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  • Confrontations.

    Yesterday I went to do a simple mulch job for a customer. He said he only wanted weeds pulled and lay mulch that he had already bought. It was a slow day, I had nothing planned, so I did it.

    I show up and come to find out, he lived with his parents. His father then began to show me everything they wanted done....but didn't want to pay extra.

    After I broke it down to him that everything will cost extra, he flipped out. As he was yelling at me, his wife was out back telling my helper to clean out all the beds, around the plants, and pull off any dead leaves from the plants.

    I was close to walking off the job, but already wasted my time driving there, and paying my helper. We got the job done, but I was pretty pissed off the whole time.

    I know a lot of you have stories of crazy customers....so lets hear it!

  • #2
    That's when I would tell my help to load up and tell the customer don't worry about paying for what we have already done. Have a nice day.

    Then Leave!

    That just rubs me the wrong way. lol

    I did a lawn for a guy during the Summer while he was gone for the entire Summer. He paid up front for x # of cuts. Cuts completed, he calls me and tells me he'll be gone longer than expected. Asked if I could cut it a few more times and he'll pay for the extra cuts when he got back.

    He gets back, I go to collect since he hadn't called to let me know he was back. He plays dumb, I didn't call you, I didn't ask you to do that, BS, BS,

    I never did collect but he'll never have me cut his lawn nor any of my buddies in the business. I made them all aware, those that I like anyhow. lol
    Last edited by Sprinkler Buddy; 04-19-2013, 07:46 PM.
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    • #3
      That's when I would tell my help to load up and tell the customer don't worry about paying for what we have already done. Have a nice day.

      Then Leave!

      That just rubs me the wrong way. lol
      Ya tell me about it!!! Haha! We drove a good 20 minutes there....i didnt want to waste 40 minutes in drive time. We got it done, got paid, but I will never do any work for them again.

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      • #4
        Who ended up paying you, was it the son, the father?

        Looking back could anything have been handled differently or was this just one of those situations?
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        • #5
          Who ended up paying you, was it the son, the father?

          Looking back could anything have been handled differently or was this just one of those situations?
          The father said his wife would pay me, and he left. But the son handed me the money.

          It was one of those things that couldn't be avoided. It was so confusing because who owns the house???? Who do you listen to???? I had to tell the father I was in contact with his son, and that I can't start doing everything without his sons approval because thats who I was in contact with.

          My wife did bring up a good point though....I missed the opportunity to upsell. I need to work on that!


          So come on....anyone else got crazy customer stories?

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          • #6
            I picked up a renter for mowing a month back. Calls me because the flower beds are a mess. I let him pick the flowers out. I give him a price to rip up grass, install 1 yard of mulch and plant flowers.

            I finish the job the mom comes home and says thats not what they wanted. Complained about the flower selection and tells me shes going to talk to him. I say now that its a flower bed again it wont take but a minute to plant flowers and if you want to pick some out Ill put them in.

            I get a email saying he wasnt happy with the job and he expected me to make the flower beds bigger, pull weeds out along the driveway, install small stone and use the larger stones that were there as borders. He ends the email by saying he doesnt need me for mowing now. He forwards this email to his mom.

            I wrote back that I could spray the driveway as part of maintenance. That I was never asked and didnt quote him for the stones or weeding. I would be happy to stop by and address any issues and that he shouldve contacted me about a solution to the problem in the first place. I never heard back from the guy.

            The stones wouldve been a easy job. It was only about 1/2 ton. Wouldve took like 30 minutes and cost him $80 more. I was already talking to the homeowner about fert and weed apps, sealcoating the drive and staining the deck. So this guy was going to get the spraying done on the owners dime.

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            • #7
              I have a written contract for work like this. Everything spelled out and the price. I do this because of this situation. Now when I get done if they refuse, or say I didn't do what they wanted, I turn the contract over to my lawyer, and get paid, plus fees and expenses. A 2 or 3 hundred dollar job can leave them paying 2 or 3 thousand.

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              • #8
                I have a written contract for work like this. Everything spelled out and the price. I do this because of this situation. Now when I get done if they refuse, or say I didn't do what they wanted, I turn the contract over to my lawyer, and get paid, plus fees and expenses. A 2 or 3 hundred dollar job can leave them paying 2 or 3 thousand.
                I do itemize estimates too. This is part of the reason. So I dont get why he thinks I was going to do anything to rocks in the first place.

                Sometimes it doesnt matter what it said or writing. Some people will just expect freebies.

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                • #9
                  I have a written contract for work like this. Everything spelled out and the price. I do this because of this situation. Now when I get done if they refuse, or say I didn't do what they wanted, I turn the contract over to my lawyer, and get paid, plus fees and expenses. A 2 or 3 hundred dollar job can leave them paying 2 or 3 thousand.
                  Any stories Steve1201? We all have different Coulda Woulda Shoulda's or This is what I do...but lets keep to the thread. Share some stories with us! I know you have got to have some good ones from the loonies down in FL!

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                  • #10
                    Ahhh the joys of dealing with the public.

                    I laid a flagstone patio for a lady, around 2,400 sq ft. We agreed on a price, it was around $13,000 for the whole job. When we laid the base and came back 2 days later I noticed something was digging in the yard and in the base but she didn't have a dog. I had no idea, thought it was a possum or armadillo. So we went ahead and worked the next week laying the patio. When we were done, I got my check for the remaining half of payment.

                    Two weeks later she sends me a text and say the patio is messed up and sent some picture which floored me.

