Friendly client?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOZE4MUNY, Feb 18, 2006.


    MOZE4MUNY LawnSite Member
    from NW Fla
    Messages: 31

    I have a situation that is weighing heavily on me and am looking for some advice on handling an uncomfortable situation. I have a fairly upscale residential maintenance account owned by a nice young uppermiddle class couple. I have had this account less than two years but the yard is one of my favorites. It is weedfree, lots of well planned landscaping features yet easy to maintain. The young lady that owns the home has always been very friendly and chatty...almost flirty when I go over to the property for payment or for service. I like she and her husband and like having their property. I began to have an uneasy feeling around her this summer. I finished mowing the front and went through the garden gate to begin mowing the back yard. As I got off the mower to lock the gate I noticed the client on the pool deck sunning face down. When she saw me she rolled up on her elbows, waved and didn't have a top on. As you can imagine...there was more than appropriate exposure. I got very embarrassed, climbed back on the mower and started mowing the edges of the flower beds. I deliberately didn't look up until I was ready to trim and at that time she was gone. Some of you are going to comment about taking a good look, but this is a client and my workplace. My buisness, though part time, is important to me and I operate with professionalism. After the pool deck incident, I didn't know what to think. It could have been accidental...but I doubt it, I had just been mowing in her front yard for ten minutes and surely she heard me. I really just wrote it off as accidental. About a month later I was trimming palms in the backyard and out she comes wrapped in a beach towel and starts skimming the pool with the net. As usual she's really talkative and giggly. Again, I wrote it off as being a dirty old man with a runaway imagination. A couple of times last fall her conversation was laced with innuendo. I went to the property to give an estimate on some spring clean up and some changes on the ornamentals in the front island. She showed me what she proposed to transplant and changes to the shape. She assured me there wasn't a rush on the job and made a rather forward and very inappropriate offer as partial payment on this job. As I said I always conduct my business and myself in a professional manner. I was taken completely aback by her statement and she quickly moved on to another subject. I did not know what to say, do or how to react.
    Has anyone ever had to deal with an uncomfortable situation like this? I hate to lose this account because it is a moneymaker and serves as a descent calling card for my business in an upscale neighborhood. This community is where I live and raise my children, I refuse to risk my reputation or standing due to an unprofessional situation. Last year I made $3750 on this prop, should I walk away from it? After that is it as good as gone already? How should I handle this? Please stay on topic and serious I am looking for advice. thank's, Den.
  2. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    I commend you for your attitude its refreshing in an age where it seems as though anything goes.

    I was trying to think of something to offer in the way of advice, the more I thought about it the more I realized you have given yourself the answer.
    I would, at an appropriate time, speak with the client, tell her exactly as you have done here, I would maybe add that although you find this type of flirting flattering you are both however married people with families to consider.

    Good Luck
  3. LLandscaping

    LLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,016

    That is a difficult situation to be put in. I know it is hard to let a good customer go but if I felt that it was going to be difficult to deal with her I would tell her to find someone else. If there was to be a problem between her and her husband you could be brought into it. Do you want to risk your reputation for one customer? That is the great party about working for yourself, you choose who you work for.
  4. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    Sounds like she's been watching a little too much "desperate housewives."
  5. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,785

    I agree with green pro, that is a tough situation and can be a temptation to any red blooded man. Sounds like you handled yourself well. I think I would
    mention your wife possibly helping you from time to time. I also would keep conversation short and to the point. If at all possible take an employee with you (if you have some) it may keep you both (you and her) out of trouble.You sound like a man of integrity, dont hurt yourself or your rep on someone or a situation like that,it is not worth it and could damage a lot more then your business!! good luck to you. Jeff

    MOZE4MUNY LawnSite Member
    from NW Fla
    Messages: 31

    I guess I am as much confused as anything else. Is flashing the lawn boy a harmless game? Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Until today I was able to dismiss the incidents. I may be blinded by what I consider my hallmark property, but it will be hard to replace. Green-Pro suggested I speak to the client to reset the situation before it is over the edge. I can see that as a train wreck too, if she denies it and spins it. I have only been in business three years and didn't see this coming. None of my friends in the business have been propositioned to "barter" their services, that I know of. I really doubt many would complain with innocent skin exposure either. Maybe some of you guys who've been in this business can bail me out of this quandry.
  7. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Dang, why do some of you folks have all the luck!!:laugh: With one exception the ones I get fart on me or are very unattractive or extremely old that make passes. Seriously though, I admire your moral values. Like the above posters said having another worker with you could help, or telling her very nicely that you are extremely flattered that she finds an old fart like you:laugh: attractive but you are happily married. I will say the passes that I have had when I turned them down there is uaually nothing ever mentioned about it again, sorta like it never happened. I think sometimes we catch these housewives with to much time on their hands and catch them at a time when maybe they need some attention, maybe hubby is at work all the time or whatever. Right now with the state of matrimony Im in I hope that what happened to you does not happen to me because right now I dont know if I could pass up the situation or not even though I know its wrong. Any good man can be tempted! If nothing else works though you could always drop them but I would hate to pass up a 3 grand account expecially with a hot housewife:laugh: Good luck in your decision. Once again, I really admire your willpower.
  8. cush

    cush LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    Just limit your conversation a little bit and keep up the good work. If she gets persistant just tell her you are greatfull to have her as a customer but you are not intrested. Tell her you are happily married and ask her if she would like to continue her perfessional relationship with you.
  9. CutInEdge Lawn Care

    CutInEdge Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 677

    I do work for 9 strippers and 2 escort services. Very good money. No I have never been proposistioned for barter. However, I have seen the whole kit and kabootle many times. Does it bother me, no. The reason it doesnt bother me is I did go home and tell my wife what happened. She asked me if it was nice. I said hell yes. She gave me a kiss and said you'll do the right thing. Well since then she has referred many others and has been nothing but very professional. Does she still answer the door totally naked. Yes. I dont move my eyes from hers, sometimes I think she does this and knows that I am struggling not to look down. But I hold my own. You will also do the right thing. If you confront you might stir more trouble than it's worth. Just continue on your routine as if nothing happened.
  10. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    I wouldn't speak to the client about it you would just be opening a can of worms( get it "worms"). If possible have your wife come to help you work on the flower beds or the shrubs. Once she see your wife or comes out to talk the thrill of flashing you will go away.
    Or mention in passing that you can't do the shrubs on tuesday because you have to go to the free cllinic for some tests,,, then wink at her.

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