to poular belief, i am courteous, and present myself quite nicely. clients seem to be in shock when they recieve a phonecall that thier payment is a week overdue. they are in shock when they recieve a cancelation notice. i try to operate like a real business, not someone who is afraid to adress realistic issues for fear of upsetting the client. there is not a guy in this area that enforces due dates, or cancelation policy. there is not a guy in this area that will tell thier clients the toys need to be picked up. the market is absolutely infested with guys working cheap, and doing extras for free. it's infested with guys who will take all the crapola a client will give them, and then send a xmas card thanking them for it. when i show up for an estimate, the clients are in shock when i pull out a contract, and go over it, and tell them to sign on the dotted line. they are in shock when they see the word "due date" on thier bill. they are in shock when the next bill has "3% late fee" added to it. they are in shock when i tell them fert programs must be pre paid. they are in shock when i pull up to do the mowing, and they have men putting up aluminum siding, and i can't cut the grass, and i bill them for the visit because they failed to notify me. in a nutshell, 99.9% of lawnboys are pushovers, and are veiwed the same way as the newspaper delivery boy. how would you respond, if you had forgotten to pay the paperboy, and he knocked on your door and said, "sir, your payment is a month overdue, and i'm canceling until it's brought up to date." you'd probably think, "who the hell does this punk think he is?" well, that's the same way the public reacts when they are accustomed to pushing the lawnboy around, and then they deal with me, and i don't budge. ok, listen, don't believe me, i don't care. you start your business, run your numbers, and figure out exactly what it will cost you to operate. then tell me if it becomes a burdoen on your wallet to move the picnic table and pool toys before you mow, tell me if you add an extra $10 to do it, how the customer responds to this. tell me what happens if you STRICTLY ENFORCE your companies policies. i'll make a prediction: you enforce real policies, YOU WILL HAVE CONFLICT. you don't enforce them, YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL LOVE THE IDEA OF BEING ABLE TO MANHANDLE YOU, but your business will be out of control. by the way, most of these guys are full of crap, they have told me in private how they have customer problems, and how they did something evil to get even, or allowed the client to rip them off. but, to preserve thier "professional" reputation, wouldn't dare put it here for all to see. any other questions, please feel free to ask. i aint hiding nothing, i tell it like it is
  6. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I have to totally agree with bobby on this. Many of times I DO have similar situations to Bobby, like stated above and I move on. While Bobby, doesn't move on, he handles it right then and there. Is he wrong for doing it that way? No, I feel he is not. A lot of times when I read his stories I always say to myself, man I wish that I could do it, but I am afraid of the customer coming out with a shotgun. Perhaps he is actually giving the industry more respect, by demanding respect from customers that would otherwise not show any respect towards us or him.
  7. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    No one ever said they didn't have problems, they would be a liar. Also, pretty much everything you have said is enforced by any credible company out there. Think you should really check into other companies before you go around pointing the finger. Either that, or leave the chip you have on your shoulder at the dumps next time you are there. Everyone always has to feel sorry for bobblehead, and yes I know everyone is always attacking you... sorry. :cry:
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    don't feel sorry for me son, i'll take on all of you, one at a time, 10 at a time, it don't matter to me. but, thanks for being so thoughtfull of my feelings :)
  9. JCW-G

    JCW-G LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    Thanks for the replies so far,I am in no way saying your tactics are wrong or unprofessional Bobby.They are just unconventional I guess.I have learned ALOT from this site and,I hope to continue to learn. I posted that thread,not to start crap but,just ask a question.

    "I think if you know what you believe,it makes it alot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question"

    George W. Bush, Reynoldsburg,Ohio
  10. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    You didnt have time to do the job that the customer wanted done at the last minute, but you were able to "watched as they backed in and were sinking"? Why were you there, just go to watch?

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