What to do!?!?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SpudsM15, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    I'm very angry and almost flipped out at this one customer yesturday!

    At the begining of the season all my cleints sign a service agreement which stats that i will come on a weekly basis throughout the season.

    Now that it finnally stopped raining and i'm cutting super fast.
    I have these customers telling me not to come everyweek.
    For instance this one guy calls me asks me "what happened?" I'm like what do you mean did i break something?!?!
    his reply "you cut the grass!"
    I was thinking to myself D---it,
    I said yea thats what i'm supposed to do.
    cust."but it didn't grow anythign since last week"
    this guy is yelling at me at this point! I knew what he was getting to so i broke out

    Mr.-------- I didn't complain or charge you double when it was raining everyday and it was taking my 3 times as long, y because we had a agreement that said thats what i'll charge you for the service no matter what....
    so this guy breaks out "so what about last year when we had that drought and the grass didn't need to be cut for 6 weeks you would come here and do nothing?" that was an a lil overboard of a example cause i did everyother week since i was a scrub and didn't have to pay for anything except for gas.
    So i told him that the company has to maintain the cashflow throughout the season to stay afloat and its not possible for us to not have the income for a whole month worth of service while i'm paying all the bills.

    So this a------ asks me if this is my sole purpose of income! Like he was expecting me to not make money. This is the point where i was like I can't talk about this right now i'm at my other job! I'll see you tommorrow!

    I had to carry that phone since my other cell had a dead battery!

    We agreed that i'd come everyother week when its not raining but i told him that next season i cannot operate like that and he is going to have to sign a contract....along with the rest of my customers.
    since about 5 more are taking advantage of my mistake on the service agreement
  2. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    Contracts, contracts, contracts.

    I get paid every month all year by every single customer I have. If they won't sign a contract I don't work for them.

    It makes it all very simple.
  3. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I have no contracts, no agreements. If it's dry and the grass didn't grow and I don't mow them, I don't charge. If they call off every now and then because of weather conditions, I don't charge them. But my customers do understand I don't skip lawns that truly need mowing, and if they are not willing to have the work done in drier conditions when the lawn really needs it, they go. It's a tough way to do business, but what really does a contract get you? When a customer gets mad that you are mowing when the weather is dry, if they get mad enough they will quit. Then what can you do? Sue them? That takes more time and money, and even then you aren't gauranteed your $$.

    But that's the way I work, and other's do things differently. I think if I were to mow and charge people regardless, I wouldn't have any customers left.

  4. chefdrp

    chefdrp LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,384

    i agree with MTDmaster. In my neck of the woods i would be out of a job too. I would love to operate like others do but cannt.
  5. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    What I HAVE done is try to push pre-payments for the season, and service packages where I charge the same every month all season long regardless of the weather conditions. For the prepay, I charge the customer for 26 mowings. If at the end of the season they don't get all 26, I try to make it up with other services like edging or leaf cleanup. I've never had to repay any $$ for a prepaid account. For the service package, I put several services together and total it up for the season, discount it, and charge them 7 equal payments. No refunds for bad weather, but with the bad drought we had last year, I did give a few makeup services like I do with the prepay. I get about 20 prepays and 20 package people on average, which is about half of my customer base.

  6. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    I only do contracts on commercial accounts.

    Most residential customers are really turned off by signing a contract. It's kind of an honor system. When it needs mowed, I mow it, if it doesn't need it, I won't mow and charge you for something that doesn't need done. When it's really dry here, I mow almost every account at 10 days or 2 weeks because it doesn't grow enough to mow it.

    Put yourself in the customer's place. Would you want to be forced into paying for something you don't need to have done?

    If I mow too often when it's really dry here, my accounts will have dead, brown yards, and that's no way to keep your business going.
  7. jeff_0

    jeff_0 LawnSite Senior Member
    from md
    Messages: 401

    same here.. just do contracts on commerical accts
  8. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    It obviously does no good to tell any client about your needed cash flow, it's none of their business, neither is the matter of it being your main source of income or not.
    Why should they care, trying to explain your situation in that manner makes it appear as if you're grasping for straws.
    What's the difference between the service agreement and have and the contract you say you're going to have?

    This is residential, correct?
    How many of us are actually going to take a homeowner to court because of a piece of paper, if they say they want us to skip mowing for a week? None of you bright bulbs needs to huff and puff and b.s. a 'well I'll tell you want I'd do' answer, it's a rhetorical question. You really think it would be worthwhile to spend your time, and maybe even a lawyer's fees to go to court, even if you win, what have you won? A guaranteed cancellation at the first opportunity.
    OK, it's a giant property, lots of time and money for a single cutting, you're going to work something out with the client or you might as well urinate in your own cereal, cause that one is going to be gone too if 'you' insist on mowing a no growth lawn.

    This is the Lawn Care Business, we cut grass (etc) for a living. Admittedly I don't live or work in the high rent states where some of you do, where evidently, some clients expect a marriage license between themselves and the guy that cuts their grass (and I'm not referring to other services where COD is the norm).
    Contracts don't fly down here, we're a handshake and take you at your word kinda place.

    Is it possible to get burned? Yes, it's possible, but I've never been, seems like I'm always picking up extra work or referrals from my clients I never expected in the first place.
    If your business success or failure depends on something as changeable as the frequency of grass cutting, maybe you need to think expansion.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I feel that you shouldn't have to justify yourself regarding your finanical information with the customer. Just tell him straight up that this is the policy and if he doesn't like the policy then the relationship will not work and he needs to find someone else
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    man, screw him. start doing good work, make a few customers happy, and your business will grow. u dont need ---- like that. i must admit, i used to get real mad at stuff like that, now, its just business. u lay down the law, if he cant live by it, adios. im dumping customers at the rate of like one every other week, and my business is growing!

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