OT: Lawn care: Do you pay when they don't show up?

User Forum Topic
Submitted by Oxford on April 2, 2011 - 2:57am

I have a good guy doing my lawn care and last week he did not show up. It rained in the morning but was clear the rest of the day when he and his crew usually arrive.

Anyway, he came to the door today with his monthly bill which was the typical monthly fee ($180 for four weeks). I said, "You did not work last week." He said, "It was raining." I responded, "Not here." So he tells me I can take it off the bill -- which I did. He looked a little tiffed when I handed him his check. I'm thinking... dude? wtf?

Question: What is the norm for situations like this. Should lawn care crews show up regardless of conditions? Do you pay them a full month even if they miss a week? That was just one precedence I did not want to establish.

Thanks for your comments.

OX
...keeping it real

Submitted by Blogstar on April 2, 2011 - 7:48am.

I think he should get paid unless he skips out often, but you said he was good. Sometimes they have to work more than average too(like when they come back the next time because of the missed week). It's just a way for him to average it out and know what he makes month to month.

He just agreed with you because he doesn't want to lose the account but it could have justifiably gone his way on this one.

I'd would have let him keep it , reminding him perhaps, that he has the account because he puts in a little extra in when needed ... and thank him for his good work.

Submitted by desmond on April 2, 2011 - 8:18am.

You should not cut grass or work in the yard when it is wet if the ground gets compacted. Pay the guy for the week next month and he will feel better and so will you.

Submitted by svelte on April 2, 2011 - 4:03pm.

For the first time in 3 years, our lawn guy didn't show up this week either. Lawn looks pretty unkempt, as I look out the window right now.

Usually when it rains part of the week, he'll come another day when it's not raining. Thu and Fri were clear, so I had expected him to do that again this time. But he didn't.

Wonder if we use the same lawn guy...

Submitted by flu on April 2, 2011 - 8:30pm.

My gardener rocks... If he gets rained out, he comes during the week and does a makeup....Then again, I did refer him to 4 other people....

Submitted by AN on April 2, 2011 - 10:28pm.

My gardener rocks too. I didn't refer him to anyone, but I pay him bi-weekly when he starting out billing monthly. He must have loved that.

Submitted by sunny88 on April 2, 2011 - 11:44pm.

I think you should pay him if he makes up for the missed day. They work hard for little money-don't be cheap!

Submitted by meadandale on April 3, 2011 - 7:41am.

He's not your employee and he's not on salary.

If he shows up, he gets paid. If he doesn't, he doesn't.

I'm a contractor. If I don't show up, I don't bill the client. I think most would be little surprised (just like you) if they knew I didn't show up but still billed them.

Based on some of the responses here...I wish I had some of you for a client. That way I could just bill you for the 2 weeks while I'm gone on vacation.

Submitted by zzz on April 3, 2011 - 8:24am.

I agree with meandale, you are not his employer, he gets paid for the work he does. Would you pay your cleaning lady if she just decided not to show up and skipped cleaning for a week? I wouldn't.

Submitted by svelte on April 3, 2011 - 9:45am.

It is probably going to depend on how you pay them.

We pay ours a flat monthly fee to keep our yard looking great. Typically, that is a once a week visit and he gets the same amount whether there are 4 or 5 weeks in the month.

If you pay yours by the visit ($180 for 4 weeks to me implies it is by the visit), then I would probably not pay them for a missed visit.

Submitted by LuckyInOC on April 3, 2011 - 10:37am.

If it was an actual rain delay...

I would pay him an additional half the next time.
This would be due to the additional work that would be required to bring the lawn care back to normal.

Now, if it didn't rain at your location and he chose not to show up, then I would pay standard rate next time. He should make the attempt; show up and if raining leave note.

On Rain delays, it should be a split pot...

Lucky In OC

Submitted by Oxford on April 3, 2011 - 10:59am.

To clarify:

He never mentioned doing a make-up day for the day missed. He only said it was raining. It did rain in the morning but cleared up by afternoon like most of the so cal storm systems moving through.

I give him a lot of extra projects like planting and clearing out planter areas etc... and pay his price quoted on the same day completed. These are outside his lawn care fee.

Side note: When I lived in LCV, the lawn care guys would be in ponchos shoving mowers in down-pours. Rain is part of the job, like cold and heat.

OX
...getter done and you get paid.

Submitted by desmond on April 3, 2011 - 5:29pm.

Sounds like your trying to just justify you position, now I think your just cheap.

Submitted by pabloesqobar on April 3, 2011 - 7:28pm.

Oxford wrote:
To clarify:

He never mentioned doing a make-up day for the day missed. He only said it was raining. It did rain in the morning but cleared up by afternoon like most of the so cal storm systems moving through.

I give him a lot of extra projects like planting and clearing out planter areas etc... and pay his price quoted on the same day completed. These are outside his lawn care fee.

Side note: When I lived in LCV, the lawn care guys would be in ponchos shoving mowers in down-pours. Rain is part of the job, like cold and heat.

OX
...getter done and you get paid.

I think a previous poster mentioned that you really can't mow a lawn when it's soaking wet. Like yours was. You initially indicated that you told him there was no rain at your house. Then you say that it rained in the morning. That's probably a pretty good reason not to mow your lawn that particular day.

But it depends on what you're paying for. I manage a SFH rental where it's a flat monthly rate for landscaping. It's all inclusive. Some time he may need to remove rubbage from the bottom of the hill, or repair sprinkler heads, or trim trees, or trim down the rose bushes or spray for bugs. Other times he may just need to break out the weed wacker.

But he doesn't come to me with another bill if that day's work took an additional hour or so. He works hard. His English is not so good.

