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CHEESE2009
07-15-2010, 02:44 PM
For some reason I am exhausted, more than usual & no matter how much I rest - It's just getting more brutal.

Customers are becoming more rude as they hire me, & I'm becoming a lot less forgiving.

Today I dropped 7 customers who didn't honor the payment due date.

Customer: I have your money now, can you come soon?

Scott: Sorry, your spot has already been given to someone else - that's why we have a payment due date. Customers who don't make their payment on time take up space for customers who do.

Customer: You can't expect everyone to pay on time!

Scott: Well that's just too bad for them, I suppose.

Customer: Your attitude has changed, I'm not impressed.

Scott: I'm not impressed either, if only you had made your payment on time - right? Goodbye.


.......... I wont stand for this.

Call me crazy, but they are paying for me to reserve their spot on my schedule. That's exactly how my business is going to run.

There are plenty of people in need of my service, & I'm not going to refuse them.

My legs are killing me, & my ears should be bleeding by now with all the b.s stories I have to listen to, stupid excuses for missed payments. Customers will be excused permanently.


If by chance a customer calls & apologizes, sure I'll do my best to help them out. Half the time however, they call & argue with me me as if I'm f'ing Hitler or something.


Ideal;

Customer: I'm terribly sorry Scott, I was all over the place & forgot to make my payment! I hope I'm not too late!


Not Ideal:

You didn't show up! My lawn looks horrible & there are weeds everywhere! I have people coming over and I need it cut now, this is ridiculous. I have your money, come and get it. I hired you to do the work & it's the least you can do for me.

^ F-U, sir! GOOD DAY!

The Cleaning Doctor
07-15-2010, 04:56 PM
Scott in watching your posts for the last year or so I have seen this slowly building and picking up momentum. You need to take a day off and get totally away from the business. Go for a hike or fishing, pound your thumb with a hammer.... Anything to get your mind off the business....:D

I know that it takes more work to run your own business but you are becoming obsessed. You need to be passionate but not obsessed. It seems to be consuming you from the inside.

Now with that I do agree with the suspension of service. You are attempting to build your reputation as a premier lawn care service provider in your area. What you are accomplishing with this new attitude is to spread discontent about your service.

If you are able to work with these people (or some of them) they may tell one or two friends about your willingness to work with them and the great service you provide. With the current events they are going to tell 10-20 of their friends what a jerk you are. You will not even get the chance to defend yourself because you will never get a phone call from these people.

I wish you the best of luck and that you are able to work it out and find a solution.

CHEESE2009
07-15-2010, 07:16 PM
I lost a client 2 hours ago, WAS a great customer.

We used to always talk about our businesses & I'd always mention how I hate when customers don't pay, bla bla - he knew the whole story.

YET, he does the same thing.

"come get your money, this will be the last time you do my lawn"

Keep your money, see ya!

-

I just picked up money from two other customers. My trustworthy awesome neighbor & another great guy.

I went to this guys place after he called, he apologized & repeatedly told me how happy he was with the service & if I wanted I could take a few days off from doing his lawn. (gave me an extra $10.00 as a tip)

Steve
07-15-2010, 11:38 PM
Scott,

I can understand why you are getting mad about this but do you think you would feel better after like a week off or something?

What's going on inside your head that is getting you to this point?

I am sure there are a lot of thoughts going on in there.

CHEESE2009
07-16-2010, 01:47 AM
There are several things that come to mind when it comes to why my attitude has changed.


1. I have so many pleasant customers, the ones who cause me zero stress. My days are fantastic - until the odd bunch of customers start to cause unnecessary problems for me. They will rather fight with me, argue & complain before giving me my payment, even though we had agreed on what services will be performed & the cost. And of course they don't say anything until I get the job done, which is a bad time to tell me they wont be paying me.

So honestly, I don't want customers like this - ever. I'm not a piece of crap, & to let them get away with missed payments, I mind as well sell the business.

