1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, in the Franchising forum.

    Dismiss Notice

When a customer passes away...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by LawnGuy35, May 26, 2013.

  1. LawnGuy35

    LawnGuy35 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 159

    Two of my customers have had some serious health issues these past few years, and I anticipate at least one won't make it through the summer. Hope I'm wrong.

    Both are very nice people who have always made it a point to come outside each week and say hello and chat for a few minutes. One was moved to a care center recently but the family asked me to continue mowing until they sell the house. The other lives with his wife of 60+ years. He, too, has been in a care facility...I hope I'm wrong, but he's the one who I don't think has much longer.

    Anyway, I've never experienced a customer dying. Have you? If so, did you send flowers? Did you put just your name or business name on the card? Did you go to the visitation or funeral? Give them a free mow or two?
  2. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,358

    All depends on the relationship. You will know if it is appropriate or not to go to the wake or funeral. Or whether to send flowers or not. Yes, things might get confusing in relation to your services at the property but just keep in good touch with the surviving wife/kids/attorney to make sure that your services are still wanted or able to be paid for. I would not suggest servicing for free nor would I suggest not getting in touch with anybody and just servicing it. This could lead to a serious problem when whoever inherits the house shows up to find a 500 dollar bill in the mailbox. If they were not aware that you were servicing the property then there could be issues for sure..
  3. calvinslawnservices

    calvinslawnservices LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 836

    There are a few of my customers that I would attend the funeral. One was my first customer that I have had since I was 14. He attended my high school graduation party and gave me a sizable check on top of the regular mowing money. I also have it the other way as I would feel out of place attending the funeral. It really depends on the relationship with the customer.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Tunica

    Tunica LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    I have a new customer this year Great Man who has stage 3 cancer. I've decided if he does pass I'll keep his yard up. He takes great pride in his property. I know his wife will have alot more on her mind than the guy that cuts the grass. Sometimes you do what you feel is right even if it cost you something.
  5. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 746

    I've had a few pass away. If you know them on a pretty good basis, I'd attend the visitation, especially if their is a surviving spouse.

    The first one I had to pass away was also my first customer ever. Her husband died, and she followed soon after. The down side was that I let them go a few months at a time on paying me. She was into me for $350 when she died and I sent multiple bills to her kids, who knew I was mowing for her. They tossed them w/o paying. Surprisingly, that was fifteen years ago and it's still a thorn in my side.
  6. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    I haven't experienced this situation but if I did, I would at least send flowers.
  7. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Despite the fact that I have very good relationships with most of my customers I have found their children and surviving relatives don't usually see me that way...
    When I arrive they can be emotionally distraught, and unless carefully approached it can be very easy to trouble them further, for example some might see me only as the next greedy service man trying to make money off their misfortune...

    So the below has become my standard role in all of it:

    And it may sound cold but I am only concerned about the surviving relatives in terms of what they wish to do, if the house is part of their inheritance for example, do they wish for me to continue the upkeep on a minimal basis while they get the legalities and trivialities all sorted out. It may not make sense right away but that is all I am concerned about, yes or no, don't need an answer right away, if the grass needs cutting tomorrow I can take care of it and if they decide later that all I was after was the money then I can take care of that as well, but the folks who are left behind may have busy lives and it may be cheaper for them to pay me to come cut the grass just often enough to keep the city / county off their back...
    Rather than them shuttling back and forth, if all the house needs is a regular grass cut from time to time...

    Keep in mind the price of the grass cut stays the same and it tends to get a bit 'agricultural' in between cuts, I like to let the grass grow, unless the house is for sale, my only concern are county code regulations and that is what I have adopted as my role in these scenarios, most seem to appreciate this, still some do not.
    Once they tell me my services are no longer needed, I am on my way.
    Sometimes that happens right off, don't even get to cut it once.
    Other times I've had some it goes on for years...
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  8. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Don't know the number of customers who have passed, but the relatives never told me, and i didn't have a heads up about services. I just remember the good stuff and move on. Family members seem like they don't want to be bothered with me. I just move on.
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,218

    Best to stay out of immediate family's hair, you are the LAST person they want to deal with when sorting through an estate.
  10. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I arrived at a client's home one morning to find a few police cars parked outside. As I approached, I heard people talking on the back porch and then saw that it was a uniformed officer and what I assume was a detective.

    Long story short, friends from work were concerned when she didn't show up, or call in sick. They came to check on her and found her deceased.

    Heck of a way to start the week. Was a good customer too.

    ETA: No, I didn't send flowers to anyone.

Share This Page