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CHEESE2009
11-21-2011, 05:12 PM
I performed a fall cleanup for a client, she was home while I did it.
She invited me inside of her home and gave me a check for snow removal.

I had just stored my equipment.

She called me just now;

"When are you coming to do the fall cleanup?"

I said, "I had already done it."


She said,
"No, you did the front, not the back".

I responded, "I had done the back".

She said,
"You knew the leaves in the back would fall later on, and that you would come back to do it".

I said, "I had already stored my equipment".

************

The conversation went on, I continued to explain to her how she received a fall cleanup already and that there is nothing I could do.

She kept trying to end the conversation with, "You have to come. OK!"

Last thing I said, "I will see what I can do with the time I have", just to get off the damn phone.

http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/289861/289861,1268911172,1/stock-photo-hammer-smashing-cellular-phone-isolated-on-the-white-background-48971872.jpg

Dragger
11-21-2011, 05:20 PM
If she is a good customer I would head back out there to take care of it ,they seem to forget leaves fall for a month or more depending on where your at.
The fact that your doing snow removal for her also can become a pain if you do not return she may find reason to give you a hard time over the snow removal .

CHEESE2009
11-21-2011, 05:33 PM
If she is a good customer I would head back out there to take care of it ,they seem to forget leaves fall for a month or more depending on where your at.
The fact that your doing snow removal for her also can become a pain if you do not return she may find reason to give you a hard time over the snow removal .

My brain is killing me.

Pros of doing the fall cleanup again
The customer is happy
The client will hire again
I can sleep easy at night <******

Cons of doing the fall cleanup again
It pisses me off
I had just cleaned/ removed gas from everything
A lot of effort went into the arrangement of storing the equipment
I lose money
The client will always take advantage of me later on
The client has already made things awkward
The client probably wont hire me again

Dragger
11-21-2011, 06:19 PM
My brain is killing me.

Pros of doing the fall cleanup again
The customer is happy
The client will hire again
I can sleep easy at night <******

Cons of doing the fall cleanup again
It pisses me off
I had just cleaned/ removed gas from everything
A lot of effort went into the arrangement of storing the equipment
I lose money
The client will always take advantage of me later on
The client has already made things awkward
The client probably wont hire me again

Sucks to be a business owner at times only you can know what you can live and sleep with my friend,

Do what your makes you sleep the best at night

Ducke
11-21-2011, 08:11 PM
I would go out and do the Job , But I would also bill her for a second trip out to do the job.
It is extremely easy to loose a customer but very very hard to get them back, also there are hundreds of guys with a pickup and a mower.

I have been packed up since Oct 31 and one of my regulars called last week saying he had sold his house and need the leaves cleaned up again before he could get the new owner to close. So I dug out my gear and went and did the clean up I billed him and he paid plus I now have his new lawn for next season and it is double what he has now. So for a few hours of inconvenience I just scored more Sq FT $$$$ for next season in a new area that I have been trying to break into, Bonus.

Take it on the chin Scott and take care of her it just might pay off later.

Dragger
11-22-2011, 04:30 AM
take care of her it just might pay off later.


I like the way that sounds :cool:

mark123
11-22-2011, 06:37 AM
Cons of doing the fall cleanup again
It pisses me off
I had just cleaned/ removed gas from everything
A lot of effort went into the arrangement of storing the equipment
I lose money
The client will always take advantage of me later on
The client has already made things awkward
The client probably wont hire me again
How do you lose money for doing the cleanup again?

I'd take out the absolute minimum equipment (one mower, one blower) and go do it and send a bill. I'd also charge for the unnecessary prep time.

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 10:51 AM
How do you lose money for doing the cleanup again?


If my time was free, this is how I would lose money;

I put most of the gas that was in the mowers, in my truck. I will need to purchase more to run the equipment.

The pressure washer used leftover gas to clean my equipment and trailer, which will have to happen again.

The leftover oil that was in the equipment was just run dry before storing. So I now have to go purchase oil minimum 6 per purchase.

The truck also went for a car wash.

