Made a mistake, lost a customer..

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by inzane, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,365

    I guess it happens, but i'm still confused about it. Supposedly i left the gate open, and when they let the dogs out in the afternoon they got out.. (they did get them back, which is good to know). I've always double checked these things, i'm very routine when it comes to this type of work.. going through a gate, i have always made sure to shut gates when i'm in the back yard, and shut back when i leave there. She said i did good work though, but that didn't help.. lol. I feel like a world class a-hole today, I think i'm gonna stop accepting customers with dogs and gates, to many other issues besides me being liable if the dogs get out, which is a pretty big liability. There is stuff i hate like Mowing over dog crap... and the times when They lelave them out and i cant mow.. ETC. All i can guess is that it didn't latch all the way, because i remember pushing it shut as i went back thru after i blew off the back porch. I am in the same area as this customer and the water company does go through my gates to check the meters every month, so for all i know it could have not been me. I still owned up to the mistake as it was mine, because who knows.. i could have made a mistake. i'm human.. won't be the last mistake. really been beating myself up over this.. great way to finish out the week.
  2. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 737

    We've all been there. Hate to see you lose a good lawn over a one-time occurrence.
  3. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 826

    I had that happen a few weeks ago, I swear I closed the gate because I always do, I'm thinking maybe it didn't latch or something. The lady's dog was out for a good 1-2 hours. Fortunately she didn't fire me. I tried to help catch the dog but fortunately it eventually went back in the house when she left the door in the garage open. We had to herd it back to the house.
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,144

    I don't know what to make of those cases either, he said she said I didn't but I could have swore I did and such...

    Then again I've been let go over far lesser things and I've been let go when I knew full well I was right and they were wrong, too.
    Guess it boils down to just doing the best we can because one thing I have learned, it's over either way and it ain't worth the argument.

    So maybe you closed the gate, maybe you didn't, still the best thing to end it on as good a note as possible.
    Maybe even say well I am really sorry but if there's ever anything I can do, you are free to call anytime.
    Have a nice day, and walk away.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  5. LawnGuy35

    LawnGuy35 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 137

    I feel your pain. Last year I was finishing up a lawn and the homeowner let her dog out. I'm not a dog guy, so I couldn't tell you the breed...was small to medium sized. Anyway, I left the back gate open a crack as I was blowing off her patio, and sure enough the dog took off through the gate. The lady's a bigger woman with a bad knee, so she couldn't chase after him. That was my job. Ugh. The dog was running all over the place. Through this yard, that yard, etc. I felt like Rocky chasing after the chicken. Finally I caught the dog because...get stopped to take a dump in the neighbor's yard, who was watching through her window. So I let the dog finish up and grabbed him right away. And of course I had to go to my trailer and get a bag to clean up the mess.

    And another customer thinks it's cute to let his dog out when I come to mow. Not so cute. The damn thing follows me row by row as I'm mowing with my push mower, barking at me the whole time. Even if I stop to pet it.

    Again, I'm not much of a dog guy, but I don't mind them. I'd just prefer it if customers kept them inside while I mow.
  6. Leland Lawn

    Leland Lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 235

    I think almost all of us have been there.
    Years ago we had a client who's dog got out and we were blamed for the whole thing, same as you. Well the dog had a tracking chip in it, and we had to foot the bill for looking up where the dog had gotten off to. I'm glad she had such a thing put into the dog, cause it saved a whole lot of time and searching! Although I can't say that we did any work there ever again. Live and learn I guess.
  7. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 737

    Man, I remember one 100+ degree afternoon a few years ago I spent 2 hours chasing a customer's dog who zipped out of the gate as I was trying to get the mower into the back yard. The mutt was having a blast teasing me, staying just far enough away that I couldn't get to him but close enough to hang his tongue out so I could see him laughing at me. I was hot, tired and furious. I can finally laugh about it now.
  8. cnymowing

    cnymowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 123

    I have a customer with a rickety old fence, a gate that will hardly latch because the fence is falling over from rotten posts, and a offensively trained German Shepard guard dog. I'm just waiting for the day when the gate blows open after we have mowed and the dog gets out and bites some kid... Nightmare!

    To the OP- things like that will happen, it might be a little overkill, but have you thought about a clause in your contract saying something to the effect of "______ assumes no responsibility for pets that escape"?
  9. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,082

    Lawn guy will always be blamed..
  10. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,903

    i was mowing a yard that doesn't have a dog. i leave the fence gate open while i mow and then close it when i'm done. a stray dog had gotten in there while i was mowing. i couldn't get it to go out so i just shut the gate and left it in there. i don't have 2hrs to spend chasing a dog around all day. lol

    there are some places where he can get out like where a creek goes under the fence there's this bar thing but he could easily crawl under it.

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