Bad customers

Hey guys.

How do you handle customers you don’t want anymore? For example, I clean this lady’s house maybe every three months. Originally, the job was going to be monthly, so I quoted pretty low to get the job. After the first two months, she would call the morning of our appointment and cancel. This keeps happening, so I tell her the price is going to increase. I have never been torn into by a customer that bad. So I took the same money that day, just to shut her up. Now she want service again. I haven’t returned her phone call from yesterday and I don’t really want to.

The job is easy and it equals out to be about 25/hr, but its out of the way. I charge more for my time and she shouldn’t be an exception.

What would Sanchez do?

Pass it on to a local window cleaner, explain its just too far to come for the time & money. She has the option for the new window cleaner at the same or lower, or you could carry on for the price you want.
Or get more customers in that area to make it worth while. I know that feeling when you turn up & they are not there!

What would Sanchez do? Go for a pizza & wait for her to return?

I had a wealthy man call me and demand a Interior and Exterior cleaning that day, to make a long story short, this rich butt hole wants royal service at peanuts…“go nail your mom” is what I was thinking to say, but instead I had a plane…He wants exact quarterly service. The job makes about $25-35 an hour, WAY below my earnings on Residential. I cleaned it that once for the sake of my plane. Since he wants strict quarterly cleanings it’s almost like a commercial account in my mind…Soooo I’m going to call some small local cleaners in the area and sell that account, even if I sell it for the amount of one service, that’s money in my pocket :smiley:

Other than that I’d say rob the old lady when she’s sleeping to make up for lost money:eek: jk

selling is a good idea, you get rid of the hassle and make a few bucks on top
if it does not sell i would max out my price,i have a lawyer client like that
"right now" but he pays the price to have clean windows on game day

Let Juggs hang em off a roof. :slight_smile:

LOL, just for the record I did not hang him off the roof. I just walked him to the edge so he could see how far it was. I held his arm cause I did not want him to fall. Heck, how would I explain that to the police lol. Yeah the guys a dick but I did not toss him off the roof even though he is a dick. Oh did I mention he is a dick lol.

Anyway, just be honest with her. I have no problem telling my customers that they are not speaking with an employee. They are speaking with the owner of the company and I’m not used to be spoken down too. If she would still like service it cost more when she cancels. If she still wants service she is to act like an adult, if she starts to yell she will be hung up on. If she talks like a human being then we can always work things out. I explain to my customers who are a little bitchy that they will get better service from me, by being nice to me. In fact I often go out of the way for my really nice customers. I allow them to cancel that morning if needed. I will toss in free gutter cleanings for my nice clients. I will move things in the yard for my nice customers, all free. I’ll take in their garbage cans. Pick up the paper and even call when I’m on the way to the home in the morning to see if they may need something like milk. But if they are assholes. They get cut off fast and they can go find the worst cleaner in town. I’m still looking for that really really ****y cleaner who I can refer all my bad clients too.

Let Jugss NOT hang em…but hold em, firmly, next to the edge of the roof…so they see clearly…how far it is from the roof to the ground. Certainly that feels NOTHING like being hung off of the roof.:smiley:


I’m dumping a customer like that right now, I won’t even talk to her, I’ll wait until she calls me. I’m not telling that you should do that since is not a mature business move, but I have my reasons.

She has 45 windows which priced regularly at MY price is $405 for in and out service, her price actually is at $225 since there’s a verbal agreement between her and the previous owner of my company, to service it every 2 months, and I don’t have a problem honoring that even when it doesn’t reach my $$ goal, but I see this customers as a good resource when things slows down.

My decision to dump her is based on what happened yesterday … I called her and left a message on Thursday reminding her that we are going to be there on Friday at 9AM … showed up, really cold outside, knocked at the door, no asnwer, start to get my stuff ready and her daughter opens the door and I tell her that I will be started outside so they can have breakfast and as soon as I finish I’ll get inside, she said no problem.

5 mins later she said “we have a problem, my mom didn’t leave me a check and I call her and she wants you to come next week” … to do the job or pickup the check ? I asked her … “no, to do the cleaning” I said OK dumped my bucket with solution on the driveway and drove away.

When she calls me back, if she does, I’ll tell her that my price is $XXX for each visit and it will change each time depending on how spaced are those visits, like it or hate it .

I’ll may catch some flak for this… but I couldn’t do that.

