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Call aheads drive me nuts

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Turfdoctor1, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    I only call in advance for customers with dogs in the backyard or locked gates. The main reason being: this time of the year, so many of the ones I have to call in advance give me this response, "Oh, I think we are just going to skip this round."

    Really? Do you not realize that each application is timed for a specific purpose? Do you not realize that you are going to be calling me in the spring, or in a few weeks or who knows when complaining about your lawn again? Do you not realize that my income is based on people paying me for the service that they ask me to perform at the beginning of the year? Do you not realize that if every customer cancels the day before service that I am stuck with 10's of 1000's of dollars of chemical?

    What do you fellas do in this situation? I think I am going to start billing them anyway.
  2. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    I only do call aheads for gates/dogs. Any other reason is a cancel. period.
  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,999

    If you miss a doctor's appointment without giving adequate notice, their is either a missed appointment fee or a full bill. I think it is right that this is done because someone else's time is being wasted. Secondly, I am very careful of yards where the dog has free run of the lawn. Lastly, on locked gates. Either the customer keeps that gate open on day of service, or provides me with a key, combination, etc. If that cannot be done, no key-no service, client is fired immediately. Someone that paranoid about locking up their property has craniorectal inversion, a problem that is way above my pay grade and area of expertise. To people that object to my policy on locked gates, they are told that locks only keep out honest people. If someone with dishonest intentions wants in, they will do what they must. Be it hop a fence or break whatever locks are in place. If I cannot be physically there to confront an intruder, I leave it unlocked. I do not want to deal with the damage caused by someone trying to break in. On the other hand, the opposite is true if I am there. I want to hear someone picking or breaking locks.
  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,253

    Methinks, I see a weak and verbal contract here. You do have a written contract with conditions and services; don't you? If not, you should! A good businessman would allow monthly rates only to a new and first year clients; then if they like your work and are satisfied with their lawns; a 1/2 yearly premium would be due before the the second half of the season stated and witnessed by client, you and one of your assistants not their spouse where two against one is not in your favor.
    Business is business and general sessions courts are general sessions courts for these matters.
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,999

    My policies on dogs and gates are clearly spelled out on a service agreement that I sign and date, as well as both husband and wife. Needless to say, I have not had to fire someone over their gates or dogs. A person who would give me trouble over this is scared away and that suits me just fine.
  6. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    No. i do not have written contracts with my customers, and I would venture to guess I am in the vast majority here on lawnsite. I can recall more than one thread on the subject. As a small company, I would rather keep a customer and let them off the hook if they skip a round rather than dropping them because "That's what the contract says."

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Let me rephrase the question. If you call in advance because a customer has a dog, and they tell you to skip this round and you have a verbal agreement for yearly service, are you out of line if you tell the customer that it is not an option to pick and choose which applications are skipped.
  7. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    Instead of calling ahead, send the bill for the service in advance with the date of the service and a reminder to have the lawn accessible, sprinklers off etc. We have been doing this since 1996, and it works great. Clients get their bill 2 days in advance. If we are unable to service the lawn because of the client leaving a dog out, or a gate locked, there is a $15 trip fee.
  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    This thread sound like so many over in the mowing forum.
    You show up, and customer says "why don't you skip me this week?"

    Frustrating, isn't it?
  9. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    I am not so sure about the call ahead. I do not offer this "call ahead service". I send out a letter at the beginning of the year stating the proposed app dates; which has a 20 day buffer. I think you are frustrating yourself with stupid home owners life styles and decisions. I am 100% positive you can avoid these situations by getting pre-paid or getting a contract in writing. You are just frustrating yourself.
  10. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    you are exactly right.

    but, i also want to refrain from putting down fertilizer and pesticides with dogs outside.

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