Hi there, not posted many times but been lurking for the best part of a year and found this site to be a valuable resource - indeed, i wish i had found it when i started up! Would have definitely made less rookie errors in the early days!
Earlier this afternoon i spoke to a client about the dog mess in his garden - he never picks up after his two dogs and the lawn (well, field really) is absolutely covered. It was bad enough last season but much worse now. After the last time i cut it a fortnight ago - having to spend a fair amount of time scraping sh**e off both me and the roller mower! - i swore i'd have to talk to him.
So i was there earlier doing his other two lawns and he asked why i hadn't done the "dogs lawn" and i explained the situation. He started by saying "just do it this time and i'll clean it up for the next cut" (which i didn't really believe) but i refused. He asked why and i explained that i wasn't prepared to get me and the mower covered in sh**e because it had to go in the back of my truck and i didn't have the time to clean it due to having another 2 hours of mowing to do.
He then said he "didn't have time to do such things" and it was my "job". i explained, as clearly stated in our T & Cs, that it wasn't "my job" but i'd be happy to return later this week when he'd cleared up. The conversation basically ended with his ultimatum that i either cracked on there and then and accepted that the dog mess was my responsibility, or he'd sack me. Which i refused and he did.
I guess i'm asking whether other contractors are willing to lose clients over such things? Do you clear the lawn but charge for it? Ultimatums generally get my back up as i'm stubborn by nature but will do anything for anyone if they ask nicely. I'm not very good with conflict resolution or when people are rude etc.
What would you have done? Stood your ground? Grovelled? I'm aware that i could have probably talked him around but was quite angry by the end - still maintained my composure though. I'd be interested to hear how other people have dealt with similar situations.
Chris, you don't need to be so unsure of yourself. You decide how your business runs.
I won't mow over dog mess. not even one deposit. I simply don't accept dog mess in the bag of my mower, in my van, or on my hands/clothes etc. If there is dog mess I mow around it, on the odd occasion I will blow it into the borders before cutting but this is all part of the price and the time is charged for accordingly.
I can't believe you actually took the mower through it at all though, that's horrible!
If your season is going well enough you will fill the newly-vacant appointment in no time.
Don't sweat it Chris you did the right thing...sooner or later you'll hit some..dog, fox, badger etc and I accept that, but if folk won't clean up and it's "too much" then something needs to be done....;-)
Well done for standing your ground Chris, you did the right thing.
There's a saying I've never agreed with 'the customer is always right'.
Having been in the same position as you before - being covered in dog and cat excrement including my face and around my eyes and mouth after strimming, because of lazy clients, I'd have walked away too.
There is nothing more vile and if a client cannot understand the risks or be bothered to clean up then they have to accept that they are not likely to get any help.
not only disgusting but a health risk. I never cease to be amazed at how people can leave their gardens like it. I always note it on quotes and have it in my terms that it must be cleared by teh owner before we do any work. I have often pointed it out to the client, as we have stood there tools in hand waiting to do the work. Amazes me more that many have kids that play in the garden!
Cleaning up the act
Your (ex) customer sounds a lazy, arrogant and selfish person. It is totally unacceptable to expect you to clear his dogs' cr*p.
We have experienced similar on a couple of occasions and have had to 'coach the customer' - 99% wouldnt dream of leaving it for you, but I must admit that dog owners do seem to have a different view of what comes out of their dog's back end to non dog owners.
I have many dog owning customers and they are all responsible and clear up after their dogs - The garden is their living space so they dont want to be treading in it!
The odd ocassion one is missed, and it does happen - I accept that its an accident with my customers - its usually a single missed deposit - It gets blown into the shrubbery where the flies and worms feed the plants with it. - More than 1 deposit and I would let the customer know - ON that note though - most of the dogs are in and busy following me round when I work anyway - they know not to poo in my workspace :)
Well done for standing your ground did the right thing, we have had similar occurrences over the years we now either mow around it therefore a mound of grass left on lawn, or will speak with owner of dog to ensure they have picked up ! Refused to go back to a customer on the basis of they never cleaned their lawn!
Guess I'm the odd one out then!
I will happily pick up 5/6 deposits. When I am pricing I include this service if I note a dog (in my head - It is not mentioned to the customer!!!)
I have kicked off a couple of times about huge numbers, this has only occurred in one-off jobs, not on any of my regular jobs.
I always carry sh1t bags and latex gloves in my pocket with the spare strimmer line :)
I dropped a customer last year for the same reasons,
The odd one i can cope with, just steer round it but a covering of them No!! Like you say It gets on your boots on the mower it's just disgusting.
If someone knows that a chap is coming round to cut the grass you would think that they would make sure it was clear. But that's not the case.
You don't need to feel bad Chris, to be honest you are more patient than me, I would have told him to p**s off before he had chance to sack me!!
Agree with everyone else ! Dog turds are a hazard to health, They stick to mower, boots, tools, van, clothes and eventually end up in our homes on our clothes. I am not precious about the occasional one however, being a dog owner myself. The worst job we had was a tenant whose garden we had to clear prior to his eviction. We had seen the (shabby) garden before but had not realised the sheer amount of crap in it until the job started. Two of us each spent an hour each blowing and flicking with spades hundreds of dog turds. NEVER again, it was disgusting, Next time we will just walk away, plenty more decent clients out there.