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Thread: How do I explain the moss death process to a disappointed customer?

  1. #1

    How do I explain the moss death process to a disappointed customer?

    I just had my first Large roof cleaning on 3500+ SF very steep, 2.5 stories high, tile roof. We don't get black streaks here but there were large clumps of moss on the bottom edge of many tiles. (I believe is it's Dicranoweisia sp.) The roof was not walkable and I shot the roof from the ladder with my SH mix. A few valleys I was able to climb to get behind the chimney or other awkward structures.
    When selling, I explained that we would be cleaning the roof with an herbicide that would kill the moss and then it would dry up, break down and then be removed through wind and rain. I also told him that there was no safe way (for a reasonably sane company) to pressure wash the roof as he originally wanted done. Well, the moss all turned white and after cleaning and I didn't rinse to give the SH more time to work and for so the natural process could complete the job. He came out to this vacation house 2 days later and just emailed be saying that he is "disappointed" that it looks like there's not much change. I sent him photos showing befores and afters ( not dramatic when the moss didn't instantly release but the moss had all turned white) as well as photos on every side of the hose showing us applying SH to the roof so there's visual proof that we did the work as explained.
    Now he wants to discuss with me over the phone (he lives 3 hours away) his expectations for the job. He wants to know when his roof will be "clean." He has not paid a dime yet. I think I can explain to him the function of rhizoids and how they need to weaken and decay for the moss to come off naturally but depending on the weather here, that could take all summer.
    Did I miss something? Doing something wrong? How should I respond?

  2. #2
    Jr. Member Rodger's Avatar
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    Denver
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    My idea.
    Ask him what he "remembers of what you told him of the process before", then explain the process again until he get's it. Ask him how you could have explained it so he remembered/understood. Make him your teammate in developing a new phone pitch that people remember and understand.
    Say things like "obviously it's important to communicate this process so people remember and understand. We deal with all of these terms daily and we forget that people may misunderstand what we are saying or not remembering the important parts."
    People want to help and be educated. Once he understand the situation I bet he'll come around.
    Never bring up the money or payment. They will get to the point of bringing it up themselves
    Rodger Boggs
    Winter Wash
    Rodger@winterwash.com
    720-725-4595
    c/t 303-885-000
    191 University 695
    Denver CO 80216

  3. #3
    did you send him a scope of work in writing? if not suck it up fix it and make him happy. learn for next time

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dave mac View Post
    did you send him a scope of work in writing? if not suck it up fix it and make him happy. learn for next time
    aka.. a contract.

    What did your contract say?

  5. #5
    Hero Member
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    Location
    Long Island NY
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    Good luck getting an unhappy customer to pay. If it was me I would go out there and pretreat again then wait like 20 min and then rinse everything off with a black low pressure soap tip so his roof looks new when done.
    John Tornabene
    Clean County Powerwashing
    www.cleancounty.com
    PWNA/PWRA member

  6. #6
    Don't expect payment until you finish the job. You can't tell someone to pay you now and and then just wait a few weeks for the wind and rain to do their thing.
    William
    Chuck Norris can believe it's not butter.

  7. #7
    Why can't you clean the edges of the tiles? What Herbicide did you spray on his roof?

    This is my take on it and it's worth what you are paying for it.

    You looked at the job and said "wow I can spray some bleach and soap on this roof and be out of here in a couple of hours and make lots of money"

    The reality is now you need to go over there and wash all the edges of the tiles from a ladder and it's gonna suck and it's gonna take a LONG time and now you are saying "Man this job is going to eat my lunch and I'm going to lose money"

    This is one of the MOST valuable lessons you will learn if you look at it for what it is.

    Price your work for the amount of work and time that will make the job right and if the customer accepts your price your going to make two things 1: Money 2: A happy customer. If they don't accept you will not make an angry unsatisfied customer.

    There is no magic potion or saying to make this customer happy. What he wants is what you sold him, a clean roof.

    If you hired a plumber to unblock your drain and he came over to your house and poured some stuff down the drain and told you "Look that is going to clear you drain in a couple of weeks" How would you feel about paying him?

    I'm not jumping on you or trying to make you look stupid or whatever. I have been where you are right now.Most of the guys that have been in business for a long time have been where you are right now. The difference between the guys that stay and make a company and a living doing this versus the MANY, MANY guys that come and go on these boards is one thing. Te good companies and the good guys will do what it takes to make the job right and to make that customer happy.He will tell everybody he knows the story of how you finished his job and went the extra mile to make him happy.If you go back and give him a bunch of reasons why his roof isn't clean. He will tell everybody how your company is a scam and they do bad work.