Submitted by Oxford on April 3, 2011 - 8:35pm.

desmond wrote:
Sounds like your trying to just justify you position, now I think your just cheap.

Yep and Yep.

OX
...penny pincher

Submitted by CBad on April 3, 2011 - 11:36pm.

Yes I pay my current gardener (for the past 4-5 years) even if he missed a week due to rain (or illness or whatever). But that's because I like him to be honest. He is very reasonable and hard working and I love him compared to any other service we've tried. He has shown up on a couple of occasions prior to his regular day in anticipation of it raining on his scheduled day! It's rare that a week is missed. We've had other less than stellar landscape service and they'd show up at various times of day, on different days than they were scheduled, or sometimes not at all and it wasn't due to weather. So I did ding those companies if they didn't show up because I wasn't happy with their service. This guy is a gem and I want to keep him.

Submitted by ocrenter on April 4, 2011 - 6:49am.

just wondering how big is the lawn for $180 per month.

and does he do other things such as trimming of trees and bushes and clearing of weeds as part of his job.

I suppose if he does, he could have come and done the other things even though he could not mow the lawn.

Submitted by Fearful on April 4, 2011 - 7:51am.

I want to do services for Desmond. Any boss who is worried about appearing cheap is a good boss to have!

With any kind of service people, hire two of them, alternating service dates (e.g. each every other week). After six months, fire the one you like less and hire another to take his place. Repeat the above process after six months.

Submitted by desmond on April 4, 2011 - 7:59am.

Yes, the next time Ox's sprinkler head gets stuck up the guy will just mow it down.

Submitted by Ren on April 4, 2011 - 9:20am.

$180? Just curious - what do you get for that?

I pay $40 every 4 weeks, which includes two visits to mow back and front, trim the hedges, and rake or pick up any other tree droppings as needed. I tell them not to come if it's raining, he usually bills me for that time anyway, and I always subtract it from the amount I pay him and note why on the bill. He's never complained, but if he did, I'd replace him. I'm a contract worker myself, and I would love to get paid while on vacation, but I don't expect to.

Submitted by flu on April 4, 2011 - 10:32am.

Technology is your friend Ox....

http://www.amazon.com/Friendly-Robotics-...

Submitted by ocrenter on April 4, 2011 - 10:48am.

flu wrote:
Technology is your friend Ox....

http://www.amazon.com/Friendly-Robotics-...

At $1600, you'll get your money back after just 9 months!

Submitted by Oxford on April 4, 2011 - 11:17am.

ocrenter wrote:
just wondering how big is the lawn for $180 per month.

and does he do other things such as trimming of trees and bushes and clearing of weeds as part of his job.

I suppose if he does, he could have come and done the other things even though he could not mow the lawn.

It is a half acre lot. He has a guy do some weeding but there are not many weeds now. I trim the Queen Palms and leave the fronds for them. He just cuts grass, trims, some weeding, blows and fertilizes.

I am usually out there pointing stuff out and my girlfriend brings them water and oranges when it is hot in the summer. She has big boobs so they enjoy that.

OX
...El Jefe

Submitted by UCGal on April 4, 2011 - 11:47am.

My lawn guy sometimes skips a week... but I don't complain because he's free and lives here. He's got two unpaid interns learning the business... they'll probably get paid someday.

It helps that we've been moving more towards zero scaping... and the lawn is small and can be handled with a push reel (human powered) mower.

Submitted by afx114 on April 4, 2011 - 11:59am.

ocrenter wrote:
At $1600, you'll get your money back after just 9 months!

Until it becomes self-aware, at which point it will cost you your life.

Submitted by ocrenter on April 4, 2011 - 12:04pm.

Oxford wrote:
ocrenter wrote:
just wondering how big is the lawn for $180 per month.

and does he do other things such as trimming of trees and bushes and clearing of weeds as part of his job.

I suppose if he does, he could have come and done the other things even though he could not mow the lawn.

It is a half acre lot. He has a guy do some weeding but there are not many weeds now. I trim the Queen Palms and leave the fronds for them. He just cuts grass, trims, some weeding, blows and fertilizes.

I am usually out there pointing stuff out and my girlfriend brings them water and oranges when it is hot in the summer. She has big boobs so they enjoy that.

OX
...El Jefe

regarding the gf comment. I'm shocked he actually missed coming over that week! can we say wet T-shirt with the rain?!

second, ever thought about going artificial, on the grass that is. we just changed over and I'm expecting 4 years for the return on investment.

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 6, 2011 - 5:34pm.

Ox,
My guys were here and cut the grass in the rain today. Must be a San Marcos thing ;)

Submitted by Oxford on April 7, 2011 - 1:12am.

sdrealtor wrote:
Ox,
My guys were here and cut the grass in the rain today. Must be a San Marcos thing ;)

Shouldn't that have been disclosed at escrow?

OX
...and they didn't mention carnivorous egrets either!

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 7, 2011 - 10:41pm.

LOL

Submitted by treehugger on April 8, 2011 - 1:14pm.

$180 seems excessive! I have a large yard with lots of grass, shrubs, palms, etc and I expect them to pull weeds. I pay for WEEKLY yard maintenance, $100/month, if they didn't show up one week I would not pay, that is ridiculous. I have already fired one gardener cause he didn't want to pull weeds, period. Not even for extra money! Am getting ready to search out another, cause this one is getting a little messy, came home the last few weeks to find clumps that must have fallen off the lawn mower, looked like horse poop through the yard. I would ask for references.....but apparently I am cheap!

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 13, 2011 - 12:27am.

How big is your large yard? i'm guessing its not a 1/2 acre like Ox's.

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