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Just lost a customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tadams, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    Here's the story: This friend of mine who has about 90-100 accounts calls me from time to time with an account that he hasn't got the time to do any more and hasn't done it in about a month and asks me if I want to take it over. I usually say yes because I need all the work that I can get. He called me about 4 months ago and tells me that there is a yard that is a little ways out of town that pays $60 a cut every 2 weeks but he hasn't been out there in over a month. I go out there and it's about a foot tall and on a steep hill. I talk to the guy and he has no idea that the other guy doesn't want to do it anymore. I tell him that I don't think I can do it for $60 for the first time and he tells me that the other guy usually lets it get this tall before he cuts it. We heehaw back and forth and I finally agree to do it for $60. The job should be at least that much every week and $90 every two weeks. He wants it cut every 2 weeks because he is on a tight budget. The house & land probably cost around 250K-275K and they drive an Expedition and a new Ford van.

    Well, three weeks ago we cut his yard and there is an area that he wanted round up sprayed in and all the grass killed. I told him that it would be about 3 gallons and if I had any left over I would spray it around his fence. I tell him that it would be $30. ($10 per gallon is the going rate around here) He tells me okay but he doesn't have the money in his account to cover it. I say no problem you can pay me the next time. Last wek we go back out there and cut it again and when we get done we go and trim all the dead grass and weeds and blow it all out and suck it up. Looks real good! I leave him the bill (they were not home) with both cuts, the round up and a $20 charge for the clean up explaining what we did.

    He calls me tonight and asks what is the extra charge for and I tell him. He then starts to tell me that the outher guy has never charged him for anything extra that he did and he did not think that I should either. He said that he had a mower in his garage and that he should be doing the yard himself but didn't have the time. I tell him that I would hate to loose him as a customer and we could work something iut if he was a little short on money but we don't do stuff like this for free. Small stuff yeah but this took us about 20 minutes extra. If it was just a little extra trimming I would not mind but this took too much time.

    A guy told me when I first started out: "don't do anything for free"

    So, I no longer mow his lawn. Hate to loose any customer.

    Just had to vent a little. This happen to any one else?
  2. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Did you tell him up front about the extra 20 for the cleanup? If you did not I think you should eat it. I don't like to do free stuff either but it ticks me off for someone to give me an estimate for car repair/carpenter/plumber or whatever and then hit me with something extra, I will refuse to pay it. Now if they ask me before the work is done I will usually approve it or say no. Just let me/the client know it.

    Also do you have the license to spray round up? That is a BIG no-no if you don't.
  3. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Sounds more like a customer living beyond his means to me. No good for business
  4. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Messages: 4,784

    What did you and the customer agree on?
  5. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,004

    i hate those damn richers! :realmad:

    everyone pretends to be your friend until you charge them for extra work or up your price on their yard.

    gas +$.25 gal today alone. $2.75+ gal! :blob2: :blob2: :blob2: :realmad: :realmad: :angry: :angry:
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No offense but it sounds like your so-called friend is handing off his pitas to you, at least that's been my experience when I get a referral from another LCO, I soon find out exactly the reason WHY the other LCO didn't want to do it no more.

    The REASON your friend only showed up about once/month is because he had NO incentive to go out there (meaning the owner wasn't PAYING enough) and in this case, it's just another one of those mofos who ALWAYS wants to let the grass grow REAL tall before they LET you cut it... I had a few over the years like that but today I don't got NOBODY plays that stupid game with me, especially not if I can see they got the money (I do got ONE yard in the projects where it's like 3 weeks between cuts but I'm cool with those folk, they at least do NOT look like they got money).
  7. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Maybe you should go back and finish spraying the last 2 gallons of roundup on the lawn. For free of course.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    NO first off you TOLD him it would be $30 extra and what's this crap about him .... ah, nvrmind

    don't feel bad, he did you a favor, you're better off without this pita who, as he said himself, needs to cut his OWN grass for a while. He's got the money to pay, he's just messing you around, I don't care for those kind of customers.

    By the way, $10/gallon/R'U is what I charge, I find it is a fair rate because it takes me 10 minutes to get rid of a gallon, ONE gallon costs ME a dollar PLUS I gotta spend the time mixing super-concentrate with water AND I'm the one who has to cough up 100 dollars when I need a gallon of it so that guy with his quarter-million dollar home can either cough up the money it takes to take care of his yard OR he can do it himself.

    Yeah, this has happened to me a FEW times, story isn't exactly the same everytime but similar enough, we could compare pitas easily.
    One thing IS funny if you stay in the business over the years, I notice from time to time how one of my ex-pitas (like the one you just ran into) ends up hiring a NEW lco and by NEW I mean exactly that, I can see from a mile away that they're new at it and suddenly it all makes sense and I'm glad I no longer have to do the dirty.
  9. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    I am not sure that your friend is doing you any favors by giving you these kinds of customers. Has he givin you any that was worth having or are they all like this guy?
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    I forgot to add also that I know a LCO here that once in awhile will call and try to give me some clients that "he just does not have time for" BS! I learned real fast to tell him Im booked solid, every one he sent me was awful! Not one was even a fair client. Your "friend" may not be doing you as much of a favor as you think.

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