How do you handle these situations?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Ryall Landscaping, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    OK. We finished a 2 day job up today. It was mulching, trimming, weed removal, clean-up etc.. We charged our normal markup for the mulch, and for the rest of the time we billed him on hourly (we agreed on everything before hand and he was fine with it). His total bill for both days was $800+. Normally, for what a bigger company would charge for this, I think it would be probably much higher (1000-1600 depending on things). So, we finish the job all up and he wasn't home at the time. So we head home, get everything cleaned up and put away, and I go inside. Not 2 minutes into the door, I get a call from him. Sure enough, he says that it looks pretty good but he wants to settle a few things (didn't sound mean or upset or anything, so I figured it was stupid little stuff).

    So I cleaned myself up and headed over to see what was wrong. There was a little bit of a dry spot where we had mulched (keep in mind, this is ONLY a touch-up, not a full mulching job by any means, but we did lay over 5 yards) by his driveway. It can just be spread some and fixed, the bare spot is just maybe 1x2'. Pulling out of the driveway, maybe a half of a handful of mulch must of fallen out of the truck somehow onto his driveway. We, extremely thoroughly like we always do, cleaned all paved surfaces before we left. There was one area where one of my workers simply trimmed some things and they need pulled out, and I agreed because that is what needs done. That, I can understand, and is my/our fault.

    To me, the simple little things really aren't a huge deal, especially when you just saved hundreds on the job we just completed.

    So, my question is this: Is he being picky, like I think he is (with the exception of the spot that the weeds need removed and my worker didn't do it correctly -- that is my fault by all means)? He is definitely upper-class. From my experience working for my fathers company, and so far with my own, a fair amount of them think that they "own" you, for lack of a better way to put it.

    Now, I got the payment in full for everything, and he seemed a bit upset at that (he wanted to pay all but $100 and then give that to me when we came back and fixed these things, but I assured him to not worry about it). I told him we would come back sometime early next week and fix all of those things free of charge of course, and that I was sorry about that.

    Was I wrong? Would you guys have handled the situation a different (better) way?

    Thanks. Just want to keep my customers pleased and do my job correctly.
  2. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    Some people are very picky, especially when they have to write the check.......I think you did a great job.........

    Lesson learned, don't give a customer anything to complain about, meaning just before you drive off, one final walkthrough and go......heck, even take a never know who will show up between the time you leave and time they get home...

    Great job..
  3. Ryall Landscaping

    Ryall Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I thought it was a good job too :\. The one bed that needed the weeds pulled didn't look too pretty, and I admit that we did that wrong, and I did agree to come back and fix it for FREE out of my own time. Otherwise, I don't see how it's my fault.. We did do a final walk around and made sure everything looked good, we cleaned up extremely well, I thought, and we had an amazing price for the work that was done. I think he just is picky.

    If he IS just being picky, and it's not my fault, where does the line get drawn? Where do you guys stop getting stepped on about stupid stuff even though it may harm a relationship with a customer? I'm all for great service, but I, especially if I get busy/bigger, just don't have time to be picky about an ounce of mulch that fell on the driveway or something stupid. But that little harmless thing could mean the difference between a solid, repeating customer and a one-time, angry referral-giving customer. Where do I draw the line?
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I agree, you need to triple check your work. If you have a worker, he should pay attention too. 2 sets of eyes are better than 1.

    When I hand somebody a large bill, I need to be 100% confident that there will be no issues.
  5. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,020

    I don't think that customer was being too picky. Sounds like he did the final check over that you should have done before you left.
  6. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    $800.00 for two days? what?
  7. airsoftamazon

    airsoftamazon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I think you handled it fine, everyone one makes mistakes and overlooks things from time to time, and I don't care how many perfectionist out there who don't make those mistakes , I would've handled it the same way. Being that it's a holiday weekend, other than that, I would've returned the next day to fix it given the amount he paid in full. Even if it seemed petty, if you pride yourself on great customer service, I'd take the high ground and be the better person. That's what being in business is about. Sometimes you just have to eat the BS and move on to the next.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
  8. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,511

    Thanks for that great post Mr. Cool! :rolleyes:

    Anyway, fix it ASAP! Just cause you gave him a low price it doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Sounds good to me, why the question marks ?
  10. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    Seems a little under priced to me but hey, he is doing the work not me. What I read was; this was a two day job for a total of $800+ How many workers were on this 2 day job for $800.00?

    And to the original poster; you handled it fine. Were you in a rush to finish this two day job for $800.00. Do you think everything would have been checked over if you were getting $1600-1800 for this job?

    You are doing the right thing by fixing your mistake but don't get caught up with customers like that because they always want something on the cheap. Damn the guy is still trying to cheap you on a cheap job to begin with.

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