Weekly Account but.......PITA Customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Nelson, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. Nelson

    Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

    I have this account that is on a weekly basis. The Guy is legally
    blind. As of today he seemed 2 be OK.

    I pulled up this morning, started unloading the Equipment..
    and all of a sudden I hear Nelson.....Is that U?

    I said Yes Sir.. It is...... Then he said I do not think u
    need 2 cut the lawn today. I am going WHAT?

    He proceded 2 tell me that it rained early this morning
    so much that it woke him up.

    The thing is that IT was not that wet....I told him that it has
    been wet before more than this... When you have the Sprinkler
    system on. Well I was a little pissed..So me & my Son just
    went on our very way.

    I can not wait til I get a few more customers...he will be the
    first one on the chopping block..

    The least he could have done is give me a call. Would u guys charge double next week? He also knew I was not the happiest person. Any Ideas will be appreciated........

    Sorry for the long post.......I just had to air out......:gunsfirin
     
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    A lot of guys around here will probably tell you to charge double, yes. But in reality, that's no way to do business and you'll end up pissing the guy off and he won't use you again. It sucks, I know.

    But you are right in thinking that this guy will be one of the first you let go when you get bigger. I had a ton of these kind of clients in the beginning. But I always held on to them until I didn't need them any longer. That's why we grew so quickly. Once I had 50+ accounts, I started chopping a few. Once we had 100, I chopped the rest. Nowadays I just explain that all we take are weekly customers and I don't take any cr@p any more.

    The best thing you can do right now is either 1) Take it up the wazoo, keep this customer for now, and keep trying to grow your business. or 2) Tell him you only do "weekly" service and nothing else and risk losing him to someone else.

    I find it's best not to get too choosy with what kind of clients you'll take on until you can afford to do so. I have a friend who started his LCO business only a year after I did. After 6 years in business he only has 10-15 accounts. This last fall at one point he was down to 8 or 9 clients. Biggest reason is because he's always trying to act like a big shot and "firing" his customers or giving them ultamatums when he really can't afford to do so. He never listens, never learns. And will never have a big company.

    Point being, take people's cr@p while you have to. But know that by doing so, one day, you won't have to.
     
  3. Nelson

    Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

    Hey Jim,

    Thanks for your advice..... I tell ya it's a catch 22 thing.
    I felt like saying Dude.....U need 2 find someone new...

    But I am learning, Cause I definetly do not want 2 be like
    your freind & only have a few accounts after a few years
    in the business. I will not charge double, but I will set my
    mower on 5" or 4.5" next week. I will just have 2 suck it up
    this time. In all he is a nice guy.... but I will elaborate a little
    more 2 him next week about my mower can handle a little
    wet grass.;) I guess I have 2 take cr@p now......

    But hopefully not for long...........:D
     
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    I hear ya, on setting the mower higher. And yah - it's a catch 22. You lose either way. But until you get big, you need to keep [almost] every client you can. That's the only way to get big quickly, assuming that's your goal. It definitely was mine.

    I would try to explain [but not demand] that you really need to have the weekly business. I used to explain it this way, "When I take on a mowing account, that means I am carving out a certain amount of time for you every week. I don't give anyone else that time. But I could be filling that time with someone who has me come every single week, regardless. So when you cancel on me, especially on short notice like this, I am losing potential business."
     
  5. I managed to nurse them thru the "wet mowing" thing with "It's better to keep it mowed than to get behind on the mowing."
    Then a couple of weeks ago, his wife says "Come back in a couple of days, because it's too soon." I explained that I could put her back on the end of the list and come back next week. Because I can change next weeks schedule, but not the current schedule.
    She had me go ahead and mow it. (It needed it.)
    The following week, her husband gives me the same story. Come back in a couple of days. (It really needed mowing right then) I said I just can't come back in two days because I had other customers already scheduled. He then asked if I'd keep it mowed until he could get someone else to mow it. I said sure, I can mow it right now. He said NO, in TWO DAYS! I just shook my head and walked away.

    You need to be cautious how much flak you will take just to keep a customer. Or you'll wind up with a crappy little business serving a bunch of bitching unappreciative customers.

    If you were to follow some of these absolutely assinine instructions from some customers, who do you think will be blamed for the lawns' appearance?

    I think you're on the right track. Drop him as soon as you are able, and in the meantime be sure he knows you disapprove.

    Dave
     
  6. Nelson

    Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 278

    Thanks David good advice also...........

    I will put in a nice way 2 him next week.....so that
    he clearly understands that once I am there I am
    ready 2 mow...Bottom Line...I own this bussiness
    & let me decide if it's 2 wet or not? #1 if it is 2 wet
    I myself will not mow...but I will make that decsion.
     
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,137

    You've gotta learn to fire up the mower and put on those hearing protectors as soon as you show up, and look straight ahead only. That way they have to step in the path of your mower to get your attention.:D
     

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