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Dealing with nuisance customers. Swallow your pride or fire them?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Gus McGee, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. iclypso

    iclypso LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Messages: 8

    ^This. Tolerate it for the minimum time your situation (a.k.a. personal financials) allow. That nuisance customer is taking up time you could be spending on a customer who isn't a nuisance.
     
    Cam15, E-town and Jeff@diyokc like this.
  2. GRANTSKI

    GRANTSKI LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,122

    Running a business is already stressful enough. Not worth getting your blood pressure up over $50 a week (more like $20 after taxes etc) . My policy is as soon as they become disrespectful I confront them about it and of no change then they are ex customers.
    Recently had to drop a lady w dementia ...she was “nice” but passive aggressive and Was calling a MINIMUM of 5 times a week. “Cut it high - cut it short - you missed a spot - when are you coming - don’t come this week - actually come this week etc etc. some times I would have 5 missed calls in one DAY . It actually took me about 10 conversations to drop her as a customer and after kindly referring her to someone else guess what ....10 more voicemails Over the past week complaining about the new guy and literally BEGGING me to mow her lawn again lol. NO.
     
  3. Valk

    Valk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,718

    Drop them AND block their phone #.
     
    E-town likes this.
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,793

    This right here is a good respectful way to do it.
     
    E-town, zlandman, Jeff@diyokc and 3 others like this.
  5. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,596

    I agree with the others, it's kind of a gut feeling based on what the complaints are.

    But don't be afraid to, life is too short to deal with some people's BS.

    Also, it seems like people are getting more demanding than in the past as well as to a certain point unrealistic with those expectations.

    January 2019 we had a big ice storm, I actually pulled our crews off the road because it was raining so hard it was washing the salt right into the drains. We had a couple customers that thought every square inch of parking lots should have been ice free by opening time that morning. We had salted twice before opening and a third time at 10 AM at one location. It was just completely unrealistic.
     
    E-town, Jeff@diyokc, hort101 and 2 others like this.
  6. iand

    iand LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    I weigh up stress levels with amount paid the more they pay the more I will accept stress,now days I need a lot of money before I will accept stress :)
     
    E-town, Gus McGee, Mark Stark and 2 others like this.
  7. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 908

    Some of the BEST paying accounts I've ever had, are the ones I don't do anymore.

    There are times,"the drain/pain" is way more than it ever paid! Always remember, one of the best things about working for yourself is that YOU get to decide who you work for (or with).
     
    E-town, zlandman, Mark Stark and 4 others like this.
  8. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Gold Member
    from WV
    Messages: 3,200

    This is my approach.... You've got picky people and some people pay enough to be picky and some don't. We try our best to ensure what is to be done each service when we first pick up a client. I tell clients up front what height we cut, don't allow them to dictate. Let them know if they want XXX or XXX it's additional $$$.

    I've had clients in sub-divisions who are next door neighbors in the past say "why does the neighbors yard look so much better?" Then explain that they pay us for spraying or whatever additional services.

    In the end this line of work has enough headaches, if people don't want to pay to be picky then find someone who does and be sure you follow through on what you claim to deliver.
     
    ME Mowing, E-town, knox gsl and 5 others like this.
  9. zlandman

    zlandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 1,203

    After they are clearly being unreasonable I just send a letter saying we can no longer service your account. Usually time this right after payment for the previous month.
    Like the lady that told me it was my fault her dog bit me because they don't know when I'm coming. Or the lady that needed me to mow every two weeks and thought I should rake it for free because there's so much dead grass.
     
    E-town, hort101 and Mark Oomkes like this.
  10. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,080

    My first thought is fire them. Plenty of work to go around for everyone, unless of course it is a very good account, even then it may not matter. I've mentioned this before about dealing with stuff like this that just adds to the stress of this job, but I listened to a presentation about toxic employees (we can add in customers for the sake of it). The guys response was simple, "It is your heart attack". In other words why put up with it if it is not warranted and is causing stress. This hit me hard and I ended up firing the problematic employee that I had right around that time. Things have been smooth now that he is gone.

    Do a regret minimization assessment. Ask yourself if that customer fell off the face of the earth would you miss them or their money? If not then I would lose them right now.
     
    E-town, Valk, knox gsl and 1 other person like this.

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