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Smitty58
06-04-2005, 12:19 AM
This week I've lost 3 customers bringing the total lost for this season up to 5.
1 moved, 1 decided he needed the exercise so he's gonna do it himself, and 3 elderly single ladies. The one I lost today leaves a voice mail "your guy damaged my siding and I have not been happy with your work so I found someone else". So I drove past her house and it looks great ,what is going on?
I realize the whole "fixed income and if I can find someone cheaper your fired" thing ,but this is getting ridiculous. I'm about ready to not take any new customers if they are over the age of 60. Am I the only one that is having problems with the senoir citizens? All of my younger professional clients are thrilled with our work so what the heck is the deal? To top it off I finally convinced my wife to go full time next year and every time she hears a voice mail like this one she gives me the classic ,"see why I don't like this business" song and dance. Anyone else have this problem?

oakwood
06-04-2005, 12:28 AM
Man, that is a ton of truck your cruising around in. Literally :p Motivate yourself to find twice the clients you lose. Go find 10 young couples. Old folks are tight, I agree, but they always pay.

QualityLawnCare4u
06-04-2005, 12:32 AM
Smitty, this one is going to bring me out of lurking. I posted almost the very same thing some time back about not taking anyone over 60, Ive had trouble with 90% of them. In the past 3 weeks Ive lost 4 and 3 were over 60, and one did me EXACTLY like yours, all of a sudden did not like my work and it has been great up until she found someone cheaper. Just dont let it get to you, just part of the biz (even though it does urk me sometimes) why dont they just tell the truth, I got someone cheaper, I would respect them more than insulting my work!

Scapegoat
06-04-2005, 12:55 AM
If that bothers you, don't ever move to Florida. ROFL

I know its not funny, just roll with it and never take anything personal.

If you advertise well, it will work itself out. Best of luck!

lawnman_scott
06-04-2005, 12:56 AM
Did you get out to look at the damaged siding, or just "drive by her house"?

Smitty58
06-04-2005, 01:05 AM
I didn't get out only because I had the family with me on our way to another exciting high school graduation ,but the house is a raised ranch so the siding is approx 18" above the ground. I really doubt the siding was damaged since we run with the deflector down ,but it is possible. The house is also 40 years old with the original siding so it's not exactly mint condition. My son mowed it this morning probably around noon and by 5 pm she called to say she found someone else. Sounds like she already had someone to me ,but maybe I'm just paranoid.

BareFootLawn
06-04-2005, 02:33 AM
I do 80% commercial properties. My two best customers (residential) are senior citizens. They refer alot of work to me, some of it I have to politely turn down, but last year, one of them got me into a condo association that pays really well.
I wouldn't trade 10 accounts for either one.
Just my 2 cents.

SodKing
06-04-2005, 07:56 AM
This has been a hell of a year. We lost Every Major residential client due to sales of the house, and these houses are worth more than $2 mil apiece. We did sign up the buyers of all the houses, and the old owners new houses so this year has been great so far.

Mo Green
06-04-2005, 08:36 AM
It's happened to me, too. I think most seniors have the mindset that cheaper is always better. It's just how they were brought up. It's their nature to pinch pennies, even if they don't need to. Just chalk it up as an opportunity to fill that slot with a new, posiibly more profitable, customer that will appreciate your work.

grass_cuttin_fool
06-04-2005, 09:02 AM
I have lost some to the cheaper prices, but they seem to call back sooner or later. I run my route same day and about the same time each week. Some of the cheaper guys are never there the same day and do lawncare as a 2nd job and cant keep a schedule when weather gets them behind. I have found out that even being higher, just being dependable means alot to the Seniors.Just hang in there and maybe it will turn around

packerbacker
06-04-2005, 10:44 AM
Ill be honest, most of my customers are 60 and up and they have never complained about me raising prices and they ALWAYS pay on time.

They tend to talk a little longer :) but thats ok.

liquidforcedude7
06-04-2005, 03:50 PM
For me its not a senior citizen problem its male/female. Like my next door neighbor I do their yard for 25 dollars it takes me like 45 minutes and it isnt hard at all. But when I tried to raise my price from 20 to 25 she said ok but her husband said no way. (haha that rhymes). Since she is the one that brings in most of their money I got my way. But I have a lot more like this where the wife will hire me and then tells me to stop cutting it because he husband wants to do it. I do one yard for a sergion's (sp) wife. Hes never there so That one doesnt bring much trouble.

