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promower
10-05-2005, 08:45 PM
I just got notice that I lost one of my bigger accounts, paid around 15,000 for the year including snow removal. I'm not to upset about it, but I cant figure out why I was fired. The letter states (condo assn.) "Our board of directors have met regarding mowing, trimming, aerating, overseeding, and snow removal. After reviewing the bids the board has chosen another service company. I want to thank your crew, and you Matt for your work this past summer and winter. You have been easy to communicate with and have worked hard. Best of luck to you in the future." This condo assn. has a ton of money, so I really dont think it came down to price. Actually when I submitted the bid in the beginning of the season, they actually raised the price of the shrub trimming $100 because to meet the price they had paid last year. Would it be out of line to call and find out what the decideing factor was? I'm curious because if their are areas we need to work on I want to know.

SodKing
10-05-2005, 08:50 PM
I would but the outcome would not change

promower
10-05-2005, 09:00 PM
I'm not looking for a different outcome, the decision was made and I'm sure new contracts have already been signed. Just wanted to know what the reasons were so I know what we need to improve on. So the question is, would it look bad to give a call and and ask a few questions? As of now we are splitting on good terms.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-05-2005, 09:08 PM
I think I would just leave it alone. It was probably not a thing you done wrong but they just got a cheaper price. At least you got a nice letter, in my area you dont get nuthin until you pull up and see that someone else has mowed it :angry:

alwaysgreener
10-05-2005, 09:19 PM
You have to remember its just business not personal. You will have a lot more of these you just have to let it go and move on..

stumper1620
10-05-2005, 09:27 PM
I just got notice that I lost one of my bigger accounts, paid around 15,000 for the year including snow removal. I'm not to upset about it, but I cant figure out why I was fired. The letter states (condo assn.) "Our board of directors have met regarding mowing, trimming, aerating, overseeding, and snow removal. After reviewing the bids the board has chosen another service company. I want to thank your crew, and you Matt for your work this past summer and winter. You have been easy to communicate with and have worked hard. Best of luck to you in the future." This condo assn. has a ton of money, so I really dont think it came down to price. Actually when I submitted the bid in the beginning of the season, they actually raised the price of the shrub trimming $100 because to meet the price they had paid last year. Would it be out of line to call and find out what the decideing factor was? I'm curious because if their are areas we need to work on I want to know.
type up a questioner,
"In an effort to improve our business we review all cancelled accounts"
Please take a moment of your time to answer these questions and there is room on the back for you to include comments.
make a list of what you think are weak points and have them grade you on a 1 to 10 scale, include fairness of price as one of the questions, was a lower bid the deciding factor? if not what was?
this is not a new practice auto dealers do it all the time. send it to the assoc. and include a post paid return envelope.
be prepared you may not like the responses.
This way the association will not feel like you are cornering them, you could word it so it sounds like you want to address their concerns and be sure to inform them that if they will consider it you would like for them to send you a bid pack for the next bid term. if it was just underbid, plan on hearing from them for the next cycle.

olderthandirt
10-05-2005, 09:57 PM
Your price got beat. "Condo associations" :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:"

ALarsh
10-05-2005, 09:59 PM
I would call to see what the deciding factor was. What does it hurt?

ed2hess
10-05-2005, 10:03 PM
It is very important to have at least one person on the board that you can talk with. If you didn't have one in this HOA be sure next time to get someone that can feed inside info to you. Obviously you were left out of loop when they rebid. I would knock on the door of the one of the board members and ask them why they changed. Hard to run away if you are at the door.

DFW Area Landscaper
10-05-2005, 10:24 PM
They told you in the letter why you lost the account.

"After reviewing the bids the board has chosen another service company."

Somebody was cheaper than you. You were doing a fine job and that is why they wrote the letter.

"I want to thank your crew, and you Matt for your work this past summer and winter. You have been easy to communicate with and have worked hard."

It is obvious to me the person who wrote the letter didn't agree with giving you the boot but he was out-voted because of price.

I have often considered going in with a contract that gives these price motivated decision makers exactly what they want...cheap price and cheap service...but with no way out once they figure out exactly how cheap your service really is. Basically, I think these a-holes will sign on the dotted line for a five year contract with enormous early termination fees IF the price is low enough. Then, just make sure the contract is written in such a way that there is no way they can give you the boot without paying the early termination fee. Almost a scam, but a legal scam.

