Dumping a customer before it starts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lsylvain, May 18, 2007.

  1. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    I just did an estimate for a guy. He seemed pretty cool at first, after I gave him the price he came back with a bunch of info for me so now I know he is going to be a giant PITA. Forexample he has already had his lawn reseeded by by true green beacuse they killed his grass. We have not had raid here in 2 months and eveyones grass is dead, I looked at the spots that were reseeded and there were 2 spots. One on either side of the driveway where he pulls in and runs over the grass so I'm sure it wasn't true greens fault he just pinned it on them. And their service guy just reseeded it to avoid the BS. Then he goes on to tell me that his current guy only charges $15.00 a cut and if it doesn't need to be fully cut he only charges $7.50. I've seen his other guy around and he looks professional enough so I don't really see him doing that, but maybe he is because this guy drives him nuts.

    So here is my thing, how should I go about dumping him without looking like an ass as there are a couple of other places on the same street I want to try and pick up. He gave me an in at raising his rate because he stated that he wanted a set day that I mow, so I could raise the rate on him, but what if you takes it? I don't want him, period. I'm also affraid that if I bump the price too much he is going to run around telling people that I advertize one price and then raise the rate after I have them hooked "bait and switch" type of thing. I kind of have the feeling this guy has learned that if he wants a quality job he is going to have to pay more, but I don't think he will ever stop being a PITA and I'm going to get blammed for everything and anything that is wrong with the property. I just don't want the hassle.

    Should I just ignore him?
    should I tell him that I just got a really big job and don't have the time?
    What do you think?
  2. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 508

    To get in the neighborhood...i would maybe just deal with the bs at first and do the job. Don't do any extras without charge and hope by the time he's really getting on your nerves you'll have other jobs in the area and can just drop him. Done this before and it worked out pretty good. I mowed for about a month or so and picked up two other great jobs and when something crazy came up we ended the service. Doesn't always work this easy and is easier said than done but best of luck to you.
  3. johnnywill08

    johnnywill08 LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA z6
    Posts: 372

    $15/cut?????? how big's the yard??? it better be tiny b/c for 15 bucks that's an awful ot of stress. been there done that, just dumped a $50 cut on a nice lawn because i could not make them happy.
  4. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,667

    You're very Polite, lol.

    Two days ago we pulled into a yard to fertilize and spray weeds. While my guy was doing the front yard with the spreader (1500 sq ft) the old paki lady comes out and says she is glad we showed up because they are sick of their old weed guy (I have no experience btw). So I thought right on, then the 25-30 year old son comes out and asks me what ratio the fert is blah blah...

    I tell him since you're home you can pay now. He says oh you're doing this for our lawn guy you should talk to him. I said what!?! I don't subcontract and I never heard nothing about that are you paying or not. I also told my guy to stop spreading fert. The paki says oh yeah but I'll let you talk to my dad. Phones his dad, hands me the phone, I argue with the old paki.

    I just dropped the phone on the cement stairs and said VERY LOUDLY *UCK THIS! we're outta here. I also crumpled up my bill and threw it on their lawn.

    If I here that accent again, I'll think twice and for sure get paid first. I should have thrown at the stairs instead of just dropping it.
  5. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Crazy idea....honesty. Call him up and tell him you've decided you don't want to work for him. You're self employed, you don't owe him any explanation. Or did you think he'd want to hear what a PITA cheapskate you think he is?
  6. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    If he gripes, just tell him that you are doing exactly what you said you would. I did that w/ a current PITA & he hasn't complained since. In fact his wife even paid me $25 extra this month for dealing w/ him.
  7. lawnworker

    lawnworker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 899

    Drop him, Drop him, Drop him...
  8. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    I just want to figure out a way that I can tell him I'm not interested without being an ass. I'm thinking that I should just tell him that there is just no way that I could ganantee any certain day of the week or something.

    Maybe something like this.

    Dear Customer,

    After going over our recent discussions in my head I feel that it would be in your best interest to find a different lawn service to meet your needs. Given our current circumstances I do not feel that we could provide you with the service you want. As you stated you would like a gauranteed set day of the week and we simply cannot give you such a gaurantee on your property. It is because of this and some other circumstances that I must opologise but we regretfully cannot accept your account at this time. Thank you for your time and allowing us to give you an estimate.

    I think that accoplishes the things I want. I'm turning him down but I think in his duleted eyes he is going to read. "Sorry your job is just to hard for us to handle." But I read "You are a tool and I don't want to fight with you every week because this blade of grass only grew .22 inches so I should deduct that from the bill."
  9. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    Sounds good. You might want to do a spell check before you send it though. Recommend a competitor to the headache. hahaha
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Thank you for your time and allowing us to give you an estimate, but we regretfully cannot accept your account at this time.

    Just the above is fine. No other explanation is necessary.

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