Ambushed by customers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by cg1, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    My experance, " That I'm speaking from " is that If your having to TRY to talk over Screaming, unruley Children, or Adults that dont even know there standing in the way of a car door,

    what's it going to be like when you arive to do the work ?

    Trust me it will be the same, or worse.

    I had a guy once, " after I explained the rules" sent his kid out to roll up the water hose, " the kid was about 9" I told the child we would get it, NP.
    the kid said NO NO NO my daddy said I have to do it.
    after about 5 minutes we packed up and left.
    the customer called, and said WTF. I told him we cant do our job with his child in the lawn. a ROCK could hit this child. WE simply CANT mow. and I cant have 3 guys standing around watching a child all day.

    what was the funny part, I invoiced him for that visit..

    I hear you guys, Having to put up with CRAP.

    Why, WHy, WHY, do they wanna go pull weeds in the beds, when we arrive ?
    WHY, those weeds have been there for 5 years, NOW al of the sudden it's an issue, Just when we show up.........WHYYYYYY:dizzy:
  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    ROFL! I thought it was just me. I swear...I have the same crap. I get customers that love to be outside doing something. And it's never the good looking girl sun bathing by the pool...NO, it's always the old fat women bending over in the flower beds, not only in my way, but also making me sick to my stomach. One thing that gets to me even more is when I pull up to service the property and some other contractor is there working (roofing, remodeling, painting, etc) :nono: I get sooo mad. It's like I have been coming here on the same day for how many years? And you can't respect me enough to call me and let me know I probably souldn't come.
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    I have this 1 customer " a good one" they hired a friend and there son " about 17 yrs old " to install a sprinkler system. they dug it by hand.
    it took them over 4 months to do this job. we would show up and the piles of dirt everywhere " mounds" so we just drove off. NO phone call, so I charged them anyway. then they finley call after about a month, saying why are you NOT cutting the grass ?

    WELL DUHHHH:hammerhead:
  4. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Yeah, what is it people don't understand? Everything ends up being a game. The lawn guy never gets the upper hand. It's the same thing with junk all over the yard. I mean should we have to move a dozen toys out of the yard before we service and then go roll up the garden hose? I give some slack on that issue, but I only pick up a few things. If it becomes a problem, I start mowing around stuff (and I try to discharge the clippings all over the stuff as I mow around it). They usually get the point after a few weeks.
    But that is crazy to expect you to try and service a property that has mounds of dirt and ditches everywhere. Why are you not cutting the grass? :laugh:
  5. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 867

    LOL, because they are embarrassed! I had a lady rush out as soon as I pulled up to start frantically picking up doggie dookies. I thought that was entertaining for some reason.

    I do hate that stuff, though, even customers I thought were intelligent have walked out into the yard while I was mowing, and bent down less than 10' from my discharge chute to pick up something from the lawn or whatever. I actually yelled at a customer once for doing it, because she just came out of nowhere and I was making a turn with the 44" and BAM there she was. I sort of let her have it, but in a concerned parent kind of way.
    Some people have never mowed a lawn in their life, so they have no idea about the dangers.
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    I was giving a new guy all the do's and dont's on a ZTR, and I informed him ALWAYS LOOK BEHIND YOU WHILE BACKING UP. I told him that belive it or not a customer will walk right up behind you and you may never know it, then you will turn and BAM.

    he said, no one's that dumb, I informed him its not a DUMB issue, it's they dont know,
    so a week later, yep, you got it, a customer walked up on him.....
  7. S.I.

    S.I. LawnSite Senior Member
    from west
    Messages: 323

    Ha, I complain to my wife about people in my 'personal space' all the time.

    I have found a way of dealing with the people that think they have to be at the truck before you get a chance to get out. I did this a couple of times last year and it worked out pretty well. Customer walks up to the truck as soon as I pull up, I go about getting all of my stuff together, make any notes that I would normally do pulling up to a property, organizing any papers, forms, etc. that I will be using. Then sit and look out the window of the truck at the customer for a minute before rolling down the window. When I roll down the window I would say "I thought you were going to open the door for me". Do this with a smile and a chuckle, they get the point without getting offended.

    As far as people in the yard while I'm working, I guess I'm lucky. I don't normally see anyone outside when I'm there. I've only had one case where an older gentleman was out doing things in the yard more and more often when I would show up. I simply adjusted the schedule so I showed up earlier in the day, I guess it takes his old bones a while to get moving in the morning.

    I have major issues with screaming kids and unruly pets when trying to talk to a customer. I will usually just ask if there is a quieter place or a better time to stop and discuss the service, most people get the point.
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    Ah, ha, ... screaming, or interrupting kids ... my pet peeve. Most likely I am older than most who post on LS. But, we were taught, as well as all other children, that when our parents were talking with another person, we were to keep quiet and not interrupt. The parenting skills today are void of this lesson. When I'm in discussion with somebody, not just a customer discussing lawn work, or other topics, but parents elsewhere, and their child comes and starts talking, yelling, tugging, and making a show of themselves --- AND, the parent gives full recognition to the child, I want to walk away. The parents of today give much greater priority to their child than another person they are engaged in conversation. Since the child is never reprimanded for such interruptions, it continues to happen.

    To the parents, this is rude, rude, and rude to the person taking time to engage in conversation. To be sure, if an emergency, that's different. But, routine child/parent talk, "... mom, can I have XXXX," "... dad, can I go across the street," or in most cases, even less important questions. To give the child full attention immediately, at the expense of another adult, is to show disrespect to the other person. The parent is saying that the most trivial question of the child is more important than the ongoing conversation.

    What am I missing with these behaviors?
  9. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I was raised the same way as you, Roger, and trust me, my kids are being taught the same thing.
    Drives me nuts to see parents who first ignore bad behaviour, then say "stop it, little Tommy", only to see little Tommy keep right on doing what he was doing while the parent goes back to ignoring.
    This thread also touches on another pet peeve of mine: when the owners of a yapping, slobering, or otherwise annoying dog assume that everybody else thinks that thier dog is as cute as they do. Leave me alone, mutt!
  10. green_mark

    green_mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 494

    We turned this around on the customer. When they complain about an unwarranted issue we nicely discuss it then look around the property for something they have not yet purchased for services and advise them to address this.

    Amazingly, honey tastes better than vinegar and most of the time the customer adds on services and we are both happy.

    Of course we do have those who no matter what complain. I had a customer (very rich) who had me come out because he had weeds all over his yard.

    I went out and walked the property with him and he pointed to three weeds in a 1 foot area out of about 20,000 sq ft along his flower bed that did not get controlled. I pulled them by hand and he replies 'smart ass' and I said what did you want me to do and he says I wanted you to spray them!

    We don't work for him anymore and he is mad that we won't take his business.

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