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How would you handle this?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MowerMoney, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. MowerMoney

    MowerMoney LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    I've got this senior lady customer who for 2 years now has prepaid for the entire season. (small yard 20 -25 minutes @ $25 x 28 cuts = $700 with no discount given). Last year it rained every 3 days so I cut every week. This year with the drought, I had to skip cutting for 5 straight weeks. She refused to water the lawn but had it fertilized all year (by another service). When the rains came, it grew like crazy (IMO all that accumulated fert kicked in) and I often had to cut it twice to make it look good. By the end of the year I managed to get in 25 of the 28 cuts. Now she's asking me for a refund on the 3 missed cuts (or 3 free snow removals). There was NO contract (will be next year). Every week I stopped at her house but she would tell me not to cut as it was brown and not growing. I tried to offer other yard work for the visit but she didn't need anything (very little gardening required). Lat week I tried to explain my position to her, and she replies "So I can kiss that money goodbye?" If I stand my ground she will probably not use me next year or at least not prepay the season.
    What would you do?
  2. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    page 37, section 3, line 8.... NO REFUNDS!
  3. kleankutslawn

    kleankutslawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,185

    lol.she might not prepay anyway next year since this problem has come about.try to work out a agreement where you will make up for it next season.that way you will at least know you will keep her as a customer
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    She should have given you a call with proper notice if she did not require a cut,instaed of letting you make the trip then saying not to cut..thats not playing fair on her part
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Get out of pre-pay and just go to a monthly billing is all.
  6. MowerMoney

    MowerMoney LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    She also made the comment that next year she will probably just pay for each as we go along. I usually bill monthly for most of my customers. It is nice to have some upfront money at the start of the season though.

    So I guess my only recourse is to give her "credit" in either snow removal or cutting next year?
  7. ProLawns

    ProLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 476

    If she is a good customer and you make decent profit on her lawn just give her the $75. It's really not that much money and if you keep a good customer it's worth it. But I would go to billing monthly since there's no way to predict how many mowings there will be at the beginning of the season.
  8. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    Explain to her that because of the accumulated fertilizer jumpstarting her lawn, you have had to cut it multiple times on each visit. During the season it is very difficult to determine the exact frequency of cuts due to the weather. In the spring you may work twice as hard for the same amount of money in double cutting and blowing just to clean everything up. The same occured in the fall. If you added came up with 8-10 cuts of extra work, she only paid 6 or 7 more dollars for those cuts. Then explain the gas and time you used to go to her yard to check and see. Also that gas was probably 3 dollars per gallon. I might do some weeding or something, but, It's not worth the hassel. Next year bill her monthly and raise her to a $30.00 minimum. That amount of money isn't even worth the time explaining this to her. It's up to you, but that would eat at me a little too much. Her comment of "So I can kiss that money goodbye" would bug me. I'd explain to her, and move on. She'll probably put some thought into it and understand.
  9. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    My answer would be BYE BYE. Of course I work with paid in advance monthly contracts that specifically state "approximately 42 cuts per season". With 24 named storms this year and 2 hurricanes that hit and 3 others that dumped rain like crazy, some people missed mows. So sad. I had one lady that was cut once in a 7 week period and not for lack of growth. Forget about rutting the yard, I was afaid I would lose the mower in the quicksand.

    The only thing she asked me was when I would have time to make and install some cement pyramids along the road to keep her dumb ass neighbor from driving across her side yard.

    Clients like this you keep. Cry baby clients that count cuts but forget about the overgrowth control get DUMPED.

    And most importantly $700 annually. Why even deal with any crap.
  10. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    If you are going to continue to use pre paid, get a contract, and in the contract state that prepaid fees are non-refundable or non-transferable to other services. Other than that, go to monthly billing with her, and raise her up a little next year. I wouldn't sweat losing a $700.00 a year mowing account, especially if you don't get any other add-on services out of her that equal or surpass the mowing rate.Keep the extra $ 75.00 and move on if she doesn't grasp at reality.

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