Norm Al
06-04-2005, 03:53 PM
i sold my mowing company and went into a better industry!

Jeff@SGLC.ca
06-04-2005, 11:16 PM
I have a 92 year old lady I've known since I was a kid and she never complains. We do service a couple elderly couples and no issues. We have one lady who is a contract job for us that is out every time we are there with something new to complain about. She is in her 80's and had to complain about the spring clean up and how we did not pull weeds from her white rocks running against the house and sidewalk (wasn't supposed to be done), she then complained we weren't cutting low enough so we lowered the mower to 2" (next door neighbour scalps his lawn weekly). The next complaint was the grass in the flowerbeds due to her son seeding the lawn in the spring and getting the seed in the beds (we don't service flowerbeds on her property) then this week she zinged us with 2. One was "he must of forgot to lower his mower cause I told him I wanted it lower" this is me still cutting at 2" but now she wants lower which means 1.5" and the second was she was extremely displeased with the service and we went to0 fast. I think the too fast part was what she didn't like about the service. We don't go out and spend $7000 grand on a mower so we can take an hour on the lawn. I would of dropped her for sure after this week but because its a contract lawn for us we have to keep showing up.

Smitty58
06-04-2005, 11:43 PM
The lady that dropped us yesterday was a new customer this year. We only cut it 8 times and she complained the first day we were there saying "can that thing cut grass going that fast". I think that is one part of it, some people who are not used to seeing a professional piece of equipment on their lawn just get nervous and start looking for things to complain about. They think you should spend a couple of hours with a 21 and then they only want to pay $20. This yard was $30 which really it should have been a little more than that but we got 2 yards side by side so we gave them a break. Anyway with some people complaining about the fast Z we are thinking of going back to a hydro w/b. It probably will only add a couple of minutes to an avg size lawn and if we can keep customers happy then it will be worth that few minutes lost. I'm going back to the dealer this week to see what we can do.

Texas Mowem
06-05-2005, 11:31 AM
All of my younger professional clients are thrilled with our work so what the heck is the deal?

Don't take this the wrong way but I doubt your young professional customers give your service enough thought to be thrilled about it. I know mine don't, I mow they pay me customers come and go.

LawnScapers of Dayton
06-05-2005, 11:44 AM
The lady that dropped us yesterday was a new customer this year. We only cut it 8 times and she complained the first day we were there saying "can that thing cut grass going that fast". I think that is one part of it, some people who are not used to seeing a professional piece of equipment on their lawn just get nervous and start looking for things to complain about. They think you should spend a couple of hours with a 21 and then they only want to pay $20. This yard was $30 which really it should have been a little more than that but we got 2 yards side by side so we gave them a break. Anyway with some people complaining about the fast Z we are thinking of going back to a hydro w/b. It probably will only add a couple of minutes to an avg size lawn and if we can keep customers happy then it will be worth that few minutes lost. I'm going back to the dealer this week to see what we can do.

Why don't you just slow down a little on the ZTR......

Derek

kc2006
06-05-2005, 12:22 PM
Whenever I get a call from an elderly customer I know they're going to want the cheapest they can get, thats why I talk and am real friendly and mention the how theres alot of people getting in this business that are not legal and thats why they charge so little, it normally gets them thinking and it works.

Yesterday I signed on an account that I priced at 30 and she said she had been paying 20. At first she was alittle doubtful and I said "we may be alittle more but your going to get professional work, you see where paying the other guy 20 a week got you" (the guy can't keep up and was there every other week only when she wanted weekly). Plus theres 4 other lawns on the same street that he's messing up so I have to go talk to them and possibly sign all 4 of them up too. It depends on the person i think, fixed income or not if they just plain don't care they're going to go with who ever is cheaper but if they want it to look nice they'll care.

Smitty58
06-05-2005, 05:20 PM
This business is changing its seems every yr. There are those who just want it cut and don't care what it looks like (I don't want them), there are those willing to pay for "professional" service (these are who we want) ,and then there are those who want "professional service" but want to pay as if it is the 12 yr old kid down the street doing it (definately don't want these). Of course when you sign a new customer you don't know yet which category they fall into ,so it takes you a liitle while to figure that out. The fixed income people at least around here seem to lean towards wanting the best service for the least price. The other factor I think is equipment, some understand the "professional" equipment and some freak out when they see a big ztr on their lawn. It has caused me to rethink my setup. Like someone said on another one of my threads ,everyone wants the big wide open yards that they can put a big z on leaving a big market prime for the picking of the smaller lawns.

