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First real PITA

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ken50, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. ken50

    ken50 LawnSite Member
    from tx
    Posts: 142

    Well, it finally happened, I finally got a real PITA customer. Started out a couple of months ago, a local realtor called me for a quote on three rental properties...two duplexes and a four plex. I gave him my price, which was competitive, but still allowed me to get $35/hour. Started working for him, then his wife stops me one day when I was working at one of the duplexes, and she wants me to come by and give her a price on their home. Small yard, about quarter acre, she tells me she should get a good deal since I am already doing three props of theirs. I give her a price of $25..she says they aren't yard people, just want it cut...ok fine. First time I show up, she says she wants it scalped! I tried to explain to her that scalping a yard in Texas in August isn't too bright!!! Her husband found out, hit the roof, told her not to have me scalp the yard, she tells him she never said that....we talked about if for at least ten minutes that day...she says it never happened...? Next time I show up, she says to bag it since she has brown patch? So I charged an extra $5 for that. She calls me Thursday last week at about 8pm, wants me to call her...I flat don't like the lady, so took my time calling her back...she calls again the next day at noon, so I call her back, she wants trees and shrubs trimmed. I tell her I am booked solid, but will try to fit her in next week. She says when, I told her I would call her next week and let her know. That is the other thing, she always insists on a certain TIME that I should be there, and don't DARE be late! She just called me again, Sunday evening and left a message to call her! I am tired of her like you wouldn't believe. Am I being too picky? Should I just take care of her? She is just such a PITA whenever I cut her lawn. She keeps complaining to me that no one ever keeps working for her very long, that they all just seem to disappear..I WONDER why? Is it me or is it her? Should I drop her? Just looking for some opinions.....
  2. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    Yea, she sounds like a bit of a pita, but Ive had worse also. Guess it depends on how bad you want the husbands jobs. Mite try only dealing with him. Some women just dont understand lawncare stuff, some do. I guess that can be said for some guys as well too :dizzy: .

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    If you're really booked up, you don't need to cut them any slack on the price, and I certainly wouldn't bend over backwards to be there at a specific time. Just deal with her husband, not her.
  4. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 607

    Are you still in good with the husband and the properties he hired you to do and do you want to keep him as a client? If so you might want to explain whats going on. (He probably already knows and understands. After all he's married to her!) If you want to continue working for her, request/require her to sign "work orders" stating the work you are to do and any "special requests or instructions". That would eliminate the, "I didn't tell you to do that" problem. Also explain you do not take or make business calls during certain times, you know after 6:00 p.m.before 8:00 a.m., or on Sundays. You get the idea.

    No, if you don't want to keep the account ......politely tell her why you and no one wants to work for her and move on with a smile. Life's way too short.

    Good Luck.....Jim
  5. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    At least the part about realtor and cheap/pitb in the same breath.. Fire her and forget them.. I was doing some owrk for a Realtor.. Thought it was nice to get these big clean up jobs etc, Then it dawned on me that every single job the guy was having me do was MAJOR PITB stuff that was tearing up my equipment. He's history now and I won't even pursue work from them in the future, When they call, I rerfer them to "Scrubby Joe's" yard service.. They seem to want the absolute cheapest work anyway..

    I see it this way, Realtor's and sleazy LCO's are made for each other.

    Sorry to hear about it Ken, I'm sure you'll find people who want good work to replace them soon.. :D
  6. STAN1366

    STAN1366 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 334

    "Mrs. Jones, I'd really like to keep working for you, but if every one of my customers wanted me to be at their home at a particular time that's convienent to them, I'd never get much done let alone make any money." Then tell her you'll continue until she can find another guy. If she really wants to keep you and NOT get someone else, she'll back off. If she doesn't make an excuse that their house is too far from your route and it costs you money in travel time. If that doesn't work then........ :waving:
  7. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 505

    So far what you've described doesn't exactly sound like PITA, just ignorant of lawn care practices.

    I have been able to work with people like this once I got them to understand that I have MANY customers to keep happy, and have to be flexible in my scheduling. Sometimes I tell them that 10 A.M. Lawn Man Time can mean anything from 8 am to 3 pm, depending on how the rest of my jobs go that day.

    If she asks for something off the wall like scalping, you just have to spend a couple of minutes on education, politely and non-condescendingly.

    The thing I keyed in on here, you are getting other work from this couple that you consider to be in line for your market. If you were just doing the house they live in and no other work, I might be more inclined to say "Dump her!" And in general, I haven't found realtors to be more of a hassle or cheaper than anyone else.
  8. venecular

    venecular LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 122

    She does sound like a problem. She made you look bad to her husband and by lieing on you and she clearly has too much time on her hands. I would just give a week or two notice and tell the "husband" that you simply do not have the time in your schedule at the moment to maintain the yard but would like to continue the duplex, etc.

    good luck
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    "mrs. jones, this is the way we do things at xyz landscaping: I GET THERE WHEN I GET THERE! there are too many variables involved for me to promise you a time, or even a day for that matter. if you want something done, and we agree on terms, i will give you an approximate day. if we can work together on these terms, that's great. if not, i'm afraid we can't do business."
    Kelly's Landscaping likes this.
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,347

    Real estate agents and developers and most of all property managers have left such a bad taste in my mouth I won't even meet with them any more. They always demand time frames and prices that cannot be met and think they are the most important accounts you have even if you only just met. The lure of many accounts has tricked me one to many times. Some here on lawnsite like to cater to PITA customers and swear by them I don't like the extra aggravation. I prefer to just have enough accounts to make up for any shortage in little BS jobs that the PITA customers send your way.

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