Understanding people.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mownredneck, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. mownredneck

    mownredneck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    I was suppose to do a clean-up job on Sat. but it had just got through raining. So I had to trim some pompas grass and clean out a drainage ditch for this other guy, stuff I could do while it is wet. Well I called the guy I was suppose to do the clean up job for on Sun. and told him I was sorry and told him I thought it was too wet that I would do it Mon. evening. Well he called Mon. while I was at school and left a message on my phone.

    "My wife called this woman to do our yard since you didnt come sat. If i need something else done I will call you."

    Did I do something wrong? I mean if i think its too wet to do something and have some work I can do while its wet, Im going to do it to keep from getting behind. Just a not understanding person I think, what do yall think?
  2. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    A customer telling you how to do your job! Sucks to loose work, but I bet you are better off in the long run. If he calls back, ensure that he knows you make your work schedules, if you determine that it is too wet to mow, etc, you will postpone it (for a good reason). You don't want to damage anything or have to go back because it does not look good. I would have called before I was suppose to show up to let him know it was too wet etc, and scheduled a new date. If he still insisted that I show up, and I thought no way, I would have told him to find someone else (and to loose my number)
  3. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    Hey mowinredneck,
    First,you should have called him on Saturday to explain.Never call on Sunday if you can help it.Calling on Saturday would have let him know you were on top of things and would be there as soon as possible.
    Sounds like he was in a rush to get it done.Maybe he had guests coming over or something.His comment isn't bad and don't worry about it.You didn't do anything wrong,per say.Just should have called him earlier.Gotta grow some thick skin.You're going to run into alot of different personalities in this business.Not all of them will be as understanding as we would like,but don't worry about it.Every business gets its share of customers they don't argree with.
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    If you had promised to be there on a certain date and weren't going to make it on that date, you should always notify the customer. I know that's often times easier said than done.

    Customers don't get to do this kind of schit with most companies (ie phone company, electric company, etc) or if they do, they have to invest a lot of time calling automated answering devices (DirecTV, Verizon) etc. They will jump at the chance to threaten cancellation with us because they know we actually care about their business. When they threaten cancellation with the employee answering the phone at the cable company, they know their threat of cancellation doesn't mean schit.

    They love to threaten cancellation with us. And they will pull the trigger too...just to show they're not bluffing. "By golly, I said I'd cancel and I meant it."

    All part of being in this business.

    You didn't do anything all that wrong. A reasonable customer would have given you the benefit of the doubt since it had been raining. You're probably better off without this guy in the long run.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  5. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Typical of people today, it seems. The Wal-Mart, cut rate price, something for nothing, instant gratification mentality out there has me thinking about getting out permanently and just sticking to real estate and more passive ways of making income. The respect for working people just isn't there anymore. THEY also had a duty to call you and say "well if you can't make it I'll have to hire someone else" . It's just being reasonable. But they aren't. Almost nobody is. People are big babies who want what they want and they are used to getting things instantly and don't have an appreciation for how much harder it is to instantly do things in the "real world" . I am also disgusted by the instant mistrust that seems to apply. But I blame that on all the shady characters operating in our industry as much as on condescending "professionals" who equate hard work with a) stupidity and b) criminality.

    Give them an inch, they take a mile.....really applies out there. You try to give them a break and play straight and they take advantage of you. I'm really thinking I'm too old to deal with starting over with this stuff. But the main problem I have is the utter lack of appreciation in America for hard work and honesty. I'm tired of being talked down to by people who live in homes that cost half what mine did, who make all kinds of assumptions about me and my character based on my occupation, who fret over spending what I spend on my dogs' food each month to maintain their lawn, and who have never mowed a lawn in their life and have no appreciation for what is involved. They just want it perfect for whatever price they pull out of their rear end.

    I put a large share of the blame on the huge influx of immigrant labor. It has finally started to come home to roost. People now perceive any work that can be done by an immigrant, even if not very well, as "cheap stuff" that they shouldn't have to pay much for. We have devalued our own industry by engaging in this "race to the bottom" in terms of wages and rates. Working trades used to just be jobs, like any other job. In today's economy, with mass-immigration, it is seen as "immigrant work" that is beneath their contempt.

    It used to be that you had about 5% of people who were unreasonable, impolite, or condescending. Now that seems to be about 20% and rising. I'm tired of it. To paraphrase Hans Grueber from Die Hard....I'd rather be sitting on the beach earning twenty percent. The agent who sold my Florida home made as much on that deal as I make in several months of hard labor. They probably spent the equivilent of about 3 working days on it, including showing up at the closing to collect their money.

