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what should I do

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Grass Kickin, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. Grass Kickin

    Grass Kickin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    I have a 1000.00 a month account at a small apartment complex. My contract requires cut, trim, edge, blow, trim trees(if needed) and hedging(if we cut it down we haul it away). If something falls down, I'll pick it up. A new tenant cleared the area behind his porch and cut down all the shrubs and some trees and just left the debris on the back lawn. It is probably is a trailer load of material. My partner, who happens to live in the complex is the Tenant association President of the complex. Although nobody has directly asked me to haul the crap away, he won't allow me to do it. He is notifying the tenant by letter. Now, I've heard grumblings that people want the stuff out of there. In passing one particular individual has confronted my partner about it. This is a small community and I don't want to lose the contract.

    I don't want my company to get a rep of not doing the right thing but I don't think it is fair that I am expected to clean up someones mess without even being asked. If all of the residents there cut down a tree and expected me to clear it away, I'd be up to my ears in extra work as well as dump fees. If I was asked to do it, I likely would have but at the same time I don't want to do the work and then have others expect me to do it again in the future, it is not in the contract.

    What should I do, do I eat it and just clear it up or do I wait until this letter is responded to? So far it has gone unanswered.
  2. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 841

    If it is not in the contract, I would not haul it away without an extra fee. I would contact whomever you met with when you were awarded the contract and make them aware of the situation, you did not create the mess, it is not in the contract to do this, but that you think it makes things look bad and you would liek to take care of it, but it will be an extra charge, would they like to pay the bill, ot the tenant that made the mess? This way you are proactive and it will not look like you are jus ttrying to avoid it.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I am not sure if my advice is the best, as I lost a commercial contract like yours earlier this year (association-based)...

    But I also felt like you do, everyone wanted me to do all this extra stuff, and where to one degree I felt obligated, otoh I also felt I couldn't simply do $100's of extra work for free (and simply billing them several $100 extra / month would not fly, as I quickly found out).

    Then again, your partner being the president of the association, lol... I'm not sure if this is good or bad, he may lose the votes next year and I'm surprised nobody has noticed the conflict of interest, but other than that I feel he is doing the right thing by approaching the issue via letters:
    - It was the tenant's choice to clear land (or whatever) and pile up said debris. Hence, it is now his/her responsibility to remove it.

    And, being the prez is your p, your job there should be safe...
    I think your partner is doing the right thing, afaik.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, sometimes we have to make hard choices and it hurts, it can even cost us an account (and I've lost more than a few due to making hard choices), but when put between a rock and a hard place, you must do what is right for your company and not let the customer walk all over you, so to speak. Granted, the tenant isn't doing it outright / in your face, but doing it he is IF he assumes you are going to clean up his mess.
    And customers will test you, but stand up to the test and steer your company in the direction you know it must go.

    The good news is, at least for me it got easier to make these hard choices with time.
    And although customers still test me sometimes, it's not nearly as bad as it used to be.

  4. nmurph

    nmurph LawnSite Senior Member
    from ga
    Posts: 668

    i don't see where you have a dog in this fight. this is a landlord/tenant problem. most tenants will understand this, the few that don't are just confused by the sound of their BB sized brain rattling around in their skull.
  5. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    We just picked up a condo assoc. and its spelled out that we are only responsible for any "mess" we make anything above and beyond is an extra fee. Bye the way, who gave the tenant the right to chop down everything? I would think that would be against any assoc. rules.
  6. Grass Kickin

    Grass Kickin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    I have the same stipulation for my contract however, only the association knows that. I want to prevent any of the badmouthing that will prevent me from getting them to renew next year. The purpose of the letter was to inform the tenant they were not supposed to cut the trees down and that they also have to remove them.
  7. OMG

    OMG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 275

    My first step would be to knock on the tenants door and ask if they would like to hire you to haul away the debris.

    If so, everyone is happy.

    If not, I'd probably do it this once and make sure the stipulations were stated in the next contract.

    You can always look at it like this is less shrubs and trees you'll have to trim in the future, so it's not a total loss.
  8. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,552

    I had the same situation at a similarly sized complex. a few tenants would toss theirtrimmings from their patio plants and other things I was not responsible for onto the lawn for me to clean up. I did it the first few times, but when it got to the point where they were putting out sticks, plants will root balls removed from pots, I quit picking them up. I mowed around them for 2 weeks and got a call from the association prez. I told him the situation and that it would be an extra charge to clean up that mess. It wasn't too long after that, they notified me they were cancelling the contract. It was for the best, as every week, I was approached by no less than 6 of the tenants asking me to do this and do that to their place, free, of course. 40 units, all wanting their place to get "special" attention. LOL.
    Good riddance, I say.

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