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  #1  
Old 11-18-2011, 04:02 PM
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The following is written on my website blog;

Top 7 Misunderstandings of 2011

In a perfect world, all of our clients submit 5 post-dated checks at the beginning of the season, it only rains on weekends, and our equipment never breaks down.

#1 Rain
When rain has been predicted on the date of our arrival, it is common for our clients to call and request that we come in advance.

It’s easier said than done, as our route is designed with many variables taken into consideration. For example, If your lawn is scheduled for Tuesdays, it’s most likely because our Mondays are completely booked, or your lawn is far from the location we are currently working in.

A client who is unable to receive service due to the rain will usually direct his/her frustration at us, not making the situation any better. There is absolutely no relief on our part from taking a day off due to the rain. It requires three times as much effort to maintain a lawn even when it’s just a little bit damp, not to mention we are also set back by several hours and may actually have to work throughout the weekend. Even if we agreed to have your lawn maintained before the date we had scheduled for you, it would have to come at the cost of another clients position.

Rain forces us to make difficult decisions. If it had rained on the day we were supposed maintain your lawn, it’s not set in stone that we will arrive the following day. Once again, we would be delaying service for our other clients, and those clients will always be less understanding. We will always do our absolute best to maintain all of our clients lawns per week.

#2 Arrival Date
Some clients believe that we are “on call”. Once again, we follow a route to avoid wasting valuable time. If we allowed our clients to pick the dates we are to arrive, we would be all over the place, and we would have to charge more for our service.

A lot of clients may give us a phone call expecting information on how far or near we are from arriving to their property. If it had not rained and your lawn had not been maintained on the date we had scheduled for you, we understand your concern. Unfortunately for us, we receive calls while it is raining, or seconds after the rain has stopped, and even days before we are scheduled to arrive. Our response is as simple as saying, “It’s raining” or “Your lawn is soaked” or “It’s not your day”. Returning these phone calls once receiving a voice-message from a client are not high priority for us.

#3 Bi-Weekly Service
Few clients may request bi-weekly service either because they believe it will cost them less, or they don’t require weekly service.

If we provide bi-weekly service it would most likely cost you more. Letting your lawn grow for an entire week without maintenance leaves a lot more grass for us to maintain the following week and it also causes our equipment and staff to work longer and harder. If it rains, your lawn will retain more water which will make it impossible for us to provide quality service.

Maintaining wet grass can seriously damage our equipment, and even injure our staff if they are to slip.

If you believe that your lawn doesn’t grow enough for weekly service, we would rather not take your word for it and offer you a lower price. If your lawn suddenly grew more than you had expected and you refuse to pay the amount it will costs for weekly service, we would have to drop you as a client.

#4 Cost of Service
When making a payment towards our service, your payment goes towards our operation costs.

If our equipment was to break down, we would need to be able to get it repaired so that we could continue providing service. There are several other expenses that may go unnoticed from a clients perspective, and a client may argue about the amount he/she has been charged.

Overcharging our clients is not even possible with the amount of competitors in our area, so we would need to find ways to manage the income we are able to obtain. We must always upgrade our equipment so that any job will take us less time to complete. This does not mean we can charge our clients less just because we are able to work faster – we must charge the same amount in order to cover all of our expenses.

#5 Phone Calls
Phone calls which do not have anything related to the work we provide, or are questions that our clients are capable of answering by themselves are completely unnecessary.

If it rains, we are obviously behind and we will be working really hard towards getting all of our clients lawns maintained – a phone call expressing your concern over our arrival is rarely ever justified and will come off as nagging.

We will not tolerate clients who abuse our phone line by calling obsessively and/or leaving several voice messages. We ask for our clients to leave one detailed voice-message. If we have not responded to your message, we are most likely working towards solving the issue or your message is irrelevant. The above is not to be confused with poor customer service.

#6 Cutting Height
When it comes to the height in which we cut our clients lawns, a client may have a personal preference that we might disagree with. We always consider the balance between the appearance and health of your lawn, and we are uninterested in debating.

If your lawn becomes burnt, or is scalped due to being cut too short, passerby’s will think twice before hiring us, and if we cut your lawn leaving more than 3 inches, it wont take long before it looks unkempt. Your lawn will also retain more than enough rain water to delay our service.

#7 Payments
Over the past few years we’ve tried several different methods to make it easier for our clients to pay for our service on time. Nothing had worked!

We would contact our clients before their monthly payment was due, so that we would be able to arrange a date and time for us to pick up their cash or check. The majority of our clients were either bothered, or would not be available to pay. For the clients who we were unable to receive payment from, we had the choice to discontinue our service.

If we discontinued our service, their lawns would have grown out of control by the time they would finally make their payment. We would have to charge these clients more just to cover the expense of getting their lawn back to normal. These clients would usually argue with us about the added charge, which causes the relationship between the clients and our staff to become awkward.

If we continued service for a client who has not paid on time, our company would have to cover the expenses for the work we would provide. There have been several dishonest clients who have made false promises of making their payment(s) on a later scheduled date. The situation had become so large, we would begin firing all of our clients who were often unable to make their payments on time.

We finally allowed our clients to pay via PayPal or Interac Email Money Transfer. The results were the same as before – no one cared to pay on time.

In 2012, we will not accept anything other than 5 post-dated checks at the beginning of the lawn maintenance season. We hope that it will help us weed out the deadbeat clients.

With the added assurance that we are being paid on time, the quality of our service will surely improve.
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2011, 05:27 PM
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If this is meant for clients/potential clients to read, I suggest scrapping the idea, or re-writing it to sound less like you're calling your customers a pain in the a$$.
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgemaster View Post
If this is meant for clients/potential clients to read, I suggest scrapping the idea, or re-writing it to sound less like you're calling your customers a pain in the a$$.
Damn.

There has to be some way to go about this without having to repeat myself to customers all the time.

I suppose it really comes down to a receptionist who has more patience than myself.


Looks like rain soon, are you able to come early?


I have a lot on my plate right now.


Oh ok, because it's supposed to rain. Maybe you can cut my lawn earlier?


...


^ multiply that by A HECK OF A LOT, every day.

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 11-18-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:45 PM
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Do you think i would be helpful if this was put into a F.A.Q. format that was given to each new customer in your welcome kit?

Maybe as you go through this, you could come up with other frequently asked questions you could go over as well in it?
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