    I have a lot of thinking to do.
  6. Equipguy

    Equipguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    This business isn't about making tall grass short, it's dealing with people. All service business are about the same :dizzy:
  7. gettingstartedtampa

    gettingstartedtampa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    What an insightful post Bruce. Althought somewhat negative, Im sure your honest assesment of the business is based on years of experience. I dont have the same level of experience with the lawn industry you have, but have been dealing with same issues in other industries. It's all about the people factor. I am "escaping" to the lawn business as I have grown tired of people as well. You hit the nail on the head on several issues. People are in becoming increasingly arrogant, stuffy and over all just generally spoiled. I sold real estate for years in Florida. I made some great commissions. $6000.00 dollar checks are very common. The side that most people don't see is the same complaints you made about lawn customers. People are people and they act the same wether they are buying lawn service, dog food, or millon dollar waterfront property. Try this on for size. Your a realtor, you spend weeks (very seldom three days) showing property, pumping soon to be 2.75 a gallon gas through your real estate tour mobile, paying all your own expenses only to have your customer find a property he just happen to pass by on his way to where ever when you weren't with him. He called the listing agent and bought using him because the listing agent said he would rebate him back your half of the commission. I could go on for days with cut throat tales of horror in the real(*****)estate business. Its the same as lowballers in the lawn business. It's called pick your posion work is work and if people are involved they will bring you down...if you let them. We tend to see what we look for in people. I suggest, I fight with it daily, but try and focus on the good of your industry and remember the grass is not always greener on the other side. No lawn pun intended. :) Step back and try and remember why you got in this business to start with. For me it's being outdoors, my own boss, my own schedule, ownership of a company, pick and choosing customers, firing the deadbeats and no one breathing down your neck using you to make themselves look good to advance their own careers at your expense. This business (or any business for that matter) can make you a decent enjoyable income or it can drive you insane and put you in your grave early. It's all about learning to manage things instead of them managing you. As they say, your attitude determines your altitude. Do you know why people are PITA? Because most of them are carrying around the same negative outlook you seem to have. They are stuck in unrewarding jobs probably in a cubicle as a wage slave. The only time they get to feel like they are in charge is when they crap on someone like you. Very theraputic for most of them. I just look at them, listen and remember when I was one of them. And then I smile as reflect back on the moment I figured this whole crazy thing out. It took me 43 years and I squandered some great opportunities because I let people bring me down. Don't do that to yourself. Now get positive and focus only the the things you can change and control and stop letting the idiots ruin your outlook. Good luck getting back on track or with your new real estate career.
  8. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,952

    Dont feel too bad. We were in the middle of a drought and i went by this guys house and his yard was completly dead(paid per cut). So I decided to do him a favor and save him some money and skip his yard. He called me the next day and blew me out. Said he wanted his yard done every 10 days no matter what. If he had said it nicely I probably wouldn't have dumped his yard. But Charles doesn't take too kindly at being yelled at by customers. Especially for doing something I thought was nice. He called me the next year and wanted me to cut his yard again-- I said sure and he hasn't raised his voice since then
  9. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Good post. Excellent points. I will say though that while I have a negative attitude at times for sure, I don't show it to customers(except if they really beg for it) and I certainly don't take it out on those who come to my home to do services. Example: I'm having a post/rail fence put up at my house. The guy came and gave a quote, had references, and I simply wrote him out a check and said "do it". No contract spec BS, he has been in the biz and has enough sense to know I won't pay if it's a mess, I treated him with respect, and it was an easy transaction...as they all SHOULD be if people would just get off the rat race thing. Well, turns out he was 5 days late getting started due to rains and another 6 getting it finished, but I'm easy going and know stuff happens, so no big deal. The kind of people we deal with frequently would be flipping out and complaining.

    It's all about a spirit of cooperation. Many people just don't have that in them. I think the main difference in RE and this is that at least you get a modicum of respect from most people. But, that said, no way I could ever deal with people on the level RE requires. They are sneaky and looking to save a buck at all times at your expense.

    I've decided to just chill and let the jerkoffs slide and do things my way as much as possible. What happens happens. Getting too serious about this biz and trying to max out income is what gets me off track. I got into it to avoid all that. I handled two calls this weekend that previously I would have walked on. (whining about having to pay monthly bill on 15th rather than getting terms) I was a little flexible and they were happy. So we all win, even though my desire to set the losers straight wasn't satisfied. I have had to learn that the world today is too messed up to do that. Too many holes in the dike to plug yourself.
  10. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,487

    If you were suppose to be there on saturday and didn't call on or before saturday to cancel, then that is bad business on your part. Kinda makes you look unreliable. If you can't show up at the scheduled time, always call. Communication is the key.

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