How to handle a lawn care customer you never met.

Lawn care customers dream up some pretty amazing requests, situations, and scenarios. The quicker you can deal with them, the smoother the situation will go. Here is a great example of a crazy situation as discussed on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Once you read it, you will be better prepared to handle such situations in the future.

One lawn care business owner wrote “how would you guys approach following situation.

You get a call from a person that lives far away but he has a local piece of property that is up for sale and it needs some good work on the curb appeal before it can be sold. Besides setting up a lawn care contract for him to sign, how do you make sure you get your money? Initially there will be charges for $200 with ongoing lawn mowing maintenance after. Because of the amount of money involved, if I didn’t get paid after a month, I don’t feel it would be worth hunting him down afterwards with legal steps to force payment. Yet still, if I am going to perform any kind of work, I want to be paid for it without worrying about if I will or not.

On the phone he mentioned his neighbor will pay for him. Is this another case of trust your guts. Should I walk away?”

A second lawn care business owner responded “In my experience, if it sounds like BS it usually is and you will get screwed in the end.

If a customer calls me from out of town and needs something done, unless I get to meet them face to face and look that person in the eye prior to doing the work, they need to pay 1st or I am not interested. I am not here to finance anyone’s projects and I don’t extend credit to clients I’ve never met before.

At a bare minimum…. Ask for full name and billing address. Then look up that name in that town and make sure they are who they say they are and that they actually live where they say they live. I have been burned twice by out of town a’holes on untraceable cell phones. NEVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN. CYA”

A third added “I agree. For such work, you need to get your money upfront. If they are trustworthy,¬† they will pay or in your case the neighbor will pay you. Tell them the truth, you need money upfront, just to cover your butt. If they are honest people, there will be no problem. If they say no or well let’s see what you do first, then RUN and warn the next sucker you see near that property. They may be competition, but we still have to look out for each other, at least a little!”

A fourth shared “prepay only for stuff like this I say. Possibly have him pay via paypal or with a credit card, that way he is protected since he can reverse charges if you fail to do work. Handling the payment terms this way, the customer has no excuse for not prepaying.

Something you also need to do to protect yourself is take before and after pictures so you can show that you did indeed perform the work you said you would if they reverse charges.”

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