What to do when a customer says you didn’t mow their lawn, when you did.

There will always be conflicts you have to deal with as a business owner. Some customers will be picky about your performance. Others will be late payers. Then there will be a small group that will want to fight you over whether or not you had ever showed up on a given day to mow their lawn. Here is a great story and how to deal with such a situation from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have a customer who is 87 years old. She went into surgery for a hip replacement. She is now in a nursing home and her daughter in law is taking care of her bills.

When I go out to mow my lawn care customers, I take along with me a scheduling spreadsheet with my customers names on it. Next to it is a grid that I have with slots to put the dates when I cut. I keep it on a clipboard in my car. After I finish mowing a lawn I write down the date I cut the lawn. Then at the end of the month I use it for creating my billing. For me it’s pretty easy and effective. I have never had a problem until now.

I got a message on my answering machine. This daughter in law called and said ‘I am only paying you for 3 cuts this month. I was there for 2 weeks straight and the one cut you did not do.’ Please call me so we can discuss this.

Ok I called once from work and got her voice mail. Then I called from home with my clipboard. I read her off the dates I told her I cut and I wanted her to call me back. What can I do at this point? I can show her my log?!? I have another customer about two streets away from this lady and both get cut at the same time. I honestly cut her lawn. I am not trying to lie to get away with something but this lady is making me out to be a liar WHICH I AM NOT.

So do I stick to my guns and say I want payment in full or your done? Or do I say that’s ok if you don’t like the cut then it’s free? I don’t want to lose the customer but I don’t want to be a push over either.

The only thing I can think of why she might feel I wasn’t there was that I raised my deck height from 3 1/2″ to 3 3/4″. Maybe the week I did it she couldn’t tell I cut but I did. Right not in it’s really hot and dry so this time of year I am cutting at the high range.

One other thing, my price on this lawn is $25. It’s pretty low and it’s going to be really hard for them to try to match that price. The neighbor is paying about $35 to get their grass cut, so this lady might be screwing herself here.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I would let it go. It is only one mow. Although yes I think she should pay for it but if you want to keep her as a customer then let it go. If she pulls this again then go a different route.”

A third shared “stick to your guns. Do not give in. Some people test you to see how much they can take advantage of you. DO NOT give in. I don’t care if you cut the lawn for $5.”

A fourth added “I would tell her that I did mow it. I’d say, ‘I actually did cut your lawn, so you can either pay me for my work and we can continue doing business together, or you can find another company.’

If she doesn’t want to pay, that’s fine, fire her as a client. She’ll have trouble (maybe not) trying to find another company who will offer the same price. Don’t let her get away with saying, ‘Well how about I get my lawn done bi-weekly.’ She’ll just become a hassle. You know she’s just trying to pay less and with her attitude she will probably not pay you anyway.

Call her and say, ‘Hi Mrs. XXXX, this is XXXX from XXXXX. I’m calling in regards to your lawn being mowed on XXXX. I have checked my records and it clearly states the date on which your lawn was mowed. I did not miss a mowing. So I’m leaving you with two options.

  1. You can pay me for the previous mowing and we can continue doing business together.
  2. You can keep your money and look for another service.

Please get back to me before XXXX, thank you.”

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