    One of those outcomes is the best advertising you can get and the other one is the death of your company. You figure out which is which.
    J.C. Galmiche
    Cajun Cleanin' Powerwashing
    Daphne, Al.
    251-510-9508
    cajuncleanin@mchsi.com
    www.cajuncleanin.com
    Pressure washing Daphne,Fairhope,Alabama.

  8. #8
    Hero Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cajun cleanin View Post
    Why can't you clean the edges of the tiles? What Herbicide did you spray on his roof?

    This is my take on it and it's worth what you are paying for it.

    You looked at the job and said "wow I can spray some bleach and soap on this roof and be out of here in a couple of hours and make lots of money"

    The reality is now you need to go over there and wash all the edges of the tiles from a ladder and it's gonna suck and it's gonna take a LONG time and now you are saying "Man this job is going to eat my lunch and I'm going to lose money"

    This is one of the MOST valuable lessons you will learn if you look at it for what it is.

    Price your work for the amount of work and time that will make the job right and if the customer accepts your price your going to make two things 1: Money 2: A happy customer. If they don't accept you will not make an angry unsatisfied customer.

    There is no magic potion or saying to make this customer happy. What he wants is what you sold him, a clean roof.

    If you hired a plumber to unblock your drain and he came over to your house and poured some stuff down the drain and told you "Look that is going to clear you drain in a couple of weeks" How would you feel about paying him?

    I'm not jumping on you or trying to make you look stupid or whatever. I have been where you are right now.Most of the guys that have been in business for a long time have been where you are right now. The difference between the guys that stay and make a company and a living doing this versus the MANY, MANY guys that come and go on these boards is one thing. Te good companies and the good guys will do what it takes to make the job right and to make that customer happy.He will tell everybody he knows the story of how you finished his job and went the extra mile to make him happy.If you go back and give him a bunch of reasons why his roof isn't clean. He will tell everybody how your company is a scam and they do bad work.

    One of those outcomes is the best advertising you can get and the other one is the death of your company. You figure out which is which.
    Excellent post and well said.
    John Tornabene
    Clean County Powerwashing
    www.cleancounty.com
    PWNA/PWRA member

  9. #9

  10. #10
    If it were me,.and really needed the money I'd go back like others have stated. On a hard to get on roof though rinsing moss at the high spots can be tough. And if you don't get it all this time,.he may still not pay and you wasted more time and effort,.........So,.if you can go back,.treat it and rinse it away damage free,..and your safety isn't an issue,..then that's what I'd do. But remember this also,..if you go back,.retreat it,..and then rinse it away,..and leave bare spots where lichen once was,..you may have a whole other issue to deal with. I'm just assuming there's lichen there as well. Usually is with moss.

    But if it were me and I didn't need the money right now,..And I'm confident in my procedure,..I'd say,.."Ok Mr. Customer,.Sorry about the confusion,..but I do not want to damage your roof by ripping lichen from the the surface along with your protective granules,..So,...I'll be back periodically to check on progression of the job"

    And take a lesson on what you did wrong this time so it doesn't happen again.


    *I sell jobs like this all the time,.and I tell people it will take a few months sometimes to go away and leave the roof free of moss and as damage free as can be,..When explained properly it is an easy sell. If you offer a clean roof by the end of the day,..and you rip lichen from the roof and leave bare spots,..along with a pile of granules at the end of the downspout ,..that's way more of an issue to me where integrity is concerned than leaving the job,.."Unfinished" Its not a perfect World,.and sometimes moss/lichen takes time to go away,..and if you can't make the customer understand that,.then walk,..you'll both be happier.

    I agree though,..The job IS what you sell it,.and they can take it or leave it.

    *There are jobs I remember that the customer wanted the growth gone when I left that day,..And one job in particular had so much lichen that it would have looked really bad when I left if I had ripped it off. I walked from these jobs,..couldn't come to make the customer understand,..and I am not out just to simply please the customer at any cost,..I am more out to please me,..and my understanding of the business outweighs theirs by a huge margin.

    "What if you have a customer that wants an apple tree so he can pick apples,..and you are contracted to plant him a tree,..are you going to be able to say,..sure you'll have apples by the end of the day after planting,..or are you going to say,..well it's going to take a while,..but you will have apples" I suppose you could plant a "currently" producing apple tree,.Ha,Ha,..But you see my point,..some things aren't instant.

    Point is,.comparing one thing to another is pointless,..different procedures for different scenarios"

    Now,.with all that said,..would be nice to see pictures. Also,.this customer may be having a convenient misunderstanding of what you told him,.and is one of "those",..and as Ken stated,..get it in writing next time if it's going to be an issue.

    Jeff
    Jeff Wible
    Raystown Roof Cleaning
    Serving Central Pa Since 1996
    T.V Commercial

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