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View Full Version : hardtime moving clients around...Opinoins BG


Ol'time Lawncare
01-31-2006, 10:28 AM
this year i'm using service agreements (contracts)for all residential clients.Some who signed for annual maintenance,Others are giving me a hard time, because of some of my clauses,like late paying, obstacles in the lawn ect...They say why do i have to sign, you have bin doing a good job for years so why now the change. witch we all know why.how can i persuade these good customers to sign on the dotted line.i do not want to lose these clients to other who operate with out a service agreement?...I'd like to here from Bobby gedd on this matter!

CLARK LAWN
01-31-2006, 10:33 AM
try telling them insurence is mandating it

bobbygedd
01-31-2006, 10:43 AM
yes, i must be the laughing stock, since everyone always asks for my guidance. the truth is, as far as your clients needing to sign, there are alot of reasons, the main one being I JUST DON'T TRUST YOU!! but, you can't say that, so, here is what you tell them, in the words of george kostanza(sienfeld), " IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME." explain to them, that it's not THEM that is causing you to be FORCED to make this change. it is the people who don't pay on time, and who abuse certain privilages (like a little extra here and there) that are responsible for the neccesary change. a few bad apples ruin it for everyone. because of these few, you are forced to change the way you do business. and you CAN'T pick and choose who signs a service agreement, and who doesn't, to do so, would be like discriminating. also, tell them that with stricter laws by the dept of consumer affairs, for the protection of the consumer, a contractor must put in writing- what will be done, when, and how much he is charging. and finally, assure them, that nothing will change, they will recieve the same great service, and courtousy, since THEY are not one of the people who abuse your system. tell them that these changes are neccesary for the well being and future growth of your company. don't feel bad ole time, i've been slowly changing everybody over, even my clients from 6-7 yrs ago. and have lost a few over it. it's part of business. you need to turn off that little part of your brain when doing business, the part labeled- "emotion". now, since you are in jersey, if you need me, for a small fee, i'll be glad to come down, bring my paperwork, let you copy and use it, and even speak with a few of your clients for you.

sjessen
01-31-2006, 12:04 PM
What about having just the old customers who were late payers, etc sign contracts? And, you could put all new clients on a contract.

HOOLIE
01-31-2006, 02:58 PM
What about having just the old customers who were late payers, etc sign contracts? And, you could put all new clients on a contract.

Yup...you can't teach old dogs new tricks. You're stuck with Fido, you raised him without a service agreement.

You could play up the insurance bit like someone mentioned. Something like...your carrier won't pay out on a claim without proof that you were authorized to be on the property. The more legal-sounding the better :)

Ol'time Lawncare
01-31-2006, 04:01 PM
yes, i must be the laughing stock, since everyone always asks for my guidance. the truth is, as far as your clients needing to sign, there are alot of reasons, the main one being I JUST DON'T TRUST YOU!! but, you can't say that, so, here is what you tell them, in the words of george kostanza(sienfeld), " IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME." explain to them, that it's not THEM that is causing you to be FORCED to make this change. it is the people who don't pay on time, and who abuse certain privilages (like a little extra here and there) that are responsible for the neccesary change. a few bad apples ruin it for everyone. because of these few, you are forced to change the way you do business. and you CAN'T pick and choose who signs a service agreement, and who doesn't, to do so, would be like discriminating. also, tell them that with stricter laws by the dept of consumer affairs, for the protection of the consumer, a contractor must put in writing- what will be done, when, and how much he is charging. and finally, assure them, that nothing will change, they will recieve the same great service, and courtousy, since THEY are not one of the people who abuse your system. tell them that these changes are neccesary for the well being and future growth of your company. don't feel bad ole time, i've been slowly changing everybody over, even my clients from 6-7 yrs ago. and have lost a few over it. it's part of business. you need to turn off that little part of your brain when doing business, the part labeled- "emotion". now, since you are in jersey, if you need me, for a small fee, i'll be glad to come down, bring my paperwork, let you copy and use it, and even speak with a few of your clients for you.
i went around today and presented my service agreement for service for this up coming season. 8 of 10 signed. i think i will lost 20 % of my clients to operators with out contracts!

