what is your biggest complaint with new accounts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by johnhenry, Apr 21, 2002.

  1. I have picked up several new account these past few weeks. And with the rainy season upon us . They are calling and saying the usaual of first time people who now have landscapers. There lawn is to high. Had one guy tell me after 3 days it didnt even looked cut. He wanted me to cut his fescue at 2 inches I told him I wouldnt do that and walked away. You have to train your customers as well as the lawn
  2. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    I get no complaints from new customers... Hey wait a minute... I don't have any new customers :D

    Seriously.. I just picked one up today. One of the first things I said was.. "I will be cutting this at 3 inches plus"

    It's grass... not carpet!
  3. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 712

    I spend time getting to know what they expect, so if they complain, it's rare. I had one guy complain that I left cigarette butts in his parking lot. I didn't, and I don't pick them up either. However, there are a lot of really odd people in the world. I am not making this up.

    I had a guy at a commercial place complain that I cut his shrubs too short, but I had taken him out to see how he wanted them. I used a measuring tape, and we agreed on it. I put it on his work order, and he initialed. This had the miraculous effect of jogging his memory. He was used to getting bids, complaining, getting free service, and then firing because he was "unsatisfied." I fired him as soon a I deposited his check. I hadn't heard language like that since I left Camp Lejeune.

    One lady wanted me to do a bunch of extra work I never quoted. Cleaning out gutters, trimming bushes, even washing her car. She insisted I had, so I asked her to get my quote. Right there in black and white, it said what I will and won't do. She said all her other grass men did it, I should too.

    One lady I asked to move her car, said she didn't care if grass got on it, had a fit when grass got on it.

    One lady complained that I put her kids' toys in a pile by the front door. This was also discussed.

    I had a man complain after putting weed control down that I didn't come pull the weeds by hand. He said "For $75, you should come next year and do it also!!" Sure thing Buddy, I'll be there!

    I had a lady bounce a check and complained that I added a $25 service charge, to cover what my bank had charged me. She also complained when I wouldn't take a check to pay for it all.

    I had a lady who hadn't paid a bill in 30 days call to see when I was coming to cut her lawn. I told her she needed to settle her bill, which she did. She had a fit when I charged her triple the nornal charge because the grass was over a foot tall and she wanted it bagged. She called it "highway robbery."

    I had one old man complain that I didn't have a person answering the phone. He had flatly refused to leave a message on the recorder. He called it the devil's work.

    I had one lady complain because I pulled her trash can back up to the house. I left it in front of the garage door and she had to get out of the car to put it where she kept it: In the garage!!

    One lady called to see if I could do her lawn before her daughter's wedding. She called Friday while I was out mowing, wanted the lawn mowed Saturday before 10 or 11 a.m. I had already made plans, but agreed. I went around to look at it that evening, and decided to do it then. She almost had a cow! She wanted it to look nice Saturday!

    There was an old lady my first season in business who I think was senile. She called Monday to tell me to come. I came on Tuesday and as soon as she heard the mower she came screaming: "What are you doing? That grass doesn't need mowing!! You just came last week!" So I apologized, loaded up and went home. I hadn't been there 5 minutes when she called wanting to know if I was coming. I went back, and this time knocked on the door. She let me have it again telling me how I should be ashamed. I went home and she'd called at least 5 times. I called to tell her to get somebody else. I think she called everyday for 2 weeks.

    Sometimes it's a wonder I've stayed sane. Wait a minute who am I calling sane? :rolleyes:
  4. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    educating them on turf care best practices...since we're all email oriented I have an efile of good articles i send them. Most read them and ask a few ?'s...works ok...and I dont have to chat with them for 30 minutes every other week. I really don't blame them for being turfdumb...unless you're in this biz you really would not undersand why things should be the way we recommend
  5. My biggest problem with new customers is on time payments.
    Almost 20% of my mow customers from last year are gone because of credit problems, or of those I will take back, they must prepay this year.
    When I talk to them it isn't a quality issue just a lack of money and I'm low on the priority list. These are not rich people but not poor people either. 250K-400K houses and almost always 2 30K or plus cars/SUVs in the drive.
    So, with all my pre-qualifing this is one area I just have not had any luck in screening out potential problems. Or maybe I am and this is just the amount that gets by me.
    And like eslawns I get a few of those situations every year. Thats why I have to have it in writing.
  6. RoyaleRcr

    RoyaleRcr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    This is my second crack at this business. This time I require per-pay for the season. I always require a face-to-face meeeting to get to know eachother first. Then we get the business done, "check or credit card Sir?" So far I have had little resistance to this. If I do, I don't want the job. This time it's going to work.
  7. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249


    For almost every example you gave, I could give one very similar to it. Man it is a wonder we stay sane!!!!!!!! Or how would WE know if we weren't?:D

    Especially the last one you mentioned that had totally lost it. I too have had a few like her.
    It is a real PITA.

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