When to say goodbye to a mowing customer.

There are easy mowing customers to deal with and there are difficult ones. The easy ones agree to a simple list of services, don’t knit pick, and pay you promptly. Then there are those customers who always want you to do one or two more extra things for free. ‘Could you just do this, while you’re here? Could you just do that?’ In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get some insight as to how veteran lawn care business owners deal with such situations.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have a mowing customer that I have been mowing for over a year now. This year she decides to start trying to tack on crap and try and get freebies out of me. I keep on telling her that I will not work for free, if you want for me to do more work that is not listed on the contract then you will have to pay me more and she thinks that since she is RICH that she can have whatever she wants!

I am almost to my point of walking away from this client but the sad part is, if I leave this client, I will lose about $200.00 in extra income a month.

This is how the conversations go.

  • Customer: When you get done mowing can you spread 4 bags of mulch?
  • Me: If you would like for me to do extra services for you, I will have to charge you for it.
  • Customer: But it will only take 5 minutes!
  • Me: It’s not about the time, it’s about adding more duties to me that were not outlined in the contract you signed.
  • Customer: Ok but will you trim my trees before you leave for free?
  • Me: I will have to charge you extra for this service since there are over 40 trees on your property.
  • Customer : Oh come on, you can do it for free.

It’s like I either am going to have to bite my tongue and do the work for free or suck it up and tell my customer to find someone else.

I am the 3rd lawn service company that she has hired within the past 4 years. I just wish she was like my other mowing customers which leave the money under a door mat and are never home when I come to mow the lawns.

What should I do?”

A second lawn care business owner responded “I guess the answer really depends on how much you need that extra $200 each week and how difficult it would be to replace her.

Here is an example on how I would handle a similar situation.

  • Customer: Hey, can you pull the weeds in the beds by the garage while you’re here?
  • Me: Sure, I’d normally charge $45 for that, but since you’re one of my regular mowing clients I can do it for $30.” (even if you’d have charged someone ELSE $30)

I have a 90 year old woman who has begun asking for oddball things like watering a plant, or ‘can you put my trash to the curb if you’re in the area?’

It’s up to you to decide what/how much you are willing to put up with. BTW, I didn’t stop by to put out her trash, but I do always return the empty can to her house when I’m there on mow day.”

A third shared “I once had a customer such as this. When she pushed me to my breaking point and went to hand me her late check to boot, I told her to keep it and find a new service.

Looking back, I should have taken the check and told her to find a new service. Lol.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well it pays, ya just gotta move on. Those customers that don’t appreciate you and continually expect more and more of you , for free, aren’t worth it. You never enjoy working for that kind of customer.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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