Gr grass n Hi tides
06-05-2005, 07:13 PM
This week I've lost 3 customers bringing the total lost for this season up to 5.
1 moved, 1 decided he needed the exercise so he's gonna do it himself, and 3 elderly single ladies. The one I lost today leaves a voice mail "your guy damaged my siding and I have not been happy with your work so I found someone else". So I drove past her house and it looks great ,what is going on?
I realize the whole "fixed income and if I can find someone cheaper your fired" thing ,but this is getting ridiculous. I'm about ready to not take any new customers if they are over the age of 60. Am I the only one that is having problems with the senoir citizens? All of my younger professional clients are thrilled with our work so what the heck is the deal? To top it off I finally convinced my wife to go full time next year and every time she hears a voice mail like this one she gives me the classic ,"see why I don't like this business" song and dance. Anyone else have this problem?

Look at it as a blessing. Seriously. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts you replace these no good clients with better ones. What you're describing is pretty close to bottom of the barrel. You have to be able to let change happen & realize you're not steering the ship. I realize situations vary (e.g. gotta sign everything that comes your way just b/c you've gotta to make ends meet). But........next time consider whether or not to even go to work for someone that's going to biatch about a $30 cut from day one.

I just cut a client loose that I've been working for three years b/c it's June & she's trying to tell me not to come regularly - wants me to basically be "on call." Me: "sorry things aren't going to work out for us but thank you for the past three years ....." then a polite explanation why it won't work. She was also upset b/c I wouldn't do a fescue planting for her now..........INSTEAD of back in the first week of April as I suggested. Told her chances are that when the grass comes up & is young in July it will fry & her money is wasted with nobody happy. She didn't want to hear it. Oh well. Find another LCO.

sildoc
06-05-2005, 07:23 PM
For every one I loose I pick up 2 or 3 within 2 weeks. I lost 3 last week and picked up 7 already. I had a guy follow me around and take 3 of my older clients away for 30 bucks less amonth. One called me and asked if I could do it for his price. No way. I am sure I will get at least one or two calls back from them by mid august when it has been 100 for 2 weeks straight.

steve225
06-05-2005, 08:53 PM
I, ve bean cutting for 25 yrs. at one time most of my clients were old because you did your own lawn till you were to old too. The last couple yrs. I lost a couple because some old people just get a little funny. They had the best looking lawn around but she hired the guy next door (a little cheaper) .
It,s not always us, it's that they just get old . One of my guys said they lose thier faculties. I know some of you guys know what I'm talking about.
Steve

mastercare
06-06-2005, 11:46 AM
I have found that the picky people are never the ones you expect. The people with the crappiest lawns worry about it the most, but of course don't want to pay a thing to make it look better.

Sometimes its the reverse.....I have a customer trying to sell her home, in the 450k range. I helped her re-set her sprinklers this week, and actually pointed out that her lawn has a bunch of dips and short slopes to it, which makes the mower "slice" a little lower in some places. I explained to her that I could raise the deck and feather them out, becuase it really bugs me to leave her lawn every week. And, she tells me that it looks great and she could care less!!!

The thing that gets me the most is the people who want to come out and talk. I like being chatty with the customers, and come across very personable. But not when there's a full day of cutting left to do and rain an hour away. I had a lady last week come out and tell me she doens't think it needs cut. A few weeks back she asked me to cut very short.....which looks better. Well, the grass isn't as high this week, becuase it started shorter!! The same amount grew....and your back yard is a mess! So, I convinced her that it needed cut. I left clumps in her back yard.....so she could see how much was actually getting cut off. This should be a $35-40 yard that I do for only $30.......since she's the mother of a friend.....and has me do tons of other work too.

Anyways....it never stops amazing me....some are picky and don't want to pay a dime. Others could care less, as long as the grass is shorter when you leave!

hosejockey2002
06-06-2005, 01:24 PM
About 90% of my customers are 55 and older. There are some that are just cheap, and they are easy to spot. I just bid them high, and they end up going with the old scrub with the MTD in the back of his 1972 Toyota pickup. Most of my customers like the fact that I am dependable, speak English fluently, have all my teeth, don't cuss too much around them, am polite and do a good job, and they seem to be willing to pay a little more. The ones that are just looking for the lowest price, who wants to work for them anyway?