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give estimate, customer starts crying

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Sep 24, 2002.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    man o man boys, did i feel bad today. i got a call from an elderly lady(85). she asked for someone to come out and look at her lawn. she lives about 3 min from me. so, i go out and look. bad shape. i tell her she needs it thatched(really just gonna set it real low, most of the lawn needs to come up) and power seeded. i give her price, she looks at me and starts crying! real tears!" can u please find it in your heart to do it cheaper? im all alone here, and im so embarrased by the looks of the lawn, i just cant afford that kind of money. " man, i never had anything like that happen. this lady is more than twice my age. so, what would u have done? what do u guys think i did? any ever have this happen?
  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Hard to tell. She could just be doing that on purpose to get you to come down on your price, but you don't want to be a jerk to her. I just don't know. I feel bad just reading it :( :cry:
  3. marley

    marley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    Let her make payments
  4. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Messages: 554

    and give her a good interest rate.;)

    Seriously, I do give elderly a price break sometimes, just depends on whats in the driveway sometimes.
  5. Darb

    Darb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    Personally, I would cut her a very good deal. I know what it is to be down and out, but I never have know what it is like to be down and out with little to no way to get out of that situation. I am very tough on those beggars you see on the street corner, but this in my mind is a different thing all together. Here is an old woman that can't cut the grass herself and is probably on a fixed income. If I had to I would do it on my time off. I can't tell you what to do, except encourage you to listen to your heart. The Bible says "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 I hope you don't take anything I said the wrong way.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I might give her a break on cutting her grass but as far as giving a break on dethatching and powerseeding, no way. Cutting grass is a neccessity, dethatching and powerseeding is a luxury that can easily be lived without. If she is so embarrased about her lawn why did she let it get so bad?
  7. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    these elderly folks get all set with what they think is adequate funds. then
    most find that what was enough ,aint any longer. u not gonna hurt u self givin her a break,but its just a choice u have to make.
    also hate to say it but theres the few
    who whine an whine,then u see them
    pick up a car u couldnt afford to drive.
    kinda hard to tell ,but i can usually
    figure them after a while.
    the ones playin me ,find out it was a mistake. they pay top rate.got one lady that sends wd thru her friends ,to tell mr marks to please come over,i need some work done. probably not gonna happen.
    love my older folks ,but a liar still just a liar..
  8. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    You can uaually tell if they're really poor by the condition of the house, car they drive etc... There are exceptions of course. I have 2 of them myself. Sure their yards need the full treatment but, they'll be happy to just get it cut. Even though I charge a discounted rate, I always do my best and try to do anything extra within reason to make their yards look good. This has come up in other threads before and the overall concensus was; we're in business to make a buck but it won't break us to help some grannies out now and then. I only charge them $25 each to mow and paid my helper $10 per yard to do the work.
  9. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    It's your call...but keep this in mind:

    Once you commit to taking on this "charity case" at a reduced rate she will be burning up the phone lines to her other 'fixed income' friends...word travels fast among the elderly once a 'great deal' has been found. Been there...done that.

    Maybe I've gotten hard over the years....but I would avoid this one. "Once bitten-twice shy" as they say....

    People who can no longer afford to keep their property maintained should consider assisted living options...and not try to make you their provider or assist them in a situation that they already cannot afford.

    One lady once told me the same thing: " can u please find it in your heart to do it cheaper? im all alone here, i just cant afford that kind of money." I felt bad for her and cut her a hell of a deal. Boy, was she happy. And boy, was she ever insistant on having me cut her lawn once a month too. Every time I arrived at her place she would fly out the door and tell me to come back "next week"...and do the same thing the next week, and the next week... until the lawn was over a foot tall. The last time I was there her care-giver came out to tell me that she wanted me to wait another week and I told her that she would have to get someone else...as I was not going to spend a half a day mowing a hayfield, and abusing my equipment, for half the price as I mow the rest of her neighbors. Then the care-giver said..."I don't know why Mrs. XXX does this. Every time she finds a dependable lawnguy this happens...and there is no reason for it...because she's LOADED with money!"

    I won't even go into how I was burned in a couple other of these situations...but let's just say it was unbelievable. :(

    Consider this:

    Would "the tears" work at the grocery store? The car dealership? The electric company? With the I.R.S.? I don't think so.
  10. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Is it an expensive house? Does she have a new caddy in the drive? If so, she can afford it. She just chooses not to.

    Don't over-inflate your prices. A fair price is deserved by everyone involved. Without being there and judging the entire situation I don't know what I would have done. But the payment plan with signed agreement would have been my first thought.

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