Should I regret dropping this customer?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassredneck, Apr 3, 2004.

  1. grassredneck

    grassredneck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 150

    Considered this cust to be a pretty good guy but he's incredibly picky about his lawn. 45$ a week for a pretty small lawn but have to call ahead so his wife can unlock the gate so I can get into the back to push mow it. Put dn 49 bales of straw at $6 each and he's left me 3 messages about not getting the straw under two of the 18 shrubs and feels my price is high. Have returned 2x's in '03 to cut his lawn again because he felt I didn't have the height correct. He's willing to pay the $ and I typically feel like I need to do everything to keep a cust but I got fed up and called him from the hospital after seeing that he'd left me yet another message (my wife was in labor with our 1st kid), I'd offered to return to correct the straw and did bring over a bale but didn't see where I'd missed; but we aren't ever on the same schedule, Sorry about the length of this post
     
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I had a guy similar to this last summer. We could never do anything correctly and it was a pain in the head. My employees hated doing the lawn and a lot of times they only wanted to do the lawn when he wasn't home. He would stand by the window and watch them and as soon as they did something he didn't like he was out the door complaining. The lawn normally took 25 mins, but at most times it turned into a 45 to 50 min job because of him. Finally it was in our best interest to tell him to find someone else that could take care of him better.
     
  3. grassredneck

    grassredneck LawnSite Member
    Posts: 150

    Thanks for the reply, I actually like this guy but it seemed as if he thought of me as his own personal landscaper, I forgot to mention that he'd bought several Leland Cypress and expected me to just bring over some laborers and charge him an hourly rate, I truly don't think he realizes how hard it is to commit so much time to his one acct
     
  4. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Sounds like you did the right thing. The dude should just do his own yard, or betteryet, get a job! That way he won't be there all day with nothing better to do than rob you of your time. Remeber, yer time and labor is worth something to someone else down the road.
     
  5. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    I find the best way to deal with people who think that you will do extra work "while you are there" are best told upfront that you run a schedule for each day/week and wouldn't want to be late to work on their lawn. So you assume they will understand that you need to provide others with the same courtesy. If they call ahead to make you aware of additional work they want done, you can schedule it and everyone can get done on time.
     
  6. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 916

    CHARGE ACCORDINGLY!!!! If you think you can put up with him for a little longer then raise his price to where it is worth it for you. If its too high he will drop you and he will be out of your hair.
     
  7. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Good advice, Precision. I've had to do that myself in a similar way.

    Grassredneck, if you do as Precision has advised and the guy still does the same tricks, he is just slapping you in the face. At that point you'll have the right to set the record straight with this guy and move on!
     
  8. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    Folks we are in the Customer Service business. If the Customer wants to be serviced gladly do it and charge accordingly. I service mostly very high end homes, my crews are frequently doing things that were not scheduled for that day. But they contact the office and tell us what they are doing and we work around what it does to the schedule.
     
  9. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,927

    I've had a similar problem, and now realize we weren't communicating properly. Man/wife often said they wanted things done, and I did them as I found time. My letter at the beginning of the season said, "...grass mowing ... other jobs as time permits." Last Summer, the weather was great for mowing, some extra customers came aboard, and I was working to the maximum, just to keep up with mowing. They called somebody in to trim some bushes, but I did some mulching, and other odd things. I felt they were upset but they never stated clearly.

    This season I sent them the same letter. He called, "...aren't you going to do 'everything'?" "...no, I've never intended to do everything." After further discussion, I became aware they regarded me as their personal gardener. I never had that vision, nor did I ever convey that in my letters. When he called this Spring, and I better understood what he wanted, I suggested he find somebody else. A few days later, he called to tell me he found somebody else. I will be interested to see how it works.

    Telling them about my schedule and that I was busy just didn't work. And, I have found that story doesn't work with anybody. Most understand that I'm sitting around the house for six days, waiting for their turn to mow, drive to their house to mow, then return home for more patio and iced tea time. Perhaps I have conveyed too clearly to them that I regard them highly as a customer, to the point where they think they are my ONLY customer.

    I think the man will be angry when he sees how much he will be paying for 'everything.'
     
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,406

    I ran in to the personal gardener crap last year with one guy infact I got stiffed $385.00 he felt he should be weeded and have his bushes trimmed every week but he never felt that he should need to pay for it. All I got was this is the most iv ever paid for this. I was very fair with this guy I can only think he had some one working for 10-12 an hour for him. ThatÂ’s something I am not in business to do. I think you made the right call we actually went out to dinner and celebrated when we got rid of that jack azz.
     

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