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I am sooo pissed. Read and tell me if I handled this correctly?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ProStreetCamaro, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,140

    Now let me fill you in on a few things. This guy is a member of our car club. I have known him for a couple years and we are friends but not close friend that I hang out with. His previous company rarely showed up to mow and when they did mow they only charged $25 and I charged $32 which was more than fair. We would normaly get $35 for a lawn this size. I am going tomorrow (we cut it today) to take pics of the lawn to document how good it looks. This is a brand spanking new $800K to 1Mill house and they came from a townhouse. I think they just simply could not afford it and were to embarrassed to admit it to us.

    Hey Patrick,

    Keeping this purely business. I would like to cancel our lawn mowing/trimming service with your company. The trims and mowing haven't been done satisfactory, and the rate difference is hard to justify. You had mentioned you would have your dad come out on several occassions and he never has or never has inspected our yards as we discussed. There are still insects eating the leaves, and plants. There are a ton of spiders and webs that other landscapers treated to an extent that they weren't coming out.

    When originally signing up with you, we were under the understanding that this would not remain a problem.

    Anyway, please consider this PM notice that we would like to stop utilizing your service as of today 10/30/06. I have your last invoice of $210 that I will send out a check for this week.



    Hey no problem considering we just talked with your mom about 2-3 weeks ago and all she wanted done was the bushes trimmed in the front and a couple weeds pulled which we did the very next week. I never told you we could spray for bugs because that requires a pesticide license. She never said anything about doing any other bed work. If your previous company sprayed insecticide they were doing it illegaly. I would be willing to bet they dont have their license to spray if they are a mowing company. Thats why 99% of people have a mowing company and a seperate company that sprays for bugs, weeds and fertilizes. So if you want a bunch of illegals you dont know if you can trust or not on your lawn working for little to no money (the only way they could afford to charge so little for a lawn your size) then feel free to do so. I hope this didnt come across as being rude but I am sick of the trucks full of illegals doing work for almost nothing and working with chemicals that are dangerous to the environment with out going through the proper schooling and paying the high insurance like they should be doing.

    "The trims and mowing haven't been done satisfactory"

    That actually made me laugh out loud. The trimming has been perfect around the sidewalks, house and beds. Your backyard has looked fantastic and much better than the previous company or any of your neighbors. Was it the light and dark stripes you dont like (I do that on purpose because it gives a professional look and also looks like a ball field)? Also we havent left any skid marks on the lawn like the previous company did in a couple spots. So I am really curious as to what your referring to? If we didnt do a good job then all of our work wouldnt come from referrals like they do. We dont advertise because of this and to this day we still have out very first customer over 20 years later.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I would use the first part (up until the quote), and leave it at that. After that, I would just simply state:
    We are sorry that you find our rates hard to justify for the professional work we do. We thank you for your patronage, and hope that in the future, if you ever have need for our grade and quality of services, that you will consider utilizing our services. Please feel free to give us a call at any time if we can be of any assistance.

    Sincerely, xxxx

    By the sounds of it, it is NOT a quality issue. It is a "budget" thing. The statement he made "the rate difference is hard to justify" gave him away. If it was simply poor quality, he would have said that - and left it at that. Now, re-read this post 2 days from now, and you will see what I mean. Don't come off like "I laughed at you out loud", because that is essentially what you are saying. You are speaking out of emotion, right now. Don't burn your bridges...these people are VERY liable to come back to you...especially after they get a REAL experience with a poor lco. Now, once you write in the letter what I just put ; the part where I said. "We are sorry that you find our rates hard to justify for the professional work we do. " That will be clear enough. He will know what you are saying. He will know deep down inside that YOU know what the real deal is, but you did it gracefully....honorably. You just turned the hand over. You took the upper hand.
  3. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,733

    I think you handled it wrong. You are assuming the other company was illeagal and told the customer that. You should have just thanked her for the opportunity and told her to call you if she ever changes her mind. There was no need to bad mouth the other company nor tell her how great and perfect you are and have been for 20 years. You are suppose to be a professional, then act like one.
  4. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    I agree with Joe, but I'm not as nice...

    I think your letter comes off very un-professional and you are giving the customer an impression that you are a bonafide a-hole. Trying to divert blame to the previous LCO just makes you look worse.

    Re-write it, and leave out the part about the illegals, and how you laughed out loud, and the part where you accuse the previous LCO of applying pesticides illegally.

    It's the customer's choice - might as well be respectful, because as was said, they might end up calling you back...
  5. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,140

    The fact of the matter is they got what they paid for with the other company. The other company only showed up once in a while after countless calls and this came directly from his own mouth. Then when they called and cancelled the other company kept showing up. They showed up while we were there and none of them could speak english so it is a 95% chance they were all illegal as are 95% of the lawn companies in this area. You almost never ever see a white man doing lawn work around here. I am going there tomorrow to take pictures to document how good the work we do is.

