New big account this year... Nightmare already

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by promower, May 1, 2006.

  1. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    I got a pretty big condo job this year takes 4 guys 3.5 hours to finish. When bidding the job I knew it was going to be a pita. The condo consists of 70 units all old people 55 an older. Before we even started the president told me it doesnt matter how good of a job you do you will get complaints every week, he told me to turn my head and tell the pita to take it up with the condo board.
    Condo resident called today and wanted an estmate for a field next to the developement to be mowed. Did the estimate and when we finished he said he thought the grass was getting cut to short on the back side of a section of the condos. It's all sod, terrible grading job so its really bumpy and wavey so there was a few scuffed areas although overall a good job considering the conditions. Then he just starts ripping into me saying the last guys did a better job, residents have been talking and they are really unhappy with the work, thought all the 8 x 8 patchs of grass in front of the units (60 of them)should be mowed with a push mower for a more even cut, trimming could be better just going on and on. Needless to say I left the metting pretty stressed out. It bothered me long enough to call the condo president to let him know about the meeting and that I was concerned that the residents werent happy and we can work on making some changes. Called the condo president and he tells me a completely different story that everyone has been happy so far, does want me to raise the deck on the sod to see if will cut down on the scalping and there was one resident that we missed blowing off her back patio.
    This account pays great so at least I'm not getting burnt on the money but I have this job for snow removal to and that worries me, always more complaints when the snow flies. I dont know if I can take the stress of all these old people are giving me. Long venting post, more to come throughout the year I'm sure.
  2. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    i feel your pain.. while i respect elders there sure are a PITA to deal with. we have had a 280 unit condo for years, finally jacked the price up this year to the point they didn't renew the contract. the place was a 55 an older development... they have nothing better to do than watch the grass grow. but on the other hand i did meet some really cool people in there as well...
  3. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 953

    You're in the wrong business if you can't take a lot of stress.
    Just listen to the man signing the checks and you'll do fine.
  4. imograss

    imograss LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 796

    I agree with you all. I work for alot of elderly folks. They definately have different needs and expectations than most, Just hang in there.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    First of all, at least he did the right thing by getting the deal through the president. You really should have no problems but yeah some will try and take you for a ride, that is normal.

    I'm the same way now at the complex I picked up, couple hundred offices and from time to time some renter wants to come around and be my boss which results in a really short-on-time situation where I:

    First off, ALWAYS lock up your truck and trailer and I mean chain and padlock your stuff so you can leave it unattended. This not only prevents theft but the fort knox appearance helps drive away a few as this lets them know you are no fool. In my case I also like to move the rig from spot to spot whenever I move a distance so as to keep it somewhere in sight and also this gives the appearance of you working (not saying you're not but) <- This is a good move to get out of the way of conversation sometimes but don't do it to the president lol.

    When someone comes around and catches you off-guard (I swear some know how to getcha attention, or try hard anyway):
    - Keep right on working, don't even pay no mind, just keep on getting it.
    - Answer questions and blablabla with uh-huh and other absent-minded blabber while you never really stop to listen fully.
    - If they get in the way say excuse me and in the same move, take off to get around them and keep going, your Wb is fast enough to outrun anybody so just take off to some remote area to go cut for a bit, same with any other tool, you are busy right now.
    - Buy a realistic but fake cellphone and keep this on you at all times. Whenever anyone comes around, you suddenly get a call and oh gee 'hey frank what's going on' and 'oh man you broke down where?' and 'well i can get out there but look' and keep the one-sided conversation going and make sure it sounds important.

    NEVER shut down equipment or stop for anyone except the president. Little works better than the loudest throttles.

    Yeah there's tons of ways to skin the cat you just got to get creative before you let the frustration get to you, because back in the days I might've grabbed some smart one by the throat but we can't do that so just gotta come up with some really smooth bypass moves and motions.

    About the only way they still get me is when they catch me either between equipment (switching) or right about when I'm done and packing up to leave... I need to get that fake cellular and remember, you're just too busy right now, sorry full schedule and stuff.
  6. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    you say ignore everyone but the president, if enough people make a stink the president would have no choice but to do something about it...

    :dizzy: :dizzy:

  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Please understand the individual renter's concerns are not my problem and I am the president of my own company, too. Thou I prefer being the manager, I simply have no time for folks who want to control my actions because I am way too busy to spend time fiddlefarting around with the bs. This is my boat and I am the captain.

    It is not my fault the rest of the world trains people to think that just because someone else is working that makes them an employee, and that all employees automatically have to 'yes sir and yes ma'am and how can I help you' because I done been down that road and got real tired of folks who like to have their way with me just because supposedly I 'have to help them.'

    I got news: I don't have to help nobody, I don't have to answer the phone and I do not have to stop and drop everything I am doing just because you decide to stand in my way going 'excuse me.' Because nobody rides me anymore, the few who catch me off-guard don't last very long.

    Normally I try to do it nicely, because so long they can't get a word in there really isn't much to complain about now, is there?
  8. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Messages: 7,472

    We have 2 Condos, both long term, one almost 10 years. We deal only with ONE individual at each condo, any complaints or suggestions go thru the head of the landscape committee. He/she filters the complaints/suggestions down to me, usually thru e-mail (EVEN better). Good system, works out fine.

    Sounds like the president of the board is on the right track. Mostly condo folk are like lemings, if one or more like ya, pretty soon you'll have a fan club. Or they'll all jump off a cliff. Either way you win!

  9. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Messages: 558

    Ive got a cemetary I do the chairman of the cemetary committee doesnt really care when I mow or what I do just so it looks good for Easter.Mothers Day,Memorial day and Fathers Day
    But there is one section that the family of those buried there had a habit of complaining The Chairman eventually had a meeting with them at the cemetary and more or less told them there wasnt anything wrong with what I was doing (wasnt mowing on the"right day")
    Havent heard a peep out of them since
    I guess what Im saying is talk with the Pres and let him handle it If hes happy I wouldnt worry about it
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    For anything like that I do, the first item on the list for the season is a "resident memo" that goes out to everyone. This is stipulated in the beginning and just before season starts I iron out a final draft with the president/manager/board.

    On a site like this, there has to be a formal 'complaint and request' management system. I deal with enough people as it is without having to deal with 70 different individuals at one jobsite.

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