would you continue to cut his grass?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Mar 12, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i have a customer, that i do grasscutting for, minor spring and fall cleanup(no trees), and this year he wanted me to do his snow. we did. he always comes out and pays on the spot. the last time we had snow(back in january) he called, he said he would be going to connecticut for a week, but if it snowed, please do the driveway and walkways, and he will pay when he gets home. fine. it snowed. we did the work. didn't bill him or hear from him, no big deal. so, yesterday i'm doing a cleanup for his neighbor, and he comes over and hands me $30(his standard fee for blowing out one bed, and running over lawn with mower), i said thank you, and you still owe me $40 for the last snow. he says you didn't come. i said i certainly did. he said why was there snow all over when i got home. i said you were gone for a week, the wind blew the snow around, but didn't you notice the piles on the sides? how do you think they got there? he insists i didn't do the snow. i said whatever, i got $30 here, you owe me $10 more, when you cough it up we will talk about the spring cleanup. he gets mad, demands his $30 back. i say nope, give me $10. he says he's gonna call the police, i said go ahead, if i'm lucky, they'll shoot me, and i won't have to deal with your cr@p anymore. he storms in the house. NOW, tell me almighty lawnboys, what did i do wrong here? and what would you have done differently?
     
  2. pines

    pines LawnSite Member
    Posts: 148

    I think I would have resolved payment back in January when he came back. The longer a payment goes unpaid sometimes a customer, in their mind, justifies not paying it.
     
  3. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Posts: 0

    Bobby,

    I don't think $40.00 is worth loosing the account over. Yes he did stiff you and yes were are in the right here but don't loose a good paying customer over $40.

    Chock it up as a loss and move on with things. Next time he asks you to do a certain task just add in the $40 that he owes above what your charging for that particular service. You can get it out of him eventually in one way or another.
     
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    wells, where you been? havnt seen you in awhile. well, it's like this, i could do it your way, but that would be hishonest. after being bashed in my last thread, i've decided to be a man of integrity and honesty. i'm just being upfront with him. i don't want to be sneaky and underhanded and beat him on another job to make up for his theft, two wrongs never make a right. so i will stand my ground, and wait it out. i'm there once a week doing the neighbors, if i see another service there, i'll just tell them the guy don't pay his bills. there is not much else i can do
     
  5. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 980

    I disagree completely. I think that communication could solve this easily. If you were a professional you would never have gotten into a yelling competition with a client. Very sub standard. These are people that put food on your table. If you dont resolve this issue you might be making a further blunder and allowing him to spread bad publicity about his x lawn guy that screwed him. Go to him, give him his check back and explain you were having a really bad day or something.

    If you build up a sense of trust with your customer they will never doubt you when you say something. I would tell him this.....
    "Mr.X, sorry about yesterday. I was haveing a really bad day and i just lost my cool. Part of what has made our relationship so great over the last (insert total time you worked for him to date) is that i do what you ask. I have to be as honest as possible or else it ruins my business image and my personal image. I guess that yesterday when you said i did not do your drive way it just raised my hackles because it put my integrity in question. I do apologize. I should have had a level head. Here is your check back sir. I enjoyed working for you and am sorry that our business relationship has desolved. I would hope that we could put this past us and get back to where we were, but ill leave that up to you sir. Have a great day, and again, i am sorry about my attitude."

    I bet he would rehire you and maybe even question himself and pay you for the drive way or half of it anyways. Think of the revenue lost per year by losing him. You make more than 40$ per year right? Customer service is very important. An attitude of servitude i think is what is needed here. He puts food on your table and you do work FOR him. It is your privilage to work for him, not the other way around. Good luck with this.
     
  6. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Posts: 0

    Acute Cut,

    That is great advice.
    I think you nailed the solution.
     
  7. STAN1366

    STAN1366 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 334

    You're absolutely right in that he owes you money, but as long as he's pissed at you and feels you're screwing him, it won't be easy getting it out of him. Is he a good lawn customer? You do his neighbor, right? So having 2 accounts together is worth something to you as far as no travel time goes. Maybe you should try what I did once. I had a snow plow business a few years back. Got a customer from a friend in a swap deal. While plowing, we were always passing each other so we just traded accounts that were close to cut travel time. Anyway, this one guy I got was going to Japan on business for a year. He was Japanese and his friend(also Japanese) who lived down the street would be looking after his house. The friend was getting paid to check the house and he was to pay me for plowing the driveway. I was instructed that it didn't have to be done promptly or multiple times whenever it snowed, just keep it clear so the oil truck could deliver oil and the garage was accessible in an emergency. This driveway was about 100' long. The "friend" who had an even longer driveway did his own with a snow blower. Well, I send the friend a bill(don't remember for how much or how many times) and he tells me I "didn't do it that many times! I do my own driveway! I know when it snowed!" Well, I could have eaten it since I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere argueing with him, but I went to the library and got copies of the local newspaper and got the articles of the snow storms and accidents on the days in question. This was before I was internet connected. I mailed the bill again along with a letter explaining each charge, the newspaper story accompanimng the date and how in fact it did snow on the days he questioned. He paid up, but from then on he did his friends driveway with his snowblower. Maybe he decided that He'd make the money?
    I'd try to work it out with the guy and smooth things over. Then maybe add a little into future bills to make up for the agravation factor. Good luck Bobby.
     
  8. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    well bobby u got 30 bucks .. now what was this customer worth to u over say a yr.jmo.. but u ask if u should continue
    service to him. i doubt u have that choice.. jmo
     
  9. KathysLGC

    KathysLGC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,345

    Acute Cut That is a real nice way to handle this. Man I couldn't of thought of a better way to put it. Thanks for sharing that. It's things like that, that will help keep us above srcub standards. Thanks!
     
  10. KathysLGC

    KathysLGC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,345

    Id give the $30. back with the apology and hope he'll change his mind. Let's not forget he does work for the neighbor and we all want accounts close to each other. Even losing this account wont be that bad if Bobby makes the attemt to make it right. It will help keep the neighbor also(who was probly saying "i'm not getting on his bad side") .
     

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