Customer accusations

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by johnnybravo8802, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,319

    I need opinions. I've had this happen 2-3 times before but it's been a while and I had forgotten that it's always a red flag. A woman I knew in the past asked me to look at her yard and give her a quote. She's had an older man doing her yard for 2 yrs for $90/cut and he told her he had to increase to $115 because of fuel. They described the yard as wide open and about 2 acres. When I got there, it was wide open but more like 3 acres. She said the older guy was slow and it took him about 3 hrs but I guessed I could do it in 2 hrs if I rushed. Like a fool, I told her $100 knowing it was worth $125+. I figured she'd say, it's only $15 difference and that she wasn't going to switch for $15. However, she called and wanted me to mow proving how cheap she really was. I shouldn't have wallowed in the mud with this but I felt I had been backed into a corner.

    I mowed it yesterday and it took 2 hrs as expected-no breaks and no breathing room with the price. I edged her drive and weedeated the cracks in the drive and did a much better job than she was used to having. I went to weedeat around the well and noticed a piece of outside PVC spewing water and I told her sister who was there. I also did the good deed and told her about a blackwidow I found around her faucet. The sister thanked me for telling her and I left. Now, I admit, I may have hit the pipe with the weedeater but PVC isn't suppose to break everytime you bump it. It was a stress split at the elbow that I've seen happen when pipe becomes brittle. I was told by the sister that the guy before me had hit the pipe before also. There seems to be a trend here-the pipe.

    Today I get a call from her saying there was a problem with the pipe being cracked and that I needed to call the man she rents from and talk to him. He had accused me of hitting the pipe with my mower. I told her that I mowed it with the tractor and that you can't get within 2 ft from an object with a tractor. If I had hit it with a 4000 lb. tractor, I would have crushed it. She said that she didn't want to be in the middle of it and I told her that it wasn't my responsibility either. She wasn't very nice about the situation and never said anything positive about the job I did. Basically, I've decided to get my money and have her call her grass guy back and pay him the $115 like she should have done to start with. My new policy now is, "If you want it done cheaper, don't call me." Pay the first guy what it's worth. Overall, I don't think I should be responsible for the pipe. What do you think? Next time, I'll just let a persons well run dry versus "doing the right thing." This has happened before where I do a job, get home and they call accusing me of breaking something. The ironic thing is that these people are always really cheap and there's always a complaint about something. I've learned to get rid of these people at the beginning because it never get better!
  2. slone

    slone LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    always walk around the property and look for these kind of things. look at windows, basement windows, siding around the house and garage. also anything you have to weed wack around. most people are honest but, you will always have a few that want some else to pay for damage already done by themselves or someone else.
  3. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,319

    This well was about 100 ft. from her house in the middle of the yard. I think the point here is that she chose to take part in a witch hunt after one mowing and was a real B@@@@ about the whole thing. It's not my place to call the man she rents the hs. from and let him accuse me personally. I have had customers like this from time to time and there is always a pattern. Trust me, this won't be her only complaint but it's going to be her only complaint with me.
  4. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    the problem here is that you took a 125 dollar yard and bid it for 100 for some unknown reason. bid what you think its worth and if you dont get it, dont sweat it. there will be more up for grabs. dont undercut just to get the job. goodluck.
  5. johnnybravo8802

    johnnybravo8802 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 2,319

    I still managed to make $50/hr. but the job was worth a little more. She was a former aquaitence and I was doing it more as a favor. However, I was still kicking myself because I would normally charge more for that size yard. I always seem to get in hot water whenever I do something for family or friends.
  6. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,445

    Never work for family or friends if possible (even if you do great work and they are great to deal with it changes the relationship)

    I say pay for the damage on the off-chance you caused it---this way they can't speak badly of you---then drop them for being problematic.

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