Christmas season nightmare

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by fishindude, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. fishindude

    fishindude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I live in East Texas where business in lawn care seems to be winding down for the season. One of my customers has Christmas lights around the entire perimeter of their yard making it impossible for me to do lawn service. The yard doesn't really need service, but she insists that it be done anyway (who am I to complain about income coming in this time of year :) ). The backyard fence is not big enough for a commercial w/b so I have to use my trusty Home Depot Toro mower, but now even that fence is blocked. The backyard is her main concern because she likes to have parties year round, so I always do a superb job in the back. Now I think I will blow everything into the beds and call it done. I am not going to break my back for a lousy $30 or for any amount of money. Any ideas?

    The entire yard is blocked off with lights, there are numerous electrical decoration scattered throughout the yard, many extension cords are all over the yard, stakes everywhere holding down some decorations. Its really looks nice, but a LCO nightmare. PLease offer me some advice. I have her lawn scheduled for this coming week. Thanks Eric :hammerhead:
  2. dschmaus

    dschmaus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    Simple. Tell her you would be happy to cut her yard but she needs to have all the cords decerations out of the way...
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Ditto. What can you do? You said you cant get into the back yard and she has decorations all over the place. Call her and leave a message telling her to clean it up so you have access to the back and there are no obstructions interfering with your work to be performed. You really have no other option unless you want to piss her off and lose her account. Good luck. Let us know how it goes. It sounds like a good learning experience for some of the new guys.
  4. Clear-Cut

    Clear-Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    you can offer to move all of the stuff for $XX if she doesnt want to do it...but from what it sounds in the first post you dont want to do it.

    you also said that it is winding down..which means u have more time to spend at each property because most dont need to be serviced...whats an extra 30 min of moving stuff onto a patio for an extra $20 (or whatever..depending on how much she has)...if you can afford the time i would say that the extra money for some light weight lifting is worth it
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,369

    We have that exact situation every week at one of our resturants and this property has rye grass and pecan trees with leaves falling now. So each week we use the blowers to clean/round up the leaves into little piles and then we mulch away. Often we have to unplug several cords but we asked them if they wanted to unpluy stuff and they said do it. Don't move or touch anything until you discuss this with your customer. It is taking us twice the amount of time as normal...just sucking it up.
  6. fishindude

    fishindude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    Thanks for all the advice. I think I will just suck it up. Im pretty sure I am liable for anything if it breaks right?
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,369

    Yes unfortunately you will be responsible.
  8. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    hm... doesn't sound right. Sucking it up means you're on the losing end. For the original poster, if the work takes longer because of the homeowner, charge at least $50 to $100 more. Your time is worth more than $40/hr.
    Think of all the other businesses you deal with in your life, not many will give you double or triple time to service you and still say nothing.

    If you see a lawyer, and spend double the time, you don't think he'll charge more. What you sell is "your time". Charge for it man...!!!!!:nono:
  9. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    I just saw your post, geez, why suck it up? Your time is valuable.

    I can't believe the advice you're getting here.

    Ask for more because it's the right thing to do and you deserve more.

    Find out what type of work your client does, and then ask her if she'll do things in her line of work for free, on an ongoing basis. Tell her you get this type of thing happen to you once in a while and that proper compensation is the proper outcome here. Show what you're made of and that you have two of those down there...:)
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes, you could try to call her and explain to her about the decs either needing to be removed or there would be a surcharge...
    And, more likely than not she will get argumentative with you and tell you how it is, so to speak.
    So we already know where that leads.

    You could also do what I do today and keep right on driving, or don't even stop by there...
    But, I couldn't bring myself to do that my first year, for reasons I am sure are similar to yours.

    So I think you do what you must do, and use the experience to remind yourself to advertise heavily in the spring.

    But on a sidenote, losing this customer is likely coming one way or the other, if you stay in business.

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