                    That day I went to the job site and looked at the patio. Sure enough it was messed up. I told her we would fix it. I warranty all of my patios for 12 months.

                    3 days later we returned and it was messed up more, but this time it had rained the day before and I saw paw prints all over the place... I came to the conclusion that a dog had dug up the flagstone and then her watering the yard cause the leveling material to wash from under the rocks.

                    I took pictures and fixed the patio and didn't say a word to the customer.

                    3 days later another text about the patio. This time when I went to look at the patio I told her she needed to be there. And I took a copy of my with her.

                    We walked around the patio and I explained to her that a dog was digging up the patio and I wasn't responsible, that I'm only responsible for defects in materials and workmanship. She flew off the handle saying I don't have a dog. Told me to come inside with her and showed me her house... no dog. The neighbors also didn't have a dog big enough to dig up these rocks.

                    Well I ended up driving by her house the next night around 10:00 pm and sure enough a big lab in the front yard. So I stop around the corner and lure the dog to my truck and look at the tag around its neck. I get the number off of it and call the number the next day, come to find out her son lives with her and trains dogs and had this young, big lab that he takes with him everyday to work. He's a dog trainer. Now I figured out what happened to her patio.

                    I then called and told her what I found out and sent her a bill for fixing the patio. Another $1,300. She said she wasn't paying it.

                    I had my then lawyer send her a nice letter. He called me 3 weeks later and said he had a check for me.

                    Don't let your customers push you around. And keep everything in writing. Emails and text. Write down notes from your conversations with your customers. They come in handy. And never do work to the house unless your dealing with the owner.

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                    • #11
                      Ahhh the joys of dealing with the public.

                      I laid a flagstone patio for a lady, around 2,400 sq ft. We agreed on a price, it was around $13,000 for the whole job. When we laid the base and came back 2 days later I noticed something was digging in the yard and in the base but she didn't have a dog. I had no idea, thought it was a possum or armadillo. So we went ahead and worked the next week laying the patio. When we were done, I got my check for the remaining half of payment.

                      Two weeks later she sends me a text and say the patio is messed up and sent some picture which floored me.

                      That day I went to the job site and looked at the patio. Sure enough it was messed up. I told her we would fix it. I warranty all of my patios for 12 months.

                      3 days later we returned and it was messed up more, but this time it had rained the day before and I saw paw prints all over the place... I came to the conclusion that a dog had dug up the flagstone and then her watering the yard cause the leveling material to wash from under the rocks.

                      I took pictures and fixed the patio and didn't say a word to the customer.

                      3 days later another text about the patio. This time when I went to look at the patio I told her she needed to be there. And I took a copy of my with her.

                      We walked around the patio and I explained to her that a dog was digging up the patio and I wasn't responsible, that I'm only responsible for defects in materials and workmanship. She flew off the handle saying I don't have a dog. Told me to come inside with her and showed me her house... no dog. The neighbors also didn't have a dog big enough to dig up these rocks.

                      Well I ended up driving by her house the next night around 10:00 pm and sure enough a big lab in the front yard. So I stop around the corner and lure the dog to my truck and look at the tag around its neck. I get the number off of it and call the number the next day, come to find out her son lives with her and trains dogs and had this young, big lab that he takes with him everyday to work. He's a dog trainer. Now I figured out what happened to her patio.

                      I then called and told her what I found out and sent her a bill for fixing the patio. Another $1,300. She said she wasn't paying it.

                      I had my then lawyer send her a nice letter. He called me 3 weeks later and said he had a check for me.

                      Don't let your customers push you around. And keep everything in writing. Emails and text. Write down notes from your conversations with your customers. They come in handy. And never do work to the house unless your dealing with the owner.
                      You may have won the trophy for the biggest A-Hole Customer!

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                      • #12
                        It was a lady.. i knew women were deceptive but damn!!!! She is a nice lady but with the patio she maxed out her budget on her daughters wedding, it was at the house actually on the patio. And she couldn't afford, so she said, to pay to have it fixed... so she lied. I found this out through the lady who cut her hair. Because I now the hair lady's yard. Lol

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                        • #13
                          Any stories Steve1201? We all have different Coulda Woulda Shoulda's or This is what I do...but lets keep to the thread. Share some stories with us! I know you have got to have some good ones from the loonies down in FL!
                          Because I do this, (written contract spelling out everything) I have not had any residential customers for big extra work, They realize I what I am and am not going to do for the price, and anything extra is billed at 50 dollars per man hour. This scares them off, especially if they are used to screwing contractors.
                          My commercial customers get exactly what they want, and paid for, and could not be happier. I do sometimes do extra stuff that should have been included but for whatever reason was missed, (usually only a hour or two of labor). Companies that I have worked for have become good maintenance customers, and good referring people.

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                          • #14
                            My wife did bring up a good point though....I missed the opportunity to upsell. I need to work on that!
                            Is that because it was too confusing on what was going on or do you feel it would have just been too much of a pain in the butt to add any further complexity to the situation and you just wanted to get in and out?

                            Would it be worthwhile to send a letter or a postcard or even an email to the son now and share with him your thoughts on the upsells he could use?
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                            • #15
                              Is that because it was too confusing on what was going on or do you feel it would have just been too much of a pain in the butt to add any further complexity to the situation and you just wanted to get in and out?

                              Would it be worthwhile to send a letter or a postcard or even an email to the son now and share with him your thoughts on the upsells he could use?
                              I think it was because I was so frustrated with the whole thing. I was close to getting in the truck and leaving!

                              I'll send the guy a "thank you" card just to keep up with high customer service, and in hopes of not getting a bad name.

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