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should I refund an unhappy lawn customer

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Antiskell

    Antiskell LawnSite Member
    Posts: 40

    Partial refund...and a the boot. Send all your accounts a birth notice thing from vista print with pictures on it separate from the monthly invoice.( ask the wife/sig other), this way they know, and feel closer to you. Many will find more common ground and instead of the lawn goon, you become the family man working the pay the bills, it works.......
  2. GreyFlames

    GreyFlames Inactive
    Posts: 90

    I think a 100% satisfaction guarantee is always the way to go.

    This does not mean that your first resort is issuing a refund. If they are not satisfied, you first pin down there issues to something specific. In this case you know exactly what the problem was. You should offer to correct that problem, even if they are no longer a customer. Commit to a time frame to get it done and make sure to follow up after you complete it. If it is just not possible to do so and they ask for a refund, you should do so.

    Bad press has a larger impact than good press.

    That being said, sometimes customers are crazy. I subscribe to the idea of firing PITA customers annually. It frees up your time to work for more people with less effort.
  3. cutyourgrass

    cutyourgrass LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I have a customer that I do either on Wednesday or Sunday every two weeks. Wednesday is the normal day unless it rains. Well, about 7 weeks ago I start on his lawn at sun up and after doing everything but trimming the hedges, I get a call from my dad to tell me my sister just died. I left a message for the customer of what happened and didn't charge him for that visit. He tried to get me to bill him but I explained that I did not do the job 100% and would not charge him. I told him that my personal issues are just that and I apologized for not finishing.

    Now, I still have my account and I have had numerous people ask for me to do their lawns. he is a commercial account and has a lot of customers. It's a hair salon that you have to have an appointment to even get in for a simple hair cut. So, WORD of MOUTH.

    I do fall clean up and pressure washing with my lawn care as well. I have one who now wants his driveway pressure washed and then painted. All from word of mouth and taking a hit when I must.

    Plus, I always give an extra service not paid for. I don't tell them and let them notice it on their own.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  4. chuacro

    chuacro LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 598

    I have been full time for 6 years. I have not lost one customer due to bad service or had to discount service. I have turned down potiential customers due to their comments about what they expected their LCO to do for their payment. I am too old to play games. I still have 75% of my first year customers. I like to pick and choose and life is great.
  5. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Posts: 1,074

    That's the key. Pick and choose from the very beginning. It may seem rough financially, initially, but if you take a look at the long term results, it's very productive way to have a great customer base. I haven't advertised for 4 years and get referrals regularly. The initial sacrifice is definitely worth it. Now I don't have to pick and choose because the only people I am referred to are people who are after quality and not price shoppers. payup I'd rather do 20 lawns at $50.00 per than 40 lawns at $20.00 per. Profit wise that is.
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    I picked up a lady this May. She was tired of no speak English workers hacking her shrubs when line trimming. A LCO owner that never came to handle her complaints. She was paying them $40.

    I told her I don't send a crew I come and do the work, and won't rush through her yard for $72. She went for it.

    She has an occasional nutsedge poking up in her lawn I just pick them and leave them in the top of her garbage pail. Why do I do this?

    She had a cesspool replaced. The lawn settled. I brought a 5 gal bucket of top soil to fill it on 2 separate times. Did not want to bury the grass. Why do I do this?

    This past week she had removed four 4"x4"x8' that made a border for an 8'x8' garden on her back lawn. Her mom passed away and she used to grow vegetables. Now it was over grown with thick weeds 2' tall. I just went to work on it with my line trimmer. Then mowed over it till it looked cleaned up as good as it could be done. Then went over that spot with my blower to get rid of the few stubborn grass clippings. Did not ask for extra money for any of this extra work. Why do I do this?

    Why you may ask, because as cutyourgrass has learnt this is how you get good referrals.

    The two reasons why I do these things for this lady.

    This lady is always nice to me. Worried her son was going to be gone for 3 weeks this summer and wouldn't be there to pay me when I get done as usual. I told her no problem I will collect later during the week when I knew when she would be home.

    This lady always gives me an extra $8 tip every time.

    This is the way to fill your route with good customers.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012
  7. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 409

    Partial refund for value of trimming, and then wait and see. If she still insists on a full refund, I would explain that you have charged only for the value of the work completed. She does not know you, and she may not realize that you rarely disappoint, and could become a good client.
  8. Lawn Pawn

    Lawn Pawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from zone 3
    Posts: 568

    This should be on the top of everyones invoice they send out !!!!!

    OK... maybe not, but these are words to live by.

    Sounds like you been there done that enough.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 5,225

    i wouldnt refund her...just walk away and be glad you dont have to deal with her eery week anymore
  10. tgraus

    tgraus LawnSite Member
    Male, from Wyoming
    Posts: 23

    Only charge her for work completed and count your blessings. Life is to short to deal with non-human clients.

    My wife after taking abuse from clients for a variety of reason over the last 18 years tore into a hard to deal with client this summer. She told him he was "Mean" and since he was 3 months behind on payment was a "deadbeat" and a drain of society and then she told him he was cancelled!!!. The guys was taken back, paid up his account and begged to continue being a client...he is nice as pie now but some folks think they can abuse the gal on the other end of a phone just because it's a women. When you mess with the horns ... sometimes you get the entire bull:)

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