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i think i went to far this time!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scagwildcat, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. scagwildcat

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

    i have this client that is really a pain, i dont know if you all remember the thread about mowing on sunday and someone else mulched the flowerbeds and hacked them. but anyway, i get to his home yesterday afternoon to perform a fall cleanup, i start blowing around all the edges, 30 min into it, he comes out and asks me if we should wait till dec to clean up the lawn? im like wtf!! he says that the oak trees still have some leaves on them, i tell him that the oaks hold their leaves and i cant wait till dec to do a fall cleanup, so he starts with how many leaves to you think will fall? i say, let me go get a ladder so i can count them for you!! then he says well, do you think that the lawn will have leaves on it after you leave? i say maybe one or two here and there if the wind blows them off the trees. so i tell him that if he wants me to wait, i have to charge him for today and i might not be able to get to him later to complete the cleanup, he didnt understand why i couldnt get to him later, so i told him that he wasnt my only client and i still have 22 other cleanups i need to get done, and it flurried last sunday, so he says, whens it going to snow? heres when i lost it!! i said what do i look like god to you? i dont know when its going to snow,or if its going to be windy tonight and make the rest of the leaves fall down from the trees!!! he stood there with this look on his face, like i cant believe he just said that to me! so i told him that yes i understand his point, but he needs to understand mine, this is the day i scheduled the cleanup, i am here, i could be at another clients house right now, and if he waits he might not get done at all, i need to get these done and put my equipment in storage for the winter and then get ready for winter .. then he asks me how hard it is for me to take my equipment out of storage to do the cleanup? i told him that no clean up is worth taking my sander off the truck, moving the trailer and machines/tools around in the garage just to do one cleanup...then put it all back in it!! then i told him that the more he holds me up the more it will cost him, DO YOU WANT IT DONE OR NOT? i still had wait a few for him to decide !! this guy is from a big city and never had a lawn before, now that he lives in the woods so to speak, he has no clue!!! he does this to me all the time, it takes me 40 min to mow his lawn, but it takes one and a half hours because he asks so many clueless things..this is how bad he is, in the winter he shovels half the driveway, then he tells me that seeing that he shoveled i should charge him less, well he doesn't shovel by the road, he shovels right in front of were the snow gets stacked? im tired of the head aches he gives me, im thinking that he needs to find someone else, thanks for letting me vent...
  2. hobbsd

    hobbsd LawnSite Senior Member
    from west wi
    Messages: 448

    The best thing that I would do is to make it clear that you will charge for all of your time at his property, this way you either make a killing or he drops you and you have no more headache. However, I always call my clients before I do fall clean-ups to make sure that they want it at that point in the season.

  3. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,108

    Fire his worthless butt.
  4. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Basically, all you did was tell him you couldn't handle the work load. Like it or not, your problems of having other customers, winterizing equipment, getting the plow stuff out, isn't his problem. Either you can do the work or you can't. You told him you can't, so you are of no use to him. You made a big deal about nothing. Tell him, hey, I have to charge you for the half hour I've been here, I can put you at the end of the schedule because I know oak leaves hang on forever, and if winter doesn't come real early, we can get the cleanup done for you. Our schedule is really busy this time of year and we need to run a tight efficient ship.

    Unfortunately for me, I USED to handle things like some of you are right now. I learned it was wrong. I don't know what made it click finally in my head, but you cannot handle situations like this with the attitude you have and then presented to the customer. One man operations that think they have too much work and don't need the headaches of certain clients will soon run out of work.

    I guess until it clicks, you really won't understand what I'm saying. Those of you that have been there, know the feeling and the experience. It's really simple. Today's society demands excellent personal service. You either learn how to give that, or be prepared for a long road of upsetting days and nights. I by no means am saying to lay down for every customer, but you need to learn ethics and get better people skills. No doubt, some customers are idiots, but their money spends just like anyone else's, you just need to learn how to get it, and get it professionally. Customers DO NOT CARE, nor do they want to hear excuses from a service provider. You can either do what they want and need, when they want and need it, or you can't. It is YOUR responsibility to figure out how to provide this to them.
  5. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    If you can afford it, send him a end of service letter.
  6. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,108

    Actually, if you get all work spelled out in a contract or otherwise let the customer know your policies before you begin working for him there would be no problem in the first place. Other than that the customer does sound quite annoying and for that reason plus the time wasting (=$ wasting) you should get rid of him. As nicely as possible of course, white lies are good. Don't burn bridges or get a bad rep. Plus, it's just the right thing to do it nicely. Also, you'll feel better, not worse!
  7. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    They are costing you money when they interrupt you cutting --- think about it.

    you should go to where they work to talk cutting????
  8. dave k

    dave k LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,177

    Drop him and give him one of your competetors phone #'s who you don't like, that'll fix them both!
  9. lawnguyland

    lawnguyland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,108

    "That'll fix them both!"

    hee hee -sounds like a cartoon or sitcom line!
  10. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    Glad you feel better now that you got all that off your chest.
    Yes you did go too far, but realy how can you complain about the waste of time when it was you who brought up all that talk about why you needed to do the clean up at that time. Why did you not just say, yes this absolutely needs to be done now, if you want me to do it, and by the way don't worry about the leaves on the oak tree they will blow into your neighbors yard.

    I like the comment "what do I look like god?" What I do not understand is why you lost it. Of course your customers are clueless, look around people work in cubicles these days. All his clueless questions should be telling you he needs your advice and services, you should be able to make the situation pay in your favor, charge him a consultation fee, do your homework about the things he is concerned about and give him good advice, and most important show him he can count on you to provide what he needs. Instead you explained it as what you need. It is not easy, and sometimes a pita, but you can manage your customers in reasonable time. Well if you can't someone will.

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