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Worst Client Thusfar

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    So we've had an inventory of sold jobs. All jobs are performed in the order the contracts and deposits come back. We had a client scheduled to begin their job on a Monday a few weeks ago. Friday afternoon she calls me and says we can not start on Monday because her in laws will be visiting. So I explain that I can re-schedule her job but she will have to go back to the end of the list.

    She didn't like having to go back to the end of the list. I had to explain that I had other customers in line and that I can't disrupt the whole schedule and all my customers because of her job. And yes, the conversation got VERY heated.

    Because her rescheduling we missed one day of work as I had to take certain steps to organize the start of the next job on the list. We can't just call a customer and say "instead of coming in 10 days we'll be there tomorrow at 8 am".

    After the rescheduling fiasco she has called me a few other times two out of three of the conversations have been heated. She argues with everything I say. Negative Negative Negative. During one of the conversations she broke down and explained to me that her husband told her that she was handling the job and that this was the first project she handled. Ok, that sorta makes sense to me why she has been a bitc--, she feels pressure from him.

    So we're all set to start this job tomorrow. The first day we have a fairly large wooden shed to tear down and place in roll off and the second day we have other demo work to do. Monday is labor day.

    This lady calls me this morning at 8 am and says that we can not work at her property next Thursday because of a Jewish holiday. So I'm thinking "ok, she is Jewish, I need to respect her request, I don't like it but I can do it".

    Well no. Turns out the house THREE doors down is a Jewish church thing, and they will be there praying! Really, three doors down? You want us to change our whole schedule AGAIN for a freakin house THREE doors down???

    She got angry, I got furious. I got furious because this lady has been nothing but a big PITA. I said "We may be done on Wednesday, or it may be Thursday, I can't promise you anything and we will not refrain from working on Thursday if we're not finished, if we're not done we WILL be at your house on Thursday".

    She says "well, can't you work on Monday (labor day)?? I'm like "ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME???"

    Ok, so we should forego the holiday, a day that is for designed for US blue collar workers, the backbone of the USA so her neighbors THREE doors down can pray on Thursday???? LOL what the.....????

    I then said "the only way we will forego working on Thursday if we're not done is if you pay for the full day, which is $1200.00". She says "I was thinking $500.00". I said, "no way, it's $1200".

    And that's putting it all in a nutshell. The conversation got so bad that I told her I was done talking to her and was hanging up, which I did. She told me her husband would call me back. And 2 minutes later she called me back trying to be nice, which still did not go too well as I was too worked up.

    This lady and her husband were so nice when they signed the contract. They kept me there at their kitchen table for about 40 minutes chit chatting after they signed the contract. She was so happy to finally be getting the work done, she was smiling as she wrote the check.

    I recently received a proposal for some work at my home. The contractor has a sentence in there that more or less says "any delays on the client's behalf will result in client being billed for lost time" (not the exact words, but you get the point). I think it's now time to take that sentence and place it on my contracts.

    Ok, I'm done venting. I'm going to the gym to work off some anger........
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  2. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    Wait you mean she isn't your only customer?

    Don't ya just love it.
  3. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I have only got mad and yelled at a customer about the final bill once. That was after the work was done so didn't have to deal with them anymore but you have to continually deal with them.

    Did you think about walking away or are you just going deal with the unpleasant client? It is crazy to think how many people don't think of others.
  4. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,094

    I don't know why I'm different anymore but I rarely deal with people who I know are going to be hard to handle. I know this case them seemed great at the start so that's different, but if I sense some disagreement from the beginning it ends their for me. I have become much more choosey on who I do work with. He's an example... Just last week a car pulls up to a house we are working at "is this your outfit? Where ya from? I need you card" that's from The man in the car... He seemed so mean, that I actually thought we were breaking some ordinance and he was reporting us. He then asks if I know what nuts edge is, and that he can "irradicate it, but so I know how to" as soon as I mentioned these houses have big moisture issues in the lawn he FLIPS out " oohhh don't tell me that, I'm a farmer." And so on. I then smiled and walked away from his car, while he starts, yelling mind you, "I'm a horticulturist!".. Then starts honking his horn while driving away... This all lasted under 60 seconds, and I knew right away no matter what nothing good would have come from any job he had to offer.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    It's called "WISDOM"

    And see, that's the difference between an old veteran contractor and a non-veteran contractor.