Perhaps there was a death in the family? What if it just totally slipped her mind? Maybe the daughter did not relay all the information that the mother had intended for you to get?

You may not only lose her, but many more potential customers. I can’t afford to lose any customers in todays unstable economy.

The very most I would do, is explain the trouble I went too to arrive on time at her house, and then ask if It would be OK if I added a $25 cancelation fee. Of course, I would not charge a dime if there was a death or anything out of her control…

Mhhh … I didn’t explain myself very well here.

This is not the first time it happens.
No death, no family emergency, just plain ol’ irresponsability … which I’m not willing to take anymore … for that money at least.

Hope this makes more sense now.

Yeah I hear you man. I had one guy like that this year. He cancelled 5 times. Always had an excuse. “It MIGHT rain”, “I’m too tired” I never understood that one as he is not going to be doing any of the cleaning. His cleaning was scheduled in April and I just cleaned him a couple of weeks ago for the 1st time this year. I thought maybe money problems, family problems etc. I did not want to boot him as he got me 2 other customers and one of them is $1000 twice per year not to include the $800 for powerwashing in the spring. It was almost like he thought I had no other jobs but his. Calling me in the mornings over the summer, “Hey hows it going? Come on over and clean my windows today ok. I’ll leave a check in the mailbox.” Like I dont have other customers who just MIGHT be scheduled for that day. In the end I just told him no more. Either he takes the service at his next schedule or he has to find someone else. I think he has the idea now, but we’ll see next season. In most cases like this I just stop returning the calls. They end up calling my other business line that rings in my moms house for scheduling etc. By that time she already knows I want nothing to do with them and she tells them I’m fully books for the next few months. Because they cancelled they now have to wait. Of course in the next few months if they don’t call we don’t call. If they do call, she tells them they were not fast enough and I’m all booked up again.

Here’s my take. Not being there when you show, or rescheduling are completely diff. things than caving when a customer challenges you on price. Josh, man, you just taught this lady that if she rides you or other service people, they will buckle on their price. And, based only on your intitial post, don’t confuse this with negotiating price. She rail roaded you and at her next coffee clutch - potentially your next unknow marketing meeting - she will be telling all her pals about how she put you in your place. Then they will all call, and they will all be well prepared to get the lower price. If you work with her again, let her know prices are going up. If she whines, refer her to another service provider that has a greater need than you for a headache.


why,does this customer still not have the same window cleaning service they have had before.i would wonder right up front.Raise your Price ,to where it should be,otherwise this customer will continue to work you and the next guy,right after you.If you dont,you will be unhappy on the job,and being unhappy leads to mistakes,ones that might hurt you.Trust your gut,
Oh,Iam new here ,Ak Snowbird ,21 years service in alaska

If one of my clients cancels on me last minute I Break down the amount of money they are costing me such as the revenue I lost for the day the amount I had to pay day care for the day gas etc. I also mention that she is depriving some one else the opportunity to have their windows cleaned that day by me. (I am a one man show and therefore am turning work down for lack of time)

Let them know what they are doing.

I then put a note in there contact information reminding myself that they stood me up and to never schedule with them again. Unless of course there really was a death in the family or they had a really good excuse.

$25 hr. isn’t enough $ set minimums and stick to them.
Like the guy who showed his client the ground from his roof said. Treat your nice clients like GOLD. I personally prefer to work for people who tip than people who are looking to save a buck.

I also wanted to touch on this, You said "I’ll tell her that my price is $XXX for each visit and it will change each time depending on how spaced are those visits"
If you charge less for frequency it seems to me that you are losing money on your more frequent clients. I think it would make sense to charge every one the same and find new clients to make up the difference.

Lots of good points Greg.

All the advice was great guys, thanks. I talked to her the other day and settled on double of what I was getting before. Plus, the stipulation that if she cancels an appointment in the future, I need 3 days notice or $50.
A better situation AND I learned something I thought I already knew: Firm communication about my pricing.


That’s funny right there :smiley:

It’s sounds like it’s not worth the aggravation. I have found that annoying customers are just not worth it. Do more bids and replace them and move on.

I have fired every bad customer I had. No lie- EVERY ONE OF THEM.

It was a totally liberating experience. I found my moods got better and so did my work. If I do a job and the person is bringing me down, that is the last time they see me.

I aint that desperate…