Ol'time Lawncare
01-31-2006, 04:04 PM
What about having just the old customers who were late payers, etc sign contracts? And, you could put all new clients on a contract.
this is something i may have to consider! but really i dont want too. who knows:dizzy:

jpp
01-31-2006, 04:18 PM
How about putting your new terms late fees,and whatever else in a letter to them. Also include it on your Invoice. That way if they say they did not receive the letter about the fees your invoices will have them on there. When they pay their invoice they will see this and not have an excuse. But I would include them on all invoicess every time. Just a thought.

DixieFerris
01-31-2006, 04:23 PM
Ol Time, your best bet is to ask Booby, then do the exact opposite unless you are out to p*ss off every person you ever meet.:p

Ol'time Lawncare
01-31-2006, 04:33 PM
[QUOTE=bobbygedd]yes, i must be the laughing stock, since everyone always asks for my guidance. QUOTE]
Ol wise one sir.... i dont think your a laughing stock. i just its funny that some one would have to haul there contracts in the back of a pick -up to deliver it to a possible client!:eek: ...:waving:

bobbygedd
01-31-2006, 09:43 PM
[QUOTE=bobbygedd]yes, i must be the laughing stock, since everyone always asks for my guidance. QUOTE]
Ol wise one sir.... i dont think your a laughing stock. i just its funny that some one would have to haul there contracts in the back of a pick -up to deliver it to a possible client!:eek: ...:waving:
you need my help, just ask. i am currently helping a guy in a neighboring town. i charge a small consultation fee. you need a reference? he is making decent money with my help, and he just started

Justcutitshort
02-02-2006, 12:39 PM
this year i'm using service agreements (contracts)for all residential clients.Some who signed for annual maintenance,Others are giving me a hard time, because of some of my clauses,like late paying, obstacles in the lawn ect...They say why do i have to sign, you have bin doing a good job for years so why now the change. witch we all know why.how can i persuade these good customers to sign on the dotted line.i do not want to lose these clients to other who operate with out a service agreement?

Late paying and obsticles in the lawn are hardly a reason to jeopardize paying customers. what is the real reason you want to change things???
Late money is better than none at all. Obsticles is all part of the job

bobbygedd
02-02-2006, 03:29 PM
Late paying and obsticles in the lawn are hardly a reason to jeopardize paying customers. what is the real reason you want to change things???
Late money is better than none at all. Obsticles is all part of the job
accepting late money, is just plain poor business. i just sent out 3 revised (much stricter) contracts today, to clients who habitually make payments late. the bottom line is, it won't be tolerated. not even one single day late. i'll let u know, how it turns out

Ol'time Lawncare
02-02-2006, 05:37 PM
Late paying and obsticles in the lawn are hardly a reason to jeopardize paying customers. what is the real reason you want to change things???
Late money is better than none at all. Obsticles is all part of the job
Whats the real reason??? I'm sick of getting out of the truck,picking up news papers, rolling up hoses,moving trash cans,picking up children's toys,picking up dog crap,moving trampolines,putting up with the nickle and dime customers.After everything you do for them, they send you the money late or don't pay until you threaten them with extra charges. The old hand shake don't work.It's not profitable.ask me i kno, 4 years operating with out service contracts for residential clients.it's ONLY about the money for me,not to make friends.Out with the old and in with the new. I'm tired of sitting in the back of the bus.payup Thats the real reason!!!

Justcutitshort
02-02-2006, 06:31 PM
it's ONLY about the money for me,not to make friends.Out with the old and in with the new. I'm tired of sitting in the back of the bus.payup Thats the real reason!!!


