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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.

What to do?


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 08-07-2009, 05:58 PM
tomcat172002
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I have a customer who is 87 years old. She went into surgery for a hip repalcement. She is now in a nursing home and her daugher-in-law is taking care of her bills.

What I do is I have a spreadsheet with my customers names on it. Next to it is a grid that I have with slots to put the dates when I cut. I keep it on a clipboard in my car. After I finish with a lawn I write the date I cut the lawn. Then at the end of the month I use it for billing. For me its pretty effective. I have never had a problem until now.

I got a call on my answering maching. This daugher-in-law called and said "I am only paying you for 3 cuts this month. I was there for 2 weeks straight and the one cut you did not do". Please call me so we can discuss this.

Ok I called once from work and got her voice mail. Then I called from home with my clip board. I read her off the dates I told her I cut and I wanted her to call me back. What can I do at this point? I can show her my log?!? I have another customer about 2 streets away from this lady both get cut at the same time. I honestly cut her lawn I did not try to lie and get away with something but this lady is making me out to be a liar WHICH I AM NOT.

So do I stick to my guns and say I want payment in full or your done. Or do I say thats ok if you don't like the cut then its free? What should I do? I don't want to lose the customer but I don't want to be a push over either.
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2009, 06:05 PM
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I would let it go. It is only one mow. Although yes i think she should pay for it but if you want to keep her as a customer then let it go. If she pulls this again then go a different route.
~Trevor
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:10 PM
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No, stick to your guns. Do not give in. Some people test you to see how much they can take advantage of you.

DO NOT give in. I don't care if you cut the lawn for $5.
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:44 PM
tomcat172002
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I see both of your points.

First if I tell her its ok then I look like I was lying to begin with which I was not.

If I tell her sorry if you don't pay me then I lose a customer and future revenue.

I double checked my billing and the log an they are both correct, I didn't make a mistake. Is there anything I can say or do to get both? I have no other way to prove, to her that I cut the lawn except my log. I don't write down the exact time I was there but that has never been an issue for me.

If I say I am going to keep cutting but from now on I am going to except pay and I will leave a card with the exact time I was there? I want to get paid now per cut not bill her per month? How would I prevent this from happening again?

The only thing I can think of is that I rasied my deck height from 3 1/2 to 3 3/4. Maybe the week I did it she couldn't tell I cut but I did. Right not in Cleveland its really hot and dry so this time of year I am cutting at the high range.

One other thing my price on this lawn is $25. Its pretty low its going to be really hard for them to try to match that price. The neighbor is paying about $35 to get there grass cut so this lady might be screwing herself here.
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2009, 06:57 PM
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I would tell her that I did cut it.

I'd say, "I actually did cut your lawn, so you can either pay me for my work &
we can continue doing business together, or you can find another company"


If she doesn't want to pay, that's fine, fire her as a client.

She'll have trouble (maybe not) trying to find another company who will offer the same price.

Don't let her get away with saying, "Well how about I get my lawn done bi-weekly"

she'll just become a hassle, you know she's just trying to pay less & less & with her attitude she will probably not pay you anyway.

Call her & say, "Hi Mrs. XXXX, this is XXXX from XXXXX, I'm calling in regards to your lawn being mowed on XXXX. I have checked the records I have & it clearly states the date on which your lawn was mowed. I did not miss a mowing like you had said I did. So I'm leaving you with two options.

1) You can pay me for the previous mowing, & we can continue doing business together.

2) You can keep your money & look for another service.

please get back to me before XXXX, thank you.
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2009, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Ok I called once from work and got her voice mail. Then I called from home with my clip board. I read her off the dates I told her I cut and I wanted her to call me back. What can I do at this point? I can show her my log?!? I have another customer about 2 streets away from this lady both get cut at the same time. I honestly cut her lawn I did not try to lie and get away with something but this lady is making me out to be a liar WHICH I AM NOT.

So do I stick to my guns and say I want payment in full or your done. Or do I say thats ok if you don't like the cut then its free? What should I do? I don't want to lose the customer but I don't want to be a push over either.
I think this goes to show you the power of having good customer relationships. This isnt your fault. The daughter in law comes over to take care of things, you don't know her and she is suspect of you and probably everyone else. Who knows whats going on in her mind at the moment. She might not be in a 'happy place'.

But if it's going to be like this with her from now on, you gotta ask yourself, do you need this? Is she gonna pull this again?

I would base my decision on that. If I could let it go one time and live with it, I would keep servicing them. If I couldn't then I would disagree with her and find another client to fill her spot.

Are you leaning one way or the other?
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:06 PM
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Well right now I have yet to talk to her so I am glad eveybody is writing me back. I guess I would like to hear what she has to say about this. I know for a fact I cut the lawn 4 times. No questions asked. Maybe this lady came over on Monday then Thursday and thought that I wasn't there? But I actually was there on Tuesday. If she is sincere then she is thinking the opposite of what I am thinking that I am trying to get away with something. By the tone of her voice on the machine it seems she is pretty mad. I am also mad about the situation but I cannot let that cloud my decision here. I don't want to lose a customer, Steve what would you do? Is there anyway to have her pay me and keep her? Thats a win win but I don't know if its possible. Becasue she is the daughter-in-law she doesn't know me like all my other customers do. I don't have a relationship with her and thats the problem. All my customers know me and I talk with them when I see them. They like me and I think that its important for building a business. In this case I am really caught between a rock and a hard place. I cannot just let it go but I don't want to lose future revenue over a misconception either. I guess I am going to have to see how she talks to me over the phone.

Tom
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:54 PM
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Ok,

I just spoke to this woman. I told her that I was there on the 20th, which I was. I said I am being totally honest that I cut the lawn that day. She said that she was there and didn't see me. I told her because this is my side job I have to do it after my full time job in the afternoons. I looked at my log it was the 3rd out of 4 lawns I did that day. Since her mother-in-law is in rehab and no one lives there what harm would it do if I cut in the late afternoons? She said fine she believed me. She said that her son also noticed that it didn't look like it was cut. I said, "well I don't know what to do here?" I have nothing to gain by lying to you. I only have a few customers and I would never just bill someone for nothing. I told her from now on I would write down the times I was there just so she knew I was there. She then thanked me for calling her back. I guess she is going to pay me in full but I didn't bring it up. What is important is the fact that she knows I was there and did what I said I did. I also didn't lose a customer which is important as well. Going forward I am going to write down the times for her. I don't want this problem to happen again. I didn't want to play hardball with this woman just yet. She seems sincere and she knows that I seemed to be telling the truth as well. Thanks everyone for writing me back.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:10 PM
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A little while back we were talking about how you can get custom printed post it notes. I put up a free template design that can be downloaded here.

Maybe it would be easy to implement something like this where you write a date and time you were at the location and stick it inside the front screen door or something like that?

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  #10  
Old 08-07-2009, 10:16 PM
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Steve,

Thanks that looks great I am going to start leaving those at her home. Alot of older people tend to forget when you were there. This is a great tool to help me show when I was there date and time. I am going to get a bunch printed up.

Thanks again

Tom
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