If you've got just a minute could you help me.......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by watson, Apr 19, 2002.

  1. watson

    watson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Do any of you guys run into the problem of people asking you to do little extra things "while you're here." A lot of my clients are somewhat older, and lately it seems every time I stop by to cut their lawn they have a few "other" things they would like me to do. It's uaually lawn related, but not included in the charge we have established. It's a touchy matter because I don't want to lose their business, but at the same time they are paying me to cut their lawn and that's it.
  2. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    Politely tell tham that you are extremely busy and you will call them that evening with an estimate and can get to it next time you come to mow.
  3. Pro-Cut Lawns

    Pro-Cut Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    Yep..happens often. Along the same lines as Scott's Turf, I politely tell them I am on a tight schedule and have other lawns scheduled for mowing. I tell them I normally schedule all other work for saturdays and can work them up a price quote and get back to them.

    I guess we've all got stories, but a couple of years ago I had one 80+ year old lady that had 4 or 5 Tomato plants by her back door. Each time I mowed she would stand at the back door and have me pick off the ripe ones and hand them to her. The day she wanted me to put her trash out by the curb took the cake. I dropped that property in a hurry. It was a nice home in a nice neigborhood and they (her and her Son) wouldn't let me cut the lawn but every other week and the Son had it fertilized on a regular basis. It was a pain in the rear and I chalked it up as a learning experience.

    On the flip side, I have one customer that just last week asked if I would pick up a handful of sticks he had piled in his garden spot(literally a handful) and take with me and add whatever I needed to charge him on his next invoice. He's a great customer and I do a lot of landscape maintenance on his property throughout the season but he never expects me to do the little things for nothing. He always tells me to do the work when I get to it and invoice him for whatever the charges are. He has even driven to my home the same day of receiving an invoice and handed me the check. If only they were all like him......
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Well, I learned a long time ago that it's always best to go the extra mile in everything you do. The rewards will come later. I teach all of my crews to take care of small requests immediately and gladly.

    That being said, you must be careful how much EXTRA you do. It's one thing to take a minute or two for a few small jobs but you can't stay there forever. It seems reasonable to me that if we are usually spend 30 minutes at a place and the homeowner wants another 5 minutes worth of work, we'll do it. But if they ask us to do something that's gonna take more like 20 or 30 minutes, that's where I draw the line. If this happens, my crews will usually just tell them they are too busy that day but they'll let me know the customer has an additional request. Then I can go bid it.

    We will usually do things like this without charging extra: Moving garbage cans back to the house, hauling away a small pile of branches, cuting a broken limb off of a tree, planting 5 or 10 flowers, etc.

    I must say, we don't get this much anymore though. That's the nice thing about servicing in predominately Yuppie neighborhoods - they are never home during the day to bug us about anything.
  5. Tom_B

    Tom_B LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I would just do it,Some people just need alittle help.Yea most of you guys do this for a living and would like to get all the money you can for your time and thats great but i like to help people out if i can.I hate asking for money just to Pick up a stick or something but then again im just doing this for fun.

    I do some things for my neighbor,I get her mail everyday and take the trash out once a week plus i mow her lawn.I get 25.00 a week for the lawn (small) and 10.00 more for the Mail and trash.I would do the trash for nothing because its no trouble but she wont take no for an answer she has to pay me something.Every once in a while i do little things like set mouse traps and put stuff together and yesterday i had to put a nail in the wall to hang a Mop on...I just do what ever she asks and take money if she gives it to me and i dont care if she decided not to pay me.

    Some people are not doing so good as far as money goes,So i just charge for the things that are out of my way.

    Tom B :cool:
  6. sheppard

    sheppard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 542

    Get this account from a lady driving by stating her neighbor, who is elderly, needs someone to cut her grass.

    Go to her that afternoon at the end of the day. Says "yes, do my yard". The dat I do it she comes out and says (after I have put up my ower) "You know you have to move that car in the yard & cut underneath it don't you?". I said no I did not know that. "Well, get to it...". Later she walks out again and says "I want you to hand pull all the weeds next to the patio". I say the trimmer will do a fine job. she says" I WEANT THEM HAND PULLED!!!". It gets worse. She comes out a third time and says. "I want you to use this broom to sweep my porch". I say, this blower will do a better job. She says? "Don't give me that... use the broom instead". She comes out a 4th and I point out to her that there is a wasp nest somewhere on her patio and I stirred them up using her broom. She says... "have you got any wasp killer?" I say nope... she says "Well then WHO IS GOING TO DO IT!!!". I say, not me. Now about my payment...

    Well you get the story. It went down hill from here.

  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    get that all the time. just part o the service . anything over 5 min and their charged at my disgression
  8. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,732

    sounds like a jessica tandy movie... yezzzemmm mizz daisey...

    i understand some people need help but they should be GREATFUL when they get it, not demanding for a few bucks.
  9. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 590

    Its funny when you go above and bound normal for a customer, helping them take care of odds and ends for free.But when you give them a price for a trimm job or whatever they request they complain where charge to much.Even after all the little lthings we do for them for free!
  10. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    It may sound mean, but after awhile you learn that if you do work (any work, even small jobs add up) for free, all that happens is that a customer gets work done for free. I have found that it NEVER pays "in the end" to do work for free. Be very careful about doing "just a little extra".

    I have made it very clear to my customers that anything we do will show up on the bill.

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