How would you handle this customer?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by dvlscape, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. dvlscape

    dvlscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    So last fall I did work on a floating fountain for a new customer. Did a good job, got in good with one of the wealthiest clients we've ever had....7 acre property in the middle of high end of town, 2-3 million $ house easy.

    So my two best guys are working there today, On their fence, just as we were contracted to do. For some reason the wife let the dogs out for like an hour, she knew we were there working on the fence. The dogs stole a couple tools from the guys and barked at them a few times but wasn't a huge deal. they were digging a new post for the fence they must have cut the electric fence. My guys said as soon as they realized the collars stopped beeping on the dogs, the dogs realized it too and ran out the fence section they were working on. At the same time the wife came out screaming, in a big hissy fit, yelling at them. The dogs were caught within 5 minutes. She proceeded to talk down to my guys and tell them to use "common sense" and my foreman said he felt like an 8 year old mexican boy the way she was talking to him like he was stupid.

    She must have called her husband as soon as the dogs got out, screaming and such. He then called me and yelled at me, saying "its just a pupp, our other dog is sick" oh my god! on my cellphone?!? I just kept my cool and said I will call my guys and have them get the dog. and then he hung up on me.

    Let me say how important of a client this is. Huge property that needs work, and he is the VP of a major developement company, so there is the possiblility of a lot of commercial install work.

    What do I do here? just send them the bill and not say anything. I feel they should apologize to me or my workers but not really sure. Should I apologize for the dogs getting out? Do we want to even work for people like this? How would you guys handle this? What a mess.
  2. rmmllc

    rmmllc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    People love their pets. Emotions were running high. Give them a little slack, I'd apologize and ask if they could keep their dogs in while you work so "my guys don't make the same mistake again"- that might help them realize it WAS common sense (on their part) not to let them out. Wealthy people are like kids- they aren't used to being told "no" and they can throw tantrums when they don't get their way. Just a fact of life I guess.
  3. integrityman

    integrityman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,713

    Swallow the pride, the $$$$ will be good regardless of the abuse. Compliment them on what wonderfull pets they have and politely request that they keep their pets in the house while your men work on the property... and in case they dont, keep some dog treats on hand. These folks are obviously very arrogant. Ive found that confrontation with the proud usually winds up with me on the losing side of the coin... especially if there is $$$ to be earned.
  4. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    First of all hi neighbor {telford here} i personally would try to keep the peace and just swallow your pride till cooler heads prevail. Seems like a customer that could potenionally give you tons of future work or refereals. Im sure they felt foolish afterwards and i wouldnt doubt that they dont come to you with an apology sometime soon. Anyway im sure your good work will keep you in good terms.
  5. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    Ya Sure, or you just got the sneak peak of what they are really about and you should listen to what your instincts are telling you- money should not be your only determining factor.
  6. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

  7. Ric3077

    Ric3077 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,113

    I would apologize and from now on make sure all pets are indoors or in a kennel when you are on the jobsite.
  8. dvlscape

    dvlscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Yeah that sounds good, I'm thinking I'll call him early next week to see how the fence looks and make sure he gets the bill. I'm thinking about apologizing for the dogs getting out and letting him no its a good idea to keep the dogs in or on leashes when we are there working. Not really a solution and I still don't really know how he's going to react when I do call but I guess we'll see.

    Yeah the money only makes things better to a point but once the headaches and stress are mounting its time to question, why bother?
  9. qball98

    qball98 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    This is what I hate the most about this business people thinking that because they have a little money they are better than everyone else! You said they were you two best guys working on the job. Now how long do you think they are going to stay around if you let people treat them like that. How much money do these guys make you every year? I think good help is worth more than any one client. I say finish the job, get paid and then tell them you don't think this relationship is going to work out and move on. You have no guarantee of any other work from these people. If it would have been me they did that to I would have packed up my tools and left right then. Being rude when you are having a bad day is one thing but they were disrespectful and that is a whole different ball game. You are not the kid down the road mowing for spending money you are a professional landscaper act like one. Professionals don't take that type of treatment.
  10. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    Dvlscape be careful, I have been doing ths as long as dirt is old, and with that experience I can confidently say their is some very bad advice posted hear in some replys to your careful

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