Stories like this one really piss me off. They were happy with you. They were ok with your price, or at least they could afford it. But they wanted some one to do the same job cheaper and that is exactly what they found.

In fact, I bet you could run a study of this and find that property managers who are motivated by cheaper prices and actively pursue cheaper bids each year can get their landscaping done for less every single year even though every single one of their other costs are going up year over year. That's how f'd up this industry is. Then occassionally, I assume they run into somebody pulling the scam I outlined above and then maybe they see a year over year price increase when they hire the next landscaping company because suddenly they are focused on quality as opposed to price.

Done with my rant.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Brianslawn
10-05-2005, 10:26 PM
lower price guaranteed. very typical of places like that.

promower
10-05-2005, 11:13 PM
Well the more I think about it, price very well could have been the cause. It's funny, because about 3 weeks ago when they started getting new bids there was another LCO there when we got there. He sat watched us mow from beginning to almost end. All he had was a rider, with at least 52" deck. This particular place cant be done with a rider, all we can use were 36" and a 48" WB, tons of little strips of grass in between houses, rock beds, up little hills and paths etc.. This property is a challenge, takes two guys 2 hrs. and thats after we got the property down good, the whole place is only 1.6 acres of grass, tons of trimming. If that was guy who got the job it will take him 6 hrs solo if he only has the rider. The part that really stinks is I got $400 for plowing 2" and I could do it by myself in 2.5 hrs. Oh well, win some and lose some.

rob1325
10-05-2005, 11:59 PM
Also, with condo's and property managers, they all have there own friends, along with price. In my experience you never last very long at one particular condo, especially when the condo association changes property management. You can be doing the best job in the world and they still don't care about quality. Don't feel bad about it, just move on and keep chin up high. Something else will come up in its place.

cgland
10-06-2005, 12:05 AM
It is very important to have at least one person on the board that you can talk with. If you didn't have one in this HOA be sure next time to get someone that can feed inside info to you. Obviously you were left out of loop when they rebid. I would knock on the door of the one of the board members and ask them why they changed. Hard to run away if you are at the door.

This may work for a few months until they either quit or new members are appointed. HOA's will always be a power struggle between board members and other committees.

Chris

DFW Area Landscaper
10-06-2005, 12:09 AM
I have no experience with the commercial accounts, but it looks like I don't want any.

Last year, an HOA contacted me for a price to maintain their landscape. I invested hours putting a beautiful presenation together and left it for he decision maker. My price to do it right was $1,700 per month. He called me back and said he loved my proposal but the price was too high. He said I needed to be in the $500's per month. So I gutted the contract and reduced the number of flats etc and shot it back via e-mail.

Then my back went out and I was certain I would quit the business. Was trying to figure out what to do. They e-mailed and said they wanted to move forward. I told them I couldn't do it because of the back injury.

Well, obviously I was the low bid because they called me again today. Exactly one year later. They are asking for other bids on this property. I told them I only do residential now.

I say if you are low enough to win the business over the competition, these decision makers will not mind locking in the lower price for a five year term.

If I ever decide to focus on commercial accounts, which I doubt I'll ever do, I will insist on a five year term or no deal.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Currier
10-06-2005, 12:10 AM
Guaranteed that it is $$. We are getting ready to lose one at the end of this year due to $$. When I took it over it was junk and had HUGE irrigation issues. 3 years later it is gorgeous and they want to put it out to bid. Not a problem. My knowledge don't come cheap.

Right now they figure we don't do anything...but they don't see me at 5:30 in the morning making sure all is working right..this should be fun!

That is the only downside to being good...they figure it must not be that hard after all you don't do that much...

Runner
10-06-2005, 12:47 PM
This is a price issue, and is probably compounded by one of the board members' nephew or grandson "Jason" getting into the "lawn cuttin'" business.

mbricker
10-06-2005, 03:04 PM
I agree with the other guys saying the price was probably the issue.

HOWEVER, (pay attention here) the tone of the letter you received indicates to me the DOOR IS STILL OPEN!

They are going to experience the issues you pointed out with the guy you saw there ( if he is the one that got the job). IMHO, it is likely you will get a call to come take another look at the job in the near future, or beginning of next season. You can enhance your chances with a very friendly letter, including as you proposed, a request that they inform you of anything that might have cost you the job.

The price you come in with will be no less than what you last charged, and probably higher. Hasn't fuel gone up a LOT? Anyone can understand that as a reason for some increase.

