How to handle dead beat realtor customers.

There is quite a lot of work you can find when you network up with local realtors. They are constantly selling homes and many times these homes need yard clean ups. Performing these jobs can mean great money but what happens when the realtors don’t pay you for your work? That’s what happened to this one member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and here is a suggestion on how to resolve the issue.

One lawn care business owner wrote “so here’s my problem. I mow lawns for this realtor. He will call me from time to time and say that he is selling a house and needs me to mow a lawn for him, so I do it. Now here’s the tough part, getting paid for it.

So let’s fast forward past the endless messages and promises to clear his account. So I call him and get him on the phone. ‘Hi my name is John, I did a mowing job for you on May 5th …..can I get payed?’ Okay so he finally says that I didn’t do the cut (which I did, in front of the homeowner’s sister) and he claims he paid someone else for it and that they mowed it three days after I did it! So I insist that I did it, to no avail. I then proceeded to tell him off, and what he did is theft of services. I’m a small business and have tried to contact him for months to clear the issue and now I get ‘you didn’t mow it?’ I am very angry.

So it looks like I’m not gonna get my 25 bucks for cutting the lawn. It’s not worth suing over.

So this is what I want to do. I want to send his real estate company a letter detailing his unprofessionalism in hiring me through their Real Estate company and then not paying. I don’t even care if it does anything, I just want someone at his office to recieve a professional and well worded document saying what bullshit this is.

SOOOO, How do I word it………thats the issue?”

A second lawn care business owner suggested “dealing with customers can be a real challange and a test of your temper at times. It is critical that we never lose our cool in front of them, instead take it out on a tree or something when no one is around. There is an old saying that says kill them with kindness and I believe this to be true and have seen it work many times.

Consider writing a good will letter. I have had to write one many times over the years and they cut to the bone and most of the time yield results. Remember to kill them with kindness.

Based on what you have written, I would get the business card of the realtor, then make a call to their regional office and find out who the regional manager is and get his card, both should have an email address.

Write an email and title it: Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.

Dear Mr. Realtor

On behalf of my small comany XXXX Lawn Care I would like to extend my appreciation for your request to mow and trim the lawn at xxxx address.

While mowing the lawn I had an oportunity to say hello to the sellers ??sister??, a very nice lady.

Being a one person operation attempting to make ends meet in a very difficult economic environment, I would appreciate being paid the $xx.xx owed as per our verbal agreement.

I’m glad the house in question sold and would appreciate the opportunity to assist you in any future yard care services required. It is however important for me to continue to receive payment. I have left several messages and we have spoken about this numerous times.

Wishing you continued success,

Your Name
Use this as a core structure for your letter and feel free to add, or take away parts as needed.

If you do not receive some type of response, I can explain how to take this to the next level. Basically by passing this realtor and going directly to the regional manager, it is critical we stay cool and stick to the facts. Don’t bring up any other information that is not relevant to the situation at hand. If worded properly you will see results. If not then drop it and move on, but never forget.

I don’t think any company can afford an employee that is tarnishing their image. Real estate companies have to have employees that are top drawer.

A regional manager would ‘assume’ people in the lawn care industry would have a massive amount of contacts, and because we are on the clients property often. We have a close relationship with many people in the area. He/she also knows their is such a thing as coffee shop talk, much like going to the barber to find out what is really going on in town. He/she will not allow an employee to tarnish their image. He/she should be down this realtor’s throat in a heartbeat about this issue and not give a rat’s a## whether he thought the lawn was mowed or not. He should be told to pay up immediately.

I have a fairly close relationship with many realtors in my area and to them, image is everything. So consider taking these steps and see if they provide you with positive results.”

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