Customer seems upset...suggestions please.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LawnMan883, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Down2EarthLawns

    Down2EarthLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    I also charge monthly....throughout the year. Flat rate for mow, edge, trim, and blow. I mow EVERY week in the growing season, even on 5 week months for the same rate (this leaves room to play with when the grass doesn't grow). Soon I will be cutting every other week. In some cases, it will be every 3 weeks. But my rule of thumb is that I will edge and blow at least once a week until the edging shows no growth at all. This way I am still going by the property weekly until the growth truely stops. I will have a few customers come up to me during slow growth and ask whats up with no decrease in their bill. I simply state that I give them 5 cuts for the months that contain 5 weeks without charging extra, then I come by every week to see if it needs to be cut. If you over-cut, it will compromise the health of the lawn. After all of that, they usually have no doubt that I am fair.
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Well, he got what he wanted - something free.

    This is why if you're going to charge a flat monthly rate, you MUST get the customer's signature on a piece of paper that specifically states what services are included for that monthly price, and what services are extra...
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    What I do when a question like this comes up is audit the account.

    It's really not as rough as it sounds, you just have to:
    1) Add up ALL the services for the year, figure 1.
    2) Then, add up ALL the payments, figure 2 (I use bank deposit slip copies for this).
    3) Do it in printable format.
    4) Do it at least twice, make sure the figures match.
    Then If Fig.1 - Fig.2 adds out, you send him the results of your audit, it shows he has received what has been paid for.

    But IF Fig.1 - Fig.2 = + balance <- You owe him, credit this to his account and work it off or work it into the leaf cleanup.

    Of course IF Fig.2 - Fig.1 = -balance then it could be you're doing something wrong, this helps pinpoint that.
    Either way, the results of the audit will tell you how to proceed.

    It helps to have a running total per account throughout the year, can save yourself from having to do an audit.
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    it seems many people are fine with the flat monthly rate... in my area, farm country and lots of elderly, they arent paying for what they dont get... so i bill at the end of the month but on a per cut basis

    i know that makes it tough during lean months, but this is when i work on selling them other services to make up for the lost income mowing
  5. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,260

    Nice job, sometimes all it takes is a little communication to clear things up. Clearly he has been holding this in for some time. I went through the same learning curve with customers early on. I explain to them I will come once a week if the grass does not need cutting (it does happen for a short period in Florida) I will still spend the same amount of time doing something to maintain the yard. I have had great success with this as most of my customers have been with me at least 3yrs or more. For you guys that visit less in winter, just put it in writing and make it clear to your customer at the start. Lastly do not allow yourself to be corralled into a specific day and time of service. The customer should never be allowed to dictate your schedule. :usflag: :usflag: :usflag:
    ericg likes this.
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    this is one of the reasons I do not do monthly flat fees, customers feel Jipped.
  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    Justin you are missing the point. it doesent matter if an agreement is signed or not some customers will always feel ripped off.
  8. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    You need to figure your rates at 4.3 weeks per month, NOT 4 weeks.
  9. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    Ya i think that was a good idea. I kinda agreed with the customer on this, I would definitely itemize your work and be crystal clear in EVERY other agreement you make from here on out. The free lawn aer was a good step in pleasing him and I think you did the right thing.
  10. loom-gen

    loom-gen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    Do anything you can "legally" to please the client because its not only them you are trying to please. Its the countless thousands of people they know. When I hear a lawn company tell me they got bad seed from a supplier, I don't buy grass from them. I spend thousands of dollars on seed. How many other people has this person told that spend thousands of dollars on seed? even worse, now I'm telling other lawn companies. All because one batch of seed was poor quality.

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