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View Full Version : I didn't stick to my guns ...


mark123
07-22-2009, 03:54 PM
... and it's come back to bite me.

I've got this one ancient customer. I'm talking about she knew Amenhotep! Anyway, she flat out refuses to pay tax on my services.

Last month when I billed her for 4 cuts she started crying "Oh, that's too much". *boo hoo* That's how much she agreed to pay so I couldn't figure the problem. She tells the that it's illegal to charge tax on mowing. Actually it's illegal to NOT charge tax on mowing. So she pays the bill and tells me she's not paying tax on mowing anymore. So I made a deal with her. I'd charge her the normal price but have it include the tax which brought her bill down around $2 per week. I told her "Your bill will be $37.74 plus $2.26 tax which will bring it up to $40". So today I pull up and she hands me a check for $37 and says "You told me my bill would be $37 and there's no tax". I should have just stuck to my guns! I should have just stuck to my guns!!! GRR!

I was wondering how far towards bail $37 would go. I told her "Fork over the $3, you old bat!" (OK, I didn't say "old bat"). She straight up tried to rob me. I bet she didn't expect me to take that $3 out of her hand.

So I start cutting and it's really high because she had me skip last week because it "didn't really need cut". GRRR! :mad:

I tell her "this grass is high". She said "Oh, that's alright". WHAT?!? What could she have possibly meant?? "It's not alright, it beats up my mower and if you skip a week again I'm going to have to raise your price to pay for the cleanup".

I'm all for helping out the elderly, I love the elderly folks. They are usually straight shooters, honest to a fault and I try to be that way myself (honest, not elderly), but this lady is a shyster and she's going to keep trying to rip me off and I'm going to have to fire her as a customer.

Steve
07-22-2009, 08:54 PM
That is a very interesting situation.

What do you think you should ideally do with her? Have you thought about your different options? What did you come up with?

mark123
07-23-2009, 06:19 AM
That is a very interesting situation.

What do you think you should ideally do with her? Have you thought about your different options? What did you come up with?

It's very hard to deal financially with people that grew up in the great depression era. They've been called the Greatest Generation due to their survival but they are just so untrusting and sometimes conniving. They also think everything they have is extremely valuable and you've got to watch out for that because they will offer to "give" you something from their basement or attic and when you hand them a bill they'll claim that their payment was already made when they gave you that old laminate counter top or bakelite radio.

Ways to spot a depresion era person:
Multiples of the same object - they would rather spend $2 thirty times on a cheap screwdriver than $20 once on a good one. They will not throw out the broken ones.
Hoarding - they will have collections of useless items. They will have a "junk drawer" containing everything that will fit inside. You will find things like plastic pop bottle caps which they will keep in case they lose one or one breaks (which has never happened to them). There will be 30-40 of them in the drawer.
They will ask for no ice in their soda pop at a restaurant - They are not going to pay for frozen water when water is free at a restaurant. Besides that valuable pop is being displaced and they've figured out how those restaurant guys "get you" by filling up the cup with ice so they don't have to give you as much pop.
They think it's still 1930 - they will leave tips of a dime or a quarter and think that's acceptable for a waitress. They WILL NOT tip where it's voluntary.
They will have a coupon system - Their coupons will be ordered by expiration and alphabetically. They will also be sure to use them by driving to the store just to save 25 cents.
They play the lotteries extensively - you'll see their old tickets in the junk drawer by the pop bottle lids

ritchiem
07-23-2009, 06:27 AM
Ways to spot a depresion era person:

* Multiples of the same object - they would rather spend $2 thirty times on a cheap screwdriver than $20 once on a good one. They will not throw out the broken ones.
* Hoarding - they will have collections of useless items. They will have a "junk drawer" containing everything that will fit inside. You will find things like plastic pop bottle caps which they will keep in case they lose one or one breaks (which has never happened to them). There will be 30-40 of them in the drawer.
* They will ask for no ice in their soda pop at a restaurant - They are not going to pay for frozen water when water is free at a restaurant. Besides that valuable pop is being displaced and they've figured out how those restaurant guys "get you" by filling up the cup with ice so they don't have to give you as much pop.
* They think it's still 1930 - they will leave tips of a dime or a quarter and think that's acceptable for a waitress. They WILL NOT tip where it's voluntary.
* They will have a coupon system - Their coupons will be ordered by expiration and alphabetically. They will also be sure to use them by driving to the store just to save 25 cents.
* They play the lotteries extensively - you'll see their old tickets in the junk drawer by the pop bottle lids


bawhahahaha very funny and very true...brought back memories of my grandpa. Just do a cash deal with her...older folk love cash deals.

