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making an extra trip

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by ADMIREDLAWNS, Jul 5, 2007.


    ADMIREDLAWNS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    One of my customers had the gate to his backyard blocked with his boat (he wasnt home to move it) so I couldnt get my mower into there after I had already mowed the front, so I just edged, weedeated & blowed the back. He called 2 days later (friday) wanting me to come that day. I told him it wouldn't be until tuesday, I went out and did it, but only the back because I was on a schedule and was late because of the travel time to his home.

    He called yesterday being an A**, saying I was supposed to come mow last week. I told him I moved him back a week since I made an extra trip to his house & didnt charge him. He says he expected me to come 3 times. Should I have just went and mowed it for free, charged a trip fee or done exactly what I did.

    Also, I have been doing his home and rental property at a discount of $10 a trip per lawn because he said he could get me advertising in a local magazine when I got my LLC. Well, he hasn't made good on his part of the deal, plus I found out that it isnt a magazine, its a list that he hands out to the other realtors in his office to give to the new home owners. I am thinking about raising his rates to what it would of been from the beginning. What do yall think?
  2. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    If I'm reading this right, you are only getting paid $10.00 to cut his lawn.

    If that is the case, I wouldn't have even made the trip to his house once, let alone 3 times. But if I had agreed to cut his lawn for that price I most definitely would have charged him each time I went to his house. This situation has happened to me before and the customer had their back gate locked so I couldn't get in. She tried to pay me 1/2 price when she got the bill. I told her that the price is what it is. It wasn't my fault that the gate was locked. I always come on the same day every week. She did pay the full price and I haven't had any problems with her leaving the gate locked anymore.

    I say charge him $30.00. If he doesn't pay, drop him. I don't think I would be worried about a $10.00 lawn. You can find another lawn to replace his and charge more.
  3. Mr Priceless

    Mr Priceless LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    Honestly, I think it was very generous of you to come over and mow his yard off schedule period.

    If you have scheduled mowings and he knows what day you're coming, that's HIS fault for NOT being there at the time and parking his boat where he KNOWS you need to access in order to do your job.

    It helps though if access to the backyard at the time you mow must be avaliable otherwise skipped til next mowing in the contract. If not, do so as of now.
  4. Woody82986

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

    It's his responsibility to make sur eyou have access to all areas. He was an idiot and should be charged accordingly. Also, take everything someone ever "says" they can do for you with a grain of salt until they actually deliver on their word.
  5. Mr Priceless

    Mr Priceless LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 412

    Other tips. I wasn't paying attention to the $10 thing. I think you should now pass on the advertising opportunity. You aren't losing anything significant.
    Like Howard said, up the price, or drop the customer. There are much more profitable opportunities to be taking advantage of.

    ADMIREDLAWNS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    Thanks everyone, I thought I was doing my part just wanted to make sure. Howard, i'm not mowing for $10, I would normally charged him $30 a trip but i'm only charging him $10. Tonight i'm going to type up a notification of increase, and make it effective the following billing cycle.

    Wood, I will from now on. I have had other customers help me get my business together, referring accountants, business counselors, ect. so I didnt think any thing of his claim. But I should of known, he's the cheapest customer I have & the pickiest(no irrigation, no hedge trimmer wanted).
  7. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    The cheapest people are always the hardest to please. I bet he said something about "the last guy did it for...". Never do a job if you're not making any money. You might also let him know that you could offer a credit to his account should one of his referrals sign a yearly contract, not before that though. I usually give a free mowing or flower pot to show them my appreciation.
  8. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Remember every day that you are in business you will learn something - just like you learned about this guy being unreasonable.
    I, myself, am very cautious of these types of people, particularly when they are asking for discounted work in exchange for advertising or the promise of additional work.
    Some of the posters here may have actually had a barter agreement work out but I avoid these situations whenever possible.
    Regarding the customer blocking the gate, as long as you were on a scheduled visit, I wouldn't return until the next scheduled visit unless an additional fee was agreed upon.
    I would suggest, however, that you notify customers of schedule changes instead of letting them find out about it for themselves when you aren't there.
    Simple acts like this increase your perceived professionalism not to mention it is just good manners to do so.

    MOWALLTHETIME LawnSite Member
    Messages: 71

    I personally would send him a letter explaining that he did not hold up his end of the agreement and I would back charge him for every cut to the origional price minus the ten dollars previously charged. It sounds like he lied to you and there is no publication other than his typed up lists which is not a printed publication. If he balks on you and tries not to pay then cut his service off. It really urkes me when people try to take advantage of small companies that are trying to get established. I am not a large company only 5employees and around 95 accounts but it still hurts when you get stiffed. I was burned really bad by a real estate company when I first went fulltime and it nearly cost me my business and my house. I went out and cut and landscaped a number of accounts commercial and residental properties only to told when payment time came that my company was not on there list of approved businesses they used and they stiffed me over 15,000 in 45 days. I took everything I had in savings to stay afloat. I finally won in court 7 months later. We as a profession have to make sure that we protect ourselves and maintain our profitablility. I would like to try to start a local and state level associations that would unite lawen companies on common ground where companies who joined would be held to a higher standard and we could try to eliminate scabs and undercutters while increase our qulaity and profitablility.
  10. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    one lesson learned...never adjust your current price on the promises of future work...It never works out and in the end you are always bitter...Tell the guy that you'll give him discounts once referalls come your way and mention his name...This puts the burden on him to make good on his promise...If no referalls, then you are not stuck doing discount work...

    gates. I hated em...but sometimes you are stuck... If they were a good client and they had forgotten to move the boat, unlock the gate, ect. I would have come out and probably done the back yard for free. All of my contract were on a tight schedule and the routes were well laid out so I would not have changed his normal mowing day just for the back yard. I would have squeezed the back yard in at the en of the day or something to that effect. and his normal cut day would have been kept.

    I think most customers deserve a "freebie" "get out of jail free card" or something to that effect. Some customers deserve a few more,and some None at all.

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