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Ungrateful disrespectful customers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by snowplowjay, May 16, 2003.

  1. snowplowjay

    snowplowjay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Well about a week ago i received a phone call from a family friend. He stated to me that he had two lawn accounts which needed me to price. The two accounts were his two aunts. They live across from eachother on the same street. I went and looked at them and they were not all that bad and I wanted to make sure I gave the guy a good price since he is a really good friend of the family. Well he went to the first aunt and she agreed to the price i gave minus ten dollars so I said ok to that account. Well this past saturday was my first time mowing this lawn. The grass had approximately 7" of cuttable growth on it since it had not yet been cut since last Fall. I spent almsot 3 hours at this house double cutting the lawn and raking and removing the debris from the lawn since the grass was so high. I filled the bed of my truck completely with clippings and then trimmed the perimiter and blew all the remaining scraps away. The owner came out with no complaints and paid me my fees upon completion. I told them id see them next week and thanked them.

    Well two days later I receive a phone call from the ladies husband (who is like 90 years old) he says to me that he decided I did not do a respectable job. He claims to me that there was some grass clippings stuck on his siding and on the window sils. he questioned why i did not blow his grass the other way (into his neighbors yard). I proceeded to tell him that he needed to realize that his lawn was extremely long and that I double cut it and cleaned it as best i could and that it was only the first cut of the season. He then had the nerve to TRY and tell me how to cut grass and then says well i guess ill give your company another chance. I called him back ten minutes later after i cooled down and told him as politely as possible that I dont need customers trying to tell me I dont know how to do my job and that I was not going to be able to continue his account because he was obviously not a grateful customer of my work. He got pi$$ed and hung up.

    I proceeded to call the family friend who refered me to him and he told me well the guy can be a tough customer about stuff. He then said oh well I gave him your name for the account and if you are not good enough i guess hes on his own. He then told me that he appreciated what i did and that he knew from years past when i did his yard that i do do top notch work.

    Well I just had to vent.

  2. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    I had to laugh! It makes me feel better that I'm not the only one dealing with stuff like this!
  3. southerngent

    southerngent LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    ...Yup....with some customers I know I'll have a hard time ...cause I did a great job....kinda crazy sometimes....:gunsfirin
  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    Many a times I have run into problems like this. Even when you go up and beyond what you are supposed to do, and their lawn looked like **** before, it still can not be good enough for them.
  5. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    You never should have come down ten bucks on your price. Just my opinion.
  6. nu83

    nu83 LawnSite Member
    from omaha
    Messages: 238

    My experience with the very old is they are either great or terrible. I have one account if I can get out of there with just one "recommendation on lawn care" I count my blessings.
  7. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,967

    That's just the way people are. The good customers (normal), make the bad ones seem that much worse. Some people just need to be told that you can't polish a turd.
  8. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    Business is business.

    The only people I'm giving a break on price to is my parents. They get their work done for free. Everybody else get's charged regular prices, elderly, sick, young, old, pretty, ugly it doesn't matter.

    I'd say except for the initial price break you gave the guy, you did the right thing. Sometimes you just have to clear out the PITB customers.
  9. Georgiehopper

    Georgiehopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    You cant polish a turd! thats great..I gotta remember that one.

    We get customers like that from time to time, and funny thing is alot of them are elderly. Perhaps they have nothing better to do...whatever. I've also had em hold out paying a $1000 balance because I plant wasnt flowering to their expectations.

    But I have had my share of 20-somethings being the same way with me and I have more experience than they are old, but they will still try to tell me my job.

    All you can do is let em blab away...and then don't go back. I think you did the right thing.

    You know, some people think that those of us in the green industry are low-lifes compared to them. They think we are nothing but laborers who are here to kiss their butts. Then there are others who appreciate our labors and realize this work is hard and takes thought. Those are the customers that I treat like gold.
  10. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,209

    Jay- Like the guys above said, we all go through it. As time goes on, you will build up a nice group of clients, it takes time.
    The last two seasons, I have dropped about 20 clients. Mostly those who were constantly late with payments, or constantly had problems with us. I have also had people disrespect me and try to give me advice on how to properly care for their lawn.
    I was afraid that by losing those accounts, my business would suffer, but it turned out to be my best season yet. So this spring, I did it again, dropping another group of PITA's. I no longer dread coming home and checking the answering machine, because all (most) of the complainers are gone. And you know what? We are busier than ever, and I am still getting calls from new clients who want us. I read it here a while ago "If you dread it, shed it" Great advice!

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