Here is one for you all

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by TLClandscaping, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. TLClandscaping

    TLClandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    First off I want to say I wish I had found this site last year. This is my first post after reading this forum for 2 days, what a great site I must say.

    This story is long so I will try to chop it up for easier reading.

    My name is Kevin and I own a small business in East Tennessee (lucky)

    I started with TruGreen Chemlawn about 3 years ago, not knowing anything about lawncare nor landscaping. I learned as I went along with the company and used all info I could find in the office and online. Coming from a law firm doing chapter 7 bankruptcies to lawncare was I must say, A MAJOR CHANGE but I was sick of law "helps me now though".

    I was in sales with Trugreen and was really good at it later on (not at first) I didnt know what grass was what or weed type, nothing! So when a customer asked me a question about a weed, I was clueless, that is when I started learning everything I could. TruGreen and thier training was, well nothing really, 4 hours of videos (how to sell) and a measuring wheel and clip board, and you are on your way out the door, "go sell something", I know its funny.

    After about 6 months of studing manuals, learning what products are and what effect they had on weeds/grass/hort, I became better than I was but still needed to learn more, hungry for more info same as today, still learning. I became one of the best people there, making about 800.00 to 1k a week sometimes more, life was good!

    I started getting more involved in the customer base and product and started learning about customers complaining about product and how its not working for them. So, I started finding out about "tech ghosting lawns" and product cut-backs to save money or make more money. I had my clients calling me all the time about Trugreen coming back out there to spray again because it was not working. I became concerned after my clients canceling service with Trugreen.

    In the meanwhile, I met another salesman there that doubled what I made and became good friends with him. We became a team and a money maker for Trugreen and basicly got everything we asked for, including raises. I will come back to this later.

    Marketing new clients I started to hear more and more about them wanting me to take over they property as in me doing their landscaping and thier lawns because they were very impressed with my info on weeds/lawns/plants and what looks good where and when, like designing I guess. More and more people were asking me, that got me thinking; truGreen just does weed & feed here, no landscaping. I took up one job with my friend at Trugreen my first 8000.00 job, went great and Trugreen did NOT like that so their legal people sent me a letter (which made me mad) because I was STILL making them money. After that, things went down hill from there.

    I stopped landscaping and they fired the Marketing MGR and put me in it, then they fired the whole sales team over customers canceling thier services because of production not working on easy-to-kill weeds like dandilions but blame went on the sales team for not saving the customers from canceling, funny huh.

    I was the only one left, including the commercial side. I worked up a deal with one of the biggest accounts Trugreen has ever seen and closed it in 2 days after meeting with the new client, im talking 4000.00 per app. They fired me the next day after me closing that deal, so they didnt have to pay me for it (I was PISSED!) I lost over 3000.00 in commission on that deal.

    Later on after my fire, I learned that the Branch mgr and office mgr was hitting it off and hearsay from a tech they wanted to get rid of people so no legal stuff would arise up from the office over that, who knows.

    I met up with my old friend at Trugreen and we formed a partnership in landscaping. He was already seeding lawns and making lots of money doing so. Well at this point I went and bought a business lic and insurance the works. We went and pulled in 26,000.00 in less than 3 weeks in landscaping jobs. He knew how to put up retaining walls and stuff I had no clue how to do. We had 4 jobs to do that I knew of, I will come back to this. He wanted to go bid on other jobs far away from where we were at that time, so I said sure. Now, I had made a business account in the companies name at my credit union and it was in my name only (think god).

    He started asking me for signed checks for supplies for other jobs which was a mistake on my part but he was my partner so I thought it was ok at the time. Well, there were 4 jobs that I was working on BY MYSELF because he wasnt there to help. I decided to contact my attorney to get partnership papers wrote up. I met him later to have him sign the papers at IHOP one morning and he refused to sign them, now the business was in my name and my name only. Before all of this came along, I had given him thousands in cash for him to by supplies with, four-wheeler, edger, drag plate, chainsaws, hand tools, ect.

    I bought signs for yards, truck signs, business cards, hats, shirts, ect at his request that we do so.

    I get online to check out what checks went through the back and how much money has went out, here is things that you will be in awe over! The checks I had signed he went out and bought old used antique cars with and paid himself after me paying him! I freaked out! I called him on it on his phone which I supplied him that I didnt know he ran up to 1600.00 on my bill with new stuff, another thing I freaked out on.

    He was working on a job with a bobcat he rented here (under my account at the rental store) charged it to the business account. I asked him about the checks and the cash and everthing that he was doing, he said he had to pay for help (which was his daughters husband) "a flake". I told him to meet with me as soon as he is done and to bring me the contracts that he had signed under the new customers that he said that he had jobs for. He told me to kiss his butt and he knew he had been busted, little to late for me to do anything about it.

