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Big Lawn / Little Lawn / Frustrated Customer

One of my most valued customers is becoming increasingly frustrated with my services .

The work involves cutting Three tiny newly laid lawns which are perfectly manageable with my little cordless mower and always leaves a perfect finish , These lawns are at the front of the property and a bit of a show piece the way they are designed surrounded by the well stocked flower beds and the customers are always pleased with the finished results but they like them to look short and immaculate all the time but its a fortnightly visit , should be weekly in my opinion to maintain this standard .

The back lawn is more of a field and rough grass , nearly always damp and its got plenty of length in it on each fortnightly visit , It takes Three passes at different heights to mulch it to a desired height , customers accept its never going to be wembley stadium . 

All has gone well up until my last scheduled visit it was tipping it down although i still turned up and spoke to the customers in the pouring rain and they understood completely i couldnt cut the lawns

The lawns are due to be cut next week on a specific day but upon checking the weather forecast i notice there is 90% chance of rain so contacted the customer and pointed this out adding i will call and do the lawns on a day there is a dry gap but cant say which day . 

They have taken exception to this reasonable offer and taken it the wrong way and now say if i dont come on appointed day they will find somebody else . 

It makes me feel a bit inadequate like my services are crap , i like the customers and its a lucrative job but when i say my machines wont cut wet grass they say i am making excuses . 

I have a viking mower which eats wet grass but its too big for the little lawns and not robust enough for the back lawn .

All other customers are flexible as regards thier lawns cutting 

Whats the answer ?


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  • I never make firm promises to any of my customers that I will come on a specific day. They just know I will come and do it when I can and the time is right. Personally I would take that customer up on that offer of them finding somebody else! That back lawn sounds a nightmare at the best of times

  • Billybop is right. They sound very unreasonable. Anyone with any sense and everybody knows that mowing in the pouring rain is a bad idea. Any genuine person would really appreciate you making the effort to mow on a dry day. What difference does one or two days make on a fortnightly visit, if that means making a nice job in the dry or doing a less than good job in the wet.

    I’ve never had this problem with any client. I turn up when I turn up and they all know that I am fitting everything in around work and the weather. If I mow this time on Wednesday and in a fortnight I mow on Thursday no one cares, as no one should.

    It seems to me that although you might be initially financially worse off without them, in the long run you will certainly be psychologically better off. People like this are an emotional drain on you.   

  • You can't be certain of the weather forecast for a few days time.................  perhaps you'd do better to see what it's like on the day and then if it's raining, give them the choice of doing it then or leaving to the next day? 

  • Chances are they are looking for an excuse to find someone else and want you to make that call with their unreasonable behaviour.  I would try to do the best you can for what remains of the season and if things haven't improved then look for other jobs.  i lost a valued mowing job mid season to a bloody robot mower and a list of excuses.   I can tell you that makes you feel inadequate!  Billybop is right the back lawn sounds a pain.  You are being reasonable and doing the best you can, you can do no more than your best and if you lose a job you will soon find another.   It maybe that they are thinking about robots and just can't find a nice way of telling you.    

    • it might be a relative or frend that has been put out of work and they are going to do it 

      there is plenty of work about at the moment 

  • If you're owed, get paid, then walk away.

  • PRO

    If it takes three passes to bring the rear down and the front is supposed to be a showpiece, then it seems fairly obvious that both should be cut weekly to achieve the finish the customers desire.

    Otherwise the customers could do the front themselves the week you don’t go.

    Is it actually in your own interest to start going weekly, presumably that won’t give you the opportunity to have a holiday over the summer and may be too much of a commitment? 

    • Newly laid turf is always a nightmare during the first 12 to 18 months.

      Starts of lumpy before it settles, so the mower jumps about everywhere.

      You have to start off with a light mower to avoid sinking into the turf.

      And it grows at a mental rate.

      Hence weekly cuts or if you're fortnightly and only taking a max of 50% off the height, it'll look shabby.

      Back to the original post though, doesn't sound like they appreciate you. If it were me, I'd get paid and then move on. As one door closes another will open.

      • PRO

        Thanks for the replies , much appreciated . 

        Its moved on and hammering it down with rain ( literally as i write ) 

        No one else would attempt to cut these lawns in this weather , I doubt anyone anywhere has a petrol mower small enough that picks up wet grass for the tiny front lawns , certainly wouldn't use a cordless machine in this rain and the alternative would be an electric flymo but since electricity and water dont mix ? 

        The problem here is they insist the work is always carried out before the garden waste bin is due to be emptied .   The reality is the work does not generate more than 50 litres of grass clippings from the front lawns , possibly the odd weed and some soft dead heading from the borders , back lawn is always mulched so nothing to remove . 

        To provide the ultimate service i have in the past taken away the small amount of grass clippings for free to put in my own compost to save putting the garden bin out but they have insisted i put the empty bin out just the same , people have ingrained habits and routines so i am not one to argue and do as instructed but pointless in my opinion . 

        They are simply creatures of habit but equally so when it comes to making payment its in the bank at the end of my shift includes any overtime worked out precisely to the fraction even if its just fifteen minutes without my prompting  . 

        obviously they must be curtain twitchers which doesn't offend me and last working visit we discussed plans for a back garden makeover and i know i can rely on their integrity to pay .I think i am a bit shocked at their suggestion/outburst of finding someone else for me the damage is done , i slept on it and think its an unreasonable reaction . 

        My wife says i can choose to take it personally or dismiss it but bottom line its controlling behaviour on their part which i dont need .

        I seemingly cannot change the outcome because its raining so will leave it to them , i have a waiting list not said in arrogance and i enjoyed working in the garden but cannot be held to ransom .


        • Got to go with your gut feeling on this one.

          If someone told me they'd be finding someone else if I didn't turn up I'd definitely be off.

          Let them contact you.
          From the sound of it they are going to struggle to keep anyone else they do manage to find.

          Have a good week anyhow.

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