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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I guess I want to know your opinion on this, or how you would handle the situation. I have a customer that is new this year, been cutting for just over 2 months now. I like the lawn, and think it always looks great when we are done. (See attached pic). It stripes nicely, so we are always cutting it on diagonals, cross-cuts, changing patterns, the works. I always try to do an extra nice job just because it does turn out so well, so I had no reason to think the customer would be disapointed. Well, on their first months invoice, they did not check off anything on the 1-5 satisfation pole that is on every invoice. No biggie, Maybe only 50% of my cutomers bother to check it off anyway. Today, I get a call saying they are unhappy with the service, they have been since it started, and now this last cut we damaged one of the small bush's in front of the house. The customer has already decided prior to the phone call that this should be worth one free cut (her words and suggestion). Now, I did in fact damage the bush while trying to make sure the stripes were as close to the bed as possible, the jungle wheels just clipped it and snapped the thin frail thing. I did not deny the damage, I was well aware of it, but I was still stunned from the announcement that she has not been happy with our service even before this incident. In shock, I agreed to the free cut in exchange for the damaged bush (the bush would have cost me more to replace, so its not a bad deal for me really).

The bush is not my real dilemma, more the catylist. My real dilemma is that they are not happy with the service when in my opinion I am doing an excellent job. This customer has obviously made it to the top of the potential PITA list. I want to meet with her in person and discuss the situation, try to explain the accident, and find out why she is really unhappy. But I wanted to share this story first, see if anybody here had some ideas or suggestions on what to do to make my in person meeting more productive and come to a resolution easier.

Here is a pic of the property:

Thanks For Your Input,

Kevin

Plant Property Wheel Tire Sky
 

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Sounds to me like the bush was the "straw". That is in thier mind, the last straw. There is other stuff here, I'd bet on it. Maybe legit, maybe not. Meet face to face if possible and have a note pad. If you really want to keep the account hear out but don't be a door matt. because trust me when i tell ya, give them a yard (sorry for the pun) and they'll want a mile.

BTW, how bad is the bush?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
qball98 said:
If it was my place I would not be happy with the grass growing in the driveway and sidewalk cracks. Other than that it looks good to me.

Qball
As a rule, our basic service does not include management of sidealk crack grass. The homeowner if free to spray it, but we do not include it. As an add-on I will do it. I do not think this is really the issue as our contract clearly states what we maintain. That said, it looks a little worse in the pic than in real life becase of the black expansion strips in the driveway. If something gets too unruly, we will whip it down, but it it is flush with the cement, we leave it.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
HighGrass said:
Sounds to me like the bush was the "straw". That is in thier mind, the last straw. There is other stuff here, I'd bet on it. Maybe legit, maybe not. Meet face to face if possible and have a note pad. If you really want to keep the account hear out but don't be a door matt. because trust me when i tell ya, give them a yard (sorry for the pun) and they'll want a mile.

BTW, how bad is the bush?
The bush is not dead, but it is disfugured. It will take some time to recover, possibly a couple years because it was the front of it that was damaged, so it is the most visable to an onlooker.

I think you are right with the "last straw" idea, but like I said this property is always left looking good, it looks like the picture every single cut (just the direction of the stripes change). I do agree a face to face is the best way to determine if her complaints are real, or from the mind of a PITA. I actually like cutting this account, it is small, and looks nice, but it wouldnt hurt if I lost it. Im not trying to create any bad will, and I would like to keep her. I will have to try to get ahold of her tomorrow after I can sleep on it for a night and clear my head.

Kevin
 

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Looks good to me. How far to the left in the picture does the property go? To me, it looks like you are cutting to the next driveway. I also agree about the crap in the cracks, but if it's not in your agreement, it's not your problem.
 

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I bet she doesnt like the stripes and them changing all the time,how much you wanna bet.Stripes are much more important to LCO's than they are to homeowners,some like a more natural overall even look where there are no stripes but a consistant green flat layer mowed all the blades the same direction.
 

