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Relaxing isn't possible

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  • Relaxing isn't possible

    So many have told me to relax, take time off from the business.

    I finished a few lawns around noon, put on some swimming shorts & went to the civic center for an indoor swim.

    I friggen jumped into the pool & WOW, I sunk to the bottom and just felt so refreshed I didn't want to resurface.

    So I swam around trying to get my aches away, left the pool and went to my other job for 1Pm - got home at 1am.

    Now BEFORE I even went to the pool, a former customer calls & starts nagging me. Trying to make me out to be a bad guy, telling me I lost a good customer because I didn't bother to call him for his July payment.

    I told him how I want to run my business, & that I don't have just him as a customer - I'm not interested in chasing people.

    He than said, "You didn't have to chase me, if you called me I would have had your money for you right away!"

    I said, "I sent you an invoice stating the payment due date - I sent you the paper so that I WOULDN'T have to call you - so that I don't have to waste any more of my time - because your honestly not my only customer & to think I'm going to call up each and every person to remind them to pay for the new month - that's just not the way I'm running this business. An invoice is a reminder for YOU and everyone else to contact me to make your payment, it is sufficient enough & no one else has a problem with it! Why would I be interested in calling up everyone to ask when they can pay, payment is due the first Friday of every month so that people can either pay me when I show up to do the first mowing of the month - this saves me gas & time. I like to have everyone pay around the same time within one week, I don't understand why you can't see eye to eye with me."

    He said, "if you continue like this you'll lose so many customers. I have my business & I make the effort to call them to collect money. You should have reminded me, ESPECIALLY me - I'm a good guy & you know that"

    I said, "What customers will I lose? The ones that make my life more difficult & those who can't make an honest effort on their own to pay me? So be it! If they have to be reminded again to pay for the new month even after invoices have been sent out, I don't want them! There are plenty of people out there who don't require me to hold their hand, & to think I'd settle for less is just plain silly. My business will be built with respectful customers, & just a reminder - I'm in this business to enjoy it, which means I don't have to put up with unneeded bull****. As a businessman yourself, I thought you'd understand me when I say I have more than one customer. Everyone has a special request, not just you. If you were my only customer, I'd call & remind you to pay - but honestly, I'm not small & I'd have to be calling too many people, I don't get paid to do that & I don't have the time"

    So then I went swimming trying not to let my brain explode.

    For some reason this month I have actually really felt the stress in me.

    I have yet to wake up one morning on my own - some customer always has to call me & talk to me about service. So I open my eyes, grab the phone & say as properly as I can, "Breeze Lawn Service, Scott speaking" jump out of bed & run to the nearest pen & paper.

    I can't get away for even an hour, without regretting it.

    If I turn off the phone, I end up with tons of missed calls & complaints for not answering.

    Former customers believe I'm not running my business properly, though I'm truly just trying to look out for myself & change the game to fit my needs & abilities. I still offer fantastic service to those who pay, yet it's never enough. There has always got to be a problem.

    I need to get the message out that I am not a slave, if you scratch my back - I scratch yours.


    Customer: I know I missed the payment due date, but I called you a week later and you didn't even answer your phone! I wanted to pay you! How are you going to make money when you don't even answer your phone!

    Scott: You missed the payment due date, which means you are not a customer. I saw that you had called, though because you didn't make your payment when I had asked you to & by waiting so long to contact me - why should I allow you to stress me out by answering my phone for you. I make my money, by doing service for those willing to pay on time. It's called having respect for me as your service provider, you showed me none & have the nerve to talk to me the way you are. I'm not in the business to let people like you who don't pay tell me how to run my business. You didn't make your payment, so you don't get service, - & I really don't have to listen to you, you've wasted enough of my time.

  • #2
    Something I was thinking about as I read this was, what is the best way to fire a customer?

    In such a situation where Scott has had it with some of his customers, how should he go about getting rid of them to minimize and collateral damage they may create by talking about him to others in their area?

    Or should he not be concerned with any negative word of mouth from late paying customers?
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    • #3
      i'm sure i'll be bashed, but whatever, and i'm not trying to bash OP. but i prolly would have just went with the customer on this and threw him back into my schedule saying something like, "if it happens again were gonna have to part ways." however i don't see anything wrong with what you did. but the customer obviously does, and i'm sure you know bad word of mouth is exponentially more harmful to the company name than good word of mouth is helpful. do you know of any other company that would stop doing business completely with you if you missed one payment? especially if you tried to call to make the payment just after due date? but since ur a huge operation i doubt it would be too huge a deal and you are of course within ur rights. not bashing just giving my opinion

      edit: sorry, reread post and maybe customer never tried to call, in which case void everything i said, but i still might let him back in just to avoid the badmouthing. wasn't sure if OP's example at end was hypothetical and not applying to that actual customer
      Last edited by nlowplacez; 07-19-2010, 10:25 AM.


