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Need some advice please

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LiveGreen Lawn Care, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. LiveGreen Lawn Care

    LiveGreen Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi All,
    I wanted to post a situation and get some feedback.
    My partner and I did an estimate in "suburbia". Estimated $45. for every other week mow, trim and edge. He accepted and signed a contract. So we go and do the first service, took about 30 minutes. The owner was working in his yard and had a wheelbarrow and some cinderblocks in one area. I mowed what I could reach while my partner trimmed.
    We get an e-mail from the owner who said we did a terrible job and left "patches" of unmowed grass in different areas and the trimming could have been better. He did not want us to return and would send payment for that service. He also said that for the first time service we could have done a better job and especially when we were $10 above the competitive price.
    We were dumb founded and replyed to his e-mail. We told him that the only area we did not mow was were the wheelbarrow and cinder blocks were and short of going to dirt with the trimming we did not understand why he thought it was so terrible. He didn't call us and talk to us about it, he basically said "your done". We would have been there the same day to "fix" whatever it was that he thought we should but he didn't even give us that chance. He said he likes to support small businesses and "knows what its like" to start one......
    Is it our responsibility to move the wheelbarrow and cinderblocks when he knew we were coming that morning??
    Should we have knocked on the door and asked him if we did ok when we were through and if there was anything we could have done better right then and there?
    We are new at this (2 clients, we both still have full time jobs) and I think we are pretty picky of our own work.
    Maybe you just can't please everyone?:confused:
    Your feedback would be GREATLY appreciated. We also told him to not send payment for that service and that we will not return at his request.
    What would you have done differently?

    LiveGreen Lawn Care
  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    I've never had anyone drop me instantly like this but I have had customers who have something in the way in the yard.

    In the first few months that I started, I would move anything that was in the way. Especially if it was going to make a brown spot if sitting there for a good while. I did this because when I do lawns I do them as if they were my own. When I'm done, I look over everything to make sure it is done -right-.

    Eventually, I got tired of picking up after other people. So now when I get a new customer, I do their lawn the first time and leave a little "Informative Printout" at their home that has a few policies that "Makes our job easier and keeps our prices fair" One such thing is letting the customer know that it is their responsibility to move any objects from the lawn, such as toys, garden hoses, etc. (a wheelbarrow might fit into that category).

    Maybe he saw something that you didn't also. Maybe its not even the cinderblocks and the wheelbarrow.

    Then again, maybe he's a lawn nut and it just wasn't good enough.
  3. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    I understand your concern and the customers actions. I live in an area of about 5000 other LCO's, it's nothing to them to drop you at any moment if they are not completely satisfied. I too look at each lawn like it was my own and would have moved the objects AND when finished, went up and talked to the home owenr for 45 seconds to let him know I moved it and if he would like it put back we could do that before we leave. It shows the customer you are concerned about the kind of job your doing and respectful of his property by addressing it and returning it to "that" specific place if he so desires. If you are literally $10 dollars above everyone else, I would consider doing the little things to keep customers satisfied, you gotta remember, EVERY customer you have has cut there lawn at some point, so paying for a lawnservice is hard for clients to do, and if they aren't satsified the first time your out on the job, your done. I always make a special point of looking over the lawn especially if it's the first time on the property, you'd be surprised how many little things you may have missed that they will notice right away since they've mowed it a trillion times before. My advice would be to double check your work, approach future customers if there are things in the lawn and address this with them, always take the 34 seconds to move a wheelbarrow and if its a few blocks, move them as well. I think alot of home owners expect you to do little things like this since 90% of peoples customers think they are over priced anyways. Its a hard business to keep everyone happy all the time, learn from this and always keep your head up and moving forward, thankfully everyone has a lawn so new customers are everywhere. Hope this helps.
  4. LiveGreen Lawn Care

    LiveGreen Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thank you so much for your responses. The first "rejection" makes you bow your head in shame....LOL....but you are right, everyone has a lawn.
    It is definately a learning experiance and will take your advice and just double AND triple check the lawn and if we have a question talk to the owner. Doesn't hurt to ask.
    Thanks again,
  5. C9CUTS

    C9CUTS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Can some one help me with a answer please. i want to do some lawn aerating
    for next year can i winter fertilizer and seed at the same time please help.:confused: :confused:
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Uhhh,...thats a little off subject, but yeah,...you can seed and fert at the same time. I would use a starter fert., though. Do a search, and you will come up with about a full day's worth of reading on this.
    Now, back to the subject...As far as the wheelbarrow thing,...I probably would have just moved it real quick about 3 ft. to what was already cut. However,...this wasn't really his only issue. He also mentioned that the trimming was lousy. You had mentioned - "short of going to the dirt". Without seeing pictures, I can't really say,...but WITH pictures, we may be able to tell....
    Funny thing about trimming...it is nearly more important than the mowing. You can lay beautiful stripes, have a nice clean cut, and all the good stuff,...but if the trimming looks bad, - the whole place looks bad. More jobs are lost from cobbled up trimming than from anything else (not counting unreliability). Being new, it is possible that YOUR guys' idea of nice trimming and the customers' idea of nice trimming can be two different things.
    One thing that holds solid, though...The guy is unhappy with y9ou guys. Don't think twice about it....move on. This guy may have been a pita, anyway by the sounds of it. Good luck with your next customer, and just keep going.
  7. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    Great advice given so far. The only thing I can think of to add is if the customer, (not this particular one but for future reference) has kids and there is stuff strung out all over the yard, water guns, springs from the trampoline, garden hoses, various toys, its kinda hard and unacceptable to skip that entire area that is affected because of this, and still charge full price. Something I have done in the past if its really bad is to just use the backpack and blow it all away from your mowing area. When I've ran into this in the past, my instinct was to just mow over it, lol but I didn't. The blower will save you some time as compared to picking all that stuff up by hand. Just kick the hose to the side out of the range of the mower path.
  8. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,120

    except for me it was exactly the 3rd lawn I cut. Guys landscaping was so overgrown that as a favor I trimmed it with the trimmer , there was a hose laying in there, so I weedeated over the hose.

    Guy was upset that I was "to lazy to move the hose" Also was upset that I did not cut the landscaping in the back with a string trimmer. I would have done that as a favor also but he had alot of ornimantal grass in there that would have been way to hard to trim around. He even threatned not to pay until I told him I would send him to a collection agency and it would show up on his credit report.

    Anyway, seeing as how it was my first week mowing, I felt like crap, and thought mabye I was doing a poor job. I immediatly called everyone I had cut that week to make sure they were satisfied, and got nothing but positive remarks. Now years later, I have had a couple of minor "you missed that little spot last week" type of compaints but nothing anywhere close to that guy.

    Some people are just impossible to please
  9. anythingispossible409

    anythingispossible409 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    i always found myself to ask if i was unsure or didnt know.:) On the other hand the owner should have gave u a chance to fix it...it looks like no communication between you and the customer.:nono:

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