Dealing with ex customers who haunt you?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by shovelracer, May 8, 2008.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Ok Ill set the mood. 10 home culdisac of 800K homes. We have maintained 8 of them, 6 full service for 5 years now. Of the 2 we dont touch, one guy is a weekend warrior and the other screwed me out of 70 bucks my first year there. Very well known I take care of this place. Last year a woman on the other side of the road from this development approaches me and wanted service. I go over and take a look, she shows me where the last company ripped off a plank of her deck with their ZTR around the pool in back. I assure her we will be careful and she signs on.

    Year goes by, she signs up for about 2K in additional services and lands me the contract for her husbands apartment building. Year ends good. Winter comes and I get the apartment plowing. Half way through the winter they cancel the driveway plowing 4 car spaces due to renter issues, but keep the walkway shoveling 300 ft with 15 stairs. We get into a disagreement about my rate for the walkways only. They pay and I think all is well. Spring comes and I hadnt heard anything about the lawn renewal. I call and get scolded and talked down to for raising my rates $5 per cut on her yard. I wish her well and she tells me that I dont know how to run a business and will be run out of the area within the year. I say OK see you around.

    Today we are at the development, chance of rain in the forecast. For the last two weeks her new guy with his early 90s chevy and his early 90s bobcat 48 WB show up and mow the lawn. Today there was no sign of him. I guess he doesnt mow on cloudy days. Anyways Im at the end of the road taking care of the landscape around the sign and the husband comes out of the garage in his new porsche. I look up and wave, he flips me a not so nice return gesture and speeds off.

    Ten or so minutes later the cops come flying up the road and stop right in front of me. Im on my knees, pulling weeds out of the bed around the sign. They come up with hands on guns, and ask me to slowly stand up and keep my hands visible. They ask me what Im doing, and I tell them since Im wearing company attire, my truck is 100ft away, and my two other jokers and mowing a few yards over. They proceed to ask me like 100 more questions, run my ID, and take all my info. It turns out that they received a tip that someone matching my description was acting suspicious near my ex customers house. I told them about the situation and they suggested I stay away from that property. I told them I have enough of my own problems and proceed to go back to work as they get ready to leave. They drive by a few more times at random intervals.

    Well like today wasnt tough enough, I lost the better part of 45 minutes to this problem, along with any negativity that may have come from customers possibly seeing this unfold. What do you do?
  2. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,157

    Sorry to hear about the bad day. Keep your head up. Things will get better. I wouldn't say hi or wave to those neighbors in that home anymore period. Keep doing a quality job at the other houses you got and treat them with your best Services. Iwould'nt let them get to me. :waving:
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    I wouldnt say it was a bad day. Other than that and one of my guys hitting a fence at the end of the day. Overall we did all todays accounts and all our good tomorrow accounts in preparation for the heavy rain. What wonders me is what else these people have cooking cause I do 35 accounts in that whole area. They also cost me the HOA land for her street and her 3 friends, non of which got cut today since their new guy is afraid of rain it seems.
  4. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    turn the tables on them. next time you see his porsche out and about, take down the license plate number and report them as possible D.U.I. you might get lucky and the guy actually be drunk. anyway, it will waste some of his day.
  5. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Drop the hint to the neighbours that the cops were asking you about a stolen porsche reported in the area.
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Thats 3 people in the last year that have been out of line that owned porsches. I have customers with BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover, Lotus, Corvettes, collectables, and Ferrari and the only ones that ever give me a problem are the ones with the porsche. Just a weird observation, but so far has held true.

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