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My first un-happy customer

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  • My first un-happy customer

    So being somewhat new I had my first un- happy customer.
    The bid 6000sq ft fence hasn't been maintain 1ft high weeds around house and down spouts. Trim back 12 bushes clean out beds and lay down provided mulch 200sq ft. Then cut, trim, edge blow off for 80.00.It took 4hrs. I know I under bid it because I would be doing his cousins also. Possible 120 a month bi weekly for both houses in my neighborhood.

    So he come over ( very dry) and ask if I cut the lawn. I said yes and he stated that he could still see weeds. I stated that I cut it down to two inches ( Bermuda) he said no I didn't. Then he said why don't you come over later so I can show you how I want my yard edged and trimmed.

    Now, in the back of my head I am like I did an awesome job and if he is so anal maybe he shouldn't let his yard go to crap. Maybe use some chemicals. So I had to pick up my daughter and saw him redoing my work.

    Should I go over with an open mind?
    Last edited by googus; 04-02-2013, 02:08 PM.

  • #2

    Should I go over with an open mind?
    go over with a closed fist.

    This is the problem with low bidding jobs. When they ask for more then whats expected you cant correct it and still make money.

    Sounds like you did a $200 a job for $80 with hopes of more work. Well he could just be complaining as a excuse not to give the other jobs to you.

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    • #3
      You can't please them all. The customers that want it one hundred percent thier way are worse. But what you have todo is educate them as to why the yard can only be cut so low and if they want no weeds educate them again but on how to get rid of them use the chance to sell other services to him

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      • #4
        I never under bid with hopes of getting more work.
        Bid the job for what its worth. do a great job. if you get called back go with an open mind, ask what seems to be not done to his satisfaction, (remember customer satisfaction, take care of it and both be happy.
        People will nickel and dime you to death if their cheap, those that pay good may be somewhat anal but they pay, and give referrals. Then you always make money.
        Those you do cheap will also give referrals and you will never make money because, "what do you mean xx dollars, you did Joes for xx"

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        • #5
          We have said over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again to price accordingly. You did not. What happened to you is called "being worked by the customer". He bent you over good...no lube either. You quoted a cheap price in hopes of new work (by his cousin?), that work will probably never come. He promised you more work by you lowering your price, then he is going to complain complain complain and complain some more.


          Hopefully you learned your lesson.


          Now walk away from him before you lose more money and let someone else bite on his scheme.

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          • #6
            Thanks guys...
            I went over there to see how he did it. Not much of a difference beside going deeper on edging and cutting the lawn lower. He is just a ham- he said well if I need to redo my lawn I would just get a kid to do it ( mind you I am 40). I tried to educate him nicely on how proper maintenance on his lawn would benefit all. I said nicely again if he would like to hire a kid then he should try it out. He then said it wasn't a threat. It just cracks me up that someone is giving me a hard time for 4 hrs worth of work when they don't take care of their yard. Believe me the spray from trimming along the house he ad to power wash that's how bad it was.

            The good thing, while I was there I dropped five refrig. magnets on mailboxes and got a call. I went and landed a job and trust me I bid it correctly!

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            • #7
              Something I learned about giving cheap prices, is the people that are cheap, are to cheap to take care of there lawn, such as sprinklers and fertilizing, then they blame the lawn mower man when there lawn looks like crap, you want customers that want to pay for a nice lawn. need to calculate time better, and charge the minimal you will work for. for me its 20.00 an hour that's my goal

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              • #8
                Something I learned about giving cheap prices, is the people that are cheap, are to cheap to take care of there lawn, such as sprinklers and fertilizing, then they blame the lawn mower man when there lawn looks like crap, you want customers that want to pay for a nice lawn. need to calculate time better, and charge the minimal you will work for. for me its 20.00 an hour that's my goal
                your right about the cheap part.

                I see it as the guy wanted Googus to do the hard part so he can maintain it himself. There never was future work. He probably does this every year.

                If your only aiming for $20 a hour then he made that. So i dont know why you would say the guy is cheap if hes paying your rate. By the way I pay my foreman $20 a hour so something is wrong there.

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                • #9
                  I see it as the guy wanted Googus to do the hard part so he can maintain it himself. There never was future work. He probably does this every year.
                  Do you think people actively do that though? They sit in their house and think to themselves "if I hire this guy and tell him there's more work, then he will give me a super low price. But...then he will want the other work. ahh!! I have the solution, I will complain and complain so that he won't want to work for me or my family!! PERFECT!!"

                  Sounds like you did a great job though. Seems like you took a crappy, extremely overgrown yard, and made it look good again. And the only thing he had to say was "I can see a few weeds"?

                  You can't let your personal feelings get in the way. This is a business. He said he had an issue with how you MOWED, but then he says "let me show you how I want my yard edged and trimmed". Those aren't the same thing.

                  Instead on letting him beat you up about a few weeds, you should have focused on how much of an improvement you made on the yard. "Man, you're lucky you only paid $80 for such an extensive clean-up. I normally charge $200 for this, but I gave you a new customer discount."
                  or "Such a lack of yard maintenance is really bad for the lawn. Good thing I trimmed everything back before it made things worse"
                  His goal was to make you feel inferior, and it worked. You shouldn't have let that happen.

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                  • #10
                    Do you think people actively do that though? They sit in their house and think to themselves "if I hire this guy and tell him there's more work, then he will give me a super low price. But...then he will want the other work. ahh!! I have the solution, I will complain and complain so that he won't want to work for me or my family!! PERFECT!!"
                    I do and I bet almost everyone in here has dealt with someone just like that.

                    Every person that has promised more work has never delivered. Whether they complained or complimented.

                    On top of that I get a call every week. We have 1000s of homes in your area but they only pay $30. Thats potentially $30,000 a week are you interested?

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                    • #11
                      Every person that has promised more work has never delivered. Whether they complained or complimented.
                      That's the damn truth though.
                      Cannot tell you how many times I've heard "It's so great that I found you! I have 20,000 co-workers and family members who desperately need a lawn company! They all live within 5 feet of here, too! I'll give your name and number to all of them"

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                      • #12
                        Potential does not put food in your mouth, gas in your truck or shoes on the kids (grandkids).
                        Pat

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                        • #13
                          Welcome to Business, if you make everyone happy your not doing it right. I try to do the best I can for every customer but I can assure you I have not made everyone that walks threw my door happy and neither can you. Remember in most cases your customer wants you to work for free, they will feel that since you charge $60 an hour that you make $60 an hour and forget the equipment you have to own to do the job and insurance costs.
                          I am the owner of www.AllOutdoorParts.com an online mower parts distributor. I am also a Briggs Master Service Technician and Expert Certified Mechanic for Kohler. If my posts helps you please like my facebook page at www.facebook.com/alloutdoorparts

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                          • #14
                            It just cracks me up that someone is giving me a hard time for 4 hrs worth of work when they don't take care of their yard.
                            Will you be keeping him as a customer or is this still up in the air?

                            Also do you feel there are any learning experiences you have gained from this that you will apply to future customers?
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                            • #15
                              I will keep him unless he will keep nickel and diming me with crazy expectations.


                              Call it a work in progress but I am slowly learning what it takes to a job and learning how to bid. Like this past job way underbid the work. Now I know and I also when to say from the beginning this is just not for me.


                              Love the new Exmark 30in

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