Lost my best customer today!.. Im not happy

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by QualityLawnCare4u, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    I have a customer that I have had for 6 years, one of my first ones. Neve complains, pays on time, tips well. gives me a 100 bucks cash for Christmas. Told me if I see anything that needs doing not to worry about the money. Even told me if I ever need any help would do anything he could including loaning money (which I have/never would ask) Last week I went by his house to trim a fast growing vine hedge behind his house and he came out and snapped at me not to do it, he just paid me 6 weeks ago to do it. Mine you he has always been ticky about this hedge kept trimmed if I had to do it twice a month. I thought to myself "what the heck is going on here"? I also chainsawed a large oak limb in front yard he did not ask me to do free of charge because he had been my best customer. Today I pull up and unload ztr and what is sitting under his shed? A 7500 comercial toro ztr. He then coes out and tells me he does not want me to cut it anymore, wants to do it hiself. but wants to know if I will still weedeat it for hime and trim srubs. He has over 300 bushes, trees, flowers and beds in yard. Some srubs are over 15 feet tall and I have to use a ladder to do them. I have been doing his srubs about 1/2 what I should be carging. NO MORE!! I never ever thought I would lose this client. I even started to post a thread about him was sp great. He started complaining about how much he was paying me and his first job he did not make that much a moth (hes 79 years old) I set their in disbelef. Folks, what the h@ll happened here? I did not see that coming. Let me tell you something, your cusomer is NOT your friend and they dont givea rats a$$ about you. Today I changed my attitude. I am going to be pofessional and nice, Im going to do top quality work, and I am NOT going to ask hows your family or whoever is doing, because they could care less about you. I read a thread awhile back titled :do you think your customer cares" I think it was by older-n-dirt. I did not agree but Im starting to feel the same way as many times as Ive been roughshodded over. This yard hurt badly because it made my equipment payment but I will try to recover, my phone aint ringing off the hook though. I also am not going to do all the little freebies Ive done over the years like hang blinds,take trash can to road,move toys and tramploines for free, and dozens of other things because you mean nothing to them. Sorry for the rant, Im really a nice caring person but it is being beat out of me fast.

    Danny
    Quality Lawn Care
     
  2. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Sorry to hear it dude.Sounds like someone had a talk with him and told him he was paying too much for lawn care.
    It's hard to think at times like that,but I'd loved to have asked him if at his first job he paid all of his SSI and had to pay for insurance,and did he have to supply 10,000 dollars worth of equipment and maintain it and did he have to send a bill to his employer,hold his hand,and did he ever do free jobs for them?
    You're right though.I learned quick how little we're appreciated.I never give out free advice anymore.I charge for everything and if you don't like it,see ya!
    I've lost alot of bids because I won't underprice jobs and I won't work illegally.
    Better to have a clear conscience though.
    Remember,it's gotta get better :D
     
  3. RichmondR

    RichmondR LawnSite Member
    Posts: 106

    Danny --

    Sorry to hear that. From a customer's point of view, do NOT stop doing those little things/freebies, etc. because they help you in the long run. Dont use one incident as a basis for changing your attitude about your customers. As you know, I cut my own lawn, but I use LCOs for fertilizing and landscape projects, and I notice the little things all the time. Over the long run, and over all your customers, a quality job and a positive attitiude will put you way ahead.

    Unless you cant go back to him, he seems to have offerred you some of the work, which may ultimately lead to more work; see what you can work out.
     
  4. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Nick, he bought his own mower to use because he said he liked doing it. He has told me many times that he knows Im cheaper than I should be. Oh yeah, forgot to add that he gave me a 15$ per cut raise this May and I did not even ask for it.
     
  5. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Rich, I dont usually get upset when I lose one but this one was personal. Im thinking at his age he may not be able to do it. Im really upset about him complaining about what he pays and its been fine for 6 years and all of a sudden he turns into a grouch. He also complained about me not shuttimg the gate "just right" and has never complained before about anything. I really dont feel like I would be comfortable with him after him complaining about pay and Im doing it reasonable now and its been fine all these years. Has complmented me ever time I mow or trim how good a job I do, People, go figure. I guess this one really hurt my feelings.


    Danny
     
  6. printer88

    printer88 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    I understand how you feel.I had one customer who always kept her eyes on her wristwatch.It drove me crazy.My brother and I were planting shrubs there one day and while he was digging I was carrying over the plants and getting them out of the pots,loosening the root ball,getting the water hose etc... and she comes out and says "I think that would go faster if you both had a shovel".We just looked at each other as if to say should you go off or should I,but we kept our cool.Some customers are just greedy.From my experience the ones with the most money are the greediest.We stopped going there after that day.And she is not missed at all.BTW after we told her we would'nt be coming back she still tried calling for a while.I guess she can't get decent help with her attitude.All this being said,most of my customers are awesome.Thank God.
     
  7. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Someone who enjoys doing their own lawn doesn't hire someone to do it.They
    don't suddenly,after 6 years of having someone cut, decide they like doing it either.I stand by my thinking that someone has been talking to him.Maybe a neighbor,maybe his wife,but someone has changed his mind for him.
     
  8. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Nick, the way I done his yard was I mancured it every other week, and the off weeks he mowed it with a old dixon ztr. His wife is the one that really liked the way i done it. He told me years ago she always complained about him not making it look like I do. i guess when the old dixon died and he got the new toro he decided to save some money. Also he is so ticky about his exotic flowers that the first time I cut it he followed me every step behind mower to make sure I did not hit any. He told me he was comfortable with me as seeing how careful I was and was not used to someone else mowing for him. After that for 6 years has been perfect customer. No Nick no one else has talked to him I would stake my reputation on it. I think he just wants to save the money since he got new z.

    Danny
     
  9. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Well,heck that makes a world of difference.You were mowing EOW and he was mowing in-between?You're not out anything then if he still wants you to maintain the landscaping.Now you can replace him with a weekly account and do his maintenance on the side.
     
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Followup:

    Hey, I just got a call from the mans wife and she wanted to know if I would still come once a month a do yard. He does not weedeat or edge, just likes to ride his new z. Also asked me to do the hedges because they looked so bad, did not care what hubby said. I dont think she was happy about the situation. Geez, I dont need no quarrels LOL

    Danny
    Quality Lawn Care
     

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