Blowing Off Steam - A Rant About A Customer

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by BetterLawns&Gardens, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. BetterLawns&Gardens

    BetterLawns&Gardens LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    Be prepared this is probably going to be a long one. The first year I started my business I picked up a customer that only wanted me to trim his bushes in the back yard. No problem, he seemed a bit "concerned" that I was a female and asked if my husband would be doing the work instead of me. I told him yes for fear of not getting the job since I was new and needed the customer hoping it would lead to another lawn customer. Hubby was glad to help we did the job he paid everything was fine.

    Mid way through May this year I get a call from the guy asking if we could estimate the property. I did so, gave him the price went over the agreement with him he signed set up a date everything went great, except this guy brings up hiring someone to do his bushes before and (even though he swore it was a good job) told me that it wasn't us that did the work, it was someone the lady next door told him to hire, it was a guy. DUH! you have the old flyer sitting right there from the year that we did the bushes, anyway i didn't argue with him i just left it at that and moved on. It rained the day we were supposed to come out. Needless to say we didn't cut. This man calls me at 730 at night yelling at me because we didn't cut!

    There have been many other issues with this man including a missing money order that he swore up and down that I cashed and just refused to credit his account. Well he found out I never got the thing and he ended up paying in cash.

    Today he calls me at 745 (It states in the paper work that we close at 5 but i used my personal cell the first year and that was the number that he had) so I answered it even though I was tired and was relaxing on the couch.

    Wanted to know if i would come pick up his payment from when we cut the last time. I asked "sir we are scheduled to mow tomorrow I can send someone out to pick it up tomorrow" he replies no he won't be awake that early. I have to pick it up now. "leave it on the door" I want a reciept "I will replace it with a receipt when we pick it up." What if someone takes it, i guess i will be responsible for it then? "Sir, I highly doubt someone will take it, but yes in the event that would happen and we do not receive the payment then you would still be responsible."

    Then he starts talking about how we haven't pulled weeds under his awning? Finally I figured out what he was talking about and he was referring to a flower bed under his window between his sidewalk, house and driveway. I explain to him that under the agreement we have we do not manage his flower beds. We can offer this service to him for an additional charge. He yells at me and tells me they are weeds not flowers! I know there are weeds in there sir but the area you just described to me is a flower BED! We do not pull weeds in flower beds under the current agreement that you have. Back and forth he kept saying any moron can see that those are weeds in there not flowers you have to get them out of there.

    Oh ya one other thing he wanted to argue with me about was how often we cut his grass. He asked to be set up on a 10 day rotation because 2 weeks was too long to go between mowing and he couldn't afford weekly. I agreed (but will never do that again! I like knowing what needs done on a particular day) I mentioned coming out tomorrow to mow and he yells and said that is too soon you can't mow tomorrow. The last time you mowed was the 18th. "Yes, sir we mowed on the 18th and you are due to mow on the 28th. We are leaving for vacation on the 28th. I mailed a letter the beginning of the month letting everyone know about this. I rescheduled your appointment on the 27th if not you will have to wait until the 9th before we mow again." That went on for an hour just to get him to understand it was only 1 day earlier.

    Then throw in that he wanted me to lower the mower and when i told him i would not do that because it would harm the lawn and allow weeds to grow... blah blah blah and it was discussed in the agreement he tells me i am a moron all mowers can be lowered he has had two of them and he knows i can lower it. After five minutes of explaining that he finally said he will deal with the weeds, and doesn't the agreement say we are supposed to make the customer happy??? idk what that was about?? (uh no not happening then you sue me for killing your grass I can see that happening now!)

    Finally I ended up telling him I would be there shortly to pick up payment and handed him a 30 day service cancellation letter. He even threw a fit when I asked him if he was going to pay for tomorrow's service now. (I thought it was a legitimate question since I was hand writing the receipt) billing is done monthly but this guy usually pays right after each service. This man is the most difficult person to deal with. Anyone else have a customer like this?
  2. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    Not for very long.
  3. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,718

    What a ******, get rid of him and don't look back. I've had plenty of customers like that Crazy Crazy.
  4. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,724

    Wow its bad enough you get the sexist stuff thrown at you. But you walked into so many no nos its not funny. He has your private cell I am sure you regret that rookie mistake. He feels he needs to have a conversation any time he plans to pay for his services ehehehehe screw that id be mowing 10 fewer lawns a day if I played that game. He thinks your going to go do extras for him for free after hes been nothing but a prick now where did he get that idea from? And the 10 day nonsense thats death if you get into that your have a revolving schedule that caps your grown and your ability to take on enough work to live on.

    Answering calls when they come in seems to make sense it allows you to score with very impatient A-holes who would not have left a message. That said a good answering machine helps screen out guys like this and I think you might have been happier never meeting him.

    Now I do not know to what extent you do trimming of shrubs and hedges. To tell the truth I have never in my life seen any females doing it professionally. The jobs I was doing yesterday would kill your average man. The weight of extension trimmers that are 11 feet while standing on a ladder when its 95 degrees and 60-70% humidity and the clippings nearly max out a rack body that can hold 8-10 yards well lets just say most can't do this. But doing work like that has molded me and I don't take crap from nobody that guy wouldn't have last 3 mins on the phone with me. Cheer up your still very new to this you will become more battled hardened as time passes and I doubt your let someone treat you as he did again. Granted the next one will do it slightly different and then the next will be something else. But eventually you will have seen and heard it all and be much more forceful with your will when someone is trying to take advantage of you.
  5. DoubleClutch

    DoubleClutch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    PITA!!! Dump Him And Don't Look Back!! Weekly and Biweekly service only. Get paid for last service and next service if he wants you to do it and leave it at that.
  6. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    Every time I read a post like this I go out and send a dozen roses to all of my clients just for being so wonderful.


    Fourth season and I haven't run across anything like it. Not even close.
  7. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    This customer has met his quota on extracting the mamium amount of emotional capital that he can. I would suggest deleating this customer from your customer base and move on. This or any other customer in this industry is not worth the aggravation. Remember, Once bitten Twice shy. I suspect you will never have another customer like this one in your future. All the best
    easy-lift guy
  8. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD/NC
    Messages: 3,035

    I too, have had a few crazy ones this year. Dump them and don't look back.

    At the first sign of trouble, I try to stop things before they get ugly. But once they reach that point with me, they can find someone else.

    Cutting grass and landscaping is a very tough field to be in. Competition is everywhere. Some customers think you owe them everything, but once you dump them, they will go right on to the next guy. Eventually no one will want to deal with them.
  9. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    This is very true, I believe it is one of many reasons why they become so bitter and mean in a short period of time.
    easy-lift guy
  10. lawn co

    lawn co LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    You must live in Florida. This is quite the norm. When I first started I had to deal with these issue's plus a few of my own. Things left outside or nit picked up is so time consuming. A couple for instance baseballs, hose's, snot rags in the winter (sick like 6 times one winter) Christmas toys and wrapping, Easter eggs, rotten of course!, parties, etc. They place plants in the most ignorant places, dig holes and forget to fill them in or break sprinklers and blame you! Many years my friend, how about the little skate boarder trashing sprinklers. Just pick and choose as soon as possible.

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