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Customer complaint How to handle???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Dependable Lawncare, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. Dependable Lawncare

    Dependable Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Ok, guys I put a flyer on this guys house about a month ago. He had new sod laid late last year by the looks of it. Very lush thick grass.

    The guy calls me Friday and says he decided to go with my bid of $25. It's between 5-6000 sq ft. He told me on the phone that it was very tall already. (big surprise, he waited 'til the last minute)

    So I go and cut it on Saturday. We had no rain here for the last week, the grass was "dry". I had just put new excalibur mulch blades on my 36' Exmark the day before.

    It was not a fun job. At a reasonable cut height the yard would be a breeze but obviously at this stage of the spring it was probably 5-6 inches and very thick.

    I just put the mower at a low speed and mowed it, going over many areas twice to leave as little clumping as possible, but as you might expect there was still some clumpage. I picked up the larger piles, and figured when I mowed it again this week (as I told him on the phone I would) the lawn would whip into shape.

    I get home today to have lunch nad there is a lengthy message on the answering machine telling me that I cut his grass when it was wet, my blades were dull, and he spent 2 1/2 hours raking Saturday afternoon (and the poor thing has blisters!)

    As it was I spent entirely too much time there because of the delayed first mowing. What would you tell this guy?
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Well, first off, there is the one - the only disadvantage of mulching kits. If the grass is too high, or if it is wet, you have a HECK of a mess. The kits work well in any other conditions, but not either of these. I would've bagged the first cut and charged accordingly, or discharged and double cut to clean it up. But by no means, would I have left a mess on the first cut, even it was overgrown. But, that's alright, from here, you should be able to stay right on top of it, and keep it cleaned up. ;)
  3. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    Just apologize to him and say that under the circumstances you thought that you did the best quality work that was possible. Then tell him that the grass was first of all too thick and should have been mowed earlier, and second of all that you rake up the extra clippings(which were his fault in the first place). Tell him next time that he can not wait until the last minute to cut the grass. Also tell him that the only way that you will cut it from now on without having to deal with this hassle is by your decision. You will mow it as needed. If he has a problem with it, then move on to someone else then.
  4. Dependable Lawncare

    Dependable Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Thanks to the Michigan guys for responding. He accepted the apology and gave me free reign to do whatever I thought necessary to make it pretty. Some do, some don't. He did not make that clear during our first contact.
  5. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,075

    Best of luck to you, as it appears the customer is now ok. I would make sure in the future to totally understand the customer’s expectations before you start doing the work.

  6. wriken

    wriken LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    Seeings how you did pick up some of the bigger clumps of grass, also tell him clippings are good for the yard and by the next mowing it would look great. I have this yard that grows super fast, I can cut it on a 5 day rotation, and still have alot of clippings laying. I take the blower lots of times and spread them around. Honestly I hate to hook my collection system up on the ztr, could use the gobbler on the 48, would take longer guess I'm getting lazy, but will if I really have to, then if I can't dump on-site I have to mess with them at my place. Only time I like to hook it up is in the spring and fall. OK enough rambling :)
  7. Swampbeast

    Swampbeast LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    You did right, sincerely apologize, and move on. Thats the best way to do it.
    Next time, bag the lawn, and charge him an extra $5 for it.

  8. cturner

    cturner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    u did the right thing next time if theres clumps u might want to try to take ur blower and spread it out real good to ware u can't really even see them in most cases thats what i do and it works out real nice just my $.02
  9. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Last season a neighbor of a customer asked me for a price to cut his lawn.
    I gave him my price, but QUICKLY added that the first cut would be double because we were standing in 7"-8" tall grass!
    I explained I'd have to bag and haul away clippings.

    He wasn't even happy with my regular price, let alone the double price!
    He got someone cheaper who cut, side discharged, and LEFT it ALL on the lawn!! LOL!

    The following week he hired me and is now one of my favorite customers.

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