View Full Version : 10 Years-1st Customer-Your Help and THANKS

04-10-2005, 10:34 AM
Who better to ask than those who know. It is my 10th year of business and I remember that spring when I advertised everywhere I could think of as cheaply as I could and I waited for the responses to come in.

My first call was extremely exciting and I went out to bid the next day. Sure enough I got the job. 10 years and a few price increases later I am still mowing for these people. Absolutely great customers, thankful, friendly and they have even referred me to others. My question is What should I do for them?
They do not expect anything, I WANT to do something for them. I have a couple of ideas but I want to hear from all of you. Don't try and say nothing as I am doing something.

On the same note, it has been quite a ride so far. My career in this started before Lawnsite and I am the first to admit that I made many many mistakes that could have been avoided by learning for all of you. My business has grown steadily and at my pace largely because of the knowledge gained from this site. This is a steady part of my life and I truthfuly be lost without it. So to all who are here and all who have gone (Eric ELM in particular) I sincerely thank you for giving of yourselves and I will continue to try and do the same. 10 years is not a long time when you consider a lifetime but I am looking forward to the next how many years the Good Lord allows me to keep doing what I love doing.

Mark McC
04-10-2005, 10:44 AM
They do not expect anything, I WANT to do something for them. I have a couple of ideas but I want to hear from all of you. Don't try and say nothing as I am doing something.

How about tickets to a comedy club? I suspect most people would enjoy some sort of outing, whether it's a musical performance, a comedy club or dinner at a restaurant.

04-10-2005, 11:43 AM
i would say a $25-$40 gift card to the olivegarden or chilis- or any other restaurant

Mo Green
04-10-2005, 11:48 AM
I would buy them a dinner at a nice steakhouse or seafood restaruant that they like. I would spend more than $40. To me, giving a gift card to a chain restaruant for $25 would be like a slap in the face.
" Here you go Mr. an Mrs. Smith, here's a token of my appreciation for your 10 YEARS of loyalty. Hope you enjoy your glass of coke and cheese sticks."

Jason Rose
04-10-2005, 12:13 PM
That's a really good idea... I have customers that have been with me since I was about 14! Twleve years of mowing for the same people, I'd say the same lawn, but a couple moved and took me with them! The only lawn I mowed longer than some of these was my parents (about 15 years) but they do their own now since I sold them one of my older ZTRs. I have "officially" been doing this for 10 years, but that's even if'y saying that I started at 16. I actually started when I was about 12... But I figure 16 since I actually had a license and could be mobile.

I agree, sometimes we need to do something nice for these people. I have some really good ones, one lady that will bring me out hot chocolate or stuff to eat. Another heard about my battles with Rhumatiod Arthritis and came out the other day with a book he bought about some natural cures for back and joint pain. I have another with 2 young boys that are always facinated with my mowing equipment (from a safe distance of course) really good kids, they went on a family vacation and when they returned the youngest had missed me mowing on my wednesday so he drew a picture for me with a mower and even had grass on my legs! So cute...

Just remember, like others stated, there are many different lifestyles and incomes out there... a gift card to a chain restruant could be a total waste if they don't eat at places like that. some only go to their private club for dinner. If your know their lifestyle that would help! Humm, I guess that makes us scrubs in some peoples eyes, "they are customers, not friends" that's BS. Good luck!

04-10-2005, 12:28 PM
OK then--- i change to my comment to send them to a restaurant like Burns Steak House or (Don) Suhla's Steak House, the min out the door price is $100, one thats like up wear you live.

Mo Green
04-10-2005, 12:38 PM
To me, $100 is the least I could do for 10 YEARS of loyalty. Guys are on here all the time complaining about losing customers. These people have been good customers for 10 YEARS. Take care of them.

04-10-2005, 12:41 PM
My wife worked for a deli/resturant that is very popular around holidays. Last year she gave me $50 gift certificates for all my customers and I mailed them out with my Happy Holiday cards.

I was surprised when almost every single one of them called to thank me and tell me how much they enjoyed it.

04-10-2005, 12:50 PM
First do your homework: what type of lifestyle do these people live...you pretty much know by now.....if they have a stressful type of life, a great day at the spa for both of them???? If they are older and play golf, a free day at the course with the cart paid for.....I like the steakhouse idea, spend over a $100.00, the good you do will come back, tenfold!!! Keep us informed.. :)

04-10-2005, 01:36 PM
$50 or $100 to a good restaurant is good (maybe Ruth's Chris) but If it were me I might send a big arrangement of flowers or a nice house plant...just an idea.

Kickin Your Grass
04-10-2005, 02:25 PM
i would say a $25-$40 gift card to the olivegarden or chilis- or any other restaurant

35.00 to one of them

04-10-2005, 03:12 PM
Get them a gift certificate for Brett Favre's Steak House and some movie tickets.

Todd's lawncare
04-10-2005, 03:53 PM
i once did a small land scape job for one of my costumers just the other day one called and needed a ride to pick his car up in the tranny shop so i gave him a ride but he has only been with me for a little over 2 years

04-10-2005, 03:55 PM
after 10 loyal years of service you guys want to buy them $40 gift cards LOL i give those out just for referals..... shhot to holda customer for 10 years in this dog eat dog market i think something more along the lines of courtside NBA tickets, or tickets to a high $$ opera (if they like those things) sideline seats at and NFL game. Something big really big a way not only to say thank you but also thanks for the loyaslty all these years. not many of us out there can we have had a clirnt for 10 years, much less 10 years from day 1...... make it big make it special.....

