Sometimes it seems relaxing just isn’t possible.

Running a business can be very difficult for many reasons. It’s tough to figure out your trade and perform it to the best of your abilities. But it can be even tougher trying to satisfied customers you simply don’t mesh with. In this discussion, from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, an entrepreneur talks about how he decided to weed out problem customers once he came to the realization, he just wasn’t able to relax anymore.

One lawn care business owner wrote “more and more lately it seems many people around me have told me to relax and take some time off from the business. So today, I finished mowing a few lawns around noon. I then put on some swimming shorts went for a swim. I jumped into the pool and WOW. I sunk to the bottom and just felt so refreshed I didn’t want to resurface. So I swam around for a while trying to get my aches to go away.

Now BEFORE I even jumped in the pool, a former lawn care customer calls and starts nagging me. He was trying to make me out to be a bad guy, telling me I lost a good customer because I didn’t bother to call him to collect his July payment.

I told him how I want to run my business and that I don’t have just him as a customer. I’m also not interested anymore in chasing people who are late on their payments.

He then said, ‘you didn’t have to chase me, if you called me I would have had your money for you right away!’

I responded by saying ‘I sent you an invoice stating the payment due date - I sent you that paper so that I WOULDN’T have to call you, so that I don’t have to waste any more of my time. Your not my only customer and to think  should be calling up each and every person to remind them to pay for the new month, that’s just not the way I’m running this business. An invoice is a reminder for YOU and everyone else to contact me to make your payment, it is sufficient enough and no one else has a problem with it! Why would I be interested in calling up everyone to ask when they can pay? Payment is due the first Friday of every month so that people can pay me by the time I show up to do the first mowing of the month. This saves me gas and time. I like to have everyone pay around the same time within one week, I don’t understand why you can’t see eye to eye with me.’

He said, ‘if you continue to operate like this, you’ll lose so many customers. I have my business and I make the effort to call customers to collect money. You should have reminded me, ESPECIALLY me. I’m a good guy and you know that.’

I said, ‘what customers will I lose? The ones that make my life more difficult and those who can’t make an honest effort on their own to pay me? So be it! If they have to be reminded again to pay for the new month even after invoices have been sent out, I don’t want them! There are plenty of people out there who don’t require me to hold their hand and to think I’d settle for less is just plain silly. My business will be built with respectful customers and just as a reminder, I’m in this business to enjoy it, which means I don’t want to put up with unneeded bullcrap.

As a businessman yourself, I’d figure you’d understand me when I say I have more than one customer. Everyone has a special request, not just you. If you were my only customer, I’d call and remind you to pay, but honestly, I’m not small and I’d have to be calling too many people, I don’t get paid to do that and I don’t have the time.’

So then I went swimming trying not to let my brain explode. For some reason this month I have actually really felt the stress in me.  I have yet to wake up one morning on my own. Some customer always has to call me and talk to me about service. So I open my eyes, grab the phone, and say as properly as I can, ‘Hello, Lawn Service.’ Jump out of bed and run to the nearest pen and paper.

It seems like I can’t get away for even an hour, without regretting it. If I turn off the phone, I end up with tons of missed calls and complaints for not answering.

Former customers believe I’m not running my business properly, though I’m truly just trying to look out for myself and change the game to fit my needs and abilities. I still offer fantastic service to those who pay, yet it’s never enough to some. There has always got to be a problem.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I can totally understand trying to get your business where you want it to be with the customers you want. I also definitely think it’s a good idea to cut off service once a customer is over due. There is no reason to keep mowing for free.

In this situation, I might give them a phone call at least though. If they try to make their own catch up payment plan, I would let them know that they had a payment plan and until it’s caught up, there will be no further service.

As far as bad word of mouth goes, if a customer is a dead beat, this usually carries over into their personal lives as well. Those that listen to them and take heed to what they say are probably dead beats as well. Those friends of such customers who know they are dead beats, probably take it anything they say with a grain of salt and wouldn’t hesitate to call you for service.

Getting the customers you want, that pay you when you need to be paid, will allow you to enjoy that swim more often.”

Order the book “The Lawn Care Business Can Get Dirty, Ugly, And Mean.: Stories Of Survival And Success To Get You Through The Rough Times” today.

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