Lawn care customers trying to take advantage of you?

As you run your lawn care business you will find the vast majority of them to be happy with the service you offer and content enough to leave you to do your work. However there always will be a small percentage of them who will play games with you from the moment you meet. How you handle such problem customers can greatly effect your mood and your views on your business. If problem customers are allowed to continue to get under your skin, they may cause you to close shop in order to regain your sanity. This is a discussion that appeared on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

A lawn care business owner wrote “I have a couple of lawn care customers where seemingly everything I do is wrong and overpriced (and I’m WELL under the $60/hour rate). I believe they are trying to dupe me into more work for free by complaining about how much I charge (which we both agreed upon prior to work commencing).

Today marks the 2nd time in the same week that they’ve called to try and have me come back and do more work for no charge. So I’m now going to take down banana trees for free because my hedge trim job was not to their standard.

Initially they told me that they lost their previous lawn care guy and said he wouldn’t return their calls. Now I know why. Nothing is ever good enough for them, and they are constantly complaining about being overcharged.

Has anyone else run into such problem customers? What have you done with customers like these? I really think I should do this last job and drop them because I can see that they’ll be more trouble in the long run than they are worth. At the same time, I want positive word-of-mouth. I don’t want them to run to their friends and say that my company is incompitent and expensive.”

In such a situation, you can’t let your fear of a problem customer, bad mouthing you to their friends, stop you from moving on to greener pastures. Here is what a few other business owners shared.

- “If you can honestly say the job was done right & the price was prearranged and they continue with their bad behavior, drop em & move on. There are a few people like this out there and you are bound to pick one up every now and then. Once I dropped them I would replace them with someone who appreciates your hard work and approves of your prices.”

- “Don’t worry about bad word of mouth from him. He is a ‘user’ and everyone he knows, knows it. He is the type that is always trying to get someone to do something for him and never return the favor. He is the one that is always borrowing something and never returns it. His neighbors are probably wondering why you lasted so long!

Trying to satisfy him (who can’t be satisfied) only takes time away from other customers. Drop him. He is not worth the aggravation.”

- “I have two customers like this and they drive me insane. One just told me last week, when they received their bill, that I had not serviced thier property all month! I had to kindly remind them that I was there as I had to pick up their previous month’s payment 2 weeks late!

I plan on finishing out the month with them and givin’ em the boot.”

- “All I can say, is drop them. PERIOD. Don’t worry about the bad press from them. There are so many more client’s out there. If a customer gives me a hard time and I did the job right and felt good about it, then strike 1. Next complaint, strike 2. The last issue, I tell them, they’re Fired. I stand by my work 100%, and have customer telling me all the time how pleased they are with my service.”

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