Lawn care customer early warning signs.

It seems like 90% of your lawn care customers will never be a bother and will pay on time. They won’t ask for additional free lawn care services. They won’t try to haggle you down to the point you are losing money on a job. They will just be pleasant to work with. But then there is that 10% out there who will cause you more stress than you want to deal with. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you gotta pay attention to the early warning signs with your new customers. When your warning alert goes off, it may be time to leave them and move on.

He wrote “I have a landscape business and have had to deal with some pain in the ass people over the years, but this one guy today is just really pissing me off. Here is how the whole situation went. I mowed his yard last fall, and now he in the spring he calls and wants me to mulch, edge, and give him a spring clean-up.

I have all the measurements, for the mulch beds and it came out to be that he would need 8 yards. The price for mulch came out to $240 for black, without the delivery charge added in yet. I charge $55 per yard installed which comes out to $440. The edging I charge is .25 cents per foot. I know it is a little low, but I make my money up with other services. In total came out to $43 for edging. The clean-up I estimated would take 3 hours which comes out to $225. So a total of $948 for the job.

He told me he didn’t want to spend that much and asked just for the front yard to be mulched, and revise the quote I gave him. For this, he would need 5 yards of mulch and it came out to $150. Installation came out to $275. The clean-up was still $160. The edging was $43. So the total came to be $628.

The labor for this job comes out to $478 and I told him I would do it for $400. This was for the 5 yards installed. After that bid, he called me back and now wants me to do the 8 yards installed for a total of $550 for the job with the materials included. So that would leave $310 for labor, edging, 8 yards installed and his yard cleaned up. I argued with him for about ten minutes and he said I kept changing my price, which I didn’t! I kept going back and forth between the 5 yd job and the 8 yd price. I explained the installation per yard charge, and that others in my area charge $65 per yd installed.

So I am pretty much at the point where I just don’t want to deal with him, other than the fact, he still wants me to mow his lawn for the price I quoted. He also has commercial property that he was going to give to mow. Now I’m trying to decide if I should just do it at his price to get the accounts, or just say forget it because the guy is a real pain in the ass. I think I might be better off just moving on, but what do you guys think, or what would you do in this situation?”

A second lawn care business owner said “you need to stick to your guns with this guy. You set the price and it was fair. From your very detailed breakdown of the charges, you know what you need to make for your lawn care company to make a profit. Don’t budge.

He will haggle you all the time if you take on his landscaping accounts. Been there, done that. I had to drop clients who tried to take advantage of me or my company. It just isn’t worth it. Every month they had an issue or wanted something else done at no extra charge.

If you were to do the job, make sure you have a job order or contract made up and he agreed to it and signed it. Just for your protection. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt if you received half up front and the rest when you are done with the job.”

A third lawn care business owner shared “Been there done that too! Two weeks ago I had a client that I have been mowing for a year and a half. They always pay on time and had a fair price for the annual lawn care agreement.

So listen to this, a few weeks ago she came to me and asked if I would give her a price on painting her living room, kitchen & dinning room for her that she had to get it done she had friends coming in and her painter friend could not schedule her in. Reluctant to do so, I told her we are not painters, and I was not sure I could work it into my schedule. She said please, over and over needing it bad, so I said ok but remember we are not painters and I could not guarantee the work.

So me and one other guy go over there on a Friday. I rescheduled everything for this so I had all day to complete it. I get there now she wants 5 different colors on 6 walls errrrrrr…. ok I say. It’s a good lawn account, and I was getting $350 for painting. She bought all the paint, but this was still really cheap and I was just doing it to help her out.

To prepare for this job I even talked to a couple of painters that said it should pay $600 to $700 for the job. Anyway, we worked all day painting from 8am till 7:45 at night to meet her dead line. When we were done, she was so pleased and could not say enough how much she loved the job, and paid us.

Well the weekend came and went, her guest did too, and I get a call from her on the next Monday, screaming at me how bad it was all people did was tell her what an awful job we did and that we were idiots. She demanded we give her money back and fired us from doing the lawn also!

People can be crazy. I think she is bi-polar. She was being so rude, and screaming, and when she called me and idiot I could not hold back anymore, I told her off and hung up. Then she called back saying she was going to take me to court.

Sorry for running on with a very sore subject for me, but the moral of this story is, life is way too short to put up with jerks. That’s why most of us work for ourselves anyway, so I say drop him fast.”

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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