    He calls me alter and said "I am dropping this trailor and bobcat at wal-mart, you come get it" I about fainted, the job he was doing was about an hour away! I called my friend at the rental store and asked him to please go and get the bobcat, and I would pay for him to do so. I at this point wanted to go and buy a handgun and take care of this myself, but logic kicked in and I went to the police dept and file a report.

    I went the next morning to file a report with an officer in the back room and I started telling him what happened and his name when a detective passed by right behind me as I was telling the officer in front of me his name. The detective came and confronted me on it and said to the other officer he will take care of this. The detective walked me back to his office and asked me to tell him about this man, so I did. Come to find out he was on probation from another crime and was in prison for 12 years!!!!!! I once again about freaked out, theres more...

    The detective told me that earlier this week he took a credit card from an old woman and charged 15,000.00 on it at lowes and turned around and took the tools back and got a cash refund on them! The daughter was pressing charges on him. I thought to myself, how did I screw up this bad. I am a very smart person, the detective said the man is a con artist and a damn good one, they picked him up last week and he conned himself out of jail!!!!!!! Greg is the detectives name, so Greg said he was one of the best cons he had ever seen. Now they couldnt find him, which that is when I came in and gave him my other phone number that he was using. I wanted to get my tools back from him and all the other stuff, which I thought the 4-wheeler was paid for when 500.00 was and that was it, so I paid the guy 1000.00 more to get it before he went and tried to pick it up and sells it. greg said the man is very dangerous, the 12 years he spent in prison was for armed robery, 5 years of banks until he shot a gaurd and got caught. Greg said I had to stay clear that they would take care of it.

    The guy dont have anything in his name, and is hard to find, he rents his house, rents everything or paid cash for it. Greg wanted to know if he said anything about the cash that was missing, I said what cash, the 750,000 the FBI is working on this case with. I once again about fainted! The bills are marked from what Greg said, so I thought "why would he ask me about it?" Greg first thought I had something to do with it but figured out I wasnt old enough lol.

    After all that bs I pressed charges and went to the house sick to my stomach. A couple of days later I get a call on my phone from a woman asking me where am I at, I asked her what do you mean, she said she tried contacting the other number on the business card and it was dead, I told her that I had cut off that other phone and what is her issue with it. She tells me that (Randy Young is who I am talking about btw) Randy had cashed a check and that he was going to do some landscaping for her (again, I about faint, you will too after you hear this).

    She told me that Randy and Kevin came up here and I wrote them a 3000.00 check for supplies (I didnt know this woman). I said I was Kevin and I dont know who you are, can I meet you to make a longer story short. I met her and she said that I wasnt the one saying they were Kevin. I ended up working it out with her and worked for her for free because it was my business.

    I get a call from the cheif of police in that town, I went up there and met with him and scared half to death, the police thought I was the other person saying he was Kevin, so when I got there 4 cops followed me into the station (cuffs out). I freaked! All went well there and I still talk to him from time to time.

    I got about 3 more calls after all that and had to pull money from everything I owned to keep my business and my life out of jail over that crap Randy Young pulled. I never got my tools back, I had to file taxes on all that stuff, I really thought this was the end, depressed that I lost my savings, my coin collection to pay for everything, I was broke, credit cards maxed out, couldnt even pay for a bankruptcy and I still dont want to file.

    I am fighting my way out of it, I care about lanscaping and love to see customers faces when I am done with a job, I do good work. I just finished one job and I am tring to get back on track, even bidding on some condos with a real friend to help out.

    If you ever hear of a Randy Young, STAY CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you all for taking the time to read this book. I am glad there is something out like this forum on the net.

    TLC Landscaping
    Kevin Weeks
  2. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,676

    wow that was a long story, I can't believe I read the whole thing. Hope you can get back up and running, good luck

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Wow. God bless you.
  4. TLClandscaping

    TLClandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    Thank you all, I am working on it.
  5. Venturewest

    Venturewest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    Welcome to lawnsite. You have a lot of integrity to take care of all those things that were not your fault. You obviously are talented at making money and I don't doubt you will work your way back out of this very soon. You should get on on the news if you havent.
  6. TLClandscaping

    TLClandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    I couldnt take care of all of them, I think there was about 2 people left that didnt get anything. I couldnt do it because I ran out of funds to do it with, and that sucks. When I am back on my feet, I will fix thier stuff whatever they said needed to be done.

    The news bit, I should have last year but now it is a part of my life I just want to let go of. He is back in prison and that is the way it should be. Its bad for my business but not only mine, it effects the rest of the landscapers as well, customers wont trust them, you know what I am saying on that.
  7. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    Wow that sucks!!!

    On the brighter side things cannot get much worse!

  8. mtnzone

    mtnzone LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    holy crap now that is a story... stay with and you will persevere, and probably come out even better for it.. heres hoping.....
  9. DanDodge

    DanDodge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Man that sucks Kevin. Glad things are turning around for you though. Sounds like you know how to work hard though so keep it up and you'll pull through.

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