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Customer unhappy with cost of cleanup

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by littlenic, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. littlenic

    littlenic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    I have a one Time Customer that's really unhappy with cost of cleanup we performed for her. She doesn't live in the house, her son and his collage friends do. We performed a massive cleanup, weeding, trimming hedges, trimming limbs, cutting up and moving down trees, cleaning of roofs and most of all, about 12 man hours of picking up sticks and limbs on about 2 acres, disposed of in the surrounding woods. Also tear down and haul off two large skateboard ramps and a slip & slid to the dump 45 min. away and spraying round-up on the poison-ivy in the back-yard about 5k. I sent out the invoice after 2 weeks and 2 hurricanes later, I called and asked if she had liked the cleanup, she says she hadn't looked at it yet or received the invoice but if I would give her the total she would send me a check, so I tell her 1710.00 she drops her jaw I can here it hit, then 1) She goes into when she pulled up one of my men was sitting down drinking water not working, (asked him about it and it was his first break of the day, "bad timing") 2) That this was way over anything she had every paid in 17 years living there, etc. etc. She then said she would pay it but she would never use me again or recommend me to anyone. I was going to send her this letter along with another copy of the invoice. Do you think the letter is a bad move or not? When we walked around with her listing what she wanted done, I quoted what I charge and that I charge by the hour on clean-up and that it would be really expensive and her reply was she knew it would be. My fault for not giving her a written estimate with a range.

    The letter follows:

    Dear R,

    I have been trying to compose this letter to you over the week. I’m sorry that you didn’t get a chance to see the cleanup before the two hurricanes came through. I regret that one of my men was taking a break and getting water when you came up and not working at the time. I hope the details on the invoice helps to recall what all we performed. I also hope it shows where I had an additional person working on the 24th at no additional charge.
    I am sorry that you were not pleased with our service and hope that there is something that we may be able to do in the future to change your mind. I will keep my clients more informed of progress and cost in the future to keep this type of problem from occurring again.

    Sincerely yours,

    Sorry for the long post,
    Thanks, littlenic
  2. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    yeah, I got that one this year, too. Customer is an hour away. I gave him back one way travel. I don't ever expect to hear from him again. oh well.

    "Loves" my work, but I'm too expensive". I'm sick of these fools who want something for nothing. Clean up the sh!t yourself, then.

    I wouldn't bother with the letter.
  3. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,581

    ALWAYS TAKE PICTURES!!!!!! Before and After of EVERY landscape job.. People will purposely screw stuff up just to make you fix it for free..
  4. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,267

    Send the letter if you want it shows you are trying to please her,but make sure you collect your money you did the job she asked you to do and it seems like it does bother you that she is not and to me that shows signs of a good business man trying to to the right thing.Good luck hope it all works out for you and remember not every customer will be a repeat customer it would be nice if they were but it doesn't always work that way.
  5. Blueangelfightr

    Blueangelfightr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Oh well such as life. I don't know what is up with people like said before people want everything for nothing. Time is money its a stupid statement but is true. Everyone gets these customers though so its not just you. Oh well, Good luck and keep up the good work. :waving:
  6. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    Big No-No.
    Always give an estimate BEFORE performing the work.At least she would have had an idea of what the charges would have been had you provided an estimate.Then she could have called someone else or said ,"OK".
    Don't send a letter.Everyone gets a break,by law,so you don't owe her an explanation concerning your worker taking one.
    She gets to write this one off on taxes also.I guarantee she's using this as a "rental home" and is writing everything off.May even get reimbursed by her insurance company also,since it was damaged.
  7. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Like the ol sayin goes, "ya cant please everyone" and u would drive yourself crazy tryin. Just do as u did and do the best job for them you can. we have to make money also to pay our bills. It amazes me that some people will spend $50,000+ a year to join a country club or pay $400.00 to take their freinds/family to a nice resturaunt, then gripe about the landscape prices when we actually improve the value of their property. I guess they feel like big shots throwing money around in front of their freinds but hate to throw money around if their freinds arent around to be impressed by it.
  8. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Exactly! If you can't ballpark someone a quote within a couple hundred dollars, you don't know your job and deserve the headache. In todays day and age, everything needs to be clear before ANY work is started.
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Some how I don't see or figuire you man hour charge. If you had charged her $ 5.00 a man hour that would of been too much. Some people think Wal-mart prices are too high.
  10. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Pictures and a written estimate should have been done

    Bottom line:
    "She then said she would pay it but she would never use me again or recommend me to anyone."

    I would think letter or no letter she will not recomend you to anyone
    I would send the invoice but not the letter.

    If your work was done in a professional and workmanship manner you have nothing to be sorry for. As far as your man drinking water there is nothing wrong with that.

    Never work by the hour,estimate the total hours charge a total and stand by it.

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