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Dropped a PITA Account Yesterday

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawn-Sharks, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 912

    Sorry this is long winded, i just like for the new guys to see what all of us LCO'S that have been in the business longer have to deal with
    I dropped the account yesterday after i received her payment for the month of July, Well along with her payment she sent a list with a couple complaints!for the second time That just pi$$ed me off. But let me give you all a little history on this lady first...I am her 3rd LCO in the past year the original account went to one of the local lawn companies and this guy got fed up and dropped her and passed her onto my friend, now my friend had the account for a few months longer then the first guy- Well he got tired of her calling and emailing him about the most PITA crap you could think of so then he calls and says to me Hey! you still taking on account in this area? .....Sure what you got. (also he didn't tell me she was a PITA) So i go introduce myself and give her a price for service and with a confused look on her face she agrees and then says if the last guy didn't want to mow for me he should have just told me instead of sending you here to give me a price (awkward I should have just ran away when i heard that).

    Here's how it was with her.

    My first mow with her.
    Q: She calls Did you mow my lawn yesterday A: yes mam i did couldn't you tell? (her) well i got home late and couldn't tell because it was dark out and i haven't looked out side yet this morning. (Me) uuh OK! Go look I'm sure you will be very please with our work. (Her) ok. Click

    After the 2nd mow I get an email.
    Q: I noticed that the front yard looks taller then the back yard why is that.
    A: I mow you hole yard at 4.5" which is the max cut height for your turf grass and the only answer i can come up with as to why it looks like it cut at different heights is because you have thinning areas in your back your do to lack of water and fertilization. (She) emails me back OK! thank you.

    After the second mow i send her a prorated bill for the month of May then she sends me a the prorated amount + the amount for the next month (June) in advance, but the total amount she sent was off by $5.00 So i thought no biggie its only $5 bucks

    So in the month of June i get another Email.
    Q: My mother is staying with me and she was home ALL day and said she never heard you come and mow to day!! A: I don't know why she didn't hear me but if you tell her to look outside she can see i was there, As a matter of fact I'm here every Friday between 11:15 & 12:00 every time. (She) OK well i'll check when i get home.

    Then i get a phone call.
    Q: why have you not pulled the weeds out in my flower beds??
    A: Flower beds are not included in you service agreement and if you look at the copy that i gave you THAT you signed then you will see that it is not included. (her) well cant you just spray weed killer on them at least? (Me) Ma'am you declined the Non-selective herbicide spraying for your yard and asked for a cheaper monthly amount without it. So i adjust you account accordingly.

    So i get a few missed calls from her through out the month and she wouldnt return mine so i figured she was only wanting to complain about something.

    So i get her July Payment yesterday and she has a small list of complaints!
    Q: 1. Why are their clumps of grass on my yard after your done mowing
    Q: 2. I noticed that the week before you didn't trim my shrubs by the garage door.
    Q:3. Why did my amount increase by $5.00 this month
    Q:4. Do you use an Edger at my house because my neighbor next me me say it doesn't look like you use one?

    I replied:
    A: 1. Its rainy season and your grass is growing like crazy and is still retaining water and when i mow the grass its wet and sticky and bunches up under the mowing deck and leaves piles here and there, But i have been blowing in an effort to minimize the clumps left on your lawn.
    A:2. Yes i didn't trim the week before because you hired a company to mulch your flower beds and he was working in the flower bed were that shrub was so i skipped it that week.
    A:3. Your amount did not increase i told you what it would cost for service and you paid me in advance for June and you were incorrect by $5.00 but i didn't complain about it.
    A:4. Is it the neighbor on the garage side of your house? I'm sure it was, he asked me to edge his property and when i gave him a price he then Started complaining about the price and stormed off, I'm sure he's sore and trying to make me look bad.

    So her final reply to my email sent me over the edge and made my decision to drop her. Here's what her email said.
    Dear Lawn sharks.
    I feel for the price I'm paying you and it being rainy season i feel you should be coming out twice a week to minimize the grass clumps seeing that you will only be coming 2 times a month in the winter season and getting paid the same as 4 visits and i feel that by you just blowing them around that in my eyes looks trashy even if the yard looks good! Also even if the man installing the mulch was there working you should have waited till he was finished and then trimmed the shrub(what the hell am i paying you for!!)I shouldn't have to pay for these extras ECT,ECT,ECT she went on and on getting nastier & nastier! So to finish it off i sent here a nice Email stating
    It has come to our attention that we cannot provide the kind of personal service that only you can require, demand and expect, so with little to almost no regret must inform you that as of August 1st 2008 we will no longer be servicing your residence any longer. If you wish to, we can provide you with temporary service till you find another lawn company to replaces us. If this is something that you would be interested in, we will send you a bill of $65 per visit that needs to be paid in full prior to any work performed we know this will cost you more per week by doing it this way but you no longer have a monthly service contract with us. Thank you and have a good day:laugh:
  2. mikewhit1010

