Turning up to job to find gate bolted

Morning allSo I've turned up to a job this morning - where we had organised that the gate would be unbolted so I could access the garden - to find that the gate has in fact not been unbolted!As I sit here in a van full of plants that I've just picked up for this job waiting for a reply to my text and phone call to the customer I'm just wondering what you would do/have done in this situation? Do you wait a certain length of time? Charge for time?I'd rescheduled childcare and put my eldest in breakfast club to squeeze this job in!!I've looked to see if any other access in but none and last time I tried to scale a fence/wall I had a nasty run in with an anti-cat spike device!Fi

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  • PRO

    We get 1 or 2 of these a day, so effectively allow for it in planning - but thats lawn care, so more jobs per day.

    If we're doing a big job we make sure we've spoken to them a day or 2 before to make sure all ok, even then it occasionally still goes pineapple.

    We've never charged. We don't wait long either if we can't get hold of them. Nor scale walls etc. We have quite a few customers who don't mind us turning up as and when, so we just re-group and head out and do some of those instead.

  • PRO
    I have climbed over in the past and still would if simple otherwise they get charged unless it's a quiet time where I can move it without incurring a loss. If it were a very good long term customer and out of character I would suck it up though.
  • PRO

    I've charged mowing jobs this year, which usually ends up in a fall-out situation. They don't seem to grasp that I'd want double two weeks later to contend with the long grass. That plus the fuel from the locked gate / dog poo in the first place is still a good deal on their part. If they don't understand that then we don't want them quite simply. 

    Lawn care I've sucked it up, but it sure puts me in a foul mood! Jobber sends them an email a week before and a day before. I can't do any more for them. Is only rare mind. Both gates and dog poo are raised at the time of quoting. I've climbed plenty of gates but I wouldn't expect my guys to do it. 

  • PRO

    This is a bug bare and no mistake. I email about 4-5 days before yet still get lock outs. I don't hang round though. I just put a note through the door and go off to the next job. However If it happens twice on the run with no contact for from the customer. Starts getting the old spidey senses tingling.

    I won't force a gate either knowing my luck I'd give it a good shove and the whole thing would collapse. If I can't reach the bolt with a hand over the top it's locked as far as I'm concerned so move on.

    I usually put them to the bottom of the list and re-visit when next in the area.

    It has crossed my mind to charge for a re-visit if it becomes a habit. After all it costs to keep going back.

  • PRO
    In our t&c’s it states that locked gates or less than 48 hours notice then the whole visit shall be charged, no excuses, I run a business and that time could of been used for a better customer. I don’t like doing it but charging them for something they don’t get sometimes sharpens the memory!
    • PRO

      I like your thinking Bust Bee.

      • PRO
        I have been doing the job for 6 months and wondering how you go about setting out T/Cs. Also what do you put in them.
        • PRO
          There should be an excellent t&c’s template in The BOG thanks to Andrew Watts.

          It’s a great starting place to tailor (if needed) a set to suit your own business.
  • PRO

    It's one thing to have something in T's&C's and it's another thing to decide to implement it. With ongoing repeat customers, the relationship is important, so as Jack alludes to, charging can lead to a very difficult discussion and a loss of custom / goodwill. Sometimes, this is fine, as they may be difficult anyway, however in the main, it's usually an honest mistake, people rushing in the morning, lots to do etc and just forgetting. Normally, very apologetic etc. At that point, do you really want to charge?

    When this first started happening to us, yes I got a bit upset, but then I analysed, just made over allowances, and keep back-up jobs in mind if bad.

    Another way to look at in my mind was as a fixed overhead (albeit to be minimised), like rained off days, it happens, and as long as it's covered in your margin, then no problem - but do get off to do those back-up jobs anyway.

    • PRO

      I must admit, I charge the ones that are already on thin ice. I've got some basic t's+c's at the back of my Jan letter and reference to the website for the full lot so there's the warning shot on paper for them. If you're enough of a pain I'll do what I need to do to protect my business profits and my own sanity, simple as that! 

      Finding kind ways of bumping people off is the tough bit sometimes. I've a negative Google review because an ex customer was miffed at us not wishing to mow her poo ridden lawn, more so after one of the dogs went for one of my guys. 

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