Firing customers

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by ecoguy, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,398

    Whatever way you let go a client, do it the right way as far as professionalism goes. You don't want bad press.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I have found nothing works better than having a system that simply does not
    allow the customer to pull certain strings, mostly because it just doesn't work.

    Raising prices, bad press.
    Anyone think the customer can't figure it out?
    It may seem fair to you, but the customer could get angry.

    Mostly I have found when a customer irritates me due to whatever reason, it is because
    of something within myself or my business that is allowing this to happen.
    Thus somewhere, somehow, something of mine needs to change.

    I found over the years most of this comes automatic, part of it is growing a thick skin, this simply takes time.
    I have noticed in the past few years most of the stunts that customers used to pull on me in the
    earlier years simply have no effect on me anymore, most of the time I don't even notice.

    It's not that I don't see it at all anymore, but I've been 5-10 miles down the road before it hits me.
    The other half I have the right answer, this also takes time.

    And I think that's the best way, when what they are doing goes right over my head or it doesn't affect me.

    Kind of funny how that works but for the most part it just takes time.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  3. throopguy21

    throopguy21 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    That's exactly what I do, as most of my accounts are well paying I can raise it a couple times and then they'll flake out. But in that time it feels pretty good, just like yelling at a **** ass employee.
  4. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Getting into a debate with a customer over who or what is "right" would seem to be a very unproductive conversation imo. When they hire one of you guys, my view is that they hire your expertise. If they have questions, no problem. But if they actually are questioning what you are doing or suggesting other advice be followed I can see why it might make sense instead to "price" those suggestions into the cost of doing business with them.
  5. piste

    piste LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    You can only "fire" those who work for you. I suspect one would only phrase this the way it was due to a feeling of inadequacy from someone who could not obtain any greater success in life than to cut grass for a living.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,956

    I did a service call today in Newton, Iowa (Maytag). She was complaining about "crabgrass and dead areas". First thing I did was pull out a ruler and measure the grass blades that had not regrown from the last cutting(s).
    Keep in mind that our landgrant University recommends a 3 - 3 1/2 cutting height during summer for Kentucky bluegrass.


    Cutting height on "flat ground" = 2 1/4 inches (at best).

    Cutting height on "sloped areas" = 3/4 inch. Sloped areas were the ONLY areas where she had crabgrass and dead patches. I know the guy that mows her lawn. He uses a 60" zero-turn commercial mower on every part of her lawn.

    I left her a "fact sheet" from ISU regarding "Proper Mowing & Crabgrass". :laugh:

    The service call was initiated by her five minute phone conversation with our office. She repeated herself many times over, telling us we were to blame cuz our "treatments" were the cause. (BTW she called in the same day we did her 4th app.)

    This b$tch is a multi-millionaire and lives in a nice house, but we couldn't care less. Hiring a "butcher" to mow her lawn is due to her own stupidity. (Easiest way to wreck a lawn is careless mowing). If she does not cancel us, we will cancel her unless she changes her bad mowing practices.

    On the way back, I did 3 estimates in Altoona. 2 signed up on the spot. The other was not home, but they will sign up too cuz they were a previous customer that just moved. New customers make up for the ones who "butcher" their lawn & try to blame it on lawn "treatments".
  7. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,323

    I have only one client for lawn treatments that I don't also mow. Guess which lawn rarely looks good.
  8. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,469

    come-on bro! i just read that in this months ''barely beagle magazine''
  9. Keegan

    Keegan LawnSite Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 614

    I have a customer I've had for about 5 years and every year she always makes little smart ass remarks either in e mail, note on a check, in person and she never takes my recommendations. The last one which broke the camels back this year fro some reason she is getting weeds in the back an the grass ins thinning. I said I'd like to over seed. nah it won't do anything. she always has the answers like she is the person who knows. I feel like telling her do it yourself.
    I'm probably going to keep her until the end of the year but haven't figured how to say adios(professionally) next year.
  10. Grohorganic

    Grohorganic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 157

    It starts off like this;

    Dear mr or mrs Jacka$$ knowitall POS,

    At this time I regret to inform you that (your great company name) will no longer be able to service your account. we are truly sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause, and will be happy to refer you ( to the local hack) so that no maintenance/service interruption is experienced by you our valued customer. hoping this letter finds you well and does not create a lapse of service. (AKA "GFYS")

    kindest regards
    happy to see you gone!!!

    just remember you will most likely not get paid for the last service call.

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