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Client complaing about the lawn

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Marek13, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Marek13

    Marek13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Hey Guys I hope you can help me here.
    I did spring clean up in March (early per clients request) I de-thatched and applied starter fertilizer and spread some seeds -she newer water it even when I told her too. Now she is calling me advising that her lawn looks like crap and that I am the gardener and I should water it for her.
    Newer the less the lawn look weak and dry and it’s dry with dandelions. What should I do?
    I was thinking about top dressing it with top soil and reseeding it again what do you think
    I would drop her already (old lady 80 or so who complains) but I have 18 houses on that block and still have to see her face because I have her neighbors as clients
  2. GRT

    GRT LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    This sounds unreasonable. On your end, you should have laid out a plan of what you thought would get the lawn from a to b. If she preferred it be handled a different way, you can oblige at her risk. that needs to be clear to her.

    On her end, she can't hold you hostage to her desires. You have no obligation to water her lawn unless you somehow agreed to it.

    I would do nothing more for free. Give her a proposal that clearly states all costs and what you will do. If she rejects, move on. You won't lose anyone on the block because of her. Water her lawn today, you might as well tuck her into bed tomorrow night.

  3. Marek13

    Marek13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Thanks GRT!
    i laid the plan this spring i wanted to do the renovation. the lawn di not loo that bad last year as her nurse was watering it wor her but gues what the nurse quit last Sept and since then the lawn had not water besides natural rain. what most funny is that she was not like that untill she started consulting her bingo friends and fron there on --nothing but complains" from the begining she only wanted me to cut gras weekly and aply fertilizer as needed. I changed her 30 per cut + fertilizer 4 times a year. Thank she wanted me to deweed the flowers and spray round up on he flagstone sidewalk that she complained that he flower beds look bad.than she wanted me to pull some flowers from the back and plan it on the front to save money.
    than when i changed her 30 fricken bucks extra she goes I can have kids do it for 5 bucks thats too much -I said I tolld you how much would it be but she said she didn't hear.
  4. buzzz427

    buzzz427 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    sounds like you need to tell her to go and try to find a kid to do anything for five bucks she needs to come out of the 19th century. The first three weeks that a 5$ kid doesnt show up she'll be calling you with her tail between her legs.
  5. jds1469

    jds1469 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    $5. sure i need you to come over and topdress my lawn and reseed. and for free you come every day and water for me right? come on man if shes going to play the "i didnt hear you" card then type up a contract and get some signatures in black and white
  6. Marek13

    Marek13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Thanks guys for all your replies.
    Sometimes I think sh**t is it only me that this crap happens to but reading here I see that we still have people that want to get everything for a buck or 2 including all the possible freebies.
    I went to her yesterday and looked at the lawn she did nothing no watering nothing -we did not have any rain in last 2 weeks so I told her how the hell you expect the grass to grow and the seeds to grow. I cut her lawn and laid water hose with soakers and told her to watch what I’m doing because she needs to do it from now on.
    She asked me how often and how long does she have to water and when I told her daily for few minutes so the seed develops and later twice a week for half hour-she goes “that’s insane that’s going to triple my water bill”
    I simply gave up and laid the plan:
    You want nice lawn you got to spend time and money or pay me for my time
    You want to spend minimum –don’t expect to have nice carpet in front of your house –your choice
    If you want me to take care of the lawn this is the schedule and these are the rates
    That really got her attention and she already did her homework and got few estimates and she knows what’s up
  7. TforTexas

    TforTexas LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Get it in writing. I never do a reseed job without a written agreement spelling out the customers obligation to watering and a strongly recommended watering schedule. And of course there are no guarantees on seeding jobs.
    This puts all the questions about watering, water bills, and whether the seed is going to come up out front, before the work is done. I have them sign it and we each get a copy. If they have an irrigation system I will set it for 3 times a day 5 mins a station and tell them it is up to them to adjust that depending on the weather conditions.
    I have still had them pull the ol' "I watered every day" line, then I reached down and crumbled a bone dry dirt clod into their hand and asked them to explain that. "Well I watered it every day for the first 3 days." or my favorite,
    "I figured with all the rain we've been having", when it hasn't rained in two weeks.
    At any rate it is clearly spelled out in the job agreement. That way they can't say you didn't say this or I didn't hear that. If they didn't read it, that's their worry cause they signed it.
  8. Rhodester

    Rhodester LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Great post Texas.

    Despite written instructions, clients rarely water enough to keep an entire 1 inch seed bed properly moist for 30 days or more.
    Here in the northeast KGB can take 30 - 45 days to emerge as a seedling.
    Many clients think they can adequatly water a 10K seeding with a couple of hose-end sprinklers and 45 lbs. of water pressure.
    We always end up with some ongoing baby sitting of the watering, even with irrigated and/or informed clients.
    Unless insisted upon, we just don't spring seed thin lawns any more.
    Bare lawns, you have no choice.
    We try to adust pH if needed, encourage the existing lawn and dicourage the weeds during April - July.
    We then prep & criss-cross slice seed from August 15th through September.
    We then have only the initial watering needs and no heat stress.
    The seedling also gets another three months of growth the following spring before the heat of mid summer.

    With spring seeding your asking a client who probably won't water enough initially, to also nuture this little seedling with only a half inch root system through the watering & nutrient requirements of July & August.
    Remember...this now YOUR LAWN with the word of mouth that goes with it. Get ready for four months of advertisement that your lawn installs suck, through no fault of your own.
    Then there is the weed compitition...remember you cultivated, fertilized & watered the crap out of them too...
    And...Who's mowing this lawn? Proper height and frequency is critical.

    In our sandy loam you pretty much can't over water a seeding.
    After seeding in September of 06 we got 13 inches of rain over 8 straight days.
    Surprisingly, the results were outstanding... the best ever.

    Here in the northeast we ended a three week mini-drought today.
    All non irrigated lawns look like crap...dry w/ fert., pre-m & lime sitting on top and not watered in.
    We're supposed to get 2-3 inches, so in three weeks hopefully, we'll all look like heros and be mowing like crazy..

    Know the full scope of the job and the true time & costs involved.
    Get it in writing.
    Do the job as if it were your own.
    Charge enough.
    No guarantees on living things.

  9. jds1469

    jds1469 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    says it all
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    4 applications of fertilizer for a nonirrigated lawn? There is a good reason it doesn't look as good this spring as it did last fall. It will look even worse by this fall.

    For the current problem, put a timer on a hose that covers the most critical area and grow that one spot. No excessive water waste - no chance of a missed sprinkle - etc. When that area grows analyze step 2.

    This is a low maintenance yard. I realize ChemLawn can't understand that, but you are an independant contractor, correct?

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