More;
The travel fuel to my storage (not my place) to get the equipment
The travel fuel to the job
The travel fuel to the dump
The travel fuel back home (to wash everything)
The travel fuel back to the storage
The travel fuel back home


**********-


The client refuses to pay the cost of a fall cleanup.

mark123
11-22-2011, 10:58 AM
Looks like there is an error in your plan. Don't store until December. :p

So you're going to spend a few bucks and a few minutes. How much does the job pay?

Edit:
WAIT! I missed this:
The client refuses to pay the cost of a fall cleanup.
Yeah, screw her. I wouldn't even consider it for free. I wouldn't even get mad because I'd be laughing at her.

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 11:09 AM
LOL!

Yeah she says she shouldn't have to pay.

I picked up all the leaves in the front and back, which was a lot during my first visit.

She still had a lot of leaves that hadn't fell, and she feels "cheated".

****-

My job isn't to remove every damn leaf from a clients property as they fall, it's a one shot deal. Why don't clients understand this?


Ahaha, I remember she said, "You will have to do it with a rake" once I told her my equipment has been stored.

And the kicker, before that she said, "Back in my day, we used a rake to pick up leaves!"...

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 12:50 PM
Alright, so I got a call from the man of the house.

This is the recording.

CLICK HERE (http://breezelawnservice.ca/audio/Client.wav)

I said I would come back if I can get my equipment.

The client pretty much started to nag about time and keep me on the phone.

http://dir.coolclips.com/Business/Metaphors_E_to_N/Exhaustion/businessman_exhausted_at_work_CoolClips_vc066076.j pg

mark123
11-22-2011, 03:11 PM
"Well, I'm not them."

HAHAH!!!!

Give them their snow removal check back (wipe your butt with it first) and tell them to screw themselves.

mark123
11-22-2011, 03:18 PM
Oh, man. I'm still listening. Give me this guy's number and I'll call him a douchebag for you.

mark123
11-22-2011, 03:23 PM
No more coupons! No more free service!

Thanks for reminding me to be a good capitalist. :)

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 03:29 PM
Anyone else have clients like this?

"I have a blower, 100 feet of cord"

"Why don't you do it by hand?" ... frig man... lol

mark123
11-22-2011, 03:37 PM
Anyone else have clients like this?

"I have a blower, 100 feet of cord"

"Why don't you do it by hand?" ... frig man... lol

Yeah, I have one that says "a lot of guys want to cut my grass" but I don't give in. I give her a stack of business cards of all the guys in town. Go ahead, you old bat! Call them all! I'll call them for you!




I have another one that blames me for flooding her basement with my mower.
?????????????????????????
Yeah, who knows what that's all about. She called me to her house and shrieked at me for about 5 minutes until I started laughing. Then she started punching the air and that just made me laugh harder. I'm glad I didn't have my hernia back then or I'd have died on her lawn.

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 03:43 PM
Your feedback made my day!



I hear enough of these stupid complaints that they start to make me question if I am actually wrong! Customers are crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve
11-22-2011, 03:53 PM
Scott,

The recording actually helped me understand it all better.

I have to say, I hate seeing you having a difficult time with your customers. I want you to enjoy the experience of being a business owner.

Do you think all of this comes down to the fact that the leaf cleanups were free and the customers were taking advantage of it and running with it?

That is why they are calling you to come back again and do it some more?

Where if they had to pay for the first and second visit, it would have changed the way they handled it and what they expected of you?

I know you want to grow but I wonder if there are certain steps you are taking that are actually hurting you and putting you in a position where running a business goes from a joy to becoming a burden. Do you feel as you look back this year operations and promotions could be handled differently next year to alleviate these problem customers?

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 04:08 PM
This year I threw it in to obtain more clients, but before I could change my mind I was swamped with work.

I have enough clients now, and the promotion will not be available next year. One would think that a client would be more picky about what he/she has to pay for, than something they get for free... not in my case!
**-


As for the clients argument, I have no idea what to do right now. Any suggestions? The more the better!

JeffK26
11-22-2011, 04:35 PM
I'm with Mark, give them the snow removal check back...some people just aren't worth it.