Steve
07-23-2009, 11:30 AM
Ways to spot a depresion era person:

Do you think this comes into play when a new customer hires you? Do you look for these signs at all? And if so, what do you do when you see them?

mark123
07-23-2009, 05:30 PM
Do you think this comes into play when a new customer hires you? Do you look for these signs at all? And if so, what do you do when you see them? I'm at the point where if they think I'm too expensive then they are free to shop around. Good luck to them in finding someone as reliable as I am. I never miss a day and I do not cut corners.

I have the satisfaction of being the guy that will be the bane of the next because he'll always hear "The last guy did it this way ..." or "My last guy didn't leave a mess like that ..." or "The last guy never forgot to cut my grass ..." LOL!!

I truly believe that customers are looking for reliability first.

mark123
07-23-2009, 05:48 PM
One sure lesson I learned was that I'll never lower the price to satisfy a tax complaint again. I'm just going to carry a printout of the state code with me: http://boughterslawncare.com/article/Paying-sales-tax-on-lawn-care

Steve
07-23-2009, 07:43 PM
I read your article and it mentioned more than one person asked you to do this.

How did you deal with the other or others when they brought this up?

mark123
07-23-2009, 08:00 PM
I read your article and it mentioned more than one person asked you to do this.

How did you deal with the other or others when they brought this up?

Four people asked me why I charge tax on mowing as they believe there is no tax on services in PA. This customer is the only one that's given me problems on the subject.

FloridaBoy
07-23-2009, 08:17 PM
I'm at the point where if they think I'm too expensive then they are free to shop around. Good luck to them in finding someone as reliable as I am. I never miss a day and I do not cut corners.

I have the satisfaction of being the guy that will be the bane of the next because he'll always hear "The last guy did it this way ..." or "My last guy didn't leave a mess like that ..." or "The last guy never forgot to cut my grass ..." LOL!!

I truly believe that customers are looking for reliability first.

Thats the way i feel mark, i don't have time, or energy to wheel and deal with you over the cost, this is not a car lot. Unfortunatly some do decide to go with another company, or weekend worrier, i then tell them good luck, (with a good attitude, don't ever walk away mad:D, because if you are that good, they will call back), and proceed to tell them when they do call back the price will be increased because they will be considered a new customer again.

When it is a new customer, you give your estimate, and they go, WOW, i didn't pay that much before - well maybe you should have or you would not be hiring me.

Oh i don't know if i need that extensive of care for my yard - Well, thats what my company strives for, the feeling we have when we drive away( Damn that looks good) is the same feeling we want you to feel when you come home from hard day at work.

Ok thanks thats a little high, maybe i will get my neighbor to do my yard, he does a 1 or 2 in the neighborhood -Just leave a card with them and run, because they are not looking for a Company, they want a yard boy, or do boy for there property.

Just a few of my opinions,:cool:

jasonw
07-24-2009, 03:18 PM
I have had good luck with my elderly client thus far. They nit pick and demand perfection but the way I see it we should nitpick and demand perfection from ourselves as well as we are not professionals. My one complaint about them is they always seem to find/make a hunnydo list of od jobs they want done. such as "Fold that tarp up and put it over there or replace the tail light bulb in the Cadillac." I don't mind these though because they still pay for them so I do what ever I can to make them happy and call me back again so long as its not breaking any state licensing laws.

mark123
07-24-2009, 03:53 PM
I have had good luck with my elderly client thus far. They nit pick and demand perfection but the way I see it we should nitpick and demand perfection from ourselves as well as we are not professionals. My one complaint about them is they always seem to find/make a hunnydo list of od jobs they want done. such as "Fold that tarp up and put it over there or replace the tail light bulb in the Cadillac." I don't mind these though because they still pay for them so I do what ever I can to make them happy and call me back again so long as its not breaking any state licensing laws.

I guess that's just it. If she had a complaint about the job being done then I'd take it in stride and improve myself. This customer would be happier if I left it looking terrible as long as she didn't have to pay the tax. lol

I learned from my friend that I shouldn't do extras that don't involve lawn care. One of his customers asked him to haul a small bag of sticks away. He did. The next week there were 16 bags waiting for hauling. LOL!!!