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I was begged to bag leaves when it was wet & ...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by carcrz, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    An elderly customer of mine decided that he wanted to "hold off" on mowing for the rest of the year because money was tight. I told him that I really wouldn't recommend it because I was still bagging leaves regularly, but he insisted. So I get this call on Tuesday begging me to bag his leaves. I tell him sure I'll move some things around, but if it's wet or raining it isn't going to happen. Sure enough, it rained all night (snowed later Wed evening) & he still called me begging me to do the leaves. I say okay, but it was still misty out. Well, I got it all bagged, but the Walker kept plugging up w/ wet leaves so in my opinion it looked aweful. It's a corner lot & the roadside portions looked really good, but the back yard had 6" of wet leaves on it so I had to keep going over it to do anything. Basically I was just mulching everything over & over again creating a compact layer of wet leaves.

    I think I'm either going to drop him next year or raise his price, but even though he begged me to do it I still feel a little guilty for leaving it look that way. What would you guys do?
  2. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,246

    He sounds like a PITA. Drop him for next year because hs is going to want more. No way would I have done that.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,201

    Need to add a 21" commericial Honda for that exact situation. The Honda will pick up the stuff pretty well after you mulch it, sometimes we blow it up a little before running the Honda over it. Our Scag Cougar will do better job in that situation than the Walker. It is so darn hard to unclog the Walker, I am going to make me tool to drag that stuff out.
  4. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Posts: 867

    I would immediately drop anyone who mentions money being tight. J/K, but unless he has been a long time customer in good standing, you may be better off referring him to someone who will cut on an on call-basis.
  5. RedMax Man

    RedMax Man LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,053

    Ya, I've had to deal with those oldies a few times, they can be a pain sometimes. If you can drop him and replace him with a better client then go for it otherwise just deal with their goofy ideas when ever they come around.
  6. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I don't allow my customers to run/ruin my business.
  7. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,884

    Ya its your business and you are suppose to be the expert. Don't let the customer jerk you around. You were correct in not wanting to bag wet leaves.
  8. MDLawnman

    MDLawnman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 229

    Carcrz -

    Why would you drop him? Charge him for your time. Better yet explain what your charge will be before you start. Judging from your post you are conscientious and did a good job on his property (or at least the best that you could under the circumstances). Show him the area that you are not really happy with and tell him why. I'd bet he doesn't see what you see and he is happy with your efforts. Does he pay you? I'll bend a lot with people as long as I get paid on time. We all want the super clients who just love us, never say anything but good things, smile and waive and always pay early, but judge your success on how you handle the PITA people too.
  9. Eakern & Dog

    Eakern & Dog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 431

    Good post ! I feel his pain,though. I get to where I want to drop the difficult customer(s) as well.It's hard, at times, for me not just politely tell them I am over booked and refer them to someone else. I dealt with conflict so much in my past professions that dealing with it now seems an "unfair" monumental tasks at times :confused:
    It's easy to forget that dealing with challenging personalities is sometimes part of this job too. On the other hand, I know how frustrating it is to have customers revert to an " a la carte" mentality that ends up costing both parties aggravation and sometimes more money in the long run than the previous plan.


    I don't know how much your service visits would have cost him, but as far as WET leaves go, was it possible for you have charged him at the very least whatever the service visits he canceled would have cost him( within reason of course) and any additional time spent beyond what those visits would have been ? ...........All in the hopes that he would see that it's the same price if not cheaper for him to continue with regular service. However,I know what a pain it can be !
  10. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    What mr rodfather said.if i did the job i would have blown the leaves onto a tarp and put them in the truck.

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