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Help With A Pita!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scagwildcat, May 9, 2006.

  1. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Messages: 507

    a few weeks ago, i get a call from a guy that worked a long time ago with my father, i went to look at the lawn, gave my price, talked for a while, everything was ok, they told me that the other guy was cheap, and he is no longer in service.. i wonder why? lol. anyway, i told them to call me before the first mowing, every lawn is diff. some grow some dont, i told them call me a few days before they want it mowed... about 3 days go by and i get a call on a fri. night around 8pm. we need you to mow the lawn, its going to rain in the morning, come mow it!!! WHAT!! LADY ITS 8PM ... so i cancel my sat mornig plans with my family, i mow it for the first time..... no one came out. i spent a little extra time there making sure that it looks nice for them.
    all is well. i mowed them yesterday, the husband comes out telling me that i trimmed the front yard and not the back, well for the time it took this guy to walk from the front window to the back i was in the front again!! this lawn has a very steep front yard, and a small back yard, i just had to walk around the house real quick. so, anyway i mowed, i spoke to the husband, asked if it looked ok this time, he said yes i like the way it came out... ok ttyl..
    tonight i get a call from the wife, yelling at me !!! she said that the lawn was very tall, her husband had to mow it today, hes very mad at me, and she spoke to a landscaper today ( he was mowing next door) and he told her that her lawn needed to be mowed at 2 1/2 inches. i told her that my mower is set at three, if the guy can tell the 1/2 diff. then maybe she should have him mow it!!! she said no,well, i dont want to start trouble but we are not happy, once again i said well i can mow it till you find some one.... she said well, no its ok..!!! i explained to her that with that front bank if one wheel is in a rut then yes it will look alittle wavy, but this is not the case, then i told her that with a comm. mower the lawn will not look like it was mowed with a 21 inch push mower.. sorry for the book i wrote, i just cant get over the fact that people complain so much.... what do you guys think i should do??? i havent even charged them for anything yet, they havent payed one cent to me .. its just so weird how i have lawns that i charge over $200.00 for, with no problems, and these people complain.. i was just told by a new client mon. afternoon, that for what i charged them, i did more then they were paying for!!! once again sorry for the long thread, i just like to keep clients happy!!!! thanks everyone...
  2. JohnsonLawn

    JohnsonLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    Don't take it personal, if there is one thing I have learned in this business it is that you can't keep everyone happy (although I try). The other guy before you probably can't cut it anymore because he got sick of the BS. I don't work for friends, neighbors or family friends because they usually expect twice the work for half the price. I had a call the other day from a lady wanting me to cut her lawn, so I go out to give her an estimate. She tells me, "while you are here cutting the lawn I will come out and help you and show you what needs to be done". She was fired before I ever started. I tell you this for one reason only, DONT BE AFRAID TO CUT THEM LOSE. If your other customers are happy, keep up the good work son! Have a good season brother
  3. scagwildcat

    scagwildcat LawnSite Senior Member
    from nw. ct.
    Messages: 507

    thanks for the reply, i hope you have a good ,safe, and healthy season as well, thanks
  4. MDLawnman

    MDLawnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    I agree - don't let them get you down. And don't work for free. If you want to work for free come on down to MD I got a job for you. This has been the hardest thing for me to accept - WALKING AWAY. All the "old timers" on this web site say the same thing. AND they are right! Give your best estimate, do your best work, and expect payment (and on time). If the people are keeping you awake at night politely cut them loose. I'm not saying at the first sign of trouble run away. Try to work it out.

    This may seem strange but raising your prices may also help.

    I was in a small coffee store today and the owner had a chalkboard sign that had written on it "We strive for 99% customer satisfaction. If you are unhappy please come back when we are closed." Wise words.
  5. nfarr

    nfarr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    You received a harsh response from a customer you were trying to please. They should have been grateful. In my short two seasons I have had a couple similar experiances.

    I choose to focus on the good customers, like the one that just tipped me $50.00 on a $300.00 mulch job for exceeding their expectations. With the service you describe I am sure you will have many more positive stories.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    - Never work for friends, family, or neighbors.

    As for this particular customer, first I likely would not have gone out there on their demand at 8PM can I do it right now? No way.
    But lets just say I happened to be 2 blocks up the road from them and for some odd reason I did, anyway... After what you went through, the very second I got back in my truck I would have done myself a great favor and crossed them off my schedule without further notice, and hope they don't call no more because I will ignore the phone for the next month solid the answering service handles all calls. Now on the complaint call, I likely would've given short answers like: Uh-hummm, yeah, ok, ok, uh-hummm, and thank you.

    Same thing happened to me the other week, some customer talk about I need to set my mower's cut height lower for the back yard only.
    My answer: Ok, sure, no problem.
    Reality: Same cut, same height, all around.
    Other notes: No more stripes for this one (I striped the back last time).
    And if that doesn't fix it, oh well, I don't change cut height for nobody.
    I don't bag, either.

    Been there, they done took me for rides like that and worse.
    No more, not for me.
  7. sikagrass

    sikagrass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    Chances are you are going to have problems with them from now on.If you can afford to let them go Id say do it now.Scag had a good point there.As you get more accounts you will have the luxury of turning the PITA down, believe me when I say that nothing feels better.Good season to you.
  8. Big M LawnnSnow

    Big M LawnnSnow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 217

    The first Red Flag Signal was the call at 8pm wanting it mowed now.
    The next was He says hes happy and she calls and says he is not.
    The third was when she said she didn't want to start any trouble But.
    The final was she talked to another landscaper and he says you didn't cut it low enough.
    Thats more than enough for me to drop them in a second.
    There going to be nothing but headaches with call after call about BS.
    Give them a bill for what you already did and drop them now.
    Maybe to make it more fun you could call them about 11PM to tell them they are fired.
    Good Luck
  9. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    one more thing added to your reply big m, make sure you get paid before you let them go or they might try an stiff ya.

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