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Customer learns something new......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 1MajorTom, Jun 25, 2004.

  1. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    then quits us.
    Picked up a new customer the last week of april this year. Made it real nice, because we then had three in a row for 105 bucks. Took Matt an hour and half by himself every Wednesday evening.
    I didn't bill her for April since it was only one cut. End of May I bill her for the 5 cuts she owes. She sends back a check early June with the total scratched off, minus the sales tax. Scribbled note says, "Fertilizing company never charges sales tax, you can't charge me tax. Do you even have an ID number?" So I pull up the Dept of PA website, find the sales tax info, highlight it, print it out and mail it back to her giving her our sales tax id number. Also telling her in the future if she has any questions about her bill to call first before automatically reducing her price. Don't hear from her for a few weeks. 3 days ago in the mail she sends a check along with a note apologizing saying she was away on vacation, and that "she learns something new every day." Come home today and find a message on the machine telling us that she is quitting us because her nephew will now cut the lawn. Oh well, I'm glad I was at least able to teach her something new one time. :laugh:
    Seriously though, all over a couple bucks in sales tax. Go figure.
  2. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    Naw man. It was because you proved her wrong. Women cannot stand to be told they are wrong. Didn't you know that! :)
  3. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I have had that before. When you prove customers wrong and they get upset that I proved them wrong so they drop me because they think that I am a a@@
  4. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 981

    AVERY - that is PRETTY BOLD OF YOU TO SAY...especially when you are in NC & Jodi is in PA!!!! ;) Did your wife see this? Mine would give me the frying pan up the side of the head if I said this!

  5. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Agreed, you have to handle the "there is no sales tax...what are you doing?" complaint with kid gloves. Simply proving them wrong won't keep them on the schedule.

    Realize, first off, that the vast majority of your competitors don't bother with sales tax. Secondly, the way I've handled this in the past is to explain to the customer that you realize many of your competitors don't charge sales tax, but that you do. And the reason you do is because you don't want to be in business for years only to find that you're being bankrupted by the government years later. After you explain that, offer to give them your sales tax ID number and the state comptroller's phone number. This tells them that you aren't making up the charges to pad your profits.

    It sucks losing a customer because you're paying taxes and your predecessors were tax cheats. Unfortunately, until the industry decides to get up off it azz and start policing itself, this sort of thing is going to be the reality that we must all deal with.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    and this is why i treat customers like they should be treated: like a paycheck, like money, nothing else. THEY ARE EXPENDABLE, REPLACEABLE, and worth only as much as thier last invoice
  7. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    I prefer to treat people like I want to be treated, then hope for the best. Try it sometime.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    and i prefer to treat people like what they are worth. if you are my friend, you are worth the trouble of emotions, and misunderstandings. if you are a client, it's business. period! when u cost me money, or problems that result in loss, you are gone!
  9. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    I agree with Bobby. A customer is just that...a customer and nothing more. I treat them with respect, but I never, ever depend on them to remain loyal to me or my business. One thing I have learned about this business is that people who use lawn service companies to take care of their yard will shop for the lowest price that they can find. They will drop you in a heartbeat if they can find another company that will do it cheaper.
  10. Tonyr

    Tonyr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,973

    When I started I went with the friendy approach, after being abused, screwd, threatened, lied to, cheated etc, I see a client, I see money, nothing else, sure I'm nice n all, but any crap I'm gone, sence attitude the quote goes up, dealing with the public certainly hardened me up, put feelings into it just causes stress.

    You gotta try to be one step of people, they are not loyal to you regardless of what you think, they use us, we use them, it's all a money game. Clients cannot be friends, it's an illusion.

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