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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

The drama was all in my head


Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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  #1  
Old 05-29-2010, 07:45 PM
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Thumbs up The drama was all in my head

I took a job from someone that found me online. Out of town but her mother lives in my city. I checked and measured the lawn and quite frankly I didn't think I wanted the job. There is stuff all over the yard (non-working cars, barrels, dog houses, randomly planted and unmulched shrubberies and flowers, etc) that I'd have to trim around. I figured it and added $10 for the extra trimming. I was sure they'd balk at the price but they didn't so I accepted the job.

When I got there the first time she walked me through the entire yard telling me the names and importance of each flower and shrub. She didn't want me to run anything over. I was thinking that she was extremely picky and wouldn't be happy with anything so after the "grand tour" I got to work and did a fine job. I came in under the predicted time and I was happy with the money for the job. Unfortunately, I did nick one of her flowers with my mower. :uhoh: I was sure she'd be upset about it the next time I was there but she was all smiles and praise. She was so happy with the mowing. I made myself nervous over nothing.

I guess I should wait for people to complain about something before worrying about it.

Last edited by mark123; 05-29-2010 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 05-30-2010, 08:17 AM
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Sometimes and I find this in woodworking more than lawn care/excavation, the expectations we put on ourselves are or can be far beyond the clients. I can build something or do a job where I see imperfections yet the client never sees it and raves over what we have done, I found personally in time we get into the groove and build confidence, today for me I still see imperfections but if the client is happy then I am happy and they tell their friends about our work.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:18 PM
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This is very interesting. Over time, we see certain patterns of behavior from others. From those patterns we construct personalities profiles of others.

But what happens when we think people are going to act one way and they act another? Can we ultimately be sure of our profiling or when in business do we need to keep an open mind with everyone. If we don't are we simply going to lose business?

What's the best way to go about this when at times we can't be sure of how a customer will react, regardless of our previous experience?
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Old 05-31-2010, 04:34 AM
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This is very interesting. Over time, we see certain patterns of behavior from others. From those patterns we construct personalities profiles of others.

But what happens when we think people are going to act one way and they act another? Can we ultimately be sure of our profiling or when in business do we need to keep an open mind with everyone. If we don't are we simply going to lose business?

What's the best way to go about this when at times we can't be sure of how a customer will react, regardless of our previous experience?
About the only show I watch on TV is Criminal Minds, Profiling a person is quite an art, if you can do it then you are a step ahead of the game. I have taken so many courses over the years, especially at the bank where we were taught to do this, called many things but the bottom line is you were profiling the customer. I still have people I can't read or they put up one heck of a nice guy front then sometimes try to take advantage of you which I never read at the start.

I think a lot of this is confidence, simply go in, do the best job you can then let the chips fall and deal with any issues.

We have talked a lot about braking into the upper end community as they pay so well and pay on time which is true, we have so many now I am noticing a common trend this year, many are unreasonable. We have a few very large mowing contracts and may the good lord help you if one friggin blade of grass was missed and I am very serious, it's as if they go out looking, I have been called to come look at trimming jobs mainly, the client found a few blades of grass under a shrub, in one case one blade of grass along a walkway and complained.

At the moment it is taking the trimming crews about 50% longer on these high end accounts which is a pain as the mowers were finishing way before so I had to add a person to each crew just to trim then have a mower guy who is generally a supervisor do an inspection, this is working but man it's a slow go and I know the company before us did not do near the quality we do as I receive that feedback all the time.

Upside is when a crew does a super job they quite often get a $20, $50 or in one case a customer was so happy gave them $100.00 cash bonus. I don;t mind this but I do remind them not to expect this on a regular basis and continue the great work.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:50 PM
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We have talked a lot about braking into the upper end community as they pay so well and pay on time which is true, we have so many now I am noticing a common trend this year, many are unreasonable.
I wonder if this would be something that could be put on a chart! How fascinating!

Ultimately it seems that at a certain point there is a diminishing return as you go for higher end customers.

Maybe there needs to be a specific crew that is trained to only do high end work. It sounds like what needs to be done is quite different than what is done on an average lawn.
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Old 06-01-2010, 04:07 AM
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I wonder if this would be something that could be put on a chart! How fascinating!

Ultimately it seems that at a certain point there is a diminishing return as you go for higher end customers.

Maybe there needs to be a specific crew that is trained to only do high end work. It sounds like what needs to be done is quite different than what is done on an average lawn.
I use the same crews at these locations and it is getting lot better, it isn't that they were doing sloppy work, it's that the demands are absolute perfection in every area. These jobs pay very, very well so if I have to put an extra trimmer to ensure everything is done bang on, I am still making a very good profit, I will do what it takes but I think it's very important to always use the same people. In my experience on these private communities, it takes three or four mows to really get a handle on the process of getting it done, most of these are taking a three person crew 7 hours to complete.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:02 PM
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Oh very interesting! Another thing I wonder is when crews are trained to do great work does it trickle down to other customers and do they apply this new work standard to everyone.
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Old 06-02-2010, 03:40 AM
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Oh very interesting! Another thing I wonder is when crews are trained to do great work does it trickle down to other customers and do they apply this new work standard to everyone.
It probably would however I have two crews in this area and all they do is the upper end homes, I have another crew for lawn care that handles all other sites.

You can train until you are blue in the face at times, some just don't have an eye for detail, so you have to move them, let them go etc. These two crews get paid more than others as I want them to meet the customers expectations.

If they applied this work standard to every lawn site, I would have to increase rates due to the time on the site. These clients do not want mowers flying across their property and trust me there is always someone around it seems, I would guess they mow at half speed tops.
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Old 06-03-2010, 12:45 AM
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Is there a way to say how much more time is needed to be spent on higher end properties versus the same sized average property?

Is it double the time or a quarter of the time more?
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:59 AM
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Is there a way to say how much more time is needed to be spent on higher end properties versus the same sized average property?

Is it double the time or a quarter of the time more?
At the moment I would guess it's about 35 percent longer, it was over 50 three weeks ago, I haven't checked the times this week.
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