PITA customer from last year calls me...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Yater, May 23, 2008.

  1. Yater

    Yater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    I answered the phone and recognized this raspy voiced-lady. I mowed for her a couple of times last year and then she tried to go on an as-needed basis. I just quit answering her calls after that. She was the type who had to be home when I mowed and tried to get me to work around her lunch dates, shopping trips, etc. She also tried to insist that I use HER mower because it "bags better". She has about 1/2 acre and wants it bagged...and doesn't want to pay more than $40 to do it.

    Anyway, I just told her it wasn't worth my time to bag all that grass for any less than $65. I think she's collecting bids right now. I hope she doesn't call back.
  2. S.I.

    S.I. LawnSite Senior Member
    from west
    Messages: 323

    I had one of those this spring. She swore that by mulching the clippings was going to cause thatch in her yard, and insisted that I bag the clippings. When I told her that it would cost an additional $5 per mowing, she said she would think about it and call me.

    Later that afternoon she left a message that she found some one that would bag and not charge extra. What a relief I was tired of dealing with her.

    The next day she calls back again saying "I decided that I would rather just stay with you mowing the lawn"

    WTF?! Go away lady!! So I did what any respectable LCO would do....I adjusted her price so that she wouldn't want me to mow.....

    My response went something like this
    Oh, well since we have already taken your account out of the schedule you will need to be entered in as a return customer and that means you will have a rate increase from 25 to 30dollars per mowing, and then you are wanting a biweekly schedule so that would be another $5, bagging will bring you up another 5 so that is $40. Wait we already filled your slot on Mondays so I will have to move you to a different day....................looks like I have 1 opening on Thursdays, but that is premium pricing for Thursday and Fridays so there is another $5, and a $7 fee for off route location. You know gas is expensive. Would you also like for us to haul the clippings for an additional $5??"

    You see this is how you get these people to either find someone else or make it worth your time..........This lady went from a $25 every other week PITA to a $57 per mow account .....lawn only takes 20 minutes with a 22"..........she will be finding someone else and I would venture to say she will not be calling me again. People like that are not worth your time either dump them or make it worth your time.
  3. Yater

    Yater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    What's funny is that she didn't remember who I was when she called. She started describing her yard and then mentioned she has a great bagging mower...then it clicked. I'll bet she has gone through the whole list of LCO's in the area and they've all dropped her.
  4. skeet

    skeet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 166

    Yater, wear your ole Daniel Boone coon skin hat on your next visit to her house..she'll remember you.
  5. Carolina Cuts

    Carolina Cuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,152

    that is absolutely beautiful.

    I had a return call today.
    Cut him weekly last year.... that's a plus. (Rare down here) Royal PITA that gives bottles of water... you know the kind... "Here's a drink, OH! Could ya would ya do this and that for me"

    Anyways, called him 3-4 times beginning of season... NO return call or response. Cut down the street from him so I drive by every week and notice his grass IS being cut, but not by an LCO.... No edging or trimming, lawn looks like crap. Keep in mind his property is 20 miles away mixed in with 20 of customers.... long trip in the morning but I knock out all the lawns on Thursdays. I just mowed them all yesterday.

    Get a call this morning... he tells me his son has been cutting the grass for extra money but can't keep up with it like I was able to do and asked me to cut today....
    "I can't, won't be out that way... was in your community yesterday..."
    Oh damn, can you cut this afternoon?
    "No, was out there yesterday... gas is 3.81 gallon... therefore I'm NOT making any special trips for one lawn"
    Can ya cut it on Saturday? Sunday?
    "No, no.... I'll be there next week.... END of the week..."
    oh ok... I guess it that will do...
    "Hey Mr. X, don't you still owe me $250 from last season???"
    Oh yea, I meant to ask you about that... I never got a bill...
    "Funny, I put it in your mailbox just liked you asked me to do...
    Well, send me another one...

  6. Steveslawncare

    Steveslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    You allow customers to carry a balance from year to year?:hammerhead:
  7. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    Yater, I hear your issue and feel your pain. But to me it sounds like if she presses you hard enough, you know you'll have to give in. WHY?

    It's your business, not hers. If she does call back and says you were the low bid, why do you feel like you're obligated to take it? Just tell her you don't want to mow her lawn. Period.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    In ways I feel sorry for these kind of folks, and in other ways I don't.
    I feel and know exactly where you guys are coming from, I been down that road one too many times, too.
    But today I see also my own ineptitude or stupidity as part of the problem, for lack of better words.

    I think a part of it has to do with a type of understanding, for myself there did come around in later years a better picture of the whole thing, and that has helped me cope with a number of them... This is my first year I have actually taken on at least ONE such customer that I am sure would've or could've been my worst headache not too long ago... But this year things went along with very little pain and to decent profit, really it all basically went according to plan.
    That it worked out smooth astounded me, I was floored.

    There were, however, still a few I simply could not, or was unable to deal with.

    Some of it was timing, the wrong thing was done or said at the wrong time, whether I said it or the customer did it doesn't really matter, but I just wasn't ready for it and down hill it went.

    Some was demons, that is, I just seen bad stuff coming based on prior experience, and that bothers me because I wonder if it were not for that... And one just plain F.... me over good and I didn't even SEE it thou at one point I had enough to clue me in but I kept going...

    Ya gotta sit back and wonder about this crap somedays.
  9. Yater

    Yater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    Because I'll do it for $65. I know for a fact she won't pay me that....but if she did, I'd do it. She's always paid me on time...she's just a pain in the ass.
  10. the angler

    the angler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    two years ago i gave a lady a price for bed edging and mulch ,installing a fence and moving some landscape rocks around, any way she agreed to a very high price soo i was excited......any way she called back and said her grandson would be helping me i think he was 17 at the time and asked if i would cut my labor cost in half..........now that's WTF i was so shocked i told her i could do her one better and that her grandson can do the whole thing and i will not bill her ,she acted confused and i hung up. didn't get the job and lost her as a weekly mow ...so goes life in the yard

    three weeks ago i fired a new customer,she only has a front yard and lives across the street from a customer ,,,shes older and lost her husband recently so i felt bad and told her it would be 10 dollars a week something i would never normally do not even for my mom ha ..but i did . anyway i cut this patch the next week she came out yelling at me because of the horrible job i did she said her weeds grew back three days later awwwwwww .what do you say to that.....so i calmly said that's why you hired me to cut the weed patch of yours on a weekly basis ...I'm sorry you not happy there are about 75 adds in the local paper maybe you will have better luck with some one else.....well no one is going to drive out of their way for 10 dollars and the lawn hasn't been mowed since .

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