    For us Veterans our guard is up. We detect a foul customer instantly, and it may only be something as simple as a mere word that we pick up on.

  6. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,094

    We should have a little test here. What's the one word/phrase you hear that makes you believe a job is not going to pan out to even be worth the trouble. I so have to say, I have gotten big jobs from people I considered not even setting up a second appointment with..

    So when I hear "can you price these things out separately" I usually know I can throw the clip board back in the truck and drive off.
  7. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    Wait for it, the job isn't done yet. Can't wait to hear some more future venting. lol That's crazy!!! Your story telling made me feel like I was there. lol
  8. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    When they start asking for advice. You know you have already established that they are on the fence about something, then they hit you with what do think about that tree, or my lawn, or whatever.

    Let's say you oblige and actually price their request. The initial response if any is Thank you we need to talk it over. Two weeks later they hit you with the "Can you send us the plan, so we can decide which home improvement jobs to handle this year and what will wait?" Translation: "My husband went to the garden center and figures he can do it himself. My brother is willing to come up a few weekends and help him with the patio because he cut grass for a landscaper in college 20 years ago. I can have the kids help me with the mulch since it is on sale this weekend at 4 for $10 and we have a 5x8 trailer to haul the 429 bags we'll need. We really just need your plan, because we were only half paying attention when you visited and did not right anything down."

    DVS, you got to relax man. This is the world we live in. Dumb, inexperienced, and full of instant results when you want them. I deal with difficult people all the time though so perhaps I am more immune to it. There are two types though. There is the "I'm so spoiled that if you will not give me exactly what I want, when I want it than I'll find someone who will." With this type the response is more important than the actual work or quality. Usually the stay at home spouse of a DR or similar. The other is just your usual clueless, did not even consider how there requests impact you. With this one generally the spouse knows they are out there and if you make this type happy, you can basically name your price for all followup work.

    Tell me we do not live in a me now society. We recently lost a $1200 a month residential maintenance account because I waited 45 minutes to text back the client over whether or not there lawn would be cut that day before 5pm when their unexpected guests arrive. It was 9am and they had no reason to believe that it would not be. We upheld our contract to a T, the work was pristine and from what I was told early on better than they had ever had. They were willing to pay a hefty contract cancellation fee just to get out of it. The stated reason in their cancellation notice, "poor communication, did not address concerns in a timely fashion". I swear that was it, a week before she sent me a 500 word text about how great everything was and how happy they were.
  9. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Going to the gym? You're not working hard enough during the day!

    My red flag phrase is "I can refer you a lot of work". People who refer you don't brag about it. They just do it. These people just want a handout

    I had a hurricane sandy victim reschedule three times with no penalty. (From October all the way to June ). I felt bad so I let it go. But then she started picking dates. "Start weds the 13th, I have nothing to do that day". I explained that's impossible. If I finish the last job on Monday, I'll be at her house Tuesday. (Of course I would give her a heads up) or if it rained Monday, I would be at her house thurs. plus I had a month of work scheduled with deposits in hand. She started texting me at 10 pm Saturday nights so I told her I'm not interested in the job. Then she had her husband call, she called from a blocked number etc. dodged a bullet on that one.
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    Shovel you're right about me needing to relax.

    My frustration derives from two aspects:
    1) I'm getting older and my patience are wearing thin with customers. I hate unreasonable people. My boiling point is much lower than it used to be.

    2) Since we hit it off so great when they signed the contract, I did not see this coming and it hit me like a freight train. You know, there are some clients whom we contractors would anticipate being like this, so we're more prepared.

    As soon as I told the woman "no, we will NOT work on LABOR DAY" she started arguing with me and getting nastier and nastier. She tried so hard to get me to work on labor day. And I finally had to sternly interrupt her and say "it's NOT happening". Even if I wanted to work on Labor Day we still could not have, as our haulers are, like most Americans.....OFF.

    My presumption is that this lady is either an ONLY CHILD or the YOUNGEST. It's obvious that she is not accustomed to being told NO.

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