Working for friends

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by springover, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. springover

    springover LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38 of my customers (Smith's) is a couple i've known for 12 years or so...They are also better friends with one of my best friends (Jackson)...Jackson worked mowing last summer with another buddy (Vic) who's been in business for around 10 years...

    This summer Jackson decides to buy a new mower and try and get around 10 accounts and work for Vic or Myself this summer...

    So I called Mr. & Mrs. Smith to see how the grass was doing and she says they were thinking of having Jackson do it to try and help him out since I have a few years on him...I stated my opinion about the situation to her and finally was like "its your money, you decide how to spend it."

    My whole thing is and would like some feedback is about the fact Jackson wasnt like "no way, I won't take one of Chris's yards." Losing the $1100 from the account isnt going to hurt as bad as the friend I will disown will...

    This is my third year on my own and I have worked my tail off to get here and I feel he is just taking handouts...
  2. chipk1

    chipk1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 398

    Give me a day to digest and I will get back to you. My head is spinning to fast after reading that.:dizzy: :dizzy:
  3. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,336

    I would not even consider taking an account that I knew a friend did. Ain't no way.
  4. chipk1

    chipk1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 398

    OK I got it now,(I think). Sounds like Jackson ain't much of a friend. If I were Jackson, I would have refused the Smith's on the bases that I would not feel right about taking one of your accounts. That is just wrong. I don't take anyones account unless it is due to poor work on the others behalf, leaving the customer unsatisfied. Not even my competitions.
  5. springover

    springover LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    The fact this has even come up is what really gets me all ticked off...I've helped him out with everything from where to buy equipment to bidding jobs, oh yeah my favorite....His uncle paid for his small engine equipment w/ Home Depot card...Showing me his new chain saw he said, "wow, these don't take mixed gas. There's a cap for gas and one for oil."

    I said yeah you need to be an LCO!
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
    You got me to laugh out loud at 5:45AM!!!!!
    I thought the same thing initially.

    You have to get away from the small circle and get more customers. This guy who is or isn't your friend is trying to get work also. Its just that he is taking your work. It happens all the time in the business. I hate to say it but you have sort of helped him take your jobs and you admitted it in your last post. I know you are trying to be friends and helpin a friend out but this is business, not friendship. He is going to take the path of least resistance when he goes for work and that path is your customers based on the knowledge you gave him. Sure hes taking handouts but you were the one opening the hand and now he bit you.
    You have to get away from helping him out and you also have to open your business circle up to quit counting on friends or good acquaintances for your business. You need to advertise more and pick up different accounts. You also don't need to share the secrets of pricing and doing work with anyone.
    Cut your losses and move on.
    One thing that you can feel good about is that anyone who needs to be financed by someone else thru Home Depot isn't going to go too far. Especially if he doesn't know the back from the front of a chainsaw. Take a deep breath and redirect the energy and you will be fine.
  7. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,814

    wait for him to fail take the customers back at a higher rate, dump him where you found him too
  8. chipk1

    chipk1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 398

    After I busted out the paper and pencil I finally figured it out! Kinda like one of those logic puzzles.
  9. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    You need to be talking to your friend, what he is doing is stealing one of your accounts. Tell him you will sub it out to him and still make a little money yourself. On the other hand is it worth loosing a friend over:confused: Maybe let it slid this time but don't tell him where all your new accounts are.
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    This is just one of the many reasons I don't work for friends. I will give them all the free advice they want help in any way I can but if they are a friend that I want to keep they hire someone else.

    Example: Friends cousin, barley know the guy seen him at a few party's he was my Realtor when I found my house. He asks me for L/S help. I do a design for him, refer him to a L/S crew who did the work on the weekends. He got a great deal.

    Then couple of months later his mesquite tree blows over in a monsoon. I stake it up for free with lodge poles. A month later it blows over again in another storm. So I buy a $40 duck bill system to do the job now time I'm out 3 hours of time and 60 bucks in materials. So I send him a S/C bill for 50.00 and he never pays me.

    I call and he wont answer or return my call. I finally left a message and told him to man up and just tell me if he did not intend to pay, don't waste any more of my time. never have heard from the guy again.

    I know I piss some people off when I wont do work for them but I prefer that to loosing a friend.

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