Customer complicates landscape mid season ~ more Laborious & a Time waster for me

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by OhMowBucks, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. OhMowBucks

    OhMowBucks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I have this decent 7-8 year weekly mowing customer. I always get them to prepay.
    But, they are the nickel & dime you type, that expects to get free extras along the way.

    Unbeknownced to me, just since my last mow, last week. They decided to have a specialized stone and limestone walkway installed inside the ONLY entrance to their PRIVATE upper back yard.
    Thus, they have now requested I do not take my zero turn rider down this new walkway anymore. It's the only way to get to the grass area, period. This Path to the grass(now made of "shakey" materials) is about 50 yards long, and 10 feet wide. She thinks I ought to "PUSH" mower this area now.

    First off, I retired any push mowing, and the mower, after Last year. I finally found another 36"
    walk behind just for these circumstances and narrow gates.
    I'm pushing 60, have two bad knees, and generative back disease(I know these things mean nothing to you guys, them, or anyone else. But they do to me.)They realize I'm older than them. They're in their 30's. Both are MD's, and have more money than they can spend.
    I estimate it will DOUBLE the amount of time that I have to spend there.

    Again, this walkway was just installed mid-season. No consulting with me on the "newly increased laborious" situation they put me in to service that area with the new pathway constraint. They already prepaid for the season BASED on their EXISTING landscape at the start of the season,
    with my zero turn rider, and my 36" walk behind being used.

    Has anyone out there been through a similar situation? How did you handle it?
    Take into account age, health conditions, desire/need to keep the customer, lack
    of communication/total disregard by customer, etc.

    I am looking for suggestions on what to call this "special service" request charge
    that I am planning to charge them.
    I have thought of these so far:
    -Irregular equipment charge
    -Special service request charge
    -Accessorial Equipment charge
    -KMA and get lost(haha)

    Extra Cost basis:
    -One price if I have to buy another push mower/use mine.
    -one price if I borrow their push mower(if they have one).

    One last important thing:
    I am looking for suggestions on wording for a disclosure statement(so I'm not liable for potential
    damage to the new walk), just in case I can talk them into taking my 36" walk behind down this path(without damaging it).
    Then, I can use it on this area without charging them any extra $$$ out of pocket this season.
  2. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,170

    I would negotiate by walking away personally. Once they have a refund check in hand I have no more obligation I'm in a better position to negotiate if they still want to work it out.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    AI Inc, zlandman, Outlawn and 5 others like this.
  3. Turf Tracer

    Turf Tracer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,743

    How big is turf area. We push mow spots like this all day long every day. Customers don’t have to consult the lawn boy to alter their property. If you won’t do it, many others will.

    And you used the word “unbeknownced” is a sentence. Well done !
    K c m likes this.
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,204

    Too bad it is spelled wrong.
    fatboynormmie, Mark Stark and Cam15 like this.
  5. 13Razorbackfan

    13Razorbackfan LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,843

    I simply tell people I know longer push mow snd refer them to a guy I trust who does. In your case I'd refund the money and politely tell them you don't push mow lawns and try to recommend them someone who does and you can trust. Only reason I do this is because I wouldn't want a bad review.
    Mumblingboutmowers and sjessen like this.
  6. flybynite

    flybynite LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,259

    Just tell them you have to adjust the price due to additional time to service the entire property. They don't really have to "consult" with you or any other service provider about any changes to their property. I feel it up to you to decide if there's more time involved to service it and stand your ground and let them know right away if you have to raise the price to match the added time spent. I don't like pre-pay. You got paid and most likely spend the money and still have the season to work.
    zlandman, OhMowBucks, agm and 3 others like this.
  7. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Messages: 2,259

    IMHO, this is the best option from all the posts on this thread thus far. The account sounds like its become more of a burden than anything. If you still want to keep it, then at least do so on your terms.
    OhMowBucks, sjessen and Cam15 like this.
  8. fireball756

    fireball756 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 696

    Used to have this problem with fences. Suddenly they fence in backyard and install a 30 inch gate. It’s tough to get a 72 inch mower through a 30 inch gate but if you go at full speed the length of the yard it will go but it scratches the paint on the gate.

    We always considered these situations sales opportunities. You get to upcharge for a laborious situation. Downside for you is that it doesn’t change your physical situation. Probably best to ask them to change contractors and see what they say.
  9. hal

    hal LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 1,892

    How much is the refund? Enough to buy a nice self propelled mower? To put up with it?
    Cam15 likes this.
  10. Turf Tracer

    Turf Tracer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,743

    Customer don’t care about you or your age or using a 36, they just want their lawn cut.

    Charge more or let someone else have it.
    iand, 13Razorbackfan and Cam15 like this.

Share This Page