What to do with this customer?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by fiveoboy01, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Here's the situation with a lady in town.

    About 3 weeks ago, I get a call for service. She recently moved into her new house. The house she is selling is basically about 4 blocks away. At first she wanted to have them both mowed. She calls that friday. I go to her house, and now she only wants the house mowed which is for sale.

    Fine by me, here's the price. She signs the agreement. Every friday to be mowed, my agreement specifically states that service is to be provided on a scheduled day WEEKLY.

    Today, I get home and she left a message on the answering machine, stating that because of the "dryness"(it just rained a good amount wednesday night), she doesn't think that her house for sale needs to be serviced.

    But, she wants to have her new house mowed instead this week.

    This house has 2 foot tall junk growing at it. Not everywhere though, it's still pretty thin in some spots being new grounds and all. Especially around the house it's pretty bad. The lot size is right around 1/4 acre. I would have to rake up some of the stuff, most likely weedeat the taller parts then run the mower over it.

    Now, I just want to scream at this lady that she signed an agreement for weekly service, and that her property that is for sale WILL be serviced weekly until the house sells or she cancels. And that if she wants her new house mowed, I'll do it, but at a significantly higher cost than normal due to it being overgrown.

    However, I want to remain professional about this.

    I know, I know. You will all say "run away" but fact is that I only have 18 properties at this point and money has to be made somewhere. I'm not at the point where I can just turn away jobs due to potential PITA customers.

    But, at the same time, my rep is on the line. I now have signs on my truck and trailer. If someone sees an overgrown lawn at the house for sale, they may think it's being neglected and I don't want that. Not to mention that with it being for sale, I'm going to want to target the new homeowner and I want them to have a good impression of my work.

    How would you guys handle this situation?
  2. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    1st, if she signed the agreement and agreed with it at the time she signed it, go cut the grass. If she stops you then tell her you will still need to charge her this week as per your agreement.
    Then estimate the work to be done at the 2nd house and show her an estimate, have her sign it if she wants you to do the work.
    I am so sick of people like this, this is why next year i am going to a fixed monthly price for grass cutting. No price per cut. That way if they want me to skip, i still get the same amount each month.
  3. Blades and Blooms

    Blades and Blooms LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I'm just starting out as well, but this is what I would tell her. (politely of course...even with PITA people :) ) I would tell her that in the "agreement" that you both signed that the property in question was the one that was to be mowed, not either/or, and that if she would like for you to cut the "new" house, that you would be glad to do that for a DIFFERENT price/or same. BUT nevertheless, it's a different property and therefor would require a seperate agreement, unless it is specified in the first agreement that there is "either/or" language, which I get the impression is not the case. Surely she does not think you have any impact on whether it rains or not..lol

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

  4. landscaper5664

    landscaper5664 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    No doubt, different property is a different job, which has to be reviewed and bid accordingly. If she's wanting her's cut "just this once", tell her what the premium will be (and why there's a premium), and add it to her bill. If she continues to switch yards, she's trying to get 2 services for the price of one, and you need to call her on it.
  5. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Tell me more about this?
    Are you figuring one cut per week equaling 4 cuts per month or 5 cuts per month or 6?
    That sounds like a better idea to me too.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    If you're short on customers, you got to bend over some. :laugh:

    Don't feel bad, I have a few, too...
  7. CutInEdge Lawn Care

    CutInEdge Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 677

    Reality is that you do not have to bend over even the slightest. You give them what they pay for. Just be Really open about this upfront. New customers or customers that have never used a service before are just as inexperienced for what level of service they need or want. Dont be so insecure that you miss the opportunity to educate the customer. Their inexperience and your (not directed at you top) lack of experience will leave both of you disappointed. Now with that being said. I realize the market does not hold gold in every corner of the county. We all have had to do what we have to do at times.
  8. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Well, I bit the bullet and called her friday morning. I politely but firmly told her that there is a reason I provide weekly service for lawns, citing several reasons you guys gave me in another thread(thanks guys!).

    She didn't argue with me at all, and still had me cut her second property as well.

    I'm going to amend my agreements to say that skips are only at the discretion of the LCO and NOT the customer.
  9. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    See how easy that was! All you gotta do is communicate with your clients!
    Simple, done deal...could have gone either way but if you are direct and polite and explain things to people most will understand.
  10. Tom c.

    Tom c. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    Dont skip on lawn cuts. If you got a contract stick to it unless you feel you need time off. And you said you have 18 accts. I had a customer that called and told me her husband wanted to cut this week cause they were having picnic this weekend,[ I normally cut on tuesday] I said Ok, Then they did it again, I dont have a contract with them, I called and cancelled them, They were slow payers anyway. NEVER LET THE CUSTOMER DICTATE WHEN AND WHAT TO DO!! I have since picked up two new accts that were closer to the route. Do it your way!!!! Good Luck :usflag:

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