I've been burned & ripped off a lot this season, & I had to learn eventually. Hiring my company is now a privilege, I choose who stays & who goes. I follow the rules, I expect my customers to follow them too. Ignore notices & miss a payment - then argue with me about not showing up? Sorry pal, we don't like your kind. Your a deadbeat & I don't need you to succeed, don't act like I do. Your not paying me to take your b.s.


2. I started this business to survive independently & with pride. I feel as if this company is what I am & it's fueled with my beating heart. I want organization, strict yet simple guidelines for everyone to follow & honor. There is more than enough obstacles in my path, & to let them stay would just set me back - over & over again. I want full control of my life, & I can't have it depending on deadbeat customers. You're either in or your out, if you can't keep up with the pack I'll leave you behind - I will not sacrifice my time, quality, energy, or sanity carrying deadbeat customers. I have people to please, & you'll just hold me back with you until they're all gone - as they would also leave me behind.

I strive for perfection within my business & life.



3. I'm sick of this. It's as if being a business owner automatically makes people dislike you, when all your asking for is fair play - no one believes in fair play. Dealing with hired help drives me up the wall, why can't anyone be reliable? When can someone take the weight off my back & actually do something to justify why they were hired in the first place. You want money? Here, make as much as you want - it's there for you if you want it. Hired help wants free money, putting in even minimal effort to earn it is a joke to them.

So many people have given up, I understand they all hate doing labor when they could be sitting on their *** all summer - though it's demoralizing for me to see, nothing is stable. Those who stay are only interested in the money, forgetting about the quality I expect. No one is willing to take control of their position.

Just makes me wonder why I continue, there is a limit to how much one person can do - that's what I have learned this season. Though now that I'm at my limit, is it really worth pushing through it? I'm burnt out, I'm angry, I'm sad... Honestly I'm at the point where I could just discontinue service for all of my customers, not even by choice. When paying for honest work is outrageous in my customers eyes, I'm out of words to speak - I can't teach the unwilling.


I have 2 piles of client cards, these cards hold information on who has paid & who hasn't.

After the due date, all I see is that 33% of my customers have decided to piss me off. And when it repeats & repeats, I wonder why I just don't drop them all? Well I did.

I dropped 33% of my customers within a month and 1/2, & that was a shock. Now I have to keep my current customers in check & if they slip, I can't cut them any slack - everyone follows the rules & now It's set in stone.


- I wish I had the time or willingness to relax. I gotta suffer in the present for peace in the future, I guess. I feel like a scientist about to have a major breakthrough, can't rest just yet!

Fresh Cut
07-16-2010, 03:34 AM
There are several things that come to mind when it comes to why my attitude has changed.


1. I have so many pleasant customers, the ones who cause me zero stress. My days are fantastic - until the odd bunch of customers start to cause unnecessary problems for me. They will rather fight with me, argue & complain before giving me my payment, even though we had agreed on what services will be performed & the cost. And of course they don't say anything until I get the job done, which is a bad time to tell me they wont be paying me.

So honestly, I don't want customers like this - ever. I'm not a piece of crap, & to let them get away with missed payments, I mind as well sell the business.

I've been burned & ripped off a lot this season, & I had to learn eventually. Hiring my company is now a privilege, I choose who stays & who goes. I follow the rules, I expect my customers to follow them too. Ignore notices & miss a payment - then argue with me about not showing up? Sorry pal, we don't like your kind. Your a deadbeat & I don't need you to succeed, don't act like I do. Your not paying me to take your b.s.


2. I started this business to survive independently & with pride. I feel as if this company is what I am & it's fueled with my beating heart. I want organization, strict yet simple guidelines for everyone to follow & honor. There is more than enough obstacles in my path, & to let them stay would just set me back - over & over again. I want full control of my life, & I can't have it depending on deadbeat customers. You're either in or your out, if you can't keep up with the pack I'll leave you behind - I will not sacrifice my time, quality, energy, or sanity carrying deadbeat customers. I have people to please, & you'll just hold me back with you until they're all gone - as they would also leave me behind.

I strive for perfection within my business & life.



