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You make the call!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawn Dog2001, Jul 20, 2004.


Should I drop her???

  1. Dump the deadbeat

    37 vote(s)
  2. Leave things the way they are and just wait for my money

    2 vote(s)
  3. Sit down and work out a payment structure that more caters to her needs, and is fair to me, then mak

    15 vote(s)
  4. Blow up her house!

    16 vote(s)
  1. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    Alright Im torn on what to do. So you guys make the call.

    I have this customer, very nice woman, nice property, just signed her on this year. In the Spring she signed up for a fertilization package, Aeration and overseeding in the Spring(lawn was extreemly thin) and she also signed up for weekly mowing. The main part of the lawn is 20,000 square ft.

    The first job we do for her is the aeration, overseeding, and starter fert. The total came to $400. I told her she would have to pay for the service the day we do the job. wE do the job, and she asks"Can you stop back tomorrow?". She had a house painter giving her an estimate while she was talking to me, and was too busy to write a check.:angry: so I did not get a check for that until 2 weeks later, and her husband wanted to argue the amount with me. But did finally write me a check.

    We have been doing the grass all summer. The main part of the lawn is 20,000sqft. I quoted her a price at $35. I explained that we do a pre-paid monthly billing, or she must pay the bill each time we come. She told me Im always home, I will pay you while you are here. Fine. Well a few mowings into the year, she asks me for a price on an additional 10,000sqft. I told her we would do the whole thing 30,000sqft for $50. She says fine do it all every week.

    Well here is the good part. She never pays us. When we show up she mysteriously leaves in her car. Im lucky to get a payment every 4th or 5th cutting. When she does pay, she does not pay the full balance. Everytime i look in the computer she is constantly at least $200 back including pesticide treatments.

    It gets worse. Now she has been saying dont cut the extra 10000sqft part this week or that week. So everytime I collect its an arguement. "You didnt cut the back this time, this time, and this time." Ahh Yeah I did, the dates are right here.

    Here is the back breaker. 2 weeks ago she was into me for $185. As I pull up she gets in her car leaves, as she is leaving she writes me a check for $100 and leaves it in my truck while Im mowing. I saw her do it and just figured the check was for $185. When I found out it was not I was fuming :angry: So I came home and sent her a bill for $85 along with this letter.

    Dear XXX,

    Enclosed is an invoice for the total balance due from the last four cuttings. I received your payment of $100 which only covered the balance partially. In the future please pay the balance off in full no less than every second mowing. We are a small company, and especially on a large property such as yours, we need payment with in our payment terms to keep up with our labor costs.

    For future reference our payment terms are as follows. For grass cutting, either pre-paid monthly billing, or the balance must be paid no less than every second mowing. For pesticide-fertilization work balance must be paid via our pre-paid monthly billing, or within 15 days of service. And finally all landscaping work, payment is due the day the work is completed.

    If you have any questions at all please give me a call. I should actually be at your property while the lawn is serviced this coming week. I thank you for your cooperation, and for your continued business.


    So we get there this week, and she announces that she does not want the back lawn done. So the total would be $120. Wanna guess how much she paid???? $105. Says we did not cut the back lawn one week we said we did.

    So for all of you that took the time to read down this far, what should I do? She does always eventually pay, and I could use the account. I have had a few properties get sold, one lady die, and a couple of other cancellations. We always keep on about 70 accounts. Right now I have 61 accounts for mowing. So I am about 10 in the hole. I know I will replace them eventually. I always do. So what would you do?
  2. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    By the way another reason I would like to keep the lawn is becasue I fixed it. The lawn used to be a weed pit. The grass was thin, nothing but dandelion and clover. We started cutting it 3 inches tall, aerated it, seeded it, treated it, and walah it is now a thing of beauty. Now that it is nice, there is a lot of money to be made there maintaining it. If I ever get it.
  3. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    Also before people start calling me a criminal, I was totally joking about the Blow the house up thing.
  4. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    Heavens, don't leave it the way it is. You need a written agreement, that the price is $x.xx per week or per 2 weeks. The agreement should state what you are responsible for. The agreement should state that the price is the same every week. This way it will not matter if she thinks you mowed the whole thing or not. Also go with your monthly billing option cause the pay as you go isn't working out cause she isn't available like she said she would be. If she doesn't agree to this DROP HER. She's ripping you off and costing you money, by arguing services that you know you performed. That is plain old wrong and costing you money.
  5. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    Dump her like a ton of bricks.. I don't understand, WHY in the world you would continue to cut if she owed you a dime.. Your gut told you the day she signed that she would be a PITB ( Avoiding paying until the next day). Get your jack, and roll on em'
  6. watercop

    watercop LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    By your tone I infer that whatever you are making on the account, you are losing ten times as much in stress and aggravation.

    When she refuses payment, saying you did not perform a service which you know you did, she is accusing you of lying and fraud. That is an offense to your honor, character and integrity and therefore unacceptable.

    "I'm sorry, Ma'am, you and I don't seem to be able to come to terms / work well together / have a professional business relationship..." whatever... Tip you hat and be on your way.
  7. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,973

    Actually I like the Blowing up of the house idea LOL!

    These types peeve me, rest assured she is gunna shaft you big time, just as soon as a cheaper contractor comes around and you will be left out of pocket. Clients like these are just showing their arrogance.

    a letter of intent of resignation may help, but don't leave until you are paid in full. these types rarely become long term valued clients, they just cheat you and give un needed stress.

    good luck.
  8. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    Thats the thing, I have a signed contract with this woman. On my contract it has two options the prepay, or pay upon service. She chose the later and signed. So she really has no excuse
  9. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    Find another account and say goodbye.
    It's a headache waiting to become a migrain.
  10. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    It is really hard to say what is the right thing to do. I know how it is being a small company and needing to keep your clients plus gain more. I'm there with you. I think i'd try a yearly payment plan before i totally quit her, although dropping the account is very tempting. i'd get through the rest of this year and figure out how many times you mowed plus all the money you made in fert, chem apps, aerate, ect., total up everything, divide by 12 and each payment is due at the middle of the month beginning in January and ending in December. If there is a late payment, pop them with a late pmt fee. i would do the aerating/dethatching or any other special service that can wait till fall and do it in the fall, just so that you stay that much $ ahead of them throughout the largest part of the year.

    I think this may work to your benefit and theirs. I don't have this kind of payment plan available to my clients yet, but then again, i don't have this kind of problem much either.

    Hope this helps!

    Oh yeah. 4 more years! Bush/Cheney '04 :D :D

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