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Thread: A crazy story about my lawn company and what should I do next?

  1. #1
    SG Enthusiast koldchillah's Avatar
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    A crazy story about my lawn company and what should I do next?

    Hey guys, I have an awkward situation with my lawn service company that I thought I would share with you guys and get some feedback. Although public, this is better than facebook for this type of thing.. lol

    Anyways, we hired a lawn service company in June 2017. I called them due to good ratings on Angie's List with plenty of decent feedback. It was a female owner and she came by for initial inspection/meeting and I swear it was "Red" from the Netflix series, "Orange is the New Black". I asked for 3 things: 1) A quote for monthly maintenance 2) A quote to fix the irrigation system 3) A quote for some re-planting and new shrubs in the front.

    She walks the property with me and verbally quotes me for monthly maintenance and the new shrubs but says she would have to get back to me on the irrigation. I cut her the first month check and she cut the grass and left. I told her I work from home and she can just hang an invoice on the door or knock and I'll cut her a check or have one ready the next time they come to mow and she agreed to this. She wrote me a handwritten receipt for the money I gave her.

    A couple weeks go by and I start to wonder when my grass is going to get mowed for the second time. I called her again and she seemed busy but when I told her the address she just said, "oh, sorry about that, I'll get by there before the end of the week and we'll switch you to my Thursday route instead of Wednesday. I said ok and a few days later they came and cut again. I asked her about the irrigation quote but she honestly admitted to forgetting and I could tell she just pulled a number out of thin air and told me it would cost "about $400 parts & labor". I told her to go ahead and get the shrub work done and send me the invoice and we would discuss the irrigation system the following month.

    For 3 weeks they come by weekly and mow and cut but they never call or knock or make any indication that they remembered the shrubs I requested and agreed to let them do. We roll into the next month and I haven't received an invoice of any sort for any services, not even the monthly services we agreed to. I figured I would just stop them the next time they come and ask for an invoice and offer to cut a check. I wait a week.. no show... another week goes by and my grass looks ridiculous again and I've pretty much had it at this point and planned to just cut ties and move onto another company. I didn't call the lady at all, I just figured she would show up or call me or send me a bill for 1 time she cut the lawn during month #2. Instead, I called another lawn company.

    I setup a call with a new landscaper 2 days in advance, but the day before the new landscaper comes by, the original lawn lady shows up out of the blue, the 1 friggin' hour in the day that I'm not home and my grass is suddenly cut again. No bill left on the door, no new shrubs... but my grass is cut for the 2nd time in July and we're going into August now.

    The following day I meet with the new landscaper and he quotes me $30 more per month but promises to never miss a cut. I told him I would finish out August with my current landscaper and that he could start in September. The very next week, the lawn lady shows up again while I'm home finally. I go outside to fire her and she's unloading my new shrubs from her truck! LOL I tell her I never received a bill or paid anything for the month of July or August and she needs to give me the final cost of the shrubs. She apologizes and tells me to just cut a check for July and she would stick the invoice for Aug & shrubs on my door the next time she came by. I cut her a check for July and she leaves, so now, I've had half-ass service, but have paid 2 months.

    The following week I'm busy on a conference call while they come by to mow and when I go outside they are gone and again no invoice. I wait until the next week. Again, I'm busy on conference call and was expecting them to probably knock to discuss the invoice.. Nope.. The week after that we are coming up on September and I go outside and the lady is not with them. It is just 2 workers. I tell them the situation and told them to relay the message that she can take my house off her route starting next month and to please send me the final bill. They seemed all shocked and concerned and said "no problem, we will tell the boss lady."

    September 2017 rolls around and I'm out running errands and I come home to a freshly cut lawn. I assume the new mower came through. There is no bill or anything. A few hours later, the new landscaper shows up! LOL He is rather puzzled as to why my grass it cut and I still had him scheduled to come out! He actually seemed kinda pissed as if I screwed him over. I told him that I thought he had cut it because I was not home at the time, but it was pretty clear at that point who it was. I just apologized to him for the confusion and told him I would call him once I got rid of the current lawn company once and for all.

    We get into October and the lawn lady is still coming by and cutting the grass.. Never knocking on my door or leaving a bill on the door. Never mailing me an invoice. She just comes and mows and leaves and sometimes it is a crew of 2 or 3 without her. I start to wave and say hi to her basically expecting her to want to discuss the financial situation, but she just waves back and acts like its all good. The day before Halloween I thought, I gotta say something, so i went outside and just shouted over the loud mower, "don't forget to leave me a bill some time!" and she just gives me a thumbs up like she understood, but the very next week she's back again with no bill.

    So we get into November and my wife and i are baffled and don't know what to do at this point. This lady got paid to cut our grass for June & July ONLY, and now she's replaced my shrubs in the front and never billed me, nor has she billed me for going on 4 months of lawn service. WTF!? Again, I figured, she can't possibly cut our grass too much longer without realizing this egregious accounting error and surely she is going to send us a bill or get the hint as I continue to wave at her from the window. I start putting money aside in case she asks for the lump sum of all the work they performed.

    We get into the dry season and grass doesn't grow as fast so they start coming by only once every 3 weeks. I kinda forget about them mostly and then I'll hear them cutting the grass and I have to go check the window to make sure its my lawn being cut. I even walked outside and said hi to her and commented about how well the newest shrubs looked that she had planted months earlier.

    Fast forward to today. We are now going on 16 months of free lawn service and I've verbally asked her to leave me a bill on probably 8 or 9 different occasions. I have no idea who has been paying my bill, but it must be good enough to keep her coming back. I'm totally in shock and don't really know what to do at this point. Do I just go outside and say "look lady, I haven't paid you in 16 months and I feel bad.. Here's $500 lump sum.. go take a hike!"... or do I wait this out and just tell her she needs to stop cutting my lawn for free once we are moving out of this house next June after we are up to 22 months of free service? I'm conflicted and completely baffled by this situation and starting to feel a little guilty but yet sorry for the lady at the same time. How would some of you guys let this play out? Should I just give her my new address when we move next June and see how deep this rabbit hole goes!? LOL
    "Nobody's invincible, no plan is foolproof, We all must meet our moment of truth." - Guru

  2. #2
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Hi Matt

    I would just talk to her, and tell her she's forgetting to bill you, that you owe her money. See what she figures you owe her, at least? I would feel bad to just let it go, fair pay for honest work and all that.
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  3. #3
    SG Enthusiast Easto's Avatar
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    I'd make sure she hasn't put a lean against your property for unpaid bills. It doesn't sound like this company is one I'd like around my house. She may also try to charge you interest for the unpaid balance. I don't trust anyone and especially anyone who can't even produce an invoice after repeated requests.

  4. #4
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Aside from their lack of book keeping/invoicing, and initially rocky scheduling...once they settled down and got things done...are you happy with their quality of work? They do a good job mowing the lawn, trimming, doing the shrubs? If so....have a sit down with her and talk it out. Express your concerns...that you like a good schedule, on-time service, and timely billing so you can keep your budget on course. You have a right to have regular billing, instead of some big "catch-up" bill at the end of the year.

    If you're "so-so" or less at their quality of work...square up with them as far as outstanding balance (and expect this..as I'm sure they'll catch up on your invoice here)....and move onto the next person after a discussion with the new person as to why you no longer use prior person.
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