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Sticking by your customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Green Finger, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    Ok not sure if this was mention. You have a client that you charged top dollar. They paid on time. Tipped also. Never complained about their bill. You do the work they pay. When your mower broke down. They were patient. When your goffie employees broke a window at their house. You paid for it but they were fine.

    Now they have lost their job.

    Question do you continue to cut their grass. until they can get back on their feet?

    Do you stick by them when they stucked by you?
  2. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    I think there is a small difference between them waiting a couple days to get their lawn cut while your mower was in the shop, and you totally floating them lawn maintenance services while they have no funds coming in. I'd say if they know they will be back on their feet soon enough and can still afford paying at least a partial payment for a couple months and agree in writing to make up the remainder in a couple months when they are cashing paychecks again, then it might be a risk you would be interested in taking. The problem is that even if you guys figure out a plan and get it in writing, there's still a chance you might end up getting burned. I guess this is a classic "risk vs. reward" scenario. Personally, if they won't even be able to make partial payments for a couple months then I really have no use for them as a continuing client.
  3. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    So I have you down for a no pay, no play? (mow)
  4. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,444

    Yup, and if they end up filing bankruptcy... you're toast.

    Your heart is in the right place but it won't feed your family.
  5. ktfinch2000

    ktfinch2000 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 42

    I Think so to a certain point. Maybe offer to do thier mowing discounted until they get on thier feet orfor a few weeks. Its a tough question because everyone is hurting now. People are beating everyone up for deals these days. I do custom cabinetry full time and landscaping part time. I have had potential customers looking for custom built cabinets for way less than the big box stores charge. They know there is no comparison in quality to what I offer but they use the economy excuse like a pair of underwear lately. I had a women call me today and wanted an 8'x10' l shaped kitchen done. She thought she could get cabinets custom made for a $1000. I can even get a 1/4 of the material for that. I try to tell them that when my overhead costs come down then I can lower the price or maybe if my landlord will give me a discount on rent. I know times are tough but the customer needs to know its tough for you also. So far this year I haven't had to many clients looking for huge discounts with weekly lawn care but time will tell. Good Luck!
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    There are things I can do, such as lengthening the time interval between services, this reduces the amount due per year.
    I can cut other services as well and drive the annual maintenance cost way down, anywhere from a little bit to all but the most essential.
    For instance, we can skip the mulch, just as an example, we might only trim the bushes once or not at all,
    I might be able to knock $5 off the mow if I can just mow-n-blo for a bit, and so on...

    I could also, if it's just a glitch meaning they found a job and things are looking up, cross off some smaller bill as "paid" one time.

    I have no problem doing that, and it involves compromise, they did it for me, I'll do it for them.
    But for free, no.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  7. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,102

    If they are hard working people and you know they will be out looking for work so they will not be free forever. GO FOR IT! I would not hesitate to do it for a second! I have done it and will do it again!

    It has never hurt me and in the end they will be blessed by you and you will be blessed by them! This is not something that I blab about to the neighbors or common friends, these people have enough to deal with as far as losing their jobs and personally I don't need the pat on the back, in fact I don't want it. I just take care of them and in return they will get back on their feet and care for you.

    An open hand can actually allow things to flow in and out but a closed hand can only hold onto what is already in it and it doesn't gain anything in the end.
  8. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Greenfinger, like above poster said, your heart is in the right place. But remember, this is a business, not personal. I have a kind heart also and it has gottem me burned many many times. Let me ask you this, if you have been paying your electric bill for years without missing a payment, then can't pay it anymore, do you think they give a rats azz? Nope, your power will be turned off.

    You have never missed a car payment then get behind, your car gets repossed. Its a tough world out there but business is business. I might do it for them a couple of times and this is a might. We are in biz to pay our bills, if they can't pay, you can't pay. I hate folks having a hard time but I will not make their problem my problem. I have made execeptions for folks who have gotten sick or disabled that I have helped for a short time, but that is only for a short time.

    BTW, if they have lost their income they will probably have to let you go anyway. I know this sounds cruel but over the years my skin has gotten a lot thicker!
  9. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    I like the way you think. :)
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    I have to agree with topsites on this !!

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