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How to handle problem with new customer?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by PastyWhite, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. PastyWhite

    PastyWhite LawnSite Member
    from Jax, FL
    Posts: 56

    On Monday I was out walking a neighborhood handing out cards trying to get some late business. It actually worked great b/c I landed 2 biweekly customers and 1 weekly.

    1 of the biweeklys was in her driveway and she asked for an estimate. We bid 30.00 for Mowing, Triming, Edging, and blowing. She said that the price was great and that she would use us. We told her that we would be in her area on Thursday (today) and would cut and leave an invoice. As I got in the truck she asked if we would do her bushes. I said yes and went on my way.

    Today I went and did the mowing and etc but did not do the bushes b/c I realized that we never agreed on a price and I didn't want to bill her without discussing it. When I got back in she had left a message saying that we missed a spot weed whacking and she wanted to know why we didn't do the bushes. She said that she has company coming and needs them done by this weekend.

    I think she thought that the bushes were included in the price of the yard. There are a lot of bushes and there is no way I could do bushes and the yard for that price. I am going to call her tomorrow and want to know the best way to handle the situation. Keep in mind that she has not paid me for the yard yet. I think I am going to apoligize for the missed weed whacking and tell her that I can come first thing Saturday and I will correct that and that I can do her bushes for 40.00 (low price for that many bushes) so that it will look good for her company. If she does not agree I think I am going to tell her that I'm sorry I can't do yard and bushes for 30.00 and tell her not to worry about paying for the yard and we can go our separate ways.

    Is that how you guys/girls would handle it? I want to get paid and I definitely want to satisfy my customer but I can't work for free and if she's going to be a pita I'd rather just eat the 30 bux and save all the future hassle.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    40 for trimming is low BUT-- Yes, always communicate.
    Communication is always the way to go.
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    $70 for mowing and pruning?
    I would'nt waste my time even going back just call and tell her the lawn was free. Might as well be at those prices.
  4. PastyWhite

    PastyWhite LawnSite Member
    from Jax, FL
    Posts: 56

    That's what I was thinking. The lawn is tiny so 30.00 is a pretty fair price. It only took about 15 minutes with me and another guy. It's a very small front yard and no mowing in the back just a little trimming. I mowed the front yard in less than 10 minutes and the other guy had already trimmed and edged the whole front yard and then we teamed up on the back b/c there is a pool so I held the blower while he trimmed the edge and then I blew off the driveway and walks and we were out.

    If she argues I'll just tell her to enjoy the free cut and to find someone else.
  5. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,513

    Don't jump to conclusions, yet. You think she thought the bushes were included in the price. Don't just throw away a potential good customer until you're sure you should.:)
  6. maxkicker

    maxkicker LawnSite Member
    Posts: 124

    i wouldnt assume that she thinks the bushes were included, actually if shes ever had a lawn service then i would bet she didnt

    id call her and say that you wanted to make sure she was happy with the price b4 you did the work, and that youd have given her the estimate the other day but (insert good excuse here) anyway heres the price for the bushes (more than 40 i hope) and i can have it done saturday
  7. Luvs2Play

    Luvs2Play LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    You mowed the lawn, she owes you for that no matter what happens with the bushes. I would tell her a "real" price for the bushes, after all, you are in business. Not going to make a living giving services away!
  8. Poncho25

    Poncho25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    I would have to say the worse thing you have going for you on this whole subject matter, is that she called you out on missing a spot weed whacking....that's bad!! So in her mind for now, she might have questions on the quality workmanship you are providing... Anyone can mow a yard, but it def takes patience and a good eye to make sure all the boundary are clearly whacked *no pun intended* ;) I know allot won't agree, but if you want to keep them, go with your original thought on the prices of the hedges, just let her know that is not the normal price, but being that you were at fault for not being fully commutative with her and that she has company coming over, you will break the price down to 40 bucks, then tell her what your normal charge is to take care of them...this is doing 2 things..1. its showing her your humble and admitting to a mistake and willing to correct it, 2. its showing her that you value her as a client with the price break for what happened...Also even if you have a busy day, try to make it a point to glance over the property when your done and make sure the edging and weed whacking looks 150% :hammerhead:
  9. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 909

    She wanted to know why you didnt do the bushes ?? just say that you thought you would wait until you could discuss the price with her and then go ahead if she is happy with the price. :)
  10. Mow"N"Bud

    Mow"N"Bud LawnSite Member
    Posts: 138

    My friend, get contracts. I carry an accordian folder in my truck with copies of contracts and other documents. As for the contract it is one that is filled out, except for the property owners name, address, the address of the property to be mowed and the time frame inwhich the contract covers. Then on the last page it list the specific jobs to be performed so you can cover your "6"! Good luck, and keep up the good work. If your out pounding the pavement it seem to me that you have the heart for this business.

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