How to deal with forgetful customers

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    I have one elderly lady in her 80's that seems to have some form of alzheimers or memory issues. Each time I come to her house I have to call her cause she doesn't hear the door bell. THen I have to explain to her that she choose me to cut her lawn and it's $25. It only takes me about 20-25m by the way and it's very sparse so it's easy on the equip. Anyhoo, she always forgets that her lawn has even been cut this year and that she'll try me out ( even though I'm on my 4th cut with her of this year ). She forgets who I am and thinks that it used to be $20 last year. BUt I tell her that she is a new customer and I charge $25 but do a pro job. Then after about 3-5m of talking on the phone she will come to the door when I tell her I'm outside awaiting payment. Then she'll want to talk some more about the same things. THen she'll tell me to hold on while she gets the $, then she will take another 3-5m to get the cash. And I just wonder if it's worth it. I feel sorry for the person, her having such a sad condition and all, but? Maybe I should try and contact one or her sons and see if he would just pay me in advance or something. I hate to see her go to a nursing home, but she's not far from it I'd say. My grandma had the same kind of thing. Both actually. But I won't go into that. I just wondered how u guys handle something like that. I hate to drop her cause she needs someone to do it and I need the $ right now as this is my first year.:confused:
  2. Your Lawn First

    Your Lawn First LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    I have the same issue wiht one of my customers. What I did is what you suggested call a son or daughter and let them know what is going on. To tell you the truth if she is that forgetfull she is probably not handling her money either. So yes call a son or daughter. As for cutting her lawn, continue to do it even if you do it for free, it is always nice to cut older people homes for free or even for a small fee, others will notice this and see that you are nice and caring, I know it sounds funny but trust me it will pay off in the long run.
  3. LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    Personally, The easiest way would be get her to sign a contract, and send her an invoice.
  4. Turf Professionals Inc.

    Turf Professionals Inc. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    I disagree with capelawncare. If she does not know that she get her grass cut by a professional, then how in the heck is she going to know that she signed a contract? Then she is going to forget to pay you any way, then what are you going to do? Put a lein on the house? I would call a member of her family and explain to them the situation. This way they know that you are not trying to take advantage of her and that you care for your clientel. May generate some more clients, or may just generate some better sleep at night.
  5. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,667

    I've had customers who developed Alzheimer's. They seem to disappear after a while.. get put into homes or, if they are a spouse, the other spouse will deal with me.

    One guy, one year was telling me his whole life story. He was in the WWII, he had pictures of his mobile Artillery. After the war he worked in the Canadian Pacific Railway as a chef or something.
    The next year he barley said anything and the year after he was a total Veg. Now he's dead.
  6. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    I have a client close to that. I have to bill her daughter who lives out of state..... Just remember, she needs your help. I am not saying you are treating her bad or anything like that but we forget that its her generation that fought the wars and built this country to the point that we get paid good money to cut grass. Just be patient with her and try to contact a relative. Good luck.
  7. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    THanks for the insight guys! Now I believe I'll make a better decision! That's a sad story about the ww2 vet. I don't want to go like that no matter what. Hopefully the good lord will let me go in my sleep after a full life and full mind.
  8. Lohse's Lawn Service

    Lohse's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    from US
    Posts: 213

    I'm in agreement with just about everybody else on here. This business is not all about the money, but good deeds go a long way. Make the right decision and may the Lord bless you and your patience with this customer.
  9. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 802

    Of all things..... she "remembers" it was $20 last year.:hammerhead:

    Go through the relatives. Just send them the invoice.
    You may want to have the relatives put somthing inside the house, (biz card on the frig) so you can reference that when she has ???'s about who you are.
  10. APV's Mowing

    APV's Mowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 105

    y man this is my first year too and this lady wit the same thing called me to cut her lawn and then i came back the next week and there were huge stripes on it from a bigger company and i was like ok wtf is this **** then she just told me to keep mowing her lawn and she would deal with the other guys that she "didnt" know and so i kept mowin and and this went on for 3 weeks then i think the other company gave up or somethin i dn but ya it was really confusing and she still doesnt know who i am and thinks that i send her bills at the end of the month but she pays me weekly???....??crazy

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