Is $5 worth confronting a lawn care customer over?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you get called to give an estimate on a lawn care job, then perform the job, only to find out a week or so later when you get your check that the customer didn’t pay the exact amount you bid? What do you do in such situations? That is what this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum talks about. Depending on how you handle the situation could have an impact on any potential future interactions with that customer.

One lawn care business owner said “I gave an estimate of $85 to a guy for the clean-up of his front yard. Everything went smoothly and he was very happy with the work, but when I received the check, it was only for $80 bucks. I know $5 is no big deal, but my principles are telling me to tell the guy he short changed me $5 bucks. I’m just worried the trivial amount will make me look like a cheapskate. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I should also note that this guy was so happy that he asked me to give him a price for next year for weekly mowing, so I am worried about leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

Honestly if it was anything like $10 or more I’d pursue it but I think it was just an honest mistake. Plus he wants me to cut his lawn next year so I can always tack a few extra dollars onto the spring cleanup to make up for it. If it turns out the guy is a dishonest guy I’ll find out pretty quickly, drop him, and move on. But my gut tells me he’s decent person who just made an error.

It’s already been a few weeks since this all happened. Should I decide to pursue this ,would it be better to send him a bill with the balance as I do the rest of my bills or should I call him on this?”

A second lawn care business owner said “personally I would drop it and move on. It will probably cost you $5 in fuel to go back over, get the money, and then deposit it. More than likely it is an honest mistake.

I’ve had weekly scheduled customers send the wrong amount in the past. I’d just send them a balance due invoice as a reminder. If they called me about it and had a legitimate complaint, I’d drop the issue. Most of the time, I’d get a $5 check in the mail.

In this situation, I’d just write it off and move on.”

A third lawn care business owner said “this is a great lesson on why you need to present your estimates in writing. If you just tell them a price without it being written down, expect this to happen more often than not.

If I were to bring this to the customer’s attention, I’d do it as non-confrontational as possible. If he calls, you can say something like ’sometimes people pay less than the agreed upon amount accidentally and my bills are automated so even someone with a balance of 1¢, gets an invoice if I don’t catch it before they get sent out. You can either send a $5 check or I can waive the late fee and just tack it onto your next invoice.’ Let him know you feel it was a mistake, or even that it was your fault, and he won’t get upset like most people do when you tell them they are wrong about anything.”

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

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