1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

I Knew Better....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    Had an elderly lady living in a duplex call us year before last asking for a price quote. I told her I had a $30 minimum. She told me to come and mow. Small yard, little trimming, but it was overgrown. I ended up only charging her $25 since it was so small. We mowed a couple of times, and she actually told me she thought I was overcharging her. I explained that if I had more than one account, such as her neighbor in the other side of the duplex, that I could give a better price, but to unload/load, etc, for one account, I pretty much had to stick with $25.

    Well, she, of course, eventually found someone cheaper, and called to tell us not to bother showing up again. A few weeks went by, and she called my wife, crying this time, because the person she had mowing had left the place in a mess, didn't mow all the back, and hadn't shown up. Against my better judgment, we went back, cleaned up the mess and mowed it, I think, one more time, then another cancellation phone call.

    Well, two weeks ago, she calls again. I recognized the name and address, so when I talked to her, I said I'd do it for $25. She asked if I could do it for $20. I said no, so she asked if I'd do it for $25, but every other week. I said that was fine. She said it needed mowed, so I made a trip to town and mowed it, the only account I had that direction that day. When she paid me after finishing, she asked if we'd be back. I assured her I would. She said you wouldn't believe all the problems she'd had, with 3 different people mowing for her. One quit showing up, another left things in a mess, etc.

    Well, she was due to cut today and yesterday we get a message on the phone, telling us not to come because she had found someone a "lot" cheaper. She called again today to make sure we got the message, and my wife happened to answer. She told the lady that we'd gone through all of this stuff before, and to make sure she was wanting to switch, because we wouldn't come back the next time after someone else fails to show up. She told my wife she had someone to mow for $10!

    I told my wife tonight that I knew better. I probably would have eventually dropped her to $20, if she had stayed with us, as we have some accounts only a few blocks away, but someone like her would switch to the first one to come along and say they'd do it for $19. What really gets me that she was crying the blues so much over poor service, then goes with someone charging only $10. Unless it is a kid, or someone riding around on a Craftsman, there is no way they are going to be around long charging those prices.

    I guess some day I'll learn. :)
  2. TGG2008

    TGG2008 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    You've heard it here before that price shoppers or nutbags are not worth the time or the $25 bucks or whatever it is. I have had them and am starting to really stick with gut feelings when these people start acting strange. I had an elderly couple today that literally watched us trim the bushes but not complain just stand 10 feet away and watch. PITA's are to be weeded out as much as possible, it just isn't worth it.
    You start out and want to know every customer and be on good terms, turns out the customers that only email, never come out, and get a check to you quick are your favorites by far.
  3. FLAhaulboy

    FLAhaulboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    "I had an elderly couple today that literally watched us trim the bushes but not complain just stand 10 feet away and watch."

    I have a "safety rule" I use on people who like to stand so close, like in your situation, I tell them (more like order) to go back inside & watch from the window! I explain I'm operating a dangerous piece of equipment, do not approach me when I'm trimming, stand off at a far distance until "I" SEE you, then I'll stop & see what the client wants.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Maybe you forgot to raise the price $5 upon cancellation?

    I hear you, I usually mention that my insurance doesn't cover bystanders.

    Actually I'm not sure if it does lol but I would assume it doesn't because
    as a rule Insurance companies have a problem with foreseeable dangers.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  5. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    I had one of these, said she could not afford it, it was breaking her bank account. So one day I was waiting for my check because SHE HAD TO GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW. She was never prepared always took 10 min to write the check. So while she was writting and listening to her bable on about this is soooo exspensive. I happen to look at her register, she had 11,000 in her checking account and it had been there for a while. She was loaded. The very next day I called and dropped her. I found out she was one of the more wealther people in town but lived in the deppresion era. She was afraid she would lose it all. What a pita that account was.
  6. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    this is a true story....a local lawncare guy was mowing this one account in a downturning neighborhood. He kept mowing it for years. like 20 plus. Well this little ol lady dies she has no kids no family to speak of guess what? She leaves the lawn guy estimated 30 million dollars. Are you serious! You never know who you are working for!
  7. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,253

    Things like this are more rare than winning the lottery! But I know of a local family that has won the big lotto twice within 10 yrs!
  8. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    Had a old couple in the bad side of town. Mowed their yard for 20 years a $20 bucks a cutting. The place looked like it was going to fall in at anytime. And was one of those 1920's oil mansion houses. They would give me community cheese and butter during the 80's. Well he died and she died 2 wks later. I receive a call from the lawyer to be at the reading of the will. I recieved all his tools and a fair bit of money. I was shocked because they had kids in a near by state that received less that I did.
  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It happens more often than you might think. A friend of mine had an old lady that he took care of. She ended up leaving him a $500,000 house, the one he had worked on for all those years.
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Having a minimum of $40 avoids this type of customer :)

Share This Page