3. I'm sick of this. It's as if being a business owner automatically makes people dislike you, when all your asking for is fair play - no one believes in fair play. Dealing with hired help drives me up the wall, why can't anyone be reliable? When can someone take the weight off my back & actually do something to justify why they were hired in the first place. You want money? Here, make as much as you want - it's there for you if you want it. Hired help wants free money, putting in even minimal effort to earn it is a joke to them.

So many people have given up, I understand they all hate doing labor when they could be sitting on their *** all summer - though it's demoralizing for me to see, nothing is stable. Those who stay are only interested in the money, forgetting about the quality I expect. No one is willing to take control of their position.

Just makes me wonder why I continue, there is a limit to how much one person can do - that's what I have learned this season. Though now that I'm at my limit, is it really worth pushing through it? I'm burnt out, I'm angry, I'm sad... Honestly I'm at the point where I could just discontinue service for all of my customers, not even by choice. When paying for honest work is outrageous in my customers eyes, I'm out of words to speak - I can't teach the unwilling.


I have 2 piles of client cards, these cards hold information on who has paid & who hasn't.

After the due date, all I see is that 33% of my customers have decided to piss me off. And when it repeats & repeats, I wonder why I just don't drop them all? Well I did.

I dropped 33% of my customers within a month and 1/2, & that was a shock. Now I have to keep my current customers in check & if they slip, I can't cut them any slack - everyone follows the rules & now It's set in stone.


******** I wish I had the time or willingness to relax. I gotta suffer in the present for peace in the future, I guess. I feel like a scientist about to have a major breakthrough, can't rest just yet!



I completely understand and agree. Nobody understands what it is like to be a business because most people have a job. That is an entirely different mindset.

Keep looking at the bigger picture.

I've learned that we must maintain a balance, Breeze. We all need to offset the stress of business with some sort of escapism. Whether it be with family, friends, children, fishing, clubbing, playing sports, or lustful debauchery, we need to take a break from business or the business will break us.

I understand you may not be able to take a week off like Steve suggested, so think about taking shorter, more frequent breaks. Twice a week do something for a few hours. Go fishing Tuesdays & Fridays for 3-4 hours. Go swimming 3 times a week for 2 hours. Workout 3 times a week for 2 hours. Go for a run for an hour every morning or so. Get a fish tank. Get a dog. Go to strip clubs. Patronize *respectable* prostitutes (just don't kiss her).

At times we can forget that what we do and where we are in life is so minute in comparison to the whole world. Not to say it's not important to us or that we shouldn't take it serious, only to say that we need to stretch our necks, lift our heads out of the forest to see the trees.

I've found that doing little things allows me to reflect on my decisions, choices, and options, as well as look forward analytically, visualize, and plan my growth.

Escapism

picframer
07-16-2010, 05:34 AM
I am very fortunate in having a background that lets me read people very well, I am however not always 100%, since April of last year we have been taken on two accounts, one is before the courts.

If I sense payment may be an issue, I simply say we do not have the equipment to do the work or due to their location and our schedule we are not able to perform the task, it honestly doesn't happen often although it did last week on a $9,000 job, removing a retaining wall and building it properly. I could have been stung here as I didn't sense any issues, received two calls from customers we had done work for on the same street " Andy, we saw your truck stopped at xxxxxx house, be very, very careful, he has a reputation around here of not paying for work"

In my reply as I hadn't emailed a quote, I simply wrote a nice letter thanking this fellow for the oportunity however after reviewing the schedule's of staff qualified to do your job, we simply do not have the resoources to complete it due to other projects and prior to their returning to University. While I may have considered doing it personally, I am on a rock wall project that is over 2,000 feet and will take me the rest of the season to complete.

I wish you well and I am sure there are many qualified companies around to do your work, consider contacting a few of the retaining wall rock suppliers asking for a good company.

Kind Regards

Andy

Fresh Cut
07-16-2010, 11:31 AM
I am very fortunate in having a background that lets me read people very well, I am however not always 100%, since April of last year we have been taken on two accounts, one is before the courts.

