For those with crews, do you get accused of...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    For the last three weeks or so I have gotten about 1 to 2 calls per week from clients accusing us of not mowing the lawn and charging them for it. These accusations simply did not happen until about three weeks ago.

    Every one of these calls have one thing in common: They are all coming AT LEAST seven days after we mowed the lawn. All have been from bi-weekly customers up until this morning. All of the bi-weekly customers were calling and indicating that we hadn't mowed there lawn in several weeks but every time it was like 10 to 12 days after we had last mowed. The first two or three times it happened, I panicked. Oh my goodness! I've crew leaders running around scratching homes off the list that are not even being mowed. In a panic, I would drive all the way out to the customer's home to take a look. Of course the lawns look like they need mowing when it's been 10 to 12 days since the last cut and we are this close to the summer solstice. It is hard to tell anything 10 to 12 days after the last cut.

    So the customers are looking at their lawns and they are thinking "The two week interval earlier this year never had my lawn looking like this. They must not have cut it last time."

    This morning, I get a call from a weekly customer. She says we didn't mow her lawn last week. I pull up her account. She is on weekly service and she is on our fertilizer plan. She is also on Thursday service. It has been a full 7 days since her last cut and she is just now calling to accuse us of cheating her. So I spent a good 10 minutes on the phone with her, educating her about the summer solstice and how grass grows faster right now than it does at any other time of year. We came to an agreement that if we miss a cut she will need to report it the next day. Otherwise, by the time I show up to see the lawn, I can't tell anything.

    What a headache. These people just look out at their lawns and assume we didn't mow last time because it's tall and ragged looking.

    Funny how so many customers call to skip cuts every other week in April and September but they NEVER call in June to request an extra cut when the grass is growing 10X faster. Over the years, I have had dozens and dozens of customers request that we skip cuts in April because it just doesn't need it. I have never, ever, had a customer call to request an extra cut in June because its growing so fast..

    Just wondering if other LCO's with crews notice this complaint when the grass is growing fast?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Hannah Lawn Service

    Hannah Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from Jax. Fl
    Posts: 14


    I have a bi-weekly who says that i need to lower my blades to 2 inches so that it doesnt grow back so fast. I'm like dude st. augustine grass in June - are you crazy? I think i will drop him if he persists. I dont want to have to replace his yard after its browned.

    crazy cheapskates.

    I have had 3 bi-weekly customers call me this week and req to go weekly. - they are smart
  3. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    I have had this happen, but I don't have a crew. I think with a crew, your customer are hoping that they can get out of paying for it, hoping that you can't know for sure whether the lawn was mowed or not.

    I think the reasons that they do it are:
    #1.) Bi-weekly customers don't give a darn about their grass so they don't notice that it was cut and/or don't place a priority on remembering when it was cut.
    #2.) Bi-weekly customers are flat out cheap and will try anything to get out of paying. They are playing the doubt card and hoping you fold.

    I've started making it a point to make sure that they acknowledge that I was there. If they're home I make a point of quickly saying "hi", or if the see me, I wave. If they're not home I leave a stick-on note, "Property was serviced today, thank you for your business."
  4. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,177

    This is where that GPS truck tracking system pays for itself when you have crews. You can have the company that does the tracking send an email to the customer in question. Stating exactly when the crew got there, how long the crew was there and when they left. That shuts them up pretty quick.
    Plus also comes in handy when someone claims something flew off your truck and hit their car. You can show them it wasn't you and where your trucks where at the time. Saved one guy I know $10,000 worth of damage claims. Some guy claimed a grasscatcher flew out and caused him to run off the road. He just showed the judge where all of his trucks where at the time. It wasn't him, it was somebody else with the same color trucks. :D
  5. sbvfd592

    sbvfd592 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 668

    yes sir! ofcource we can mow bi weekly for you 3 days ago can i go to weekly service? NO PROB Bob i will eaven take 5 bucks off the weekly price
  6. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    Leave a postcard or make up some of the sticky notes saying we serviced the yard today on such and such date at such and such time. No refuting that.
  7. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    I do the same thing. I leave a slip either with the owner if they are home, or on their door if they are not. The slip states the date, and what was done, I keep one copy myself, and the other goes to them. Each week, I staple that weeks work of slips together.

    Any problems? I pull out that weeks slips and I know right away if I was there, and what was done.
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I am just standing my ground with these idiots, insisting that it was mowed and explaining how the summer solstice affects the growth rates.

    If they want to dispute whether the lawn was mowed the next time this happens, they need to call me the following day...two days max.

    My customers know how good we are about showing up on the day we're supposed to. Out of 1612 mows this season, we were a day late on 8 of them. The other 1604 mows were all done on the day they were supposed to.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  9. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    Do your guys leave slips on the properties after they are serviced?
    I agree, that you might want to sent a notice out to these or all customers stating that any disputes must be made within 2 days of scheduled date of service.

    I agree with you, there is nearly no way to tell if a lawn was mowed 12 days after it was supposed to be. Hold your ground. It is usually the "bi-weekly" ones that are trying to skate on the bill, as others have said, they really done care about their lawn, much less paying for it.
  10. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I honestly don't think anyone is trying to cheat me. I think they are just looking at the lawn, they see how out of control it looks and then they jump to the conclusion that the lawn company didn't mow it last time.

    Here lately, we have had some real problems with the bi-weekly lawns looking horrible when we cut them. We've had highs in the upper 80's and lower 90's, a nice rain about once a week and we are within 30 days of the solstice. Needless to say, some of these lawns, even without fertilizer, are growing like mad.

    I have prepared a little note for my crew leaders to leave on the door when they really need to spend extra time to make a bi-weekly lawn good. Honestly, with some of these bi-weekly accounts, in order to make them look good, a three man crew would have to be there for 40 minutes to gross $25. We aren't going to do it.

    Here is the note we attach to the door when we have to leave a bi-weekly account looking bad:

    Today, ______________, we cut your lawn. We have done the best job we are able to do with the price you are paying. We are not happy with the way the lawn looks and we are capable of making it look better. Please realize, the lawns that we service on a weekly basis always look nice after we mow them. However we are only mowing your lawn every other week, and because we are so close to the summer solstice, the grass is growing very fast right now. There is so much growth that one pass with our mowers does not produce a clean cut. As we get further away from the summer solstice, this problem will be less severe. If you are interested in having your lawn look its best, please call the office to arrange an hourly visit.

    We simply cannot spend the amount of time on these bi-weekly lawns that we need to and have them look as good as they can for twenty five bucks. Some of them are ok EOW, but some aren't. Just varies. Can't explain why.

    DFW Area Landscaper

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