Back gate locked????

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Gimp, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Gimp

    Gimp LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 63

    What is the industry standard on someone not leaving acess to the back yard? I got this email today.
    What is the industry standard on someone not leaving access to the back yard? I got this email today.

    "It seems I forgot about the lock on the back gate. If we could work out a set day I can leave the gate between the garage and house unlocked. If you can also let me know when you will be near our house to cut the back yard I will leave the gate unlocked then. I am very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.


    Jim "

    I have just started and have a pretty busy schedule. I do not want to lost a customer, but I also do not want to be taken advantage of. Should I charge a fee? Refuse to do it? Thoughts???

    I am sorry if I missed a thread on this somewhere...
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988


    The guy is asking for a set day(I'm assuming each week) that he can leave the gate unlocked for you. Pick a day, let him know and be done with it.

    That's what I get out of your post, unless I'm missing something.

    Either that, or see if he is willing to give you a spare key to the gate lock.
  3. Gimp

    Gimp LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 63

    Well yes he is asking for a swet date, but what I am asking about is what to do when you do a job and you can not get into the gate. What do other people do? This guy obviously wants me to travel to his house, unload my stuff and do the back yard for free. That is not going to take time, and it was hiss fault that I did not have access.
  4. Lksd Lawn

    Lksd Lawn LawnSite Member
    from Erie Pa
    Messages: 26

    the best way we do it is ask him for a key or have him put a key somewhere hidden.
    We have had that problem before. Sometimes you just cant get there due to weather or a holiday and your day maybe switched. Other times they will forget to leave it unlocked.
    Since he forgot to unlock it, then we would just come back to it next week and cut it all. It sucks but sure beats going out of your way to cut it when it probably isnt in your route the next day.
    Just a thought.
  5. Gimp

    Gimp LawnSite Member
    from Houston
    Messages: 63

    It is an every other week account. I can get by there easliy, but there are many places that I mow that I can not. I was thinking I need to have a policy on it...
  6. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,522

    I'd say let it ride this time. However, I would get the key or combination to the lock. If your customer refuses and it happens again, then I would bill him the full amount. Make sure he knows this in advance. I have keys and/or combinations to all of my customers gates. You should too. Just my .02
  7. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    Extra key or combination lock.
    Leaving it unlocked won't be secure until after you leave and it also leaves room for human error.
    If the customer can't deal with it, you can skip the back and charge the same or charge extra for another trip next time you find it locked.
    Somebody has to eat the $$, no reason it should be you.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I think we all run into this once or twice until we learn, but here's what I have gathered for solutions:

    1) The first time or two, chalk this one up to experience.
    > Do NOT use a bolt cutter (I did and the customer got all bent out of shape even thou I put a brand new lock on there {I keep a few handy}), but don't do it, and if you cut half the yard, heck with it, see ya, no charge {but in this case I'm not showing up again}.
    2) Always check for this possible issue in the future.
    > Soon as I see a lock or a dog, time to ask (and chances are you can save yourself a headache...)
    3) Either be provided with a spare key or a guaranteed way you can get into the yard, or thank the customer for their time. No, a verbal assurance is no guarantee, I mean some kind of way for sure you can get in.

    Do NOT set up appointments to where they can let you in:
    1) They have too much control over your work, things don't usually improve much once this starts.
    2) It won't take long, you show up and guess who isn't there?
    You can count on this foolishness if this is the case, sooner or later it will happen, in my case it happened the very next time (which is how I learned this bit). If this does happen to you, maybe customer has a cell you can try and call but I wouldn't wait around long at all (in my case I didn't, and good thing, the customer showed up 4-5 hours later {and called me right away which is how I found out})... Yeah, it's a bad moment waiting to happen.

    Always check for this problem, and IF you absolutely need the money, then do yourself a favor and make sure he is home before you even get started, but be ready to leave for your next scheduled stop.

    Don't feel bad thou, the other day a customer was supposed to leave payment under the mat for me, and me like a dumbo did the work first, then went to get my money (you can guess the rest).
    So, we learn in time, check the stuff out first, if it's a no go, get back in truck and move on to your next job.
  9. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    If i give them a price on their whole yard, Say 35.00 for example. If i Only cut either the front or the back it's the same price. If the gate is locked and i only cut the front, it's the same price, i just come back on the next scheduled visit. However, if they call me and want me to come back and cut the back i will the next day as long as i am in the area. If not, it waits.
  10. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,588

    We provide them with a lock and a is the only way we will take an account.....

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