Good luck!

grassyfras
10-06-2005, 03:40 PM
I agree with DFW but I would still call. It shows you have no hard feelings and you care. It would only take 5 minutes.

Lost Pine
10-06-2005, 03:46 PM
I agree with everyone that says, The outcome won't change. OH ! And remember, everything comes down to money !!!!!

DFW Area Landscaper
10-06-2005, 05:48 PM
I disagree with the advice to call them and ask them for a reason for not-renewing.

In my opinion, that is major sign of weakness and once they smell weakness, they will eat you alive.

You've lost the account. If they call you back it is only because of one reason: The quality is suffering. At that time, you can nail them with a price increase, sighting increasing fuel costs as a reason...just don't sight "revenge" as the reason.

But if you call them back now they will think you are desparate. Then, if there is a quality issue, the desparate guy is no position to demand more money.

I am still giving serious consideration to the low-ball-you-can't-get-out-of-this-contract-for-five-years-you-cheap-mother-f'r-scam-contract for these price motivated a-hole property managers. Serious consideration!

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

lawncuttinfoo
10-06-2005, 06:47 PM
Then you will run into the ones that have YOU sign a contract.

The first year in the biz the guys I bought this biz from had a guy that made them sign a contract that HE made up. This guy was insane, I'm mowing one morning and he comes running up to me saying "What are you doing?" "The contract states you will use mulching blades or bag the grass only!" (there was grass on a service driveway while I was working) I said those are mulching blades. And he responds are you going to clean this up? Umm, yes i say, knowing that he has seen the blower we use every week. And he just stomps off.

Later that year in sept I'm there for the 4th mow of the month and he says what are you doing you were only "authorized" for 2 mows during sept. and we are not getting any rain, I'm not paying for this or last weeks mow.

This guy had his irrigation going every other day through mid oct and there was mega shade on this prop. So now I knew he was crazy.

Only use a very specific contract that YOU have made for comercial props .

Tonyr
10-06-2005, 07:01 PM
Call them, thank them for the letter praising your service.

Then just mention how you enjoyed the job and that if they need you in the future please don't hesitate to call you.


trust me.....the above works!

Keeps you in their mind, lets them know your not bitter, lets them know if they have issues with the new bloke they can get you back, it isn't sucking up, but keeping communication open.

Try it....nothing bad/negative can come of a simple no b.s call like above.

They will appreciate it, true!

olderthandirt
10-06-2005, 07:15 PM
Call them, thank them for the letter praising your service.

Then just mention how you enjoyed the job and that if they need you in the future please don't hesitate to call you.


trust me.....the above works!

Keeps you in their mind, lets them know your not bitter, lets them know if they have issues with the new bloke they can get you back, it isn't sucking up, but keeping communication open.

Try it....nothing bad/negative can come of a simple no b.s call like above.

They will appreciate it, true!
Tony,
Thats some god advise but another idea is to hire a caber launcher to launch a caber up the other blokes azz and put him out of commsion for awhile. Then the jobs open up again for the old LCO to continue with services :laugh: :laugh:

Tonyr
10-06-2005, 07:29 PM
G'Day Mac,

Your sounding very Aussie, Scotish cross there ol' mate! I like what I'm hearing! :laugh:

Except we Aussies , except for those in Sydney LOL, don't wear attire similar to ol' mate Bill's on a Friday night whilst cruising LS threads! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:


No, I'm not gunna ask what is under a Kilt either!! :alien:

And, I'm not sure I wanna know what a Caber is used for, too frightened to ask! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

nelbuts
10-06-2005, 10:11 PM
Actually do not call. Send them a Christmas card this year.

You can send them a letter thanking them for the opportunity to serve them and if they would need any service in the future please do not hesitate to call.

promower
10-07-2005, 12:50 AM
With thier last bill I will include a letter thanking them for their buisness, and keep me in mind for future work. I really liked the idea of a cancelation/questionaire although I will not include that for this property, simply because I really feel this did come down to price. I know we did a good job, the condo pres. letter stated that, so maybe next year we will be invited to bid again. Thanks for the replies all, I dont feel so bummed anymore :waving:

topsites
10-07-2005, 01:36 AM
I think I would just leave it alone. It was probably not a thing you done wrong but they just got a cheaper price. At least you got a nice letter, in my area you dont get nuthin until you pull up and see that someone else has mowed it :angry:

Hell yeah I hate that schitt...
I agree, from the sounds of the letter, they found someone cheaper, doesn't really matter how much money they got, I get this crap myself BUT:
- I further agree, NEVER call back, always let them call YOU! This lets you keep the upper hand, and it's ALWAYS a little extra money when they come back.

