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

LCO calls me to complain!! ??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOW ED, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Let me set this up for you and see how you would have handled it.
    I have a long time customer who has a small commercial building that I have taken care of for about 14 years. I do the full boat there, mow edge, fert and weed. He moved his personal residence to a water front about 3 years ago and asked me to bid on it. It is a sloping property that is irrigated by water from the river. I usually work solo and know that there was an LCO already mowing here and of course my bid was much higher than his. No problem. The customer did ask me to do the weed control application at this property because this other LCO is not an applicator. I have been doing this for the last 3 years both in the spring and in the fall.
    I was just there last week to spray and I use my Walker that has a boom set up on it. Now I know that the property is difficult and I went in the afternoon so it wouldn't be as wet as if it was in the morning but there was one area on a slope that is constantly wet. In spite of me being very careful I spun a little there. It is an area that isn't full growth because of the slope. It wasn't a big deal. The lawn as a whole was being mowed pretty high and when I was there it needed cutting but I was there to spray which I did. I adjusted my track and in doing so it matted the long grass in a way that made it look flatter than usual because it was not in the same track it was mowed at but it did not damage the lawn.
    I come home the next day and there is a message on the machine from someone claiming to be at this address telling me that I tore the grass up and I should be more careful on the lawn. Initially the tone was OK but as the message progressed this a-hole started to become agitated and started to say how he can use a big "frickin" mower on this property and not do any "frickiN" damage. Basically being a jack off. He did leave his number if I had any questions.
    I was mowing that day and tried to call but I went out to mow and even went back to the property to look. I found nothing out of the ordinary except that this guy did mow even though my signs were posted for a 1 day reentry which he ignored.
    Oh I had questions but after 4 calls he didn't answer. On the fifth try later in the day I left him a message to not call me with this kind of complaint ever again. I went on to say that if the homeowner had a problem with my application or something he felt was wrong then the homeowner should call, not the lawn guy.
    I know my message got thru because he called the homeowner and talked to the wife. She relayed to the husband that we were having words and he called me.
    He said that he knew I was there and he did walk around that night and had no problem with my application. He said that he didn't know why this a-hole took it on himself to call me. I explained to my customer that I have no problem with a concern as long as the person is respectful to me when voicing the concern. This was not the case. As a matter of fact if this guy talked to me like that in person, other issues would have arisen. We will leave it at that. My customer went on to apologize for this jackoff and said he is very happy with the work I do and absolutely wants to retain me. He said he would talk with this guy and tell him to back off. I told my customer that its a done deal as long as this guy keeps his mouth shut and he doesn't contact me again.
    Long story but I had to vent. Its funny how tough some guys talk behind a phone (or computer). Bottom line is that if he would have just said can we talk about the issue I would have had no problem. I would guarantee that if any of you had a message left like he did, you would have reacted.

    So I am moving on, I see this a-hole around but I am done with this. Hopefully he learned a lesson. We will see.
  2. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,594

    Handled well on your part, not so good by the other guy. As you had your signs up, he shouldn't have even cut it then.
  3. W.L.M.

    W.L.M. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I would have given him hell, but I have anger issues :weightlifter:
  4. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    I think you handled it very much in the same way I would have. I would have talked to the client first, then left a message for the other guy after talking with the client. After all... as long as the client is satisfied, your job is taken care of.
  5. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,695

    I would have saved the message, and played it back for the client!:laugh::laugh:
  6. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    After he and the wife think about this awhile, your client may just decide to give you the complete job and cut out the unprofessional _hole completely. I would have some serious issues if an employee of mine called another employee like that. It's not his right. You did a good job.
  7. LouisianaLawnboy

    LouisianaLawnboy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,199

    Your working for the client not the other LCO or neighbors or anybody but the client.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    There is a big chip-on-shoulder mentality out there with LCO's, a lot of angry guys. And he should have been respectful when calling, or better just discussed it with the client.

    That said, he was probably upset at having "his" lawn messed up a little and concerned he'd be blamed for it. He's also possibly used to having other application guys blame their shortcomings on him and transfering that experience to you. I know I periodically would get the "he said you need to sharpen blades/mow higher/mow lower" line from customers when the lawn app guy can't get the lawn to grow right. In one case it turned out that the dead area I was blamed for was where the builder buried a lot of concrete debris and it killed the lawn there every year.

    For your part, if the lawn was left in any condition less than what should reasonably be expected using typical equipment, he had a point. You used a riding mower to spray weeds, from what I understand. Well, I think that's a cool and productive idea, but they aren't suitable for all areas. Could you not have spot-sprayed the questionable area with a backpack to avoid any problem? Certainly this isn't the only property with access problems, so I assume you don't use the Walker setup everywhere. Then again, if this was the first time out, you sometimes find bad spots in lawns the hard way.
  9. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Shouldn't have mowed, eh? How many of YOU are going to work your mowing route, skip one, and then make a special trip back out for that one lawn?

  10. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    yeah, the way I see it, the app guy is there maybe 6-7 times a year, and only about 5 during mowing season. And the mowing guy might be there 35 times. So instead of the mower calling the customer 35 times to get the "all clear" to mow, it'd make more sense for the applicator to call 5 times a year to give the customer a heads-up about when he'll be there. And often the lawn guy is there the same day of the week each time so the customer knows whether it's ok or not and doesn't even have to call to let the mower know. And beyond that not every app made is disturbed by mowing.

    Seems simpler to just have the applicator call the handfull of times each year it would matter, so the customer can decide if there is a conflict.

    And I believe in at least some areas they have to give prior notice anyway if requested if spraying chemicals?

    I know I would not skip a lawn on a tight route and come back days because of a lawn app. Some routes are 30 min away from others, it just wouldn't work. It's come up maybe 3 times over the 10 years or so since I did the apps myself.

Share This Page