Smallscapes of atlanta
Smallscapes of atlanta
  • Hometalker
  • Hampton, GA
Asked on Dec 12, 2011

How can I prevent to my biggest customer from making a costly mistake by planting zoysia grass in a shady area.

LuluWendy WilleyPatsy W
+21

Answered

She has already fired 3 landscapers before me. I have told her that I cannot guarantee the results. But she is very persistent. The area is so shady that weeds wont grow. She wants to buy 6 pallets of sod. Somebody help me please
23 answers
  • Not a gardener, but I would get written evidence on what will and will not work in that area and show her the results. Then if she still persists on using this, make her aware in writing that your not going to warrant this type of grass for this application. If she cannot understand that your trying to help save her money and will not listen, then you either walk away, or sell her the stuff and wait for her to relive you of your employment when it fails. I would walk away rather then take her money and sell her something that just will not work.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Dec 12, 2011

    How many hours of sun does it get? What type Zoysia has she tried already? Maybe if she sees the recommendations of a well known garden person such as Walter Reeves she will see the 'light' on shade! here is a good starting point. http://www.walterreeves.com/gardening-q-and-a/zoysiagrass-for-shade/

  • Smallscapes of atlanta
    on Dec 12, 2011

    Thank you both so much

  • Harold M
    on Dec 12, 2011

    I'm always amazed on how people hire experts to do stuff, then want to tell them how to do it. If they insist, I'd back up what I say with facts and if they persisted, walk away. The damage to your reputation isn't worth it.

  • Walter Reeves
    on Dec 12, 2011

    Tell her that I have directly invited her to call me on the radio and we'll talk about what she can realistically expect for the spot. Tell her to tell my screener that she is the "Lady from Hometalk who wants to grow zoysia in shade." I'll do my best to make her happy.

  • I am with Woodbridge. The fact that she has fired 3 prior landscapers is a warning flag. First, listen to your gut and ask yourself do you really have the time and energy for this client. Be sure you do NOT get behind in payments and that you document a clear disclosure that "you are telling her the problems", spell them out, and have them sign it. As some point, you are very likely to be fired by this difficult customer. This customer will take a lot of your time and energy. If things work out great, but its going to take a lot of work and effort on your part (and documenting to protect yourself) and there is a significant likelihood it wll not work out. From a pricing standpoint, you need to work the time and risk of termination and possible litigation into your costs (they should be already but when you have a potential problematic client, you should expect problems).

  • Smallscapes of atlanta
    on Dec 13, 2011

    Thank you all so much. This is my first year in business and I truly want to build my company on honesty, integrity, and trust. All of this information is truly priceless

  • Just think in a few years you can change the name to bigscapes of Atlanta!!

  • Smallscapes of atlanta
    on Dec 13, 2011

    LOL!!!!!!! Thanks for inspiration

  • RED FLAG which I once ignored. The flag is that she fired three landscapers! I had a client about 3 yrs ago. she "had me right after hello", ( from the Tom Cruise movie). "Hello, I am so glad to meet you. You were so highly recommended and I just know you are the best for me...I fired my last 3 landscapers because they left too many pine cones..." Well, my crew and I worked very hard for 2 days. Never got paid the 2nd half! This was her history! Found out from the neighbors too late. By biggest customer do you mean you have worked for her before, repeat business, or biggest job so far? If the latter, you do not want the bad rap she will tell the neighbors when it fails to thrive. Are her initials J G? If so RUN! Your integrity will last, the money won't. Good luck

  • Smallscapes of atlanta
    on Dec 13, 2011

    Wow thanks

  • Erica Glasener
    on Dec 13, 2011

    What about talking her into a beautiful garden of shade loving groundcovers like hellebores, ferns, variegated solomon's seal, all perennials and once established easy to maintain?

  • I can appreciate and applaud you wanting to build your company on honesty, integrity and trust. That does not contradict anything about operating as a smart businessperson. A good contract helps you with your clients to set expectations and to preclude misunderstands. It documents the meeting of the minds and sets out the rights of the parties. As I mentioned before, in many contracts for remodeling and home improvement, the amounts involved do not "support" a lot of legal time or controversy. Profit margins are slim and can easily vanish when things go wrong (removal and repair can often exceed the original cost). Your payment schedule should be sure to have clear milestones and prompt payment and you need to be ready to stop work. And when a customer ignores your professional advice, documentation and sign-offs are critical because you'll find memory can be very "selective". There are good customers out there and almost every contractor can tell you a horror story of the customer they "should have known better" upfront to avoid.

  • Charles R
    on Dec 13, 2011

    She's reading advertisements, that promise Grass even in Cave! Those ads are so slick, so highly tuned over 2 decades that she cannot see past it and finds you in her way. If you can show her a Zoysia, that is in the shade that may change her mind. The other option is, Plant the Zoysia but insist on Heavily Trimming the Tree. Let the Light in! Let it shine, let it shine!

  • Smallscapes of atlanta
    on Dec 13, 2011

    I really appreciate all this info it is really helpful

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Dec 15, 2011

    Is it possible to take her around the neighborhood and physically show her the error in her thinking? Talk is cheap....results are priceless...and seeing is believing.

  • Judith A
    on Dec 15, 2011

    get her signature in writing stating she is aware these grasses will not grow in the shade. you are not responsible for it if she signs the contract. ditch this customer, she is not worth the time and worry.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Dec 15, 2011

    Since smallscapes pointed out that this is the first year of business and is trying to grow, I would like to point out another side of the issue. It may be hard to do this, but you may need to simply say no to the client and not do the installation. We have done this before when asked to do something that we know will not perform well. Why would I suggest doing this? Although you might get the one job which will put money in your pocket and help pay the bills, think about any neighbors that may see you installing sod in the shady area. Let's be honest and realize that they will have 2 thoughts on the observation. The first might be that they understand the homeowner and the demands. The second and more likely thought will be that they will think that you might be a sub-par landscaper who is putting sod in the shade and charging someone for it. That is negative publicity. And if the grass struggles in the area, will the homeowner speak badly of you and your sod installation, further harming your name? The homeowner might say that you didn't do proper soil prep, or bought cheap sod, or whatever reason they want to share. In any case, I would actually recommend doing as we have done on many occasions and not take the job. You need to build your name as a reputable company that knows what they are doing. You don't need to be seen as the company that will install sod in the shade and gladly take the check from the homeowner.

    • Lulu
      on Jan 22, 2016

      @Southern Trillium LLC I would let your client make her mistake, but add a clause to the end of the billing That the planting of this Particular grass was completed per client's expressed wish.although not recommended by Trillium. Every effort will be made by Trillium for a successful planting. However, you cannot be held responsible for the result.

  • Smallscapes of atlanta
    on Dec 16, 2011

    Very very intriguing and thoughtful. Thanks for the foresight

  • Erica Glasener
    on Dec 16, 2011

    @ Sothern Trillium, great advice.

  • Patsy W
    on Dec 16, 2011

    Any way to remove some of the shade...ie trimimg tree limbs or removing a tree? Is there moss growing in that area, a sre sign zoysia will Not grow! I tried 3 times to get Zoysia in a shady are, finally gave up!

  • Wendy Willey
    on Mar 23, 2015

    Meyer Zoysia Grass (based on the original zoysia) grows well in partial shade. It needs only have 4 hours of partial sun a day. It's very hardy and grows well with little watering.

  • Lulu
    on Jan 22, 2016

    Trillium,Is ZOYSIA any good for Zeric gardening where wind erosion is a problem at 6600ft elevation, with hard winters and very dry summers/zone 5-7high desert? Thanks

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