If I sense payment may be an issue, I simply say we do not have the equipment to do the work or due to their location and our schedule we are not able to perform the task, it honestly doesn't happen often although it did last week on a $9,000 job, removing a retaining wall and building it properly. I could have been stung here as I didn't sense any issues, received two calls from customers we had done work for on the same street " Andy, we saw your truck stopped at xxxxxx house, be very, very careful, he has a reputation around here of not paying for work"

In my reply as I hadn't emailed a quote, I simply wrote a nice letter thanking this fellow for the oportunity however after reviewing the schedule's of staff qualified to do your job, we simply do not have the resoources to complete it due to other projects and prior to their returning to University. While I may have considered doing it personally, I am on a rock wall project that is over 2,000 feet and will take me the rest of the season to complete.

I wish you well and I am sure there are many qualified companies around to do your work, consider contacting a few of the retaining wall rock suppliers asking for a good company.

Kind Regards

Andy

See, I'm not good at reading people at all. I'm a straight forward person, I put everything out there in order for people to take me at face value and I take everyone at face value even when I shouldn't.

I'm finding out that not everyone is a straight shooter like me. I expect people to handle business like I do and this just isn't the case. Some intentionally look for loopholes and technicalities in an effort to manipulate and take advantage.

I have a hard time weeding these people out because I really don't know what to look for, I don't know character traits of these kind of people because I'm not used to dealing with them..

It also doesn't help that I'm socially retarded. Way better at business than I am at relationships of any kind.

CHEESE2009
07-17-2010, 02:22 AM
What a day...

I got most of my Friday lawns done on Thursday SO I COULD SLEEP IN on Friday.

Anyway, I let my stepfather borrow my truck in trade for is Chevy - I never got the Chevy until 1PM! My damn mother ended up taking it to work, not knowing it has been lent to me & she should have used her car.

So getting ahead to benefit myself, didn't turn out well.

I had to rush & get my lawns done. I got home & 4PM - showered/changed... Went to my evening job 4:30PM - 1:00AM.

This job was annoying in the past, but man is it ever easy now.

GUESS WHAT?

One of the co-workers is on my bad list. He started talking about how his father owns X-lawn service company & how I should watch out - he'll burn my truck, & that I better get out of the business."

I said, "Well damn, I'd hate to be that insecure! I know just about every company here & never heard of the one you mentioned - strange"

He said, "Well if you ever take one of my fathers customers, he'll destroy you"

I said, "If I get any of his customers, It's most likely because I'm capable of doing a better job - I wish you guys well!"

He went on about, "I basically own the company, it's my fathers, but I run it - pretty impressive if you ask me"

I looked to the other co-worker beside me & I said, "Does this guy always require recognition?"

I made myself a nice enemy today! Finally some fun!

He seems like a person who needs to be better than everyone else, but he accomplishes nothing other than being annoying & making people dislike him. It's very sad and nothing new, this is the 3rd person I've met in my life with this powerful hidden envy/jealousy over nothing.

Steve
07-17-2010, 04:11 AM
With all of this discussion, I do wonder, is this all part of growth?

Do all small businesses have to go through a phase of dealing with bad customers in order to figure out what to look out for and then avoid them in the future?

Is Scott frustration actually growth because he is deciding on moving forwards and weeding out the trouble customers only to make way for better customers?

picframer
07-17-2010, 05:18 AM
With all of this discussion, I do wonder, is this all part of growth?

Do all small businesses have to go through a phase of dealing with bad customers in order to figure out what to look out for and then avoid them in the future?

Is Scott frustration actually growth because he is deciding on moving forwards and weeding out the trouble customers only to make way for better customers?

I think it is, there is no money for the company if you have to chase clients for payment so dropping the late to pay accounts in exchange for those that pay at the end of the job is a smart decision.

One thing I have run across over the years is people that have become rich on the backs of others, and at the expense of others. Some may think well $45 bucks a week isn't going to make someone rich if they don't pay for lawn care, well if that client uses this mentality in every area of their life the savings add up after while, I have seen it many times.

In my case the risk is high, we do many jobs in the $9 to $30 thousand dollar range, if I can't read people, I would be out of business in no time, it may sound like a lot of money and it is however it is relative in that it cost a lot for equipment and employees to do these jobs.