The door may still be open, so leave it that way...
Let sleeping dogs lie...

cborden
10-07-2005, 10:40 AM
Let it go, probably nothing you did or they would have brought it to your attention. You probably got beat on price or what happens around here a lot of the time, someone on the board has a connection to another lco....happens all the time around here. :angry:

new2nash
10-07-2005, 12:28 PM
You don't need to call them- their letter made it clear: you did a fine job, they saw an opportunity to save a substantial amount of money.
Unfortunately, while you'd like to think, "the new service might be cheaper but can't do the same level of service" sometimes they can. They might be losing money on that particular job but not even realize it, simply cutting into profits on other jobs they have. The worst part is that it makes you look like you were ripping off the customer. It's part of this business and has happened to just about everyone. Maybe the new company bit off more than they can chew and you'll get the job back, but don't hold your breath.
At this point the only professional thing to do is move on to new opportunities.

tinman
10-07-2005, 12:53 PM
Cheaper price. But I would ask to be sure if you are curiouis.

Remsen1
10-07-2005, 01:16 PM
make a list of what you think are weak points and have them grade you on a 1 to 10 scale, include fairness of price as one of the questions, was a lower bid the deciding factor? if not what was?

Good Idea. Also include items that you think are your strong points, to reinforce reasons to consider you again in the future.

jtrice11
10-07-2005, 01:20 PM
I just got notice that I lost one of my bigger accounts, paid around 15,000 for the year including snow removal. I'm not to upset about it, but I cant figure out why I was fired. The letter states (condo assn.) "Our board of directors have met regarding mowing, trimming, aerating, overseeding, and snow removal. After reviewing the bids the board has chosen another service company. I want to thank your crew, and you Matt for your work this past summer and winter. You have been easy to communicate with and have worked hard. Best of luck to you in the future." This condo assn. has a ton of money, so I really dont think it came down to price. Actually when I submitted the bid in the beginning of the season, they actually raised the price of the shrub trimming $100 because to meet the price they had paid last year. Would it be out of line to call and find out what the decideing factor was? I'm curious because if their are areas we need to work on I want to know.\

I think its smart to try and find out why, but I would also say that it doesn't sound like your were "fired" at all. Maybe price did matter and someone came in lower. It c ould also be because of a relationship someone has on the board with another lawn care provider.

Remsen1
10-07-2005, 01:35 PM
BTW, make sure to let the new guy know how much money he left on the table so he feels like a real schlepp.

Likestomow
10-07-2005, 04:16 PM
There are only two possiblities for ending a relationship -- price or quality. They praised your work, so it's price. I know the first time this happens it is a bit of a shock, but welcome to the world of cut-throats.

I would not call them back. I think it does show a bit of weakness. Let your work speak for you. But remember, they are not going to hold a meeting and say, "Let's go back to paying that high price again so we get some better work done around here."

Everyone of these places want a lower price than the last guy charged. The work cost reflects upon the president and board, or the manager's ability to save money. Now like DWF said, if you can recon with that and come up with a low cost plan that will still make you money, you will have their ear.

Also, part of the problem is that sometimes we just think that a certain dollar amount is that gold standard and the work can't get done for any less. Well the fact is there are lots of people who will work for less than you. Once you ponder that fact, you will consider dropping your price to an amount that is in line with the market.

jtrice11
10-08-2005, 01:30 PM
There are only two possiblities for ending a relationship -- price or quality. They praised your work, so it's price. I know the first time this happens it is a bit of a shock, but welcome to the world of cut-throats.

I would not call them back. I think it does show a bit of weakness. Let your work speak for you. But remember, they are not going to hold a meeting and say, "Let's go back to paying that high price again so we get some better work done around here."

Everyone of these places want a lower price than the last guy charged. The work cost reflects upon the president and board, or the manager's ability to save money. Now like DWF said, if you can recon with that and come up with a low cost plan that will still make you money, you will have their ear.

Also, part of the problem is that sometimes we just think that a certain dollar amount is that gold standard and the work can't get done for any less. Well the fact is there are lots of people who will work for less than you. Once you ponder that fact, you will consider dropping your price to an amount that is in line with the market.

There is a 3rd reason, relationships. If someone on the board, or who make sthe decision regarding service knows someone or has a "buddy" who has a company, they will be seriously considered for the job. that's just reality.