Do You Remember That Job...?

Old Monkey

Mar 9, 2005
I find that no one can remember tree jobs based on the trees. Someone says "Do you remember that job where we pruned the large oak and removed those two elms in the back yard?" and everyone gets half vacant half pained expression on their face. The they say "You know the job where the lady had a three legged dog?" and everyone says "Oh yeah, why didn't you say so in the first place?"

It seems that one tree job is like the next unless something weird has happened.
I've done estimates to prune trees that I've done before and forgot. I had one lady who's tree I had pruned years ago call for an estimate. Me: Well Mrs X it should go pretty smoothly, one thing we have going for us is that who ever did it last time did a damn good job.

Mrs X (with a funny look on her face): Well I should hope so Canuck, you did it....
Ha -
you know you the conversation really went like....

Well Mrs X, I have to charge you extra because whoever last did your trees, skinned them out so badly, it'll take us twice as long as it should to prune them. But at least they left lots of pigs ears for hand and footholds.

You're right OM. My guys are much more likely to remember the job by something unusual about the customer, the jobsite itself, or if they had to do something unusual with the brush or wood.
Ha I'll never forget the dude who gave me 35 year old apple juice bottled in old IV bottles that's for sure!!! I even had a drink of that stuff in order not to hurt his feelings.:lol:
Ha I'll never forget the dude who gave me 35 year old apple juice bottled in old IV bottles that's for sure!!! I even had a drink of that stuff in order not to hurt his feelings.:lol:

Oh man, I can relate. I remember once choking down the nastiest (what seemed to be 2 year old) brownies that some sweet lil old lady insisted that I eat because of the good job I was doing. Then she even sent me home a plate full of them at the end of the day. Can you say "chipperbait"
my old boss used to say stuff like "that oak tree we pruned the mistletoe out of last year" :dur: uuuummmmm?
yesterday he said remember that job where you backed into the gutter:dur: ummmm nope couldnt have been me:lol:
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I am starting my fifth year in business for myself and a good portion of my jobs are repeat customers. Everyone calls me like I should remember exactly who they are. I think I know what early Alzheimer's disease feels like. On the plus side of things, once I get dialed in on who they are I remember their yards and what trees they have. Koa Man said he had all his clients and the jobs he had done for them in his iPhone and before he answered the phone he was all dialed in on who they were. I don't know if I could ever be that organized.
I can only remember the horrible dead rotten trees I've had to climb,oh and working at Disney at night. I only remember that because of how bad it sucked.
I'm the same as you Darin, once I figure out who it is, I recal most of what we have done there. I would love to be as organized and Wesley
Typical conversation after the phone rings........

Rob: "Who was that"

Me: That was Mr/Mrs X wanting us to ____________

Rob: Have we worked for them before?

Me: Yes, we have. Remember when we took that oak limb down that was over that house on X street?

Rob: Blank stare..........

Me: She/He had us lift a few trees also as an add on because we had some time left in the day.. You had to drag the stuff clear out into a pasture .......... Sheep....

Rob: Blank Stare........

Me: She/He tipped us and then the neighbor came over...... We did the estimate before coming home?

Rob: Blank Stare......

Me: Chocolate chip cookies and hot coffee 1/2 through the day ?????

Rob: Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Every once in a while I have something that will bring his memory (what little he has) round. "Snake almost got you" :lol:
Koa Man said he had all his clients and the jobs he had done for them in his iPhone and before he answered the phone he was all dialed in on who they were. I don't know if I could ever be that organized.

Its relatively easy to do that with the iphone, as the contacts list allows you to put in lots of detail or an address or whatever in the data. Now when I take someones number, I punch in all the details at the same time.
I usually recognize previous customers by the house and yard once I see the property. Otherwise I have difficulty recalling what I did a couple weeks ago. Five years is pretty common for the time between calls from a repeat customer though.
i have a weird photographic memory
i remember the trees
not the clients name
the wife knows that info

people mention their city and cross street and maybe 1 tree and i can usually spit out what we did, and where we were heading with the care
i remember lots of trees, just cant remember much else
Memory and recall is an interesting subject. We each classify and file away information in different ways, and then being able to recall it is all together different.

I bet some of you guys can ID where a piece of firewood came from when you are bring a load into the house 6 months or a year later. I like keeping a piece of each tree, to some degree, to spark those memories of a day spent working and climbing. A memory of a satisfying experience.

I remember trees much better than most people, particularly prune jobs where I can look at it in a satisfied way.

Whomever is bidding the job and working on it sees it, weighs different options, interacts with the HO, etc. Crew generally shows up on one or two days and are told what is going to happen and how. I surely remember my business' jobs much more than when I worked on the ground for someone else.
That is funny... I can go out to the fire wood pile and say "that came from that dead black oak up the street, or that came from this or that account.
I am horrible with names. Yet I can remember the names of 300 customers when they tell me who is on the phone, where they live, what was done and roughly how long it has been.
Yet if I am introduced to someone... I forget their name after I shake their hand.... :dontknow:
I had a better memory when I was younger.
Some people amaze me with what all they can recall.
Me too!

Thing is to a lot of clients having the big tree in the yard felled is a large thing, that they remember ever after.
To us it is just something we do many times a year. They don't always get that.
So they expect us to remember them and their tree.
I heard something on NPR about names and name retention. A name is an arbitrary thing that parents choose before birth or at birth. Its a lot different that a nickname like Tiny or LittleNick, where you would put it with something specific about that person, like the irony of the name. As well, many people have the same name but are as different as night and day. This makes sticking that name with the person in your brain more difficult.

Until I have something to associate the name to, like knowing something about them, or being able to make an association to something or somebody I know, I'm not the greatest with names, especially if they look like an average person. An introduction of "this is john" is sort of like "this is ______", whereas after talking with someone for a while, then making the initial name introduction, it sticks a lot more.
I remember the pets more than anything. I also remember the phone numbers but dont remember who they belong to, just thats its a multiple repeat.
My usual ground guy can't remember a job for his life unless there happened to be an attractive female on site. It's strange, but I can usually remember the most mundane jobs years down the road. Names however are not my forte.
I dont remember names at all. I remember a few that have spent big money and/or Ive worked for several times over. I do remember the yard and usually remember the tree. I sometimes feel guilty though because Ive got some customers out there that scream my name from the roof tops and have pushed many jobs my way, and I often cant picture who those folks are. I feel like i owe it to them to atleast remember them considering some of them have individually pushed a half dozen jobs my way.

I had a fella refer me to a woman he knows. He told her not to waste the time calling anyone but me. This lady called me and set up an appointment to look over 140 trees on her property and do as i see fit to each of them. She told me flat out that she wasnt shopping around and not to short myself on the cost. I made a garbage bag full of money on that job, (while being fair, honest, and ethical), and to this day wish I could picture who that guy was. Im going to be horribly embarrassed one day when I run into him. I think I owe it to him to thank him when i see him but I just dont remember who he is.
I do like Koa Man and Ed. When I capture their number on the first call I plug in everything I get from them on the first contact... Name, address, email, where they heard about me, spouse name... Any info I happen to glean from the call.
Helps me remember later, but some are more memorable than others.