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Troubles... Why Me???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Last week, for the very first time ever, on a Sunday afternoon I had to deliever that dreaded phone call. Yeah I had to call a customer and notify them their lawn would have to wait.

    Most of you say big deal, it happens, can't believe it hsn't already. But you must understand I'm hardcore reliable and always manage to get every lawn, every week, even if that means working through the weekend. By Sunday evening I always have a clean slate and start back at square one.

    So yeah, this bothered me. But in this case there was nothing I could do other than make the call prior to making a mess. So I did because this property is in a high traffic area and has areas that stay soft even when it's dry. During the course of the day Sunday there was not enough sun to dry the areas I checked that morning.

    So I made the call, explained and told them I'd get it Mon-Tue-Wed, just whenever it dried out. That was fine by them. A half hour later it was raining again. Monday afternoon, more rain on top of it. Tuesday morning I passed by during a small shower and tooted the horn at the assistant mgr.

    Wednesday came and it was dry all day. So at the end of the day I dropped by home, showered, ate dinner and pulled back out on a dead run over to their town just to cut it.

    Well, I pull up and you guessed it. My curse strikes again. The place is butchered up bad. I start smoldering immediately. So I stop and go in to see what the ____ is going on.

    The assistant mgr is there and the first thing he says is "we aren't kicking you to the curb. We just got a tip that 'top brass' were on their way to visit and the MGR said get it done. So we called so-n-so's son to come get it done. We diffinately want you start back next week and straighten it back out."

    All I could think is, the friggin phone works both ways. I called them. They could have called me since I hold the contract and my acct# with them is my friggin phone # plus they have my cell #. If they had called I would certainly put them next in line that day. But it wasn't even anything that could not have waited until I got there when I did. Plus, trust me, the 11 days of growth I saw the day before looked much better than the mess they ended up with.

    Bottom line though, they should have called me to come. At the very least, they should have called to let me know what they did and saved me a dead run!

    Up until this, it has been a good account. The only things I have had happen is they hired someone else for a trim job along the back boundary. They left a little mess I had to clean and list bill for $0. Then another excessive cleanup I list billed as "2nd excessive cleanup" $30 charge $0. They got the hint that I was going to charge next time. So it has been easy money and headache free since. Matter of fact it's going to be even easier money because a trim obstacle has been ordered removed by 'the brass'.

    I want to keep the account. I also understand I missed cutting. But I still have no tolerance for their behavior which was flat out rude and inconsiderate as far as I'm concerned. So since they did not offer to pay me while I was there, I'm finding myself "taking considerations" about what I WILL DO when I return next week.

    The agreement is flat rate weekly until the end of the growing season. By that they will owe me 3 payments next week. Last week, this week and next.... which I am sure they are not expecting to have to pay for last week and my dead run.

    In all honesty I would have probably forgave them all but the current service week if I had cut it and been able to without a ton of extra work/time. If they had called to save me the trip I would have only charged for the rainout week and then current service week when I returned next week.

    But now, even though it's going to pizz them off, I'm most likely charging for all three weeks per the agreement when I return. That or I could blame myself, forgive them for the cut done, charge 2, one for the dead run and one for the return week.

    Either way, I'm a firm believer that you have to remain in control by being hard, otherwise a once good account will start treating you like a PEE-ON. I think that has already been proven with this account from the cleanup situation I already mentioned. What do you all think?

    I'm trying to be 'sensable' here. Usually I would have already canned them or set them up for breach of contract for non-payment by rudely demanding the 2 payments owed when I showed and it was already cut. Of course they would refuse payment. Then I would suspend service and take them to court for the balance of the agreement.
  2. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I'd be pretty choked too. It would be very tempting to tell them to find someone else to do the work if they couldn't even call to give a heads up on their situation. Could signal more trouble brewing and worse things to come. Of course it could just be a bad decision on their part. Tough call.
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    I have to agree with you 100%. I second the tough call issue also. This one is hard to get a feel for you know? There are 3 sides to this story.

    1- The situation side.... the weather and property conditions, which we both understood and they accepted.
    2- There side.... I missed a cut last week, plus they already paid someone else this week.
    3- My side.... The agreement terms, the fact I called them but they did not return the favor and there bad decisions.

    I can only hope the hack job renews an appreciation for the quality of work and finished product I have always delivered for them.

    My feelings are this.... they deserve to get canned.... there actions could be a warning sign that requires a counteraction.... and last but not least, bad decisions on their part are not my problem, period, nor are there drainage issues.

    I'm tryin to look at this objectively from all angles. But I feel I've done all I could, more than I should, and I expect to be compensted for it....
  4. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Envy lawn, I had basically the same thing happen yesterday. Got this new account 2 months ago for bi-weekly cuts, Went by Monday and picked up a pile of pecan limbs where I could mow it Thurs, their schuduled day. When I got there the yard had been butchered, was to wet to mow and someone had tried to mow at it and tore it up badly. Water was several inches deep in spots. I was really miffed after driving 22 miles to do them. I called landkady and her excuse was that they had new tennants moving in and yard was really looking bad. I reminded her that her husband had told me to mow it every 14 days against my advice (bahai) and I had NEVER missed a day in 2 months. She was going to get back with me and that was yesterday morn. I have a feeling this one my be gone and was a good account. I would not have been mad if she had just called and ask me to do it few days eariler, they do have my phne number. I feel your aggravation.

    Quality Lawn Care
  5. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    I see it differently.It sounds like they were trying to do you a favor and cover their own arse at the same time.You couldn't get to them,so they had someone else do it for this one time,understanding that rain has you backed up.
    Don't go overboard on this one.They may have figured you were backed up again due to it raining Monday and Tuesday.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    That is 100% possible too. That's why I say it's a tough call. I don't know what their intentions were. It returns right back to the same thing, they didn't call, so I don't know.


    I'd work that situation a little. You might be able to sell weekly maintenace to them now. Bahai shoots those hard stemed seed heads. Those are a chore to cut. I would't want to be on a 2 week schedule.

    I would deal with her and offer the weekly service to her because it's pretty obvious she wears the pants. You might get it. Then again you may be put back on 2 weeks. She could be canning you. Or it's possible you were a pinch hitter until she could get a mowing tennant. Hard call. I'd work it some. If it didn't pan out, I'd get my $.
  7. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Envy. I talked with her husbands bookkeeper today and (he owns another business I do with noproblems) and was told the landladys retired dad mowed it. I was also told (off record) the wife handles the rental property and she does not pay her bills well. She told me if I had any problems to bring her the bill from wife and she would take care of it. I offered the wife 7-10 day service and she was going to get back with me but I suddenly dont have a good gut feeling about this one. Im going to see how it pans out in next few days.

    Quality Lawn Care
  8. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    I hope for you HP that it works out. You need some good luck coming your way.
  9. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 2,222

    I Didn't Read the entire Post...Sorry...It was Too Dang Long!

    But Unless You Can Learn to Cut When Wet & Do Cut When Wet & Make it Look 1/2 Decent...especially if you're a Solo Guy....

    ...You're a High Falutin' Scrub!
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Thanks BC, I sure could use some good luck LOL I still feel good about the business though even as bad as its been lately. Im going to bust my butt this year and advertize like Ive never done before. If by the end of the year its no better Im selling my whole rig and hanging it up but not till I give it my final best shot.

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