Saturday, May 29, 2010

A double dose

A customer of mine called me in a panic the other day. I had just performed a weed control with the new Fiesta on his property and he was quite upset.

Not at me, but at his former lawn service provider who showed up later that day, even though the lawn was flagged decided to put Sarritor on his weeds as well and left him a bill.

All I could think was, I'm glad they didn't put fertilizer on top of my fertilizer and burn the lawn.

I asked him, "I thought you cancelled them?"

"I did", he told me, "at the end of last season."

"Do you have a cancellation number?"

"I do."

So here is what I told him. In fact, I will tell anyone who has a company, that they've cancelled, show up and do an application anyway. It's more common than you'd expect.

Phone them. Be mad as hell. Quote your cancellation number. Tell them you are not paying for the invoice and will charge them with tresspassing if they show up on your lawn uninvited again. Also add, if there is any damage caused to the lawn due to a double application, you'll be sending a bill to that company for resodding.

To this day, I can't see how further infuriating a past customer will endear them to you when you try to win them back next season?

Yet, a few things still troubled me about the situation.

Why would a technician knowingly perform an application on a lawn that was already flagged and dated for the same day?

Are companies that desperate that they are now hiring people who can't read or aren't aware of the problems a double application could cause? It's a basic rule we're all taught on our first day.

I guess.

And why, when there is Fiesta- considered a superior control- would this company still be using Sarritor?

This second question I had answered the next day when I spoke with one of their technicians who was doing a house across the street from me. He told me they had Fiesta but were not allowed to use it until they had exhausted their Sarritor stock.

So let me get this have a quality weed control to give to your paying customer, but you choose not to use it until you get rid of the stuff that doesn't work as well? Man, that's customer service!

"That's right", said the technician who also asked me If I was hiring.

"Can you read?" I asked.

So getting back to my customer. I told him, "Look at the bright side. With a double dose on your dandelions you shouldn't have to worry about WEEDs MAN."

There's gold in them thar lawns!

Here we are at the end of May and after much waiting I finally got my hands on the gold- Fiesta, the new organic, iron based weed killer.

Why did I have to wait this long when I was told I would have it May 1st to use officially on May 8th?

There are a few schools of thought on this.

Apparently Neudorff was caught off guard by the demand and can't keep up, said one.

Neudorff can be excused. After all how much does a German company based in California really know, or care about how many weeds we have outside our igloos up here in the north?

The PMRA dragged their ass on approval said another, then they had to print labels in French and English and ship it up from California. That takes time.

OK, but dudes! You did know we've had nothing to combat weeds except harsh language since April 22nd, 2009 right? You'd think preparation might have been a little more on the ball?

Yet, what I believe is, this is all about greed. I've seen it before. Does anyone remember how Sarritor was horded by one company who didn't want to share with the rest of the class? For 2 years this went on until it became apparent what junk Sarritor actually was.

Well, it's happening again. I'm sure everyone has seen those new "Brave Heart"- style commercials where war is waged on weeds by a host of iron clad Knights.
Most of the Fiesta has been scooped up for repackaging and selling by one company, leaving the trickle down of bread crumbs to the peasants who have had to fight for every litre of the precious juice.

Forget, that this product is already outrageously priced and has to be applied to the point of run-off to work effectively. Ever seen how long it takes to spot spray a lawn loaded with weeds?

Let's just hope Fiesta works and doesn't become Siesta.

There's already one major lawn company that has been humbled by their back-peddling on Sarritor and because they were reluctant to share, they bare the burden alone.

All I can say is, if you're a small operator like me, hang on, be true to yourself, don't bullshit your customers and when even better controls hit the market- and they will- you'll be in good position to rise above the quagmire that has become the lawn care industry.