You want me to do what? How do you tell a client no?

@coolseeds (3921)
United States
April 24, 2007 12:59pm CST
I have a client who lives in a very nice housing community. He wants me to mow his grass every 3 or 4 weeks. LMAO. I am surprised the home owners association hasn't done something about him. I did it last year because I had the time and like to help people. This job is nothing but a hassle. Obviously the work is hard. The grass is too high to cut with a regular mower so I have to go get a special mower that will cut the mess. It takes at least an hour out of my time getting and returning the equipment. It was a problem last year. I don't take crap from anyone. Period. When we started mowing it last year a neighbor who was male complained to one of my employees about grass left on his driveway. I tell my employees that if some one has a complaint shut them up and send them to me. She didn't and got upset because we were not responsible for what anyone did before we took the job. Needless to say I knocked on the neighbors door. I told him he should be glad that someone is mowing that mess and if I lived next door to him I would mow it myself so it doesn't lower my property value. I also added I will blow all of the grass clippings up against his front door the next time he wants to single out what he sees as the weakest member of the crew to complain. The neighbor was nothing but nice to me and didn't complain about anything. I also don't want people to think it is my fault that his yard looks like that. All that I know the customer is telling the neighbors that we only come once a month. I do a good job and not in business to mow grass. The only time I mow grass is if I take care of the landscaping maintenance. His lawn and landscaping is far from maintained. This year I can do it but I don't want to do it because of the hassle and the job isn't worth the money. I have a hard time telling people no, especially if they need me. That is how I got sucked into it. If someone is rude or mean I have no problem laying into them but the guy is nice and needs someone so I am kind of lost. How do I tell the guy I am not going to be doing his landscaping maintenance and mowing?
4 people like this
12 responses
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
25 Apr 07
Your a big softy at heart..lol If you are serious and not wanting to do it, but don't want to leave the guy without anyone to helpo him then you could maybe find a kid or someone willing to take it over? Kid gets a little spending money, and the guys gets his yard mowed.
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
A kid couldn't mow this. LOL. You can't mow it with a regular lawn mower. I use what is similar to a gravely. If you know what that is. IMAGINE a $400,000 home in a nice new community with grass so high you can't mow it with a lawn mower. =) The areas where mtdewgurl74 and I live have crappy property values. No offense mtdewgurl. So this $400,000 house would probably be $2,000,000 or more in the city.
1 person likes this
@mtdewgurl74 (18118)
• United States
1 May 07
You'd think with such expensive homes they'd want to take pride in their homes and keep the yards immaculate. sounds like you need a bush hog from the sound of it..lol
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
2 May 07
LOL. Yes the DR mower is like a brush hog. It cuts trees up to 1.25+ inches thick. I will not tear up my equipment on his unmaintained yard.
1 person likes this
@amydawn11 (906)
• Canada
25 Apr 07
I am what they call a people pleaser..lol.I never say no and it got so bad that I was miserable because I was always doing things that I didn't want to do because i couldn't say no. I learned to say no a bit now but for the most part I still don't. I don't think it's a good idea to lie but in this case I probably would tell him you don't have the time this year. It's wrong but i do it now, I find it easier than just comming out and saying no to someone. I would rather lie and say I am busy or something. I can't help it.
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
We lucked out. I picked up a new client yesterday who needs the same equipment once a month. I am going to charge him more and he has to be on a schedule. Either 1,2 or 4 times a month. If we cut it 2-4 times a month it will be easy as well as convenient. I think he is going to take the easy way out and what he thinks is cheaper. Once a month. If we kept it like a normal lawn it wouldn't cost as much because it would be easier and 2 times a month would only be about $15 more because it wouldn't be hard.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Apr 07
I think I would nicely tell him that it was strictly a favor last time you did his lawn and that mowing lawns is not really a part of your service. Explain that you would need to charge him a lot more money, what with special lawn equipment and all. I would then suggest that there are lawn services that focus on mowing, edging, etc. and that one of them would be better suited to his needs and cost him less money than having you do it. If you're really feeling badly, you might suggest that you will clean up his lawn this one last time to get it in shape and tell he must keep up with it after that instead of letting it get out of hand. He could get a neighborhood kid or a lawn service to provide routine maintenance for a lot less than he's going to end up paying long term to clean up such a big mess. Maybe do it once last time and then help him find someone to provide the maintenance and make sure he understands that it needs to be done every week or two. It does reflect badly on your landscaping business if his yard is a mess, and people see your crew or trucks there. It isn't fair to you at all, and he needs to understand the situation. You sound like a kind person, so I'm sure you can find away to explain it nicely in a way that he'll get it. Good luck!
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
Yes it does make us look bad. On the positive side we do the lawn and landscaping for the house directly across the street. We also do a better job than the other companies that mow. People notice that we are not trying to get it done as fast as possible and really do a much better job. I am picky and want to leave no evidence that we were there. Someone told us the other day our work shows that we care. There are a lot of people who don't know any better that leave the grass on the side walks and drive way of a $750,000 house. If they do blow it off the walks they blow it in the street. An old guy was talking to me while I was working one day and a guy mowed and blew it into the street. I said to him "If they only knew I would do it for the same price and do a much better job." It is a street that I mow all but 3 lawns on 2 blocks. When I first started they used to say you don't have to do all of that. The last guy let grass grow on the street. There were patches every place they mowed. I took it all out. I don't want people thinking I let it grow there and I want it to look better than they do. I enjoy it.
1 person likes this
@Jerry132 (44)
• China
25 Apr 07
Correct me if i'm wrong, you can try this. Let someone you know well, it could be your friends or neighbors, tell that damn client he should pay more than usual. You dont have to talk to him yourself. Best of luck.
