New customer is a cancer (metaphor)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bassman, May 2, 2002.

  1. Bassman

    Bassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    Took on a new customer 2 months ago. She is a wealthy, overbearing, nothing better to do than stay on my case account. She wants shrubs trimmed to immaculate shaped perfection practically EVERY week. (I have regular messages on my voicemail to "come early, you'll need to spend extra time trimming", etc. I can do at least 2 similar properties in the time I spend at her place. I don't believe she will budge on monthly agreed to price and really don't care. I've been around the block with these types before and I can read the writing on the wall. It says, fire her and fire her fast. I knew she had a screw loose on my initial visit for estimate. As I was giving her my background she stated, "Daaaaaahling, I don't want to marry you, just do my lawn and landscape maintenance! Any one else out there that have learned to read the negative vibes early on and cut the customer quick before long months of agony set in?
  2. AK Lawn

    AK Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    You couldn't have described my client more perfect, she is always home with the same attitude nothing was ever good enough it was out of the way and was under paid, dump her fast, i stayed to long, always had the ame message as well, she was a real PITA.
    AK Lawn
  3. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I've learned to listen to the potiential clients very carefully. If you pay attention and ask the right questions they will let you know what kind of person they are. Are they trustworthy, pay on time, why the last LCO isn't there anymore, etc. Get screwed a few times and learn from it. In the long run its a lesson we all learn, just learn it and use it.
  4. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Should have figured in the PITA factor....sounds like a kick to the crub is due unless you need the money.
  5. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    If it's T & M, let her pay the bill. For those customers who come out and talk and talk, we charge 'em for each minute - and tell 'em we're doing it if they abuse our time. For a contract... that's a tougher scenario. Tell her the work is outside of the scope of the contract - and you'll have to bill her. Do the work, bill her and see if she pays.

    We used to have this one customer who'd call, older lady. About every 6 weeks she'd call. Our message on the machine used to say, "Thank you for calling Lawn Lad, please leave your name/number and we'll return your call promptly." To make a long story short, she'd call about every 1/2 hour, about 12 to 15 messages throughout the day. Her first message would be "Doug, it's Mrs. xxx, call me". 1/2 later, "Doug, you're not calling me back promptly". As the late morning and early afternoon hours wore on, and she had a few more in her, the messages got a little more slurred, until the point in the afternoon, she wasn't even talking into the machine - you could just here her breathing and the same back ground noise as the other 12 to 15 messages on the machine. Back then I used to only get 4 or 5 calls a day. Imagine 18 on the machine when you come - only to find out it was her. Needless to say - this old gal would run us around her property for this that and the other. Three sheets to the wind and it was worse. But it was all T & M and she paid her bill quick. Eventually she found someone who returned her calls promptly, I'm sure.

    Our message on the machine now says, "...we'll return your call as soon as possible." Point of my meandering tale - drop 'em if you have to, bill 'em if you keep 'em.
  6. tgrebis

    tgrebis LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    After a while you can smell problem accounts as you are giving the bid. I usually take the owner around their property talking along the way. I always go into detail about what I will be doing every week. If I "smell" a problem I just bid high. Problem solved.

  7. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    I agree with Hoss. I dropped about 15 complainers very similar to yours. It is like a weight off my chest to not have to deal with the "frequent caller club". The best part about it is I have replaced these people with better accounts. Really, you work way too hard to put up with that BS. Move on. Mike
  8. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    It sounds like it is time to "take a dump". :D

    Like Homer says:

    "If you dread it...SHED IT!"
  9. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I agree, if they seem picky and seem like they will cause problems, i bid higher. If they take me, then i get more money. If they don't, that's less b*&%#ing i have to listen to!

    I'm glad to say that I haven't had any problems like this yet, thanks to learning from Lawnsite. All my clients are great, and they come out only to say hi and good job!
  10. Why prolong your misery. If the customer is a true cancer, you know the solution. Sooner the better.

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