    BTW we are not worried about them calling us back because we wouldnt take them back even for $40 a cut. We were doing it as a favor to them because I know them through the car club and they have had bad experiances with previous companies and now I know why. Lesson learned here. From now on we will no longer service anybody that we know personally.
  6. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,733

    I guess if someone that doesn't speak english wants to do lawns Legal, I personally have no problems.

    Just becasue someone doesn't speak english doesn't mean they are illegal.

    Why do you want English speaking illegals to have all the lawns?
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    You don't need to go all through it like this. Yes you did handle it wrong. Who your customers hired before and who they might hire after you is none of your business. It has nothing to do with your quality of work and you embarrass yourself by even comparing your work to theirs. You need not brag to him about how long you have been in business and how you don't need to advertise.
    I guarantee you he could care less. This kind of talk will not help you at all.
    No the whole reason you are pissed is because YOU made the mistake of doing this lawn cheaper than you normally would because you know the guy. You created this problem.
    Had you quoted the job at $35.00 or $40.00 like you normally would have he probably would not have hired you at all and you would not have any reason to be pissed.
    Now did you tell him that your dad would come out and evaluate his lawn? Did you tell him this several times and not do what you said you would do?
    You should be experienced enough and have enough faith in your work to know that his unsatisfactory work comment is just a way for him to justify to himself( NOT TO YOU) in dropping you. I am sorry but I would not have let him see my anger or lowered myself to even reply to this person.
    Not worth it. Really you need to keep your business correspondence business like and polite, regardless of how angry a customer makes you.
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

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


    I feel you pain, man! If there is one thing that will ruin my day, completely, it is a client who sights dissatisfaction as the reason they are cancelling.

    Having said that, I do have an exception to this rule and I am learning to deal with these types of cancellations better each time they happen. I have one crew who is by far my best. This crew has gone weeks at a time without generating a single complaint. I even had one client call to pay these guys each a $10 tip, billed through her credit card. Only tip I've seen in 4 years of being in the business.

    Anyway, I had a few clients cancel service this year who were being serviced by this crew, who sighted quality as a reason for cancellation. Each time it happened, I just thought to myself, "you know, if they aren't happy with this crew, there is no pleasing them."

    That is the truth, too. Some people just aren't gonna be happy no matter what you do.

    This client wasn't happy with the last lawn mowing company, and, surprise, surprise...he's not happy with you, either.

    As for clients who cancel by e-mail or letter, I can't stand it. Especially if they sight a quality issue and never made you aware of what their concerns were. It is hard to believe a guy in a million dollar home would be hung up on a price difference of $7, but he did mention it, so it must be a factor.

    Generally, the larger the house, the less concerned about price they are, but not always. I've got a lady in a half million dollar home who called me today complaining that our shrub man, who is outstanding, is too slow for $36/hr and she will be hiring someone else to trim her shrubs. Oh well. I take comfort in the fact that my shrub-man has generated one complaint in a year at this position and literally dozens of compliments. The last shrub-man I had generated a complaint on every fourth job. I hope she gets someone like that to trim her shrubs.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I'd say the real truth is that he can afford $25 a cut once or twice a month, but not $32 every week and now that everything is slowing down, the figure they won't need you again this year.

    People would rather insult your work as justification to cancel in hopes you'll also discount their last bill... they would rather do that than admit they can't afford you.

    My target market has been shrinking, and I ran into a few of those right along this time last year, and early on while I was trying to secure renewals for this year. It's hard not to take this personally.

    My advice to you is to gather your composure and then just 'drop in' on them in person later. Waste a little time confronting them for your own personal satisfaction.

    I'm sure you'll find out for certain they just can't afford you is all. Either that, or he was trying to 'squeeze' a free pesticide app out of you to take care of his bug problem. Otherwise, you'll be able to clarify things and iron them out if there was a real mis-communication.

    Me... well I seem to have a knack for being really 'frank' with people without crossing the line to unprofessional and downright rude.... and I'm good at asking 'leading' questions to get the information I need in order to analyize such situations.

    But in any event, take this experience with you into the winter and think about what I'm about to say.... "this is just one more reason why you should never perform services for someone without having a written agreement that covers the scope of the work you have agreed to do for the price... in detail."
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    There. Now THAT's a post and response (DFW's). As I started reading these other posts on this, I was actually getting a bit frustrated. I don't think we should be TOO hard on him (Pro Street), because as I said, he was acting out of emotion...he is human, and some people handle things different than others. I am willing to bet, that when he reads the outgoing letter 2 days from now, he will make some changes before sending. I loved what someone else said on here just a few weeks ago. Whoever it was, they told someone that anytime you are angry and writing someone a letter (like this), wait to send it, and read it over again a day or two later, and you wil see things different.
    Addition: Envy's post of suggestions is excellent as well.

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