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
I picked up a new client which will require the use of the same mower. But I am raising the price and it either gets mowed 1,2 or 4 times a month on schedule. If he doesn't want that then he is too demanding. I talked to him last night which is Wednesday and told him I couldn't do it until next Thursday which is 7 days. He said "oh its no rush." LMAO His yard is the hardest thing I do. I would rather carry retaining wall blocks all day that mow his yard for 1 hour. LOL
1 person likes this
@gasmas100 (587)
• India
25 Apr 07
best things to avoid such a situation is to make ur self busy with pre decided committments, ive done it oftn. since im already 'so pre occupied' with so many personal activities and hadly ever able o do any tasks fo my clients, they have topd asking me fo such 'favour'. try i, though diplomatically, it wont even affet ur business as u would need o be uite apologtic about it tho'
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
Very true. A guy called today and wanted a quote to mow "the projects". This would take 4 people all day. And the only thing that is level is the parking lot. I didn't want to do it. I wouldn't have done it if they paid $1,500. I get bored with that sort of thing and I am not in business to mow grass. I can pull weeds for 10 hours but 1 hour of mowing and I want to quit. LOL. I called him and told him that I didn't want to over extend myself because if it rained he had the least amount of seniority and I wouldn't want to leave him hanging and referred him to someone who only mows. They like to mow all day at one place. =S
1 person likes this
@scammerwear (1433)
• Singapore
25 Apr 07
Trying telling him that you have to charge it as a service now, due to time and resources spent. That you're sure he would understand, and that you're sure he won't want you to make a loss because of him. When he asks how much, quote higher then you normally would (I'm sure you can think of a good reason why you have too) and he still takes it, outsource.
1 person likes this
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
I replied to a response above that I got a new client that will require the same mower. So he and I both got lucky. But I think I am going to charge more. It really is hard. The hardest thing I do.
1 person likes this
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
24 Apr 07
I know what you mean,its hard to say no! and I also have a problem with saying No,especially when someone is so nice.This is what i would do,I would tell this nice person that over the last few months that i had over extended myself,and i did not think i would be able to take care of his lawn,because your schedule is so full right now,tell him/her that you are very sorry and that you will ask around and see if you can find someone to do it,that maybe has time and they can work it in to their schedule.That is a very nice way to put it,and not leave them hanging,and you can ask around if you want to,and get back to him/her and tell them that you have not been able to find anyone at this late date.I don't know about you but if i do something that i really don't want to do,it just makes me miserable.i do not feel it is worth making yourself uncomfortable over.Life is to short to do things you really do not enjoy.This is a nice way to tell them and they cannot get their feelings hurt...I do hope it works out for you.It sounds like maybe you took this job because you are a nice person and you wasn't prepared for the long process of what this person needs.Sometimes we get into things and afterward we realize it just isn't worth it and i think in this case that is what you have done.Don't feel bad about it,just be kind and stick to your decision,if this is a nice person as you say,then they will understand...good luck!
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
24 Apr 07
Yes it makes me feel miserable. It takes about 45 minutes to mow but seems like 3 hours. I also mow it myself because I don't want to lose an employee for making them do such hard work. If I didn't have to go get the special equipment to mow I would continue to do it and hate every minute of it. LOL I rarely lie to anyone. But I was thinking about telling him that the mower we used for his lawn was broken. It is a DR mower that will cut small trees and used to clear fields. His yard is like a field minus the saplings and small trees. Then give him a list of other people who probably will not do it because it will tear up their equipment if they do not have something big. I am a lot busier than I was last year. We got 5 calls this week. None of which are for mowing. So I can say that I am too busy to do it.
2 people like this
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
25 Apr 07
i would suggest you find two or three phone numbers of places that do this kind of thing as a business. Tell him you really dont have the time and that his yard needs mowing at least once a week during the grass growing season and suggest that he tries the numbers and see if they can help him.
@nicolec (2673)
• United States
24 Apr 07
I would just say that your schedule does not allow time for it. You have many projects this summer that need your undivided attention and it just can't be done. I also like the other poster's idea about offering to find some one for him. But instead of doing the dirty work, just give the person a few names and phone numbers and let them call around.
1 person likes this
@angelicEmu (1311)
24 Apr 07
It's easy. Just politely tell him that it's not your job, that you did that as a favour before, but that it's not an ongoing arrangement, that it's actually his responsibility and have a list of reasonably-priced gardeners ready for him to hire someone himself. Being diplomatic isn't hard - saying no doesn't have to mean confrontation or "laying into" someone - it's not rude or offensive to be assertive or to say no. Just be polite - he's misunderstood, so explain clearly and firmly but nicely, and give him the info which will help him.
1 person likes this
@tater03 (1765)
• United States
24 Apr 07
Maybe you could just tell him that with all the other things going on this summer that you are not going to be able to do his lawn. Maybe offer to help him find someone to take your place if you know of anyone.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Apr 07
You should just tell him that it is not practical to mow his lawn since it calls for special equipment that you don't have. With your business expanding as it is you just don't have the time it takes to do it, and give him a list of others that might be able to help him out. If he wants to mow more often and you can handle it let him know that is an option.
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
27 Apr 07
Listen to this. He called me Sunday - Wednesday. I finally talked to him yesterday which was Wednesday and I didn't have to get rid of him. I picked up a new client that wants an area to be mowed once a month that will require the same mower. So he and I lucked out. However he has to make a choice 1,2 or 4 times a month. No call me when you want it done. If doesn't fall on the day that I am using it, he will have to wait until the next month. LOL.
1 person likes this