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Help Needed... Problem Customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by CELS, May 11, 2004.

  1. CELS

    CELS LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 50

    I have a new customer (factory) that is becoming a pain im my rear. I have generally had great success with my work and have several years of experience. I am a part timer and will remain that way.:) My problem is I have only ever dealt with one other factory and had no complaints. The manager asked that I mow the immediate .5 acre every 5~6 days, a lower portion of the lot (1.9 acres) twice a month, and the edges (3.2 acres) once a month with a bush hog. I recommended against the twice a month mowing, but he insisted and I qouted it accordingly. Now I have received a call that the grass looks terrible and it must be mowed once a week, minimum. I apologized and explained that is what he asked for and I quoted it that way. I told him I might have to look at the rates. He said that I get paid year round even though I didn't mow in the Winter, which I reminded him that HE wanted me to bill it that way. He said no problem, he might look at having someone else take it over if I raised the price.

    What should I do here? I do have a contract for a year, but not sure how well these things hold up in court. I really don't want to lose them as an account, but not sure how I need to proceed. If I do as he has requested at the current price, I will lose my a$$. Thanks for any input.
  2. shorty7616

    shorty7616 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 230

    Is it a large % of your inocme?
  3. CELS

    CELS LawnSite Member
    from KY
    Messages: 50

    Unfortunately, yes. I am just doing this one and another factory, as I am just a part timer (but I do carry full licenses and insurance).
  4. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    with a contract in hand, you are only obligated to mow as it is outlined in the contract. If he wishes to have additional work done, that should be billed accordingly at an additional rate.
    I put this statement in my contract with my 1 (only) commercial client. This way, I try and avoid this situation.
    You are in a rough spot though, as you want to keep them happy, but you don't want to give in and work for free.

    I think what I would do in this case is maybe cut more when growth is faster, and go longer when growth is slower, therefore keeping the # of times you mow each year the same, but spreading them out to keep it looking nice.

    Hope this helps, and good luck with the decision you make.
  5. jcr_17

    jcr_17 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 101

    Don't back down. If he wishes to have the contract ammended then you are obligated to adjust your rates accordingly.
  6. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    Ditto to the above. Stick to the contract provisions and prices. If the customers wants additional services then that is in addition to the contract price. If the customer tries to get you for more service than what is stated in the contract without paying for the additional services...he has violated the contract.
    Don't give in to him. It sounds like he is trying to play you. He made a mistake by requesting fewer mowings than what was really needed and now he wants you to pick up the slack without being compensated. Submit a new bid to him and tell him time is money. Being the manager of a factory he should already know that.
  7. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Let's see,He wants more work for the same price?
    Wouldn't take me too long to think about that one.
    even as a partimer it wouldn't take much thought.
    Find another account and show him the door.
  8. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Submit a new proposal - do the mowing weekly (probably at less than bi0weekly, since grass won't be as tall), maybe edge those areas every other visit. This way price goes up (some) and you make out and they see you're not killin them on it. Do not change anything until you get written authorization. Even if they get other prices and base them on the new specs, they will be getting higher numbers anyway.

    Good luck.

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