dont know how to handle this client

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by environment, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. environment

    environment LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    I take care of the lawn maintenance of a country club up in my neighborhood. It is easily my most expensive account, losing it will seriously hurt my income and cause some financial problems for me. I was ill with an Pneumonia for a few weeks, Lost over 20 lbs as a result, it was pretty bad, as a result I was unable to get the pruning done in time for a major party they had. Since I have been sick I have had two employees handle the lawn maintenance each week. One is great, the other guy is just not getting the hang of the weed eater. The manager of the club left me a message tonight saying that he wants to cancel his contract immediately and not to show up ever again on the property. Apparently since I have been unable to attend the lawn maintenance the weed wacking has been a below standard, which I am sure is true, they broke a light, which has yet to be replaced. This one employee is causing many problems for me, but I cant think of a way to replace him while I am still recovering and I have my wedding this weekend, and honeymoon all next week. If this all isnt the worst timing, I dont know what is. I desperately need to smooth things over with this place, any advice on how to handle it, he is a very difficult man to begin with.
  2. OMG

    OMG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 275

    First of all, good luck to you on your situation, your health and your marriage.

    Now, what I would do is 1st thing in the morning go talk to the guy----be straight up with him. If it's that important of a contract for you tell him. Tell him what has happened. Tell him you're in a bind.

    My guess is he will give you one more chance and you need to make the most of it......

    Again, Good Luck!
  3. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    I am no pro at dealing with large accounts like this but if this were my account and i got sick, i would call the guy up and try my best to reassue him that everything will be fixed and that it wouldn't happen again. My 2 cents, also, congrats on gettin' married.
  4. MrFangs

    MrFangs LawnSite Member
    from Zone 8
    Posts: 119

    Fire the worker! He lost one of your best accounts!

    Call the client and inform him you are deeply sorry about what has happened, and would like to make it up to him. (Discount maybe?) Also, tell him you've fired the worker.

    Just try to get an average Joe to replace him. Most people can work a line-trimmer.

    Congratulations on the wedding!
  5. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,232

    This is an unfortunate situation that will be hard to reconcile IMO. Hind site is always better but I think the guy should have been let go a while ago. If I was sick I would have handed the account over to a trusted LCO friend until I recovered. Im not trying to bash you at all but this will probably be a lesson learned. My biggest concern now would obviously do what you have to do to keep the account, and if thats just not going to happen try to leave on a possitive note so not make a bad name for yourself. Dont let this stress you out to much you have a wedding and honeymoon coming up, I wouldnt let work interfere with that.
  6. StealthDT

    StealthDT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 97

    If he cancels the contract, just do what I did. Dump a load of manure at the front entrance.

    GR8LAWNS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Probably wouldn't even be an issue if it weren't a country club.They have members who complain about everything, the greens, the rough, the fairways,the bunkers, the food, the service, the weather, everthing. The guy who called you has to answer to the members. Good Luck !!!!
  8. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    youd be suprised how many people cant handle a trimmer or even a blower.

    ive told a couple other kids on here talkin cocky how they going to hire a couple buddies to run crew so they can double yards and kid can double his money. they dont think about what to do when their buddy does this. fire the bad one, you and good one mow full time together. if cash flow is poor, then one of you two is going to have to take a pay cut. i doubt if they would give you another chance at club. replace light and charge employee who broke it. sorry to sound harsh, but this is what youre going to have to deal with when you have employees. the most profittable lcos are solos or pairs.
    good luck.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Unfortunately, I don't think there's much you can do to save this account. By the time someone tells you that you are fired and not to step foot on their property again - that's a good sign that it's MUCH too late to try to fix the relationship.

    If you were in the position to do this account yourself for a few weeks, while you found a suitable replacement with a brain, then maybe you could beg your way back into the contract. But even that would be a long shot. And since you are taking off for a few weeks anyway, this is really a mute point.

    You're in a tough situation. Getting that sick obviously set you back. That's a bummer. But you probably should have made better arrangements for that property. I can't believe this is the first time the guy has called you in the last several weeks. Most people - even difficult people - will at least give you a chance to fix your mistakes before they just outright fire you. So in hindsight, you should have probably paid more attention to his complaints a few weeks ago and hired another LCO to take care of the property temporarily and hired a lighting company to get out and fix the light - ASAP - if that account really meant that much to you. But you didn't, so where do you go from here?

    Well, use it as a learning experience. Next time, train your employees better. And if the guy who did all this isn't trainable, bite the bullet and fire him. I know it's hard. Especially when you are just starting to grow and haven't had many employees before. Firing people is never fun and it doesn't really get any easier. You're taking away someone's income. And if you have a heart at all, that's always a tough thing to do. But regardless, this is business. And business decisions need to be made with more analysis and not so much emotion. So the guy may be a very nice guy. He may have a family to feed. Whatever. But that's not your problem. Your problem is your business. And your first priority is to make that business succeed. So let the guy go, explain why politely, and find a suitable replacement. Then train the next guy better so stuff like this never happens again.

    Don't worry. You'll land more big accounts like this. We all have minor setbacks along the way. Why do we fall down? So we can learn to get back up! When you return from your wedding, get back up and go at it stronger than before! Best wishes! :waving:
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    I agree the account is dead in the water.You really can't put the blame on anyone but yourself,yes you were very sick that was not within your control.But the way you handled it was
    knowing the one guy did bad work and useing him on your best account,that was within your control,having a freind or family member or wife to be go over and check on the work while you were sick would have been an easy way to divert any trouble.That was also in your control

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