      • #4
        I definitely think its a good idea to cut off service once they are over due. No reason to keeping cutting for free. I might give them a phone call at least though. If they try to make their own catch up payment plan, I would let them know that they had a payment plan and until its caught up there will be no service. As far as bad word of mouth. If a customer is a dead beat this carries over into their personal lives. Those that take heed to what they say are probably dead beats as well. Those friends of such customers who know they fit the dead beat MO, probably wouldn't hesitate to call you for service.



        • #5
          As I have said before, all of my customers get a full week before they have to make their payment, they see me show up & do the work - they are expected to pay before the next visit. I show them trust, I want trust back - simple, no? Never.

          I mowed a guys lawn the LAST week of June, he hired me then.

          July started, & I mowed his lawn AGAIN (or else he'd be the only one with a different due date for payment) so already he owes me for two visits.

          I sent him the bill & due date... never bothered to call me.

          TODAY, he calls me;

          Customer: You didn't cut my grass last week, what is wrong with you! You were supposed to come - what is your problem?

          Scott: You never paid. I sent you an invoice, the due date was 2 weeks ago - you didn't pay, so why should I cut your grass?

          Customer: You come and cut my grass for the entire month, and then I would have paid you.

          Scott: No, you pay me when I ask for you to pay me or no service - I don't let customers pay when they want.

          Customer: What is wrong with you? Common! What is the matter with you?



          He called back & I didn't answer, he can go to hell.

          1. You don't say, "What is wrong with you?" to me.

          2. You don't make your own payment schedule when one has already been set up & sent.

          3. You don't talk to me like an a-hole & critisize my business just because you can't follow one simple rule.

          If customers want to complain because I want them to pay the second week out of the four in one month, that only tells me they are cheap & looking to rip me off.

          People can demand payment at the end of the month, but if you do this is all you'll hear;

          Your payment is due;

          1. You didn't do a good job X date, do this X thing for me & I'll give you your money.

          2. My grass didn't need to be cut X date, so I don't want to pay you for it.

          3. I will have the money 'next week'

          or they just don't answer their phones or reply to your invoices. You will get ripped off hardcore.

          Not only that, you have to deal with more false criticism as customers hate to make there payment - why deal with that when you can avoid it by charging in advance?

          Scenario #1
          Charging in Advance

          Scott: Your payment is due NOW
          Customer: I can't pay you now.
          Scott: We're done, find someone else.

          Scenario #2
          Charging after work has been done

          Scott: Payment is due NOW
          Customer: I can't pay you now.

          Now this causes 1000's of problems because NOW you have to consider the following.

          Is it worth it to suck up to the customer & do the odd task in order to claim your earned money, or do you just drop them?


          Customer: I want you to trim my hedges because your lawn maintenance wasn't to my satisfactory.

          a) drop them (lose X$$)
          b) Trim the hedges, (lose X$ but gain X$$) -

          Why deal with these scenarios, when you can avoid them by getting a feel for your customer before you break your back for them.

          I'm on a role with my customers now, when they are full of crap - goodbye!

          Why stress out over it? It's not worth the pay you receive.

          Personally, when a customer is thankful & gives me money: I'm HAPPY!

          When a customer puts me through hell to get his money: I feel as if his money just wasn't enough for putting up with him, and I'm unhappy.

          And some customers consider me the Hitler of lawn service, but now that I can accept it - I don't see anything wrong with it - I don't give a crap. Everything must be in order, why is that actually such a bad thing?

          Just imagine if this was an acceptable court case.

          Customer: He didn't cut my lawn because I didn't pay him on time!

          Scott: He didn't pay me on time, so I stopped cutting his grass!

          Which person is right? Seriously, this is b.s.

          I'm sure my good customers would rather know I'm not giving away free service or wasting my time with deadbeat customers - more time for them, more money to add services all for THEM.

          Customer: Why do you drop customers who don't pay on time?
          Scott: So that I can still be in business in order to serve you.


          • #6
            hmm.. this is very interesting, i see you have been stressed a bit and now i see why!

            Did this take time to build up? pretty much i am asking which scenario is yours..

            Scenario 1- When you first started out, did you have to chase and call the dead beat customers trying to get your pay, then over time as u got more customers, you built up a resistance for the bull Shat, and decided to drop the ones costing you that valuable time and headaches?

            or was it Scenario 2 - From the time of your first deadbeat customer, you have dropped the ones who were late with payment?

            I would like to know as i am just starting out and havent encountered a late pay yet, however i have 1 yard thats 5 acres, and the lady has to mail me a check from upstate NY after im done, its a grueling job and im doing it too cheap already..

            Should i just drop this lady if it ever takes her too long to send the payment?

            However as im starting out, i feel like i cant drop her until i get a more established clientel (But if she misses a payment, or cant pay a payment, i will certainly drop her, if she can miss payments, i can miss cutting her yard)
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