B-2 Lawncare
11-22-2011, 05:16 PM
You should give up and find a different line of work.

mark123
11-22-2011, 05:20 PM
You should give up and find a different line of work.
not over one customer and one incident.

CHEESE2009
11-22-2011, 06:00 PM
You should just give up and find a different line of work.

Oh god...

Thanks for the suggestion, but no. lol



Issues can be resolved, no matter how tricky. I plan to stick around until I make ends meet.

I consider myself still 'new' to the forum, and I do my best to respect it. I respect it in a way that I want it continue to be a resource for dealing with all types of situations. What better way to improve the forum that helps me, by throwing unsolved problems at it and getting everyone together to brainstorm? It's impressive!

Some may say, "You are always complaining" - I do it because no one else will, or has yet to encounter the same issues I do. If we obtain the knowledge to solve these issues, it's all beneficial to the forum and it's users.

Steve's blog is full of valuable information that came from one persons situation, that actually helped or will help several others out there.

We all make mistakes, we all have our off days or seasons, the more we know on how to adjust when things get their worst, the better!


********

Giving up something I enjoyed, and can enjoy once again with a little help is not the answer.

Every single one of us has one, few, or many problems that put us off, and I'm not afraid to share my problems because someone out there may be looking for the same answer I am, without the ability to ask.

B-2 Lawncare
11-23-2011, 08:46 AM
Oh god...

Thanks for the suggestion, but no. lol



Issues can be resolved, no matter how tricky. I plan to stick around until I make ends meet.

I consider myself still 'new' to the forum, and I do my best to respect it. I respect it in a way that I want it continue to be a resource for dealing with all types of situations. What better way to improve the forum that helps me, by throwing unsolved problems at it and getting everyone together to brainstorm? It's impressive!

Some may say, "You are always complaining" - I do it because no one else will, or has yet to encounter the same issues I do. If we obtain the knowledge to solve these issues, it's all beneficial to the forum and it's users.

Steve's blog is full of valuable information that came from one persons situation, that actually helped or will help several others out there.

We all make mistakes, we all have our off days or seasons, the more we know on how to adjust when things get their worst, the better!


********

Giving up something I enjoyed, and can enjoy once again with a little help is not the answer.

Every single one of us has one, few, or many problems that put us off, and I'm not afraid to share my problems because someone out there may be looking for the same answer I am, without the ability to ask.

This is one of the most inteligent replies I have seen from you, what happened? I have all but given up on this site, there is a lot of good info on here for the guy who wants to run a small business, but it dosen't seems like there are a lot of guys on here who have made it past the one or two man crew. Not that there is anything worng with being a one man crew, if that's what you want.
Forgive me for this, but I can't think of any other way to say it, I am tired of the third grade posts - Did you really have to ask what to do with the fall clean-up? Come on man, you should have just gone and finished it. Sorry for being so blunt.

mark123
11-23-2011, 09:08 AM
Why the insults? :(

Everyone wants to vent about something once in a while. I don't mind it.

CHEESE2009
11-23-2011, 10:09 AM
I am tired of the third grade posts - Did you really have to ask what to do with the fall clean-up? Come on man, you should have just gone and finished it. Sorry for being so blunt.


At least I got a different answer out of you, haha! So much better than, "give up".

If you are tired of third grade posts, here are some things you should consider;

This forum caters to even those just starting their lawn care business.

If you are tired of third grade posts, feel free to post something of your grade.

Also, of course some posts can be a little easy to answer for you, but I assure you that certain problems effect everyone differently and are not all that easy to solve for them, you will never know the exact variables, but you can do your best to assist with the situation.

If someone was on the forum with the idea of starting a business, who had never used a lawn mower - I would be glad to help them figure it out rather instead of saying, "You don't know anything, mind as well take a hike", right?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_KzKz83H-VRg/TTi4CLxJAUI/AAAAAAAAACk/PGDRDt3uNxM/s1600/friends_forever.jpg
Pictured above: Gopherforum

Let's not forget that there is a community here, it's not just a place to give and take information, it's also a place to make friends with common interests. I don't always come on here to post, but to sometimes see what everyone is up to, or has accomplished. Depending on your attitude, you can spoil it for others, or you can be the best of yourself.

