old ladys.... how annoying

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lildog132, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. lildog132

    lildog132 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I really can't stand little old lady's anymore.... for a couple of reasons

    1) They complain about the big commerical WB every second and wish you would mow with a small traditional 21" mower.

    2) They never pay alot of $$$

    3) they talk to you forever, I have this old lady that talks to me for 30-45 minutes every time. she probally walks up to me about 3 times while mowing her lawn and gabs on for about 15 minutes.

    If there's any old lady's reading this, please learn from this and do the opposite.

    Any other people annoyed with old lady's?
  2. Live4Mowin'

    Live4Mowin' LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    theyre not really a problem for me. i agree with you about number three but one and two arent really problems for me.
  3. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Not that every older person can be appeased, neither can many younger types, you'll learn I hope that your attitude goes a long way positive or negative in all one on one contacts.
    If you act nice, friendly, interested, and genuinely wanting to do a good job, it'll be percieved that way.
    Many folks are still not used to seeing large mowing machines. Some that have, have had bad experiences with their operators not knowing how to use them properly.
    Patience on your part will help a great deal.

    I DO NOT mean this as a cut, you are far too young yourself to be putting any group down because of their age. With your own maturing, you will learn everyone has their own personality to be dealt with.
  4. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    I too don't have a problem w/ 1 or 2, but 3 oh yes!!!! I try to limit it to a couple of minutes if I can. You have to remember that some of these widows are all alone, and just want somebody to talk to.
  5. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    1. If you are rutting the lawn or creating a grain in the turf every week because the area can only be cut in one direction due to size or layout they have a right to complain.

    2. Why would you do the same amount of work for less money simply because of their age? My philosophy is if I can discount a "senior's" lawn and still make money then I should be able to discount everyones' lawn and make money. If there is another business that gives discounts for seniors they can have them all, do the same amount of work in a day as I, and make 3, 5, or whatever percent less a day than I do.

    3. You can only be abused if you let yourself be abused. A quick curt, "Sorry, I have work to do and if we stand here talking your lawn won't look the way it should," is all that is necessary. Once the equipment is running the customer or kids or neighbor kids can not be in the immediate vicinity. If they refuse to go in the house or leave, we stop work and leave. This business is inherently dangerous to us, I don't need the additional liability of injuring a bystander. I have insurance, I just do everything possible so I don't have to use it. If they get you when you are loading up, simply continue loading get in the truck and say, " I need to get to the next job," and then leave them standing there. This is a business not a "Welcome Wagon" society.
  6. MDMowing

    MDMowing LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 58

    I have a couple of yards that are older folks. This one, the elderly lady calls when she needs it cut. She loves to talk. ( Lord, how she loves to talk...) I know that time is money, but sometimes it pays to visit for a bit. If you listen to them sometimes you can learn a lot. After all these folks have been around a few more years than we have. By listening and I truely mean listen, this is good for business. It is good customer relations.

    Like EJK2352 said "You have to remember that some of these widows are all alone, and just want somebody to talk to."

    Yes this old lady would rather we did her yard with the 21" push mower. But as I explained to her, we have so many yards and so little time. It takes us half the time to do the job with a mower that is three times the size of the push. We quarantee satisfaction to all of our customers, or we'll cut it again. I did let her know if she wnated it pushed mowed we would but it would cost more. She decided that the big one was fine.

    Just take time with your customers, and do a good job. Then they'll pay the price it takes to do to job.

  7. Cooper Landscaping

    Cooper Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    you're really not into that customer relations thing much are you? lol I'm JK

    As for old ladies- Ive got two of them. They both are widows and love to talk. Most of the time i have time to talk because i don't have a full schedule, and I love to. They're really nice people and i haven't had them complain about the "big mower" In fact one of them marvels over it lol. The way I see it- if you're nice to the people and take a little time out of your schedule to talk to the old ladies, you're bound to make them happy and possibly get some more work, especially considering the fact that old ladies seem to have a network similar to us landscapers have Lawnsite lol. If you find it too hard to cut down on the talking time maybe try to change your schedule around so the old lady is last and you've got some time to talk. Just my $.02

  8. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    I agree with Rustic Goat. You learn in business that you must deal with many different personalities. Personally, I would rather deal with the older clients I have than some of the young people.
    I see people my age buying houses for $500K and up. Where that money comes from I can only imagine, but their parents come to mind. They are mostly impossible to please and have a problem paying on time (I guess I would too, with a $3-4K a month mortgage.)

    I just laugh at these people, they have nice houses but no furniture inside. I'll let some else deal with that BS.
  9. I’ve had ol’ladies hint to me, “Don’t you have anything else but that big ol’thing?” Earlier this year, one decided she wanted me to catch the grass and then rake what was left over. Slight problem, her yard was 2.5 freaking acres!!! Canned.

    If you need the work, you have to grit your teeth. But once you reach the point of becoming selective, there are things to watch out for. First of all, why do they need a new Lawn Service? Of course it’s NEVER their fault, there was something wrong with all 8 of the guys she’s used in the last 4 years. LOL

    There’s a ton of stuff that happens when you first meet a prospective client. Certainly you want to give them the impression you’re approachable, but make a conscious effort to focus 100% of your conversation on the work, even if it makes you seem shallow or dense. If you start listening to personal problems (even a little bit) from the start, you’re training them to relate to you in that way, and it WILL get worse over time. In addition to the other excellent suggestions above, I like to sneak off after I’m done and call them from the mobile phone. Most get the hint pretty quick.

    As far as the dollars are concerned, they’re just another client. Either they can afford to pay or not. If you’re into charity, that’s great; but my expenses cost real money. I’m out to make as much money as possible and I’ve never done that working for poor people. Best to avoid cheap people (no matter the age, sex, profession, etc.) and focus on profitable accounts. In stead of working on a marginal account and struggling with myself to maintain my quality standard, I’d rather spend the time looking for moneymakers. If you need those low yield accounts for now, keep looking for something to replace them.

    Some people just don’t say yes to an agreement unless they think they’re getting a bargain. Yet ANOTHER reason to bid high. Lets say you’d like to make $50 for mowing. DO NOT quote $50. Ask for $60, you might just get it! But if they’re cheap, now you’ve got room to negotiate. You can grudgingly go down to $55, and then act like you’re getting taken advantage of to mow for $50. They’ll feel like they’re getting their bargain and you’ll be making a profit, just don’t let yourself smile until you’ve driven away. And be prepared to drive away forever. In any business, success is achieved by seeking profit and walking away from bad deals.

    An older customer wanted me to fix several sprinkler heads at a house they’re selling. The lawn guy at the old house just kept hitting them. After fixing the heads, I ask if they’d like me to mow that house as well. It’s about a $250k house on a small corner lot, but it has a sidewalk, circle drive, and another driveway to the garage, so it would be a lot of edging. I bid $45. Their eyes flashed and told me the other guy was charging $30! Then they gave it to me at $45.
  10. barnard

    barnard LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Over 75 % of my customers are little old ladys they are my bread and butter. Itry too be as respectful of them as I would my mother. Some times a few of them try my patience. One try it more than others. But-- Ihave picked-up good wellpaying customers from her referals. If they are complete PITAS I don't service them. Otherwise I try my best to please them.

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