First time in years I'm pissed at a (former) customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KirbysLawn, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    Need to vent....

    Have a customer I did an aeravation job for last fall, his lawn is now the best on the street. This May he asked me if I could work him in the next week to mow, he was going on vacation, I agreed to come by and mow it. He asked how much and I told him $35.

    When I showed up to mow the lawn the grass was at least 10" high, he does his own fertilizing. I had to mow the grass 3 times to get it at a decent height. After mowing I had to blow some areas and mow again to get the wet grass that was missed. After an hour and a half I trimmed around all vertical objects and split. I called him and left a message, told him I didn't edge around the paved areas due to excessive time spent on the grass.

    As of last week I still had not been paid, re-sent the invoice and got a call today. He said he didn't think he should have to pay the full $35 since I didn't edge..... :angry: ......

    I re-explained the noted above and things got worse. I told him to disregard the invoice and I would not charge him, didn't feel the need to argue over $35. He kept on about how I should have edged and when he returned on Sunday he had to mow again and it took him 4.5 hours, he then questioned my mowing job....really :angry: by now. I pointed out that I was left mowing 1.5 weeks of growth and he had failed to tell me the grass was growing 2" a day.

    Anyway, I told him again I would not charge and I would also be happy to remove him from my fall seeding schedule since he choose to question my integrity. He the said in closing he would send he half the money...I'm ready to cuss now, I simply told him not to send any money, and any money or check's would be shreaded and returned in the mail.

    Man that pisses me off.
  2. Phishook

    Phishook LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,143

    Oh man. Ya wanna hear mine. First time in a long time...

    Mowed twice in APRIL. Sent invoice first day of May.

    Blah, Blah, Blah. To make a long story short. I've mowed, and done all work scheduled on time every day since. Then billed the first day like always. But, the keep subtracting APRIL's balance!

    Talked to them several times about this. Excuses, excuses. Out of town, I thought we paid that, My mother died (I sent a card).

    $360 is not going to put me on the curb, but to drop these guys would definitely hurt.

    They do travel frequently, and this house is only used occasionally by them, so they are hard to catch. But come-on? APRIL!
  3. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    I just can't express how stunned I am about this. Last fall instead of just aerating his lawn I aeravated it, added a little seed for a problem area, he was not charged extra and he knew it.. He lives in a $500k house, not like it will kill him.

    I just mailed him a follow up letter, may post it here, need to think about that.
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    well ray,u and i dont see eye to eye on much. totally different operations.
    nothin wrong with that.
    but i sympathise with your situation.
    it stings a bit ,when somebody u help and think u can trust,gets to acting strange.[i use that term ,for lack of a better way to describe it.]
    i also think u are wise to take time and think it thru to the best conclusion.
    u will do that and i respect that about you. good luck in your other buisiness and just move on ,brother.
  5. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    I NEVER give an estimate over the phone.

  6. Catmann

    Catmann LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    I just gave a customer a $50 discount for a service I performed for them. They have been good customers for years and since I was in a good mood i decided to give a discount. I explained on the invoice that it was a because they were good customers, but then i get a message asking for an explanation about this with the "overtone" that maybe the normal price is too high and i was feeling guilty or something. Jeez, now I have to call them and defend the fact that I gave them a discount.

    Give and inch and they will take a mile!
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I know the feeling. It is rotten when you do someone a favor and later they nail you on a small technicality. We all know these nightmare jobs and it seems that you ran into one of them. Some customers can't see the forest thru the trees to use an old cliche.
    You were honest and trying to do the right thing but it bit you. The mowing part of the job was a loser off the bat and the trimming and edging is just more of a loss on that one.

    Yep the telephone estimate got you on this one and it has got me also. No more, even if I am high on the bid I just won't quote them over the phone. If the guy was decent and had enough respect for you, he would have listened to your reasoning and even paid you extra for the time you worked there. This guy is just the opposite and in the long run it is better to be past a customer like this.
    No matter how long I have been in the business I learn something every day. People are people, some you can get thru to and others you have to leave behind. You know you do great work, don't let one knock ya down.
  8. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    I am sorry to hear this happening. You have handled everything the way I did other then the surprise of the grass being so tall when you showed up but you spent the extra time and did the work. Cool off for a little while and decide what you really want to say in the letter to the customer. Don't worry you will pick someone else up if you decide to drop them. Best of luck to you in dealing with this situation.

  9. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    He lives in a $500,000 house? GOOD! That means he PROBably has good credit..... write him a letter and tell him it's going to collections - no messing around. If he threatens to sue, then just say. "Great. The lawn was mowed, just as what we agreed to do. The judge will see it as a hard working man who is trying not to get swindled by a money-monger. Just as the judge ALWAYS does. TAKE us to court!"
  10. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    ray--it is a shame for you to be treated this way.

    I hope that the (ex)customer will think better of his demeanor and call you back with an apology.

    and if he does, my money says you will accept and you can get past it.

    good luck.


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