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Re-Scheduling Fees

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by KLR, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. KLR

    KLR LawnSite Member
    from Zone 6
    Posts: 171

    okay, a real pet peeve of mine is homeowners this time of year asking us to come back another time because of leaves on the lawn.

    Recently I was on a lawn (call ahead customer, so they knew I was coming out) and the guy says 'come back next week, i want to get the leaves off first'

    this was a 15,000 sf lawn and I'm telling you, I could count the leaves on the lawn on two hands. It was also in a town that is on the out skirts of our service area and we dont have a ton of customers there. When we go out there every body gets done that day.

    Sooo, I explained to him that a handful of leaves is no problem and I would be able to give him a uniform, quality application with the granular product I was using.

    No go!! He said come back. (I should mention he is a prepaid customer and this is our first season on his lawn which by the way is looking very nice)

    This is where I decided to get creative. I told him one of three things could happen.
    #1) he allows me (the professional) to determine if there are to many leaves and I do the application right now
    #2) I put him at the bottom of the list...see you last week in Nov. Possibly first week in Dec.
    #3) I'll be back next Tuesday BUT there will be a $25 reschedule fee. (of course I had to get into this with him. 'We're in town today, for me to send another truck back into a town for one application means we're pretty much working on his lawn at cost.' blah blah blah)

    He said... Yeah, I guess there really isnt THAT MANY leaves...go ahead do your thing since you're here

    My experience is that most homeowners aint gonna touch the leaves until the trees are bare
    Those that hire someone aint gonna pay them more than once...come back when the trees are bare
    Many lawns have the same leaf coverage in the spring yet no one complains about the spring app going down then. (you know, these are the customers waiting for the wind to clean there leaves off)

    So, its now our new policy. $25 resheduling fee to return to treat a lawn we feel can be treated today but the homeowner insist we shouldnt

  2. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Posts: 707

    good for you

    this industry is screwing itself because of policies put in place by national companies 20-30 years ago!

    call any electrician for an estimate...its gonna cost you
    call a plumber for an estimate...its gonna cost you
    go to any doctor...its gonna cost you, even if its just to ask a question

    I had 3 flooring guys give me estimates to install some hardwood in my home...each one cost me $$$ (they all said the $$ would be refunded IF i hired them)

    Yet we are to give FREE estimates

    We are to go back another day because of some lame reason

    We are to give free service calls

    (had a guy last year come over to my house to look at a large screen tv that was acting up...he actually stood on my front porch until I handed him a check)

    Since this industry id run by small companies its high time we, the small business owners, started to change the way things are done

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    GOOD FOR U i hate that crap come back right
  4. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    We try up to three times to do the treatment...after that, we skip them. Had one last week (liquid weed & feed) -- called ahead the evening before so they would bring the dog in the next morning, but the dog was still out and nobody was home. We tried two more times this week (calling ahead each time) .....same thing.

    Seems that some customers do not realize that it costs gasoline, salary expense, wear & tear on trucks, loss of productivity, etc.

    Funny thing is -- this customer also wants us to reduce his price cuz he added a deck..........good luck on that:laugh:

  5. garydale

    garydale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 813

    Way to go!

    We also charge $5.00 for call aheads.
  6. KLR

    KLR LawnSite Member
    from Zone 6
    Posts: 171

    charging for call aheads is a good idea. we ask, when making the sale on a lawn that has a locked gate or pets, if its ok to leave a message on an answer machine. Majority of customers say yes...then we add we are not responsible if they dont play their messages. We will add into this winters prepay/renewal forms that if they dont play their messages and we need to come back...its gonna cost $25 rescheduling fee.

    Actually had another one today. Called ahead last Friday...spoke to the Mrs and told her we'd be out on Monday between 10-11am...she said fine. Guy gets there and the Mr comes running out as he is filling the hopper and said he felt the grass was to long. Guy calls me on the cell phone...I talk to the homeowner and said he needs to leave those decisions up to us,,,or pay $25 reschedule fee up front. Then he said "i guess it really isnt that tall". My guy gets back on the phone and told me the lawn was 3.5 to 4 inches tall.

    Counting the days till we call it a season. As I get older (mid 50ish now) my patience for this stuff is wearing very thin
  7. magland

    magland LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    I used to have a similar problem with a customer. I always had to call ahead because they had a locked gate. I think I was able to do the first 2 apps ok, then it went south after that. I would call to say I was coming out the next day. I would get there and the gate would be locked. I would do the front yard, then re-schedule to finish the back. The first time I blew it off as forgetful, the second time I became suspicious, and on the 5th app I got really mad. I did the front, and didn't bother to re-schedule. I decided if they couldn't take the time to open the gate, I wouldn't take the time to come back.

    Two weeks later I got a call why I never came back and finished the back, and I explained how they were costing me time and money and it was totally unacceptable. Never once did I get a sorry for not unlocking the gate. Of course, they refused to pay for the application and they wanted to cancel. I said don't bother, I already cancelled your account when I came out last time. They had absolutely no remorse for wasting my time, over and over. I feel sorry for the guy doing it now. I doubt they ever changed.
  8. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    Big diito magland. :usflag: We're just 2 hours from you on I-80 , so I'm sure you are running into leafy lawns too. We'll do as much of the lawn as we can (unless it's a total mess), flag the lawn, leave the bill, and leave a note that we'll return soon to finish the leafy areas. We are now skipping some leafy lawns in hopes they will get their lazy a$$ outside and maintain their property (I know I do, and I work seven days a week). We return periodically to see if the leaves are up. Usually that works, but for the "problem customers", we tell 'em we offer fall cleanup as one of our additional services. Sometimes they have us do this...sometimes not, so we end up skipping their winterizer treatment -- especially if we're talkin' after Thanksgiving.

    I remember back in the eighties when the local ChemLawn guys would carry leaf rakes with them. They would rake the leaves onto the driveway, then apply the granules. I always thought that was stupid, cuz I consider it to be the homeowner's responsibility to maintain the leaf problem....not the chemical applicator. :walking:

  9. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    Ugh. I have several gate lockers. And they all fail to unlock. So I do anything I can not to come back - loosen bolts on chain link, pry open, jump the fence and run the hose over... Sometimes I get a call asking what I did today b/c the gate was locked. I just explain what I "had to do" to get the job done and they seem to feel bad for me (though not enough to actually help me out)...

    The worst, though, is dogs. I have a guy who is soooooo nice, but at the same time has no qualms about insisting I always come after 5pm when he's home. This leads to conversations each time and I really chafe at the presumption that I am perfectly content to work till dark every day. Sadly, I do - but that's MY call, not HIS. His 6 applications have required 10 stops this year. If he wasn't in a neighborhood I'm in 2-3 days per week...
  10. ampeg76

    ampeg76 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 297

    i use to jump some fences to get the job done, got to thinking about it, and thought it was really a bad move to make, are we knowledgable professionals that deserve respect, yes, i got tired of feeling like a lawnboy that was so desperate for cha ching that he jumped fences, and i can't help but think thats the way many people view fench jumpers, so i quit doing it:)

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