Discouraging....when trying to help.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by OnMyOwn, Mar 18, 2006.

  1. OnMyOwn

    OnMyOwn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    I met a guy a few years ago that was in the same line of work (LCO). He also provides other misc. services for additional money. Keep in mind that both of these businesses are part-time ventures, as he is employed full-time by the State/

    He is a "somewhat" challenged individual in verbal skills and actions. Once I was able to communicate with him comfortably (no easy task), he began to tell me stories about his life. He grew up working on his Uncle's farm from the age of (8). His parents decided to award custody to the state, because his Dad said he did not want a "******" in his home. His Uncle took him in rather than putting him in a "home" for challenged persons.

    He grew, married and seems to be quite a genuine, nice person. He called me looking for work one day last fall, and I agreed to take him out on my crew for the day. I did not need the help, but I felt he needed the money, or work. After working all day, I paid him as a sub-contractor at a rate of $15.00, per hour. Mind you, this is 50% higher than my other employees are compensated. Again, I thought this was a nice gesture to a man in need. An hour after finishing the day, he called me and said his wife was upset with "us". She felt I used him because he is worth more money than $15.00, per hour. I told him I would not compensate him any more money, and would never use him in that capacity again.

    Months pass and he for wards some leads my way, since he does not want to grow his business beyond what he can complete by himself. Likewise, he asks that I represent his side business to my clients, and other contacts. He thinks his slower pace verbal skills are threatening to clients and he has trouble selling. I agreed to help him again, but I have been treading softly.

    I get approached today by one of my clients wanting his services. I tell the client that I can provide the services, so I make the call to my "friend" for a quote. He responds that he cannot do it in the time-frame I need. Frustrated, but still willing to listen why. He then quotes me the price and is so high, I cannot possibly add anything to the price for re-selling, and will lose the opportunity to lock-in a monthly service contract. Again, the client wants it done immediately, I'm frustrated, but still listening to him. He then asks who he will be billing for the service, and I said "ME", at which point his wife screams in the background "NO!!!!!!" we do not like second party billing situations. I responded that if he wanted the business he just needed to get there tomorrow and put the $350.00 in his pocket. Then she yells, not without you signing a contract first, we don't!

    At this point, I told him I would get other prices and let him know something tomorrow. I'm frustrated that she is involved, when I'm doing nothing but trying to help. Granted she does not know me, but I have known her husband for two years and been nothing but friends. I have tried to help his business and at times, felt sorry enough for him to get other friends involved in making sure they had a nice Christmas.

    This is not a sympathy ploy, or anything like that. I'm just a trusting person that loves helping people in need, or honest people trying to make an honest living. Now, she has questioned by honesty as a person, by company reputation, by sheer willingness to help and crushed my desire to help them in a friendly situation.

    Again, I am so hurt, not angry that I continue to try and help, yet if backfires again.

    Enough venting. Do you think it is time to walk away?
  2. barefootlawns

    barefootlawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    It may be time to step back and let him get his own customers. It sounds like this may break any kind of friendship up that you guys have. Why is his wife so rude? Is it because she thinks that you tried to take advantage of him? Sounds like she is trying to protect her husband but being rude about it to the point it is causing him and possibly you customers. Time to call the working relationship quits and just be friends. Thats just me though.
  3. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,780

    Tough situation. It sounds to me as if your friend isn't the problem, his wife is. I suspect she is a domineering, assertive type personality, while he sounds the opposite. She probably wears the pants, and never lets him forget it.

    If I were you, and considered this man a friend, I think I would simply tell him that your business relationship seems to have worked in the past, and would into the future, but you don't appreciate his wife assuming that you are trying to rip them off when you are, in fact, trying to help.

    I've been in situations myself when I was friends with someone and their spouse was a royal A__. Sometimes you just have to ignore them as best you can. Good luck.
  4. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    I have/ had a friend like this. We grew up together and we pretty much did everything together. His family wasn't very well off and because they were lazy he never had much. i always including him in everything I did and most of the time I paid for much more than my share. He ended up getting married to a much younger than us girl. She was very jealous of my wife and I and what we had. I also worked every overtime shift and side job I could. I took him on some side jobs and paid him more than he was worth. She was always whining that they had nothing ( she didn't work) and that we were spoiled. After several times listening to her complain about their lot in life I decided it was time to walk away. I only see him once or twice a year now and she never comes to visit with him anymore.
    It's time to walk away. You did all you could and need to.
  5. OnMyOwn

    OnMyOwn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 372

    Thanks for the replies guys. The best part about this forum is realizing that friendships, faith, and objective decision making are all part of running a successful business, and many have proven so by their wise responses.
  6. eddy tice

    eddy tice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    trust in the LORD always and find some new friends
  7. freddyc

    freddyc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    There's a very good chance that all his life this man has had people trying to take advantage of him.

    With regard to his wife, although she seems like a drill sargent, she's probably just trying to stay in control...for all you know this man gets screwed everytime unless his wife sticks to her guns. Your description indicates a person who has a set of standards that they follow no matter what.

    If you really want to help this guy, get in your truck, go to his place , meet his wife, and take it from there. There's a good chance that she just doesn't know you and you're just another guy trying to screw them over in her eyes.

    The other option is to talk with the mna and explain it to him....straightforward.

    What you're doing isn't working ----try something else!

    Take care and good luck to you...there aren't many people that would go this far in this situation. You're a good person.
  8. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,325

    No good deed goes unpunished... At least you tried!
  9. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    sounds to me like " she " wants to rule the roost around there .i would let it go .be friends but not business friends . if he cant get work on his own then maybe she will realize it and come around .
  10. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 867

    I admire what you are doing for this guy, and it sounds like he values your friendship. I think that before you give up and walk away, you need to go meet his wife and really let her get to know you. Invite them over for dinner or something. She needs to learn to trust you and realize you are not trying to take advantage of her husband, as others have most definitely done in the past.

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