New PITA Customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Darryl G, Jun 15, 2002.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I just picked up a new customer. She wanted her privet hedges trimmed and told me how much to charge her ($100). I was planning to cut hedges a block away so I agreed to the $ and scheduled her for the same day as my other job. She insisted on being there, which usually means trouble, and boy was it. When I showed up, she greeted me and then went back inside. Well, I got started and before she came back out I had cut one entire side of one of the hedges. She was all upset because she didn't get a chance to show me where to cut them. For the whole rest of the time she stood there with pointer stick pointing where she wanted me to cut next. I was so shocked and amused that I just went along with her. She seems like a sweet lady and says she will refer me to her neighbors, but I'm never going back there! I sure hope she refers me to her neighbors before it's time for her hedges to be cut again.
  2. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,205

    Lol, i guess you learn as you go. Every now and then ill have a customer who watches my every move, but not to the extreme you mention.
  3. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    I had a customer that would follow me around the yard as I cut it. Then told me that my belts on my bagging equipment where on wrong. (you know the kind of impellers that run off the deck...they twist an what not) . THEN walked around the yard while I trimmed and had his stick out to point where and how close to trim. Cut it twice and quit. What is it with wacked out people and sticks to point with. Is that some kinda club or something?
  4. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    If they are going to stand there in front of the hedges/bushes with a 'pointer' in their mitts then why don't they just go ahead and do it themselves? I mean, just replace the stupid stick with some lightweight cheapo trimmers and they are as well as doing the deed aren't they?

    When I bid a job, if the potential client says "I must be here when you do it" I tell them when I can fit it in my schedule....praying that it won't be suitable and they will want to do it at another time. This way I can gracefully blow them off. If the time is 'suitable' for them then I just put an astronomical price on the job so that I know that I won't get it. I didn't bust my hump for the last 4 years building a business as a self-employed man to go back to having a 'supervisor' point out my every move now!

    The 'stick pointers' can really eat into the time it takes to do the job with their nit-pickiness, making decisions (on your dime), talking, changing their minds, and then there is the ol' "Oh, while your already here, go ahead and do....".....expecting it to cost them nothing extra since you are "already here". :angry:

    I'm 40 years old and left the days of 'instructor with a pointer stick' behind me a long time ago. I feel that if they can do it better than I can, then why the heck am I there in the first place???

    If they want to play the "Parent/Boss" game then they have to find someone else to do it with. I don't like it...and I don't need it.

    Last year, I picked up a new account and the first two times I was there the old lady kept interrupting my work (mowing on a ZTR)... "be careful around the bushes" then 5 minutes later "watch for that old stump in the backyard" (8" less)..ect, ect...dang, she must have stopped me 15 times that day!

    I thought that maybe after the first visit (in which she pointed out every object in the lawn) she had gotten it out of her system...but no...on the 2nd visit I wasn't there 10 minutes before she came out the door and started that bull all over again. The 'straw that broke the camel's back' was when I was cutting the border, went to back up, glanced over my shoulder, and she was standing about 3 feet DIRECTLY BEHIND MY LAZER Z!. I swear, she appeared out of thin air! I told her that it was very dangerous for her to be sneaking up behind me while operating such a big mower [DUH!]...and that she had nearly given me a heart attack! If I had not looked back she would have been "mowed down". :cry:

    I politely told here that I would not like it on my conscious if she were injured (or killed) and quit that client...that day. I just couldn't take it anymore...being stopped every 5 minutes and having to scan 360' every dayum second that I was there to insure I didn't discharge something in her direction...or worse, flat mow her down! :dizzy:

    Sorry to rant for so long...but this is a major 'pet peeve' of mine. Can't you tell??? ;)
  5. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I have one right now also. He comes out every week to point something out or ask a question. He is in his 80's and pays on time and very well. So for right now I just suck it up and listen.

    He had a list one week and this week he wanted me to blow all the maple helicopters into a pile instead of on the lawn. The Shindy EB630 made quick work of it but I was sort of p.o'ed under my breath. I just kept thinking of the money.
  6. scottb

    scottb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    the nice thing about this is yhat we know that these people are everywhere,and not just in one area of our country.
  7. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 870

    That was the 1st clue! :)

    No biggie, we've all been there.

    The biggest thing is that you've made up your mind to not return.
  8. NewbieOwner

    NewbieOwner LawnSite Member
    from Alberta
    Messages: 61

    Maybe I'm alone in this, but when a customer sets foot out onto the lawn when I'm working, I'll shut down my equipment, and I wont restart it until they step off the lawn.

    Think of liability! What happens if they get hit by a flying piece of debris.

    I _HAD_ a few followers on my route this year, but I decided to deal with the problem. I told them for insurance reasons, they had to keep off the lawn while I was working on it "There was a big lawsuit down in the states y'know". When I'm finished, if they want to point out something I've missed, no problem, I'll fix it right away (as soon as they get off the lawn)

    Its working well, one customer did have a big problem about it, but I just told him, safety comes first. "If you want me to work in an unsafe manner, then I can't work for you. Thankyou for your buisness goodbye!"

  9. Just Turned Pro

    Just Turned Pro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 109

    I can't wait until I retire and have that kind of time on my hands! You know, nothing better to do than to tell everyone how to do everything and carry a pointin' stick around with me to point out all the faults!:cool:
  10. parkwest

    parkwest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    Once built an 8500 sf custom home for a couple where the wife came out during the day with her girlfriends and their children. Superintendent called me for instructions because the ladies wouldn't leave. I called husband at work and he told me it was alright for his wife to be on the jobsite since it was his house. Told him to review his contract. Explained to him my insurance would be cancelled if tourist were on the jobsite so I would be stopping work and billing him $1000/hour for homeowner delays. He had his wife out of there in 10 minutes.

    It's amzing to me how ignorant some people are. Power tools are dangerous

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