    mikewhit1010 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    Slammmmmmm......I have a lot of these. I was trying to figure out why I have more now then before. I am thinking its because people are getting tight on cash or they like the fact that have an LCO but they dont like paying for the service. Also people that want a lower price should expect a lower quality job. I know you where not providing a low quality job but just saying a lot of my customers will complain about my prices then ask me to cut them a break I agree sometimes and then they wonder why I didnt spend 5 hours on the shrubs making them perfect.
  3. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,434

    i just dont answer the phone. problem solved.
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    I'm on my way out now to mow. The first one for me is a old lady that complained a month or so back that she can't afford for me to mow every week. I told her that I can mow every 2 weeks but the price will go up. She agreed to just keep mowing weekly but can you clean up the flower beds while your here? I told her that my price is for mowing only like we agreed. So everything is worked out, I haven't touched the flower beds. Now, she wasn't home last week and told me that she wasn't going to be there. I told her thats fine, just double up the following week. This is the following week and I have this feeling she'll be complaining that I mowed the lawn and she wasn't there and try to get out of paying. I could be wrong and I hope I am but a gut feeling tells me she'll be complaining. I don't want to loose the account so I'll have to spend extra time to explain it to her that the grass will still grow if your not home and it will need to be cut regardless. I'll fill everyone in on the outcome.
  5. Dunlaps LawnCare

    Dunlaps LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 400

    wow ni thought i had seen it all
  6. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    Well, I'm done and she wasn't to bad to deal with. She paid for both weeks but she brought up trimming the bushes and that I need to save some time to do them. I need to clear some things up with her. I believe she thinks that I won't mow 1 week and she'll use the money to pay me to trim bushes. The thing is, what she pays me to mow isn't what it will cost to trim bushes. I could easily spend 6-8hrs trimming MOST of the bushes and I don't think that will cover it all.

    I think the whole problem happened when I told her I'd pull up some of the seedlings growing from the bushes that she asked if I would do. Mind you, this is a OLD lady, you know the type I'm sure, sweet kind hearted old lady that uses a cane to get around, limited income and lives in a huge home by her self. It took me all of 30 minutes to walk around and yank most of them out and throw them in the pile. Did I open the door for her to expect this each week? I like mowing her place but the money I get is just about right for the time it takes to mow and trim everything. I can't spend 2-3hrs there for the money shes paying to mow. I told her once before that doing anything other then picking up all the fallen branches, mowing, trimming and stuff that there would be a extra charge for trimming hedges and bushes. Now today she says that I need to save time to trim the bushes and the one outside this window here needs to be a foot lower so she can see out the window better! I didn't make the time to go over everything with her again as I have others to mow today. I have plenty of time early in the week to do everything she needs but I honestly don't think she has any extra money to pay me to trim the bushes and hedges. I'm confused a little on what I should do. I don't want to quit mowing her property but on the other hand, I'm not going to work for free. The grass is still growing 3-4 inches a week around here at most of my accounts. Heck, I'm still mowing my lawn every 5 days! So not mowing 1 week to trim "some" of the bushes is out of the question. Around a few bushes, it's getting harder to mow around and a few I can't go between anymore. I normally will trim back a few branches here and there to make it easier to mow but this would take me hours to do.

    Got any advice, I don't need to hear, "dump her shes a pita" kinda answer, she's a nice old lady with limited income. I'm going to get a sign made up soon and park it on her property. It's a big corner lot. Here's a couple of pics. First pic is of the house, the second would be to the right of the house. All the bushes and hedges are over grown. The bushes to the right of the second pic are the ones I can't go between as well as a few others not in the pics. These pics were taken in early May.

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just alittle worried that I'll loose the account over this issue.
  7. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    Also, the big trees around the house are Sycamore trees and they shed the bark like crazy this time of year and leave a huge mess on the lawn. I bagged it last week to keep it looking nice and clean. I came back and it was almost as bad this week! I chopped it up a few times to break it down but didn't both bagging.
  8. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 912

    Well its good she paid you! I wouldn't recommend getting rid of any account unless it gets to the point that the customer bugs the crap out of you all the time and expects more service for the same price and make demands to you like your a dog that is going to jump to her every whim!
  9. Phil G

    Phil G LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 843

    What a wonderfully refreshing bunch of threads :clapping:

    There was me thinking that jerks were only bred in England. It's nice to know they are truly universal. Some of the accounts I've had in years gone by want the shirt off yer back. :)

    Keep up the good work lads.
    atb Phil
  10. barefootlawnsandlandscape

    barefootlawnsandlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 296

    They were bred in England, but some them made it to the states and have passed on their tendencies to multiple generations! J/K

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