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What to do about this Problem?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JBlawncare, May 21, 2007.

  1. JBlawncare

    JBlawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    Okay I have an account that i have been mowing for 2 years now and last year this guy was a great customer. This season he is always complaining about my price being raised $5... All he does is complain, no more compliments. The problem is that he has 2 young kids and they leave toys all over the yard. I mow their lawn on the same day every week and stuff is all over the lawn EVERY time. (toys, chairs, baseball bats, balls and a trampoline). I have told him many times that he knows what day i am coming so keep the lawn semi-clean. He hasn't done anything and I have said something to him 3 times. What do i do now?
  2. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,140

    Add an extra $5 per cut for picking up all the junk in the yard. :laugh:
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    If it is how you describe it, then there is no call for that. Moving a toy or two is not a problem, but when it gets out of hand like you are describing, then you need to do something. Mow around the stuff the next time you are there, he will get the hint, and more than likely have the stuff cleaned up next time.
  4. mole

    mole LawnSite Member
    Posts: 199

    same problem, but mine is this old lady seems to think I scraped her sidewalk with my zII (a) i don't go near the side walk to get on her lawn (B) the mower is always raised (c) the scrapes are about as big as a push mower or powered fert machine her lawn was just done a couple of days ago. droping her
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I don't know what the ____ is wrong with people anymore.

    I go up systematically every year (like everything else does) so you best believe I have had my fair share of that GENERAL type.

    Best customer in the world one year, then you give yourself a cost of living raise, or an increase to cover fuel being $3.50 a gallon... and all the sudden it's nothing but bitc#ing and complaining. Or constantly asking for and expecting you to do something extra every time out.

    It's human psycology I guess...Some people will freely agree to pay you more, then be hellbent to make you physically earn every cent of it in LABOR. "If I'm paying $5 more this year I'm gettin more".... that is their mentality.

    This customer no doubt says screw you under his breath and says you're earning the $5 because he's not picking up the kids toys for you anymore.

    This sort of thing just eats me alive anymore. It's no telling what I will or won't do... but it's CERTAIN these people will not run over me... so they won't stay on my route long after it starts.

    Just thinking of this, I know for sure I'd do one of two things... I'd tell him straight out to his face the calm truth of it and cancel him... or I'd move the toys and leave a bill for a $25 fee for moving the toys and cancel for non-payment when he refused to pay... and take his arse to court.....

    Or I'd go over there and not touch the toys. I'd mow over some of the little ones and around the big ones, with no regard to what I was spraying with clippings... and I'd finish the rest of the yard as normal.

    He'd come home to the normal perfect lawn, then discover bit's of a few toys chewed up and slung across the back lawn... the $300 power wheels hummer sprayed green with clippings and several other things peppered green... and I wouldn't go to any trouble to mow real close to them or between the ones I couldn't just zip right between.

    Then I'd wait for the call or next week just dying to see what he came up with to say.

    I actually did that to a lady once who had 3 small children after I billed her a $25 fee and she didn't pay. She complained like bloody murder and during the course of me letting her spew she said "I just cannot believe you would no more respect for our personal property that that"

    That's when I stopped her and said....

    Nooomam.... the issue here is that YOU have absolutely no respect for me or the job you hired me to come here and do. We have talked about this issue before... I've expressed to you I will not be responsible... I've even been nice and took time from my schedule to move them for nothing a few times... and I've even gotten tired of that, moved them and left a fee bill which you never had the respect to pay............. you contracted me to do lawn and landscape maintenance... yet when I come here all this stuff continues to be in the way of me doing the job you hired me to do... and you obviously won't pay me to move it out of my way... so that left me with no other option than to mow around it or mow over it......... You hired me to be your lawn and landscape guy, not your kid's nanny or your yard maid, and I won't do the other two jobs without pay, nor will I put up with this situation....... So if you will just sign here on this cancellation form, I'll collect the balance due on your account and be on my way."

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I'm actually writing a letter to go out with the next bills...I'm pointing out that increased effieciency on my part can translate to fewer/lesser future price increases. Shaving 2-5 minutes off each lawn by not having to deal with 300 feet of hoses, toys, wheelbarrows and assorted junk left over from their weekend's unfinished landscape projects, will really add up over the course of the week. Less labor costs for me, and perhaps I can maintain their prices a little longer.

    I'm going to note their regular cut day...think of it as you would your trash day...get in the habit of picking up the lawn the night before.

    The customers that have hoses but no reel for them, they kill me. Just kill me.
  7. Midwest Lawn Services

    Midwest Lawn Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 211

    I had the same problem with a client last year. This year I informed her that the toys must be picked up or I will not be back! She told me that was not an option for her, because her kids need to be able to play in the yard at their own free will. Putting it bluntly...we no longer service that client! I'll be d@mned if i am going to pick up 12 and 13 year old kids toys, bikes, volleyballs, basketballs, tennis balls, etc., once a week because their mother is too lazy to enforce some standards of cleanliness and organization with them. NOT!!!! So lets sum it up, drop them like a 747 falling from the sky and find other, non-PITA customer!........Then go have a beer and celebrate not having to deal with them anymore!:drinkup:
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    I don't know what the market is like in your area. But where we are at, it's hot. It's been that way since I started business. Plenty of good, new, clients for the taking - all the time.

    So that being the case, I just don't put up with too much crap from clients. There are too many good clients that "get it" and respect us, pay on time, don't complain about price hikes, etc. for me to keep bothering with whiners who don't seem to respect what we do.

    I know this sounds callous, but if it were me, I'd can the dude and replace him with someone who wasn't such a PITA.
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    On low visibility accounts, I have been known to mow right up to a water hose, then turn and mow 100 feet along side it on both sides and leave a big long streak of uncut grass like that in a lawn and go on.

    I've also been known to whip them full of holes with the trimmer.


    Either method seems to work.

    #1- They always seem to call, and I always explain later that I did not have time that day to spend 1o minute rolling up a water line and a couple putting it back because I figure they left it there for a reason... and I couldn't just string trim the area because if I hit the hose once with the line it would put a hole in it.

    #2- They usually just go and buy a new hose and since buying it is fresh on their mind, they don't leave it laying out.

    High visibility accounts I tell them or leave a bill marked no-charge this time, and in the future leave them a fee bill. Normal people usually get the hint.
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Drop the customer, not worth you feeling uncomfortable working there and having to hear un- warranted complaints and do extra work for no extra pay. That $5.00 was normal increase due to the price of gas now, not to pay you for the toy pick up. They have no respect for you drop them like a bad habit and open yourself up for some better accounts.

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