**-


As for a one man crew vs expanding to multiple crews. It's most likely a personal preference. I'm for both sides. To judge the success of a company depending on how many crews they have, is impossible.

**-

As for your question, "did you really need to ask?";

No, I didn't. I could have flipped a coin. I asked because I can, and a second opinion or more wouldn't hurt.


//////////////


Anyway, it snowed last night/early morning. Approx 10cm right now, I'll be heading out now, gotta learn my winter route. Wish all of you the best!

O.C LawnCare
11-23-2011, 01:56 PM
This is one of the most inteligent replies I have seen from you, what happened? I have all but given up on this site, there is a lot of good info on here for the guy who wants to run a small business, but it dosen't seems like there are a lot of guys on here who have made it past the one or two man crew. Not that there is anything worng with being a one man crew, if that's what you want.
Forgive me for this, but I can't think of any other way to say it, I am tired of the third grade posts - Did you really have to ask what to do with the fall clean-up? Come on man, you should have just gone and finished it. Sorry for being so blunt.

Are you kidding me right now? All he wanted was a second opinion, go find another forum if your gonna act like that.

B-2 Lawncare
11-23-2011, 08:18 PM
This is one of the most inteligent replies I have seen from you, what happened? I have all but given up on this site, there is a lot of good info on here for the guy who wants to run a small business, but it dosen't seems like there are a lot of guys on here who have made it past the one or two man crew. Not that there is anything worng with being a one man crew, if that's what you want.
Forgive me for this, but I can't think of any other way to say it, I am tired of the third grade posts - Did you really have to ask what to do with the fall clean-up? Come on man, you should have just gone and finished it. Sorry for being so blunt.

Are you kidding me right now? All he wanted was a second opinion, go find another forum if your gonna act like that.

It will be ok keep your chin up. It's ok

JeffK26
11-23-2011, 09:24 PM
Well said Cheese.

Steve
11-24-2011, 09:14 AM
Scott,

You have done a lot of experimenting with many of your business elements.

One of those elements you experimented with was the free fall cleanup.

As you prepare for next year, what's your view now on what you will do differently with the fall leaf cleanups or any other element to improve the results you get and to position your business more where you want it to be?

CHEESE2009
11-24-2011, 01:13 PM
Scott,

You have done a lot of experimenting with many of your business elements.

One of those elements you experimented with was the free fall cleanup.

As you prepare for next year, what's your view now on what you will do differently with the fall leaf cleanups or any other element to improve the results you get and to position your business more where you want it to be?

I'm going to begin charging for fall cleanups again. This way I'm not going out of my way, stirring up my clients with more than high expectations.

I thought I would still have time this year to go around getting new clients for fall, but I was booked with all the free ones. Anyway, it was worth a shot and something to try in order to learn the consequences.

I already don't do much spring work, everything is usually wet and I don't want to get wiped out before the lawn maintenance season begins, fall isn't sizzling or as messy give or take, so I will continue to provide the service for paying clients.

Doing free work wasn't as discouraging as I had thought, but it certainly was aggravating. I had some properties that if a client were willing to pay, I wouldn't even touch - but they had to get done this time.

****************

In short, making deals for your customer isn't beneficial to you, even if the plan is to have all the homeowners hire you at once, in hopes to retain them for later seasons once you raise your prices.

Customers = Terrorists

We do not negotiate!

mark123
11-24-2011, 01:17 PM
... Customers = Terrorists

We do not negotiate! Agree! I stopped even giving senior citizen discounts and made it policy to treat those that ask for this discount with suspicion.

CHEESE2009
11-24-2011, 01:53 PM
treat those that ask for this discount with suspicion.

WELL SAID!

They are always the worst, and usually the clients I let go, hahaha!

Steve
11-26-2011, 02:15 PM
Scott,

Would it work out better if the fall cleanups were a part of an annual lawn care agreement where the customer paid you every month to maintain their property? Or do you feel it would still end up with the customer calling multiple times for multiple fall cleanups?

