My first customer complaint

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LCME, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. LCME

    LCME LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    Hi ya all! my new customer of only 2 cuttings called me Monday. She said, her ex-husband fixed the mower. Cut the lawn Friday because when I cut it Tuesday it did not looked cut at all. If she would of called me the day or after my cut I would go back and re-cut for free. But, she waited 6 days to tell me. Anyway, she wants me to cut one more time this Saturday and haul away all dead grass her ex left after cutting the lawn way too low. I only charge her $35 per week to cut 1-1/2 acres. I under estimated big time. to cut and remove dead grass will take me about 4-5 hours. I only have a 48" exmark TT HP. I would have to get a side bagger. Any comments and or advise on how to handle this?. Thank in advance for your input.
  2. j.p.landscaping

    j.p.landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    You need to explain to her that your time ='s money and the "extra" work that her ex left for you to clean is going to be extra $$$$.

    Sometimes people think guys that cut grass have nothing better to do. They don't understand that for most landscapers the money they earn in a day pays to keep their family fed, sheltered and healthy. They don't realize that it COSTS US $$$$ to cut their grass. It really pi$$es me off when customers try to nickle and dime me to death. I tell them straight out " go buy a mower, Fill it with gas and spend an hour or two cutting, trimming, blowing down and see what it would be worth to you. Then do it 10 to 15 times in one day 5-6 days a week. then get back to me how you feel by the end of that week".

    If you cut that lawn once there is no reason to go back and do it again for free. If she gives you a hard time with paying extra to clean up hubby's mess then tell her to clean it her self.

    Remember theres plenty more grass out there to cut. Don't let customers walk all over you because if you do they'll keep doing it and you'll be doing their services for free.

  3. j.p.landscaping

    j.p.landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Oh and one more thing, If you bid a job and after actually cutting it feel that you can't possibly do it for the price you quoted then speak up. Why waste time and money???

    Just explain that the property was mis-deceiving and it is going to actually take more time and gas to cover the cost of doing it. Explain to the customer that it would end up costing you more to cut it than what it's worth. Most customers understand and will agree to a slight price increase with no problem. Even if you say that you would need $10.00 more but because you already quoted them a price you'll meet them half way at a $5.00 increase. That way everybody's happy.
  4. LCME

    LCME LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    Thanks J.P. for the input. After reading your reply I was nodding my head saying yeah, yeah, yeah!. I work hard on that lawn. Anyway, I think I will call her back and explain that if she wants me to cut Saturday and clean-up dead grass the cost will be as follows: $40 to cut instead of $35 because after mowing I did not realize how much I had to do. Plus, $25 per man hour to clean-up grass her ex put on the lawn. Estimate time between 4-5 hours. Is this estimate reasonable?. How would you estimate cost on 1-1/2 acre lot to pick-up and haul away tons of grass?. The grass is very healthy and thick. Also, I forgot to include she also may not want me to continue the lawn service after the cut Saturday. Because my last mowing was too high at 4". But, to cut this lawn any lower than 3.5" would be hard on the grass I believe. Again, I'm new at this and have to learn as I go. Thanks in advance.
  5. j.p.landscaping

    j.p.landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Like I said before, charge whatever it's worth to you in the end. This lady sounds like she would be a pain in the a$$ customer in the future so set her straight now before she gets out of hand. You can B/S her too and say "I'll clean this mess up but here's my price and even with this price I'm paying the fee to dump it all so I'm giving you a good deal. It's going to be (whatever) trips to the dump at (how much ever) per time I dump and thats coming out of my pocket".

    Good luck with her and let me know how you make out...
  6. MImowerkid

    MImowerkid LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    3.5 inches is fine as long as you are cutting the same grass I am cutting here in novi don't worry about cutting that low just make sure you do not ever cut more than one third off the blade , I do not know what your operating expences are or what you want to make but when I am using my mower I do not want to be making less than 60 an hour . Don't be afraid to charge the people ! good luck !
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    I don't mean to seem harsh, but this is a no-brainer. You have to drop her and chalk it up to a lesson learned.

    Cut 1.5 acres, AND bag and remove clippings for $35??????

    As one member here often says "you can go broke sitting at home". So why go out and work for 4-5 hours just to be broke????
  8. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,724

    I don't know your cash flow situation or how much free time you have but even when I had 10 accounts I would not have agreed to clean up his mess. Especially after cutting the lawn for free the first 2 times yes I know 35 dollars but a 48-inch walk behind and an acre and half don't get confused you cut it for free. Good customer relations are a good thing but when it comes to an unsatisfied customer that thinks you did a poor job when you busted your ass for half wages I say eat the bad press and cut your loses.
  9. CamLand

    CamLand LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    Your reading my mind $35 for an 1 1/2 acre.i don't want to be a jerk but even if it was completely wide open property it wouldn't have been touched for less then 60-65...
  10. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    J.P.landscaping.... I'm not sure if this is my job to do but I would like to thank you for making such informative and positive posts to LCME. Not a whole lot of other members on here would have replied to his question without yelling, screaming, or bashing LCME in some way, shape or form because he made a mistake in the business and asked for our opinions. LCME, everyday all of us make mistakes in this business (underbidding, messing up a property, etc..) and sometimes we just have to eat it on some properties (face it, some people will never be happy, even if you think you did the best you could). I am posting a response like this because out of the last 10 threads I have read, 8 of them had people yelling and bashing a new person, or acting like they were not welcome.

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