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It looks pretty good to me. (But you should have told them about the damaged bush before they saw it.) I'd find out what has her unhappy with your work. Just for future reference on other jobs. To keep or drop them is your call.

As a practice, I carry a small tank of Round Up, just for grass and crap like you've got in the cracks. It makes me feel better because my work looks better, and really dosen't take as long to do as posting this reply.

Jim
 

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sheshovel said:
I bet she doesnt like the stripes and them changing all the time,how much you wanna bet.Stripes are much more important to LCO's than they are to homeowners,some like a more natural overall even look where there are no stripes but a consistant green flat layer mowed all the blades the same direction.
BAM!! There you have it as I was going to post the exact same thing. I'd bet a Franklin that that is the issue as most homeowners don't even know what the stripes are and many think they are ugly, esp if they are older clients. We have taken off our stripe kits and all but stopped putting down any stripes and I am beginning to think and agree that the flat bright green grass with the baleds all lying down in the same basic direction does look "cleaner".

Also spraying weeds in driveways we do for FREE on all of my residentials even though it never mentions it in the service agreement. We are licensed and spray them once a month and leave a pre-printed note saying that "as a valued client we have sprayed the weeds in the driveway & sidewalk crack today for FREE".....clienst love that word FREE, and it as you know is cheap, cheap, cheap to do as we use Killzall for that app only and get it for $55 per 2.5 gallons it still has 41% Gly, same as Roundup and at 3-6oz per gallon mix of water it last a long time. Plus even with best cut the driveway weeds take away from it.
 

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Wow! I need to take some pics of some of my yards with the weeds and dead spots the size of swimming pools and the cheapys like it that way! The only thing I see also is the grass in the cracks, I just cant leave one like that, but like you said, if it aint in your agreement , then it aint. In my area a phone call like that translates into one thing."We found someone cheaper and just dont want to admit it so we,ll make like its your fault you are fired"
 

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MMLawn, I could not agree more about the stripes. I have been told before "the lawn looks great but I don't like how it has two different shades." In my area, only a few clients appreciate the striping effect. As for the grass in the cracks, I would make a proposal to spray the weeds in the driveway. You have nothing to lose and something to gain for little effort. I refuse to spray for free though but that's my opinion.
 

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Obviously its not your work....I would almost bet that she thinks she's paying to much to not have complained until now.

Do you think she has price shopped? Or is she just a compulsive complainer? Maybe she forgot to take her medicine the day this all took place. Might not ever happen again......Everwhat.....I'd give her something to complain about.... :waving:
 

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Mower For Less said:
As a rule, our basic service does not include management of sidealk crack grass. The homeowner if free to spray it, but we do not include it. As an add-on I will do it. I do not think this is really the issue as our contract clearly states what we maintain. That said, it looks a little worse in the pic than in real life becase of the black expansion strips in the driveway. If something gets too unruly, we will whip it down, but it it is flush with the cement, we leave it.

Kevin
I personally never leave any grass or weeds growing from the expansion cracks. Man you have to clean them or the whole yard looks like crap. It reflects on you and your service. I remember when I was a kid we had a neighbor who was so hot. She drove a new Lincoln every year. She would be out side in the smallest little bikini you ever saw. She was so beautiful and well built out side washing her car every weekend. She would tell me that if you don’t get the tires, white walls, white lettering and wheels clean that it did not matter how clean the rest of the car was the car would look dirty. The first thing noticed was that the cracks look bad. Every one noticed that even before they saw how nice the edging, stripes and cut looks. I think the yard looks great. But you have to start including the expansion cracks IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I do not have a striping kit on my mower. The stripes are just natural from the deck setup and sharp blades. It would be difficult for me not to stripe, I would have to cut it like a racetrack, which would look worse in my opinion because the tire tracks would not be straight anywhere. There is the bed along the house that curves, and then the sidewalk that curves (the house in on a cul-de-sac). I will bring it up though and see if the stripes bother her. They are a younger couple, in there 30's maybe. Thanks for the suggestion.

Kevin
 
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