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Great Client turns into Bad Client

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOOSE, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. MOOSE

    MOOSE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    Ok Boys, Need your feedback on this one. Here it goes. Picked up this client in spring of '05. Great guy wants lots of work done, no questions on cost & pays right away. Calls Oct 24th to talk about leaves. Leaves barely falling. He's going out of town for few weeks.W e discuss doing cleanup twice becuz lot is full of Oaks. Big cleanup. We have heavy winds and leaves come down. So We go in and do cleanup 6 guys lots of hours and we rent 2 push blowers. Nothing to haul out. He calls 3 days before Thanksgiving and wanted to know if I could do final cleanup. I told him no cause we had alot we had not been too yet. He says ok. And I said I would get to it when I could. Well it snowed day before thanksgiving and stays until the next monday. So we immediately jumped on the ones we still had to do. Got almost all done. It snows again. Needless to say we didnt finish for the year and he is one of them. So I sent out bill for $650 on December 8th. Well I do the snow also. I sent out another invoice for cleanup and snow on December 30th. So I wait and nothing. I give him a ring today, he's on other line at work. He'll call me at home tonite. He calls and I said I haven't recieved my $ yet. He says he's not happy cuz we didnt do our job. I said we did so and I also noted we would be there early spring to finish cleanup. He says not good enough not happy with amount of bill and he thinks we did not do the cleanup. I said thats funny cuz your kids were watching us the whole time. Says he'll pay me what he thinks is right for what we've done. I said no not good enough I'm not eating that much $$. He then syas I didnt follow through on the contract we had. I told him I did and everything is in bold type on contract. I also explained that lots of guys never finished there work either due to leaves not falling till late and snowing before thanksgiving and then after that and sticking around. He says to me again that I did not follow through and wasnt happy. I then said u wait almost 8 weeks to tell me and dont bother to call and let me know your not happy. Sorry, but at least I told you before thanksgiving that we could get to he's when we were able too. He laughs and says I'm still not paying u the $650 and I said what are u going to pay me. He says 200-300 for what work u did. I said well the lowest I will go on my bill is $550 plus the $ for the snow u owe me. He says we'll see. I then told him it was better if he found someone else and to pay me my $$. And next time if there is a next time let the other person know right away dont keep them hanging like u did me cuz that is plain Rude!

    So did I handle this properly or totally wrong. Tell me what u would've done on this.
  2. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    I wouldn't have told him you were cutting him off until after you got your money. I'd bet now that he doesn't pay at all or pays the $200-$300 he said.
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I agree with MM...

    You're not going to see any money now, not even the $200-300.

    If it's worth your time, call him back and say you're going to small claims for the entire amount.

    If that's not worth your time, then chalk it up to learning to get a check at time of service. Or prepay.
  4. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,821

    I would not have negotiated with the gentleman.If we performed the job as stipulated,he would be immediate history.
  5. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 291

    I don't see any choice but to sue. You can't afford to let someone do you like this. If word gets out, I am sure others would do the same thing.

    A bad apple on every street I reckon.

    Good luck getting your pay!!
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Don't lower your price,don't let him push you around,don't give into the "I will pay you what I think it's worth"routine..that one is as old as they come.Tell him that you obviously have had a misunderstanding and you are sure you can work it out in court.Then file on him
  7. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    Never negotiate your price with PITAs like that, man. If it's in black and white, and his signature is on the contract, take him to small claims court..period. I was just curious about one thing, you used 6 men to do this cleanup? With "lots of hours", and 2 rentals for push blowers, right? Or was it 6 man hours with two rentals?
  8. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    I think you did a fine job with that customer, with the exception that you shouldn't have lowered the price unless it was to make a customer happy and their business coming. If he was that rude to you I woln't hesitate to tell him you are cutting him off. Take him to court, get your money.
  9. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    The first mistake was telling a "great customer" no. I would swallow your ego write a nice letter (use spell check:) ) stroke him, tell him how surprised you were at his response as he has always been such a great and honest customer. Let him know you are at his mercy and can only rely on his good conscience in deciding if and when you will be paid. Remind him of something you did when the relationship was good that helped him out. Your goal here should be to get paid whatever. Small claims court is a joke and will cost you time and money and even if you get a judgment in your favor does not mean you will get paid. Good customers are not used to being told no, period. Get your emotions out of the game and put on your thinking cap. Sticking out you chest and pounding on it saying I will not be treated this way will get you nowhere. Never, ever tell a good client no.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    And don't forget to bend over and ask for another.:eek: Is this post a joke? I've been to SCC dozens of times and have gotten paid 90%. That includes the times my morons actually broke something and the customer tried to take advantage of the situation. No one gets stroked after only 9 months of service, it just makes you appear weak and ignorant. But, just to say, everybody in my area was in your situation with the snow last fall. As soon as it melted 2 weeks later, we were all out there finishing up.

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