Firing customers to quick!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Bunton Guy, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,743

    Anyone ever thought they had this problem? Sometimes I wonder if I should hang in there a bit longer with PITA customers.

    Just this year alone:

    Lady complained 3-4 times about us getting grass clippings on her black metal fence. Claims she had to put in a hardscape 10X10 circle right at the gate entrance in order to stop us from getting grass all over the fence (circle didn't even eliminate that much grass) Would leave notes every 3-4 weeks taped to her fence telling us in bold letters "DO NOT BLOW GRASS ON MY FENCE" I was not in the mood for splitting hairs with this women so I fired her after 4 years of service.

    Next we had a guy who after aeration and over-seeding decided to make rude comments about how it "failed to come up in several spots so I had to do it right my self" I clearly told him no water no grass....go water it! Also told him that we would not mow for a couple weeks after seeding. He called and said his neighbors were bickering about how tall his 5" stand of grass was and that he had to mow it himself to satisfy his neighbors. And that he wanted to be there next time we mowed so he could discuss things with us. (not to mention he came out every week we were there to talk)
    I fired him!

    Had a older women try to get us to reduce our contract because she wanted to help her daughter pay for her kids college. I told her I would remove service from her contract to match her budget...she wanted ALL the services she was receiving for $50 less a month.
    I fired her!

    that "older womens" neighbor spat off at me one time because I didn't mow her backyard. I was able to sink almost ankle deep it was so wet. So she wanted me to mow it anyway. I told her it will streak & rut up pretty bad she kept telling me how her last guys didn't have a problem mowing when it was wet. I mow and a couple weeks later it's under the same conditions and I go to mow again and she comes out yelling at me because its to wet. She rants almost weekly how it looked better with the last guys. Yet she fired them because they cost to much and she needed to reduce her spending as she is a newly widowed woman.
    I fired her also.

    I guess I have a low tollerance for PITA customers. If I was only twice the size company and had someone else that soaked up the PITA phone calls and complaints I may have twice the clients. There is a few more I fired this season but im ranting to much as is.
     
  2. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    I have to make one of those phone calls monday morning. Guy didn't pay for 3 months. Has a habit of missing a month or 2 a year so I let it slide a little. Finally got a payment, but it didn't even cover one months work. I suspended service on Oct 1st and he just noticed last week. Just over 45 days of no service before he caught on. But the sad thing, from his phone message on sunday morning, it seems like he doesn't know why we haven't been there.
     
  3. Ethanslawn

    Ethanslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 283

    i do give people chances and i do explain to them why i didnt do this or didnt do that. Now i charge what i charge to make money, now i do this to make money, i dont make a killing because i have no commercial accounts. Mostly residential which cover all of my costs and then some. And if they dont like something i tell them on the spot you pay for what you get for (a majority of the time doing better work than most guys) thus why i do well in my area. And when they ask why something isnt done is simple either isnt the right time to do it (trimming and etc.) and when its wet i will usually just weedwack it down and mow around the area and show the customers (usually muddy foot prints/foot sink holes) and then they realize it.
     
  4. Tri-City Outdoors

    Tri-City Outdoors LawnSite Member
    Posts: 152

    I try not to fire clients I do charge them more based on PIA and I let them drop me.
     
  5. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Posts: 555

    Raising your prices so they to the point were it is worth it to deal with them or they will "fire you" is the way to go. I held onto a customer for a whole season and they kept making me wait until the grass was 8-12" high in the back because there front yard wasn't growing. I started cutting her the following season until she started to make me wait again so I dropped her, just made sure I was caught up on my money due first. She was pi$$ed because the grass was high when I fired her, I simply told her that the it seemed to me that she must have liked the lawn that high since she always made me wait forever to cut. I told her there were plenty of illegals and cheap low-ballers that can deal with her if she wants and to my surprise she never called to bother me again.

    Make sure you get as much of your money from them before you fire them, because obviously they won't pay after you fire them and its not cost effective to take them to court over it.

    Just walk away from 'em. :walking:

    -Michael
     
  6. cutbetterthanyou

    cutbetterthanyou LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,178

    Not trying to offend you, but if you got grass on the fence and didn't get grass to grow, then first 2 are your fault. Second 2 are probally PITA.
     
  7. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Posts: 555

    I agree that the fence could be your fault, make sure you are doing one or two passes around the edge of the property to keep the clippings off the grass.
    The grass not growing is 100% the clients fault assuming that you seeded, fertilizer, put down penn mulch or straw, and told them that they needed to water every morning before noon for two weeks and then could go to every other morning for another two weeks.

    -Michael
     
  8. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    I agree with you. I can be pushed for a while and then that's it. I'm done with you. "You can cut your own F$#%@!* GRASS! I've fired 3 this year. My fault/ their fault- I don't care.
     
  9. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,743

    Without knowing the lawn you wouldn't know the conditions. The fence is between a 5ft. section of grass. On the other side of the 5ft section of grass is there screened in porch that is floor to ceiling glass. I rather put a little grass on the fence (which I blow off every weed) then break a $1,200 pane of glass. Or get grass on the glass that they look through every day.
     
  10. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Posts: 555

    Okay, the only other thing you could do then is get a mulch kit on your mower, with one of the discharge covers. I don't use them so I don't know the name off the top of my head.

    -Michael
     

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