04-10-2005, 04:02 PM
you could always keep it simple like some free work
Maybe a free mowing, or even a free month depending if your finances could handle that (not everyone at once lol).- thats probably what i would do.

but yes, gift certificates are more personal. :)

how about a year subscription to playboy?
lol j/k man, not a good idea :dizzy:

04-10-2005, 04:08 PM
his and hers watches ,time well spent on the time of 10yrs of loyal service ,and am not talking a timex

04-10-2005, 05:16 PM
Congratulations and Well done!
Clearly you have been meeting and exceeding their needs & expectations, by staying with you for so long. Loyalty is invaluable.

If I can add to some of the ideas already presented.
1) A personal letter accompaning the gift explaining why you appreciate them as a customer, would add volumes to the gift. (from simple to detailed, your choice).
2) Some discussion here about $ amount. My thoughts on this would be to link it to this years contract, ie. 10% approx. and as high as 20%. This of course is dependent upon the business margins an your comfort level.
3) Some gift ideas;A) Massage therapy, facial, spa visit,etc.
B) Maid service for a day.
C) Round of Golf with cart.
D) A day at a resort or something like it.
E) Limousine service & dinner.
I don't know anything about the customers or the type of contract they have with you, so please take my ideas lightly. If they help use them if they are cause for concern please disregard them.

Again, Congratulations! I'm sure what ever you decide will be on the mark as usual.

Regards, Vlad

Kate Butler
04-10-2005, 05:25 PM
I (personally) make and send to each of my long-term accounts a holiday balsam centerpiece and a couple of jars of homemade jam and jelly. A handwritten note accompanies the gifts. It all goes out around the first of December.

If I had clients that (for any reason, religious or otherwise) wouldn't use a centerpiece, I would send a larger grouping of jams and jellies. I suppose if any were Sufis and diabetic, I'd be out of luck - but that hasn't happened yet.

04-10-2005, 10:36 PM
The idea is to send something that they will remember fondly and see as a token of appreciation.

So sending them on a romantic dinner at a nice place is good. Creates a wonderful evening memory that is associated with you.

Same thing with the day spa.

Golf would work well, but link it to something like a golfing tournament for cancer research or something, a best ball contest or something

Maybe a Day Cruise on one of those trips to nowhere or a weekend to the bahamas

I like the idea of 10-20% of the annual contract. $150 - 300 is nothing compared to 10 years of business. And I am sure it will get you lots of word of mouth from them.

hole in one lco
04-10-2005, 10:51 PM
If you go the dinner rout take them out with you it will mean more to them .
I usually go golfing with the husband and i give the wife a day at the spa. My neighbor owns a spa and i get a good deal

04-10-2005, 10:55 PM
I have given full service car wash tickets


www.kulakandcompany.com :blob3:

04-11-2005, 12:18 PM
my best accounts always get a christmas present delivered by me... something along the lines of a popcorn tin, or a fruit basket, people like the fact i deliver it and personaly say "thank you".

04-11-2005, 01:19 PM
I have bought and planted a few beutifull trees for a few of my loyals I still have that have been around from my start-up days.Along with a little card of thanks.

04-11-2005, 01:32 PM
I agree with Sheshovel. Buy them a nice tree or cut a bed with some nice shurbs in it. Write them a nice letter saying where you started and where you've been. Then tell them about the tree or bed.

Up North
04-11-2005, 04:28 PM
Hey congrats Mow Ed!! 10 years is an awesome accomplishment no matter how you look at it, especially in today's business world.

I really like sheshovel's idea, I'd never thought of that before, I like it. Everytime they look out and see that tree it'll remind them of the nice guy/LCO that went the extra step for them. And everytime you drive by and see that tree it'll remind you of the success you've had and of which enabled you to do such a thing.

Congrats again Mow Ed!


04-11-2005, 04:36 PM
What about a nice gift basket. Selecting a restaurant is a bit chancy and what if they are vegans?

04-11-2005, 05:34 PM
If you're going to give something outside of your services make sure you know them well enough to get something they could actually use and appreciate. I still have my very first customer from '94 and being that she is a little old widow, I think she appreciates the fact that I still charge her the same low price I did 12 years ago. Her price will never go up even though my minimums are now twice that.

04-11-2005, 07:56 PM
Take them out for a nice dinner. The personal attention from the "owner" typically means a lot to most folks.
And I like the planting of a tree as well, if they're interested...........maybe some small landscaping service etc.

04-11-2005, 10:43 PM
Congrats on the 10 year customer!! Im glad to see others who Value their customer base.

I have been mowing since I was 10 years old.... Im 29 this year and I STILL have my First customer!!!! I have many for 15+ years also. I have a awsome customer file!! They trust me and I never have to worry about them I do my best and keep their best interest in mind and also their pocket book. I am not cheep but I give alot of value for them and they know they can trust me. That says alot!! All of my long term customers are in one subdivision (28 customers) We have a neighbor hood organization that started 2 years ago and I help to fund some of the activities, I feel I owe them for helping me to get to where i am today. To this day I have never lost a customer to another service, either they move or have their kids do it.

2 of my customers children actually though I was the ONLY person that mowed grass arrond town. Every time they passed a lawn service they would say there is Tom... The parents had a hard time getting them to believe that Im not the only one... that is the best compliment I have ever gotten.

Customers ARE Great If we take good care of them!!

04-12-2005, 12:53 AM
Well Ed... What ya gonna do?

Honestly I feel I wouldn't owe them a thing. If I had a customer stay with me for 10 years... it's probably for a good reason... I earned it with great service. Isn't that enough?

04-12-2005, 01:04 AM
Get a reservation at a day spa for the wife, schedule a hot stripper to visit the husband at home 30 minutes later with an ice cold six pack.