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What Should I Do?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cwlawley, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    So here is the situation...

    Lady calls me for maintenance, aeration/overseeding on her lawn. I go out, look at the property and leave the estimate. Lady calls me back, says that my estimate is way to expensive. Keep in mind that I actually went under my minimum because it is a smaller yard and in the middle of 3 of my other properties.

    So, she tells me some story about her old "service" and I finally decide to drop the price $3.00 per cut...no big deal. I tell her I will check the property over the next couple of days and when it looks long enough to cut, I'll start. She agrees. We never came to an agreemeent on the aeration/overseeding.

    Couple of days go by and the lady calls back and asks me if I "have come to my senses about the aeration price." I tell her that is the minimum. She says that she has lots of people calling her that want to do it cheaper. I said, call them. She continues to try and get my price down , I refuse.

    Couple more days go by. She decides that aeration price is okay but seeding price is not. I tell her that I will be able to beat my orginal price because I HAVE ADDITIONAL CUSTOMERS WHO WANT THAT SERVICE AND CAN BUY IN BULK. (caps for a reason - I'll explain). She says fine, how much. I tell her I wasn't sure but at least 15-20% off. She says, lets do it. I tell her okay and that I will call her back with the final price.

    So, I go over today and aerate and seed. Same aeration price and 18% off orginal overseeding price. She said "let's do it" so I did it. Come to find out, she didn't want it done until I gave her the exact price. So she is calling me incompetent, telling me I ripped her off, asking me to guarentee that she will have a full lawn soon, etc. etc. etc. Tells me that I did it and she doesn't have the money for it. I told her I guess we misunderstood each other. I would have never done the property if I thought she didn't want it, or whatever. She tells me I din't misunderstand, I did it to rip her off. So, long story short, I am giving her 45 days to pay, she is still mad but wants me to continue maintenance.

    Here's my question...would you stick with this woman? I am thinking about just giving up the account. Everytime I talk to her she tries to talk me down, makes me feel like I have no idea what I am doing, etc. I just don't think it is worth it anymore.
  2. sooner74

    sooner74 LawnSite Member
    from UT
    Messages: 76

    I'm fairly new at this, take my opinion for what its worth, I have learned that these customers don't change. They always want something for nothing and are never satisfied. I can't believe I put up with some of them, but I did it to get my foot in the door. If you are well established and can afford to, let someone else take the account and the headache
  3. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,534

    Some people know matter how much of a break you give them they think you should get more.For instance my a relative of ours keeps trying to get us to talk down our suppliers on stuff that is already way cheaper than anyone else around here then when we say no we wont. The relative saysthen we should tell them to throw something in or come on hook us up.But the thing is where not buying in bulk or anything where just a small lawn service starting our second season. I mean $2500.00 for a 36" hydro walk behind thats a good deal and he thinks they should throw in the sulky and a few gallons of oil and some line trimmer string,etc,etc,etc. You cant talk everyone down when arent buying much and you want them to help you if you have a problem with your equipment. Pretty soon whenever they see you coming they'll be like here he comes again. I guess people like that are just born cheap and difficult

    JKOOPERS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,259

    you give them a grass seed they take the whole f$cking bag
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    1st mistake..going down on your price in the 1st place..you showed weakness and a willingness to haggle.

    #2 mistake-You said you would call her back with the final price..you did not,you just went over and did it.
    I would offer her a payment plan to pay the money owed..then drop her.Only because she thought you tried to rip her off..no other reason than that.If my customers can't trust me?Forget it I don't work for them.
  6. mindset063

    mindset063 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I had a guy to talk me down the other day. I gave a price for a spring clean-up, and he said I was too expensive. I asked what he paid in the past (he told me about the company) and I matched it. He said he would talk to his wife and give me a call. Well... he called today and told me that he found someone to do it for half the price we agreed on. He just had to ket me know. I will never haggle again. I understan your situation.
  7. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Going to have to agree with sheshovel on this one. I NEVER back down on my quote and when they start trying to haggle the conversation ends right there, not another word except thank you for considering me and thats it! If they "smell" weakness they will attack like a shark and it never ends. Whether you get your money or not make this one disappear right now real fast and save yourself a lot of grief.
  8. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    where is the contract that you both signed.... with no contract its your word against hers... some people here say you dont need a contract for residential.... this is why i say you do, no misunderstandings and no crap about haveing not ok'ed the work..... :) :)
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This is a prime example where you could've raised the price instead of lowering it thou if I am correct, you did this because you needed the work and that is unfortunate as I've been in this situation many times and definitely understand your frustration.

    Still it is hard not to side with the customer because it apparently involves something which I would interpret as deceit, and that happens to be somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. Yes I can see she started it but technically you should've done nothing and likely dropped the account before even going out there, knowing it is a lost cause and knowing this is what saves my tail every time... Far as the money, I ask you to consider letting this one ride out but since you can't do that right now, definitely give it 45 days, 60 wouldn't hurt either as time helps cool things off so I highly recommend an attitude of just giving it some time out.

    So ...

    Regardless of the outcome, it has been my experience once a relationship starts to turn south, it never really gets better but it can get worse and it is likely only a matter of time before the two of you butt heads again. I would recommend heading for calmer waters, for both of you.
  10. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    Youre all right. After thinking about it I am going to call her back, let her have 30 days to pay, since she said that would be okay before of it was okay with me and drop her. I did make the mistake of going down and telling her I would call her back. I also made the huge mistake of not giving her a contract...I am still learning...

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