CHEESE2009
11-26-2011, 03:28 PM
Scott,

Would it work out better if the fall cleanups were a part of an annual lawn care agreement where the customer paid you every month to maintain their property? Or do you feel it would still end up with the customer calling multiple times for multiple fall cleanups?


It would be nice, but my advertised price would probably scare a few people out of hiring me.

Not to mention I would have to return the money to clients who fire me, or the ones I let go prior to the Fall. Tricky Tricky.

Steve
11-28-2011, 09:25 AM
Could there be a basic annual lawn care price and then upsell add ons for things such as fall leaf cleanup etc?

Maybe you could even promote the cheapest service price and maybe that service wouldn't even include trimming or blowing? Just mowing? Everything else could be an upsell?

dufoura
12-03-2011, 05:10 AM
I had this problem once about 3 years ago and it made me re-evaluate when I do my clean-up for certain customers...If you do a clean-up in early November, odds are, yes, more leaves will either fall or will be clown by wind/storms onto the property...this is a fact of life. Some customers can handle that, other can't as in your situation. Your customer obviously wanted a clean lawn going into winter and you have to respect that.

The lesson is that maybe in the future, this customer gets a late clean-up in late November versus early November so that all the leaves are off the trees....you do it once, make it look great, and you're done. I don't know how long it took you to do the clean up in the first place, but my opinion is you need to go back and do it FREE of charge and just deal with it. A happy customer is profitable for you regardless of the pain in the a** it is for you to get your equipment back out. It shows your loyalty and that you'll stick by your word which WILL pay dividends in the long run. If you notice this customer start doing the same things during the winter with snow removal than I would respectfully lose her as a client because it is not someone you want to work for in the first place.

mark123
12-03-2011, 05:17 AM
... Your customer obviously wanted a clean lawn going into winter and you have to respect that.

I have a rule that covers that: "You aren't allowed to complain about free stuff". Of course I don't ask for free stuff and no longer offer it so it's not an issue for me.

turf&tree
12-03-2011, 06:29 AM
I have one rule that covers it also. If you offer something as pricy as a fall cleanup for free then you should go back and make it right. You also might think about putting a disclaimer with your advertising or being pro-active. We run into this during cleanups where we tell the customer it is an ongoing process and give them the option of how many fall visits they want. Pro-active vs. re-active always works to your advantage!!!!
I got a call from an Angie's list referral last night for a cleanup. My equipment is winterized as well, but I love money so much guess where I am going today for $ 40.00 per man hour plus equipment costs.
When you advertise, watch your wording and don't forget any disclaimers!!!
Jim

turf&tree
12-05-2011, 05:44 AM
Perhaps some wine and crackers with your Cheese?

CHEESE2009
12-05-2011, 10:40 AM
When you advertise, watch your wording and don't forget any disclaimers!!!
Jim

I had my "*certain conditions apply" within the ad.

Regardless, it wasn't a choice of what is right vs what is wrong. In short, I guess I just wasn't interested in going out of my way a second time, once again free of charge. The first time was enough. I didn't have a lot of time prior to storing the equipment, so cleanups started early until late November, there was no way to book them all for late November.

As I grow my business more and more, I will always still understand the importance of being reliable, but no longer will I allow my customers to use it against me for work which has not been paid for, or work that I had already completed.

Many would go out of their way for their clients, but I think I've run out of fuse. There is no 'real' return for going the extra mile in my case, so it's time to cut back. If I go out of my way for a client, usually the client will become someone I dread.

********-

Anyway, topic closed. Thanks for the responses guys! :D

oh, and wine and crackers would be fabulous with my cheese. lol

Steve
12-05-2011, 11:11 AM
Scott, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I bet it really has helped others reading it and in similar situations.

CHEESE2009
12-05-2011, 01:00 PM
Scott, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I bet it really has helped others reading it and in similar situations.

We can only hope!

For me, this scenario has been extremely difficult. Especially when you're right in it, and it's always different than what outsiders are limited to reading on a post. The more I can offer, the better.

:)