pita customer?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by qwikv6, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. qwikv6

    qwikv6 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    So...I get this guy who calls me up and asks for mowing and trimming. He leaves me his cell number and I call him back. He wants an estimate for mowing his lawn. I tell him I'll go look at the property and call him back. I never meet the guy. (I know I should have gotten a signed agreement.)

    I call him back and tell him it's going to be $40 because he has a slope on one side of the yard that will require a 21" push mower.
    He said go ahead and do it. He wants billed monthly.

    So I cut him last Thursday, no problem. i cut him this past Thursday, he calls today (Sat) and has a little attitude with my wife saying that he can't have these clumps(as he calls them) around and that he told me that he wanted the yard bagged and that he told me that when we talked on the phone. And if I can't do it he'll have to get someone else. My wife told him I would call him when I got in. First, there are no clumps. I side discharged his yard with my Tiger Cub. There is some heavier clippings in about 20% of his back lawn in a corner that is more wet than anywhere else and that is what i think he's talking about.
    I saw no problem with the work that I did because I have alot of customers who are very happy with my work and I am getting referrals.

    I had a gut feeling this guy was going to be a pita from the start.
    I should have trusted that to start with. I am going to go over to his place tonight to see what's going on. If we can't come to an agreement we will part ways.

    I think that he may try and stiff me on the $80 bill.

    What do you all think and what would you do?
  2. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    All right, ...I'll be the first to say it....You should have had everything in writing on a signed agreement before the gate dropped.You leave too much to chance without one , and it ususally leads to problems like this. Try to talk it over with him, get his exact expectations of what he wants done, and sign him right away. If not, get your $ 80.00, and find a new client...
  3. qwikv6

    qwikv6 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    I have a feeling that I will get stiffed and this may be an $80 lesson hard learned...

    It is my fault if that happens though.
  4. qwikv6

    qwikv6 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    BTW, fellas, do I have any recourse to get my $80 if he doesn't want to pay me?
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    You COULD, because a verbal contract is a verbal contract. BUT it's not worth the time and effort for $80. $800? Probably, but not for no $80.
  6. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,128

    Scare him. All I have ever had to mention is that I really didn't want to have to get Gary involved in these things. (A local attorney friend of mine). They never even ask who Gary is... but they cut me a check asap for the work I have done.
  7. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    If he called you after the second cutting and complained then he must have been happy with the first cut. Charge him $40 for the first cut and tell him the second one is no charge since it wasn't up to par. If he wants to cancel service after that, tell him good-bye. If he refuses to pay for the first cut tell him you'll turn over the unpaid invoice to a collection agency and that you don't waste time trying to collect from deadbeat customers that won't pay their bills. The threat of a blemish on his credit report might convince him to pay.
  8. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    We all make mistakes, but make sure you learn from this one. Always try to at least meet the person face to face and if possible something in writing.
  9. tedk

    tedk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    i am sorry but that is just plain 'ole b.s. it doesn't 'usually' lead to problems. beside we don't even know that there is a problem yet. the customer called and was upset. that doesn't mean he isn't going to pay his bill. a contract is for the RARE occasions that there is a problem.
  10. Harry0

    Harry0 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 220

    Quick-Yes you should have contracts(though I do not with every customer), but more importantly you need to go with your gut feeling. You sensed there might be a prob and you were right.After phoning him and sending a bill if he dosent pay -send him a registered letter stating this will be all you will be hearing from me, the next time it will be a collection agency and it will affect your credit rating. 9out of 10 timesw that will be enough-Harry

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