So (YOU) want to get into the biz?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Full throttle lawn care, May 18, 2006.

  1. Full throttle lawn care

    Full throttle lawn care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 151

    All I can say is good luck with idiots. This is my first year and it was going great until lately. It all seem to start when I took out my clients bathroom window that cost me 108.00 the week after I had a couple clients call and told me to skip there yard do to a lack of rain and there yard was looking find. Then when I show up it's out of control and ends up taking me an extra 20min to do the yard. If thats not enough one has the nerve to call me at 9:30 tonight to inform me that I broke his sprinkler pipe thats under ground and it flooding the lawn and that It happened from my mower running over it. Mine you these are pop up sprinkler heads that are under ground when mowing. He now wants me over there to fix it or he will know longer need my service. He owes me 150.00 as of now and if I don't fix it I will more then likely will not get paid. And then you have (can you do this and that it will only take a second). Ya right! Just venting guys I'm just getting fed up with people and there penny pinching ways. And I though this was going to be easy money.:hammerhead: What was I thinking?
     
  2. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 470

    I am with you man. My trimmer guy missed a 4x2 strip of grass at one of our properties today. The guy called us back at 8:30pm and told me to come back and fix it. I was actually wondering to myself today if it was all worth it?
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    First off I have a rule:
    My company and I are not responsible for damage to or from objects in customer's yard.
    In return for this, the customer is not responsible for damages to myself or my equipment.

    Because here is the problem:
    - I break something of theirs, who pays? Me?
    - If my stuff breaks, say I hit a water meter with the mower, who pays? Me again?
    I don't think so! 50-50, but you need to be up to par on security and safety measures.

    Ok so the window is a tricky bit because of the rock issue, you really need to learn how to minimize damages and not trying to be funny, it just takes time because this happens to all of us. In the following years you will get better but I think you did the right thing replacing the window, at least the first time or so around that you break something, do fix it. In the future you might find that rocks in the yard are not your fault, but again the first time around I know I paid for a few things because we are new and it takes years to get better but I have not broken glass in many years now, so it gets better.

    Far as sprinkler systems are concerned, those are generally not your fault! The exception to this rule is if you touch a pipe with your weedeater string and you cut it, you should fix that...

    But underground pipes are the customer's problem, I am sorry but you are not responsible for every customer's individual sprinkler systems and their failure or whoever installed it. As for the threats, first if they owe you money what I would do on a threat of 'we will no longer need your services' is simply say 'ok' in a very non-chalant way so as to get off the phone asap and without suspicion. I would next cross them off the schedule and place their account in collections immediately.

    Yeah, there are some things basically if you break it then you should fix it but only if it is really your fault (like if you hit the car with your truck or mower), but this underground pipes and like toys in the yard and crap like that is beyond your control and therefore not your fault. Same thing goes for sprinkler risers that fail to recede or any sprinkler thing that just isn't the way it should be and you hit it, oh well! On this note, I like to carry those marker flags in my truck and when I see a trick spot in someone's yard, I stick a flag there which stays for some time (at least until I can remember the spot). So get some of those flags, you buy like 100 of them at Home Depot for 8 dollars or so, this helps a lot for you to remember but also the customer sees that and it makes them feel good, too.
     
  4. garth1967

    garth1967 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 640

    this guy owes you 150 and you broke his sprinkler....yeah right.thats exactly how i would put it to him too.anyway welcome to the learning process.im in my second year,as time goes by you notice a pattern of behavior with some people and learn how to replace them and see them coming.dont let these current situations take the wind out of your sails.cheers:drinkup:
     
  5. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Posts: 7,214

    Don't fret. After your first year its all lollipops, moonbeams, sugar and spice.....Yeah RIGHT!

    I had a client of 10+ years call me up this a.m. and tell me to get the "F&*%" over to his house and turn the sprinkler system on (somehow I FORGOT). Its always something, usually not life-threatening, tomorrow is another day. You develop a thick skin. Relax have a brewski.

    James
     
  6. Full throttle lawn care

    Full throttle lawn care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 151

    Some people think getting the clients is the hard part. It's much harder keeping clients happy week after week and getting paid on time and dealing with all the crap that goes along with it from a to z. I wonder what tomorrow holds for me? Beware this time of year because chances are you are getting a call from some idiot that just lost his lawn care service.
     
  7. garth1967

    garth1967 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 640

    mate i understand completely.as one guy said toughen yourself abit but also dont take all this to heart.the hardest thing when starting out is knowing when some complaints are legit or are utter crap.you will work this out in time.........oh and in the mean time try and enjoy yourself:drinkup:
     
  8. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 292

    Jeeeeeez.. I have never really had any problems with clients.. My biggest PITA customer is my girlfriends mom.

    BUT, if anyone called me up cussing, you had better believe that'd find a dead line really quick. I dealt with that at my last job, and my last boss found out that I won't take that $hit from anyone. I'm not a baby or a kid, no one talks to me like that. I did once break a wire to an electric fence, the homeowner called me saying "you broke my ****** wire on my fence, my dogs are gonna get out and you'll have to come catch them." I called him right back and said "Listen, if I break something or miss a spot, I'm more than willing than come and fix it, but YOU do not call me and speak to me like that, understand? I am on my way right now, and after this, please find someone else to take care of your lawn."

    If I wanted to be bossed around, I'd work at macdonalds.

    edited
    reason:
    Language
     
  9. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    have insurance, be more careful, and YOU are responsible if you break something, no matter what you are told.....

    YOU control the mowing schedule, not your customers..... YOU decide when to skip......

    these things will help alot.....
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I am noticing a larger than usual non-payment percentage thus far, I have a feeling it has to do with higher gas prices but as far as I'm concerned, if you can't afford me then do it yourself!

    What really ticks me about the non-payers isn't someone whom I've had for x-many years and one time oooops they forgot to mail the check, that I can tolerate. But what I can't deal with is the people who never paid the first dime and so then I strongly suspect they never intended to pay in the first place, that frustrates me.
     

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