There's a bunch of other businessmen who have your same mindset......They're called the "Mafia".

Evergreenpros
02-02-2006, 06:42 PM
You just can't look at the number of customers you'll loose today, you have to think of how many you will pick up in the future. How many more are apt to go with your company because you are more professional? I just tell people who ask "why do you have service agreements" that they are necessary because you don't pay in advance. Can you walk into WalMart and tell the cashier that you're going to take home this TV and if you like it you'll send in the money, sometime, when I feel like it, maybe?

You'll be tackled before you get out the door. Heck try it with a candybar for 60 cents and you'll be in big trouble. Why do we give our products and services away for free and HOPE we get paid? Even a $25 mow, try it with Kmart and a $25 item, you'll end up in the luneey bin, cops will think you're crazy. "I have the RIGHT to take this item home without paying ANYTHING, and decide if I like it and only pay for it if I feel like it!!!!!!!" yep, straight jacket for you.

Precision
02-02-2006, 07:38 PM
You just can't look at the number of customers you'll loose today, you have to think of how many you will pick up in the future. How many more are apt to go with your company because you are more professional? I just tell people who ask "why do you have service agreements" that they are necessary because you don't pay in advance. Can you walk into WalMart and tell the cashier that you're going to take home this TV and if you like it you'll send in the money, sometime, when I feel like it, maybe?

You'll be tackled before you get out the door. Heck try it with a candybar for 60 cents and you'll be in big trouble. Why do we give our products and services away for free and HOPE we get paid? Even a $25 mow, try it with Kmart and a $25 item, you'll end up in the luneey bin, cops will think you're crazy. "I have the RIGHT to take this item home without paying ANYTHING, and decide if I like it and only pay for it if I feel like it!!!!!!!" yep, straight jacket for you.

Exactly, well almost exactly. I get my money in advance too. Pay up sucker when you sign on the dotted line.
Sure I have a few that refuse. They are the ones that have a very high likelihood of stiffing you later.

So you lose 20%. Easily replaced with better clients.

bobbygedd
02-02-2006, 09:43 PM
Whats the real reason??? I'm sick of getting out of the truck,picking up news papers, rolling up hoses,moving trash cans,picking up children's toys,picking up dog crap,moving trampolines,putting up with the nickle and dime customers.After everything you do for them, they send you the money late or don't pay until you threaten them with extra charges. The old hand shake don't work.It's not profitable.ask me i kno, 4 years operating with out service contracts for residential clients.it's ONLY about the money for me,not to make friends.Out with the old and in with the new. I'm tired of sitting in the back of the bus.payup Thats the real reason!!!
now you're talkin. u need some good solid contracts?

lawnwizards
02-02-2006, 10:18 PM
accepting late money, is just plain poor business. i just sent out 3 revised (much stricter) contracts today, to clients who habitually make payments late. the bottom line is, it won't be tolerated. not even one single day late. i'll let u know, how it turns out
bobby, what do you charge for a late fee?

bobbygedd
02-03-2006, 08:41 AM
bobby, what do you charge for a late fee?
unfortunately, i screwed up. YES, even me, in a way. i havn't charged a flat fee for being late. i only charged 3%. but here was my thinking- if you're late, you're gone. i did change that late fee to a flat $10 per occurence. i'm anxious to see how my new contracts will be taken. i'm sending them out, at the rate of 2-3 per day. i made some major changes to the wording, and yet shortened them up a bit.

Justcutitshort
02-03-2006, 12:05 PM
unfortunately, i screwed up. . i'm sending them out, at the rate of 2-3 per day. i made some major changes to the wording, and yet shortened them up a bit.

You're not still using "snail mail" are you???
We use email for 99% of our residental/commercial business.
Even our 70+ year old retired clients communicate by email.
Keep the old beltdrive bobcat and homeowner trimmer, but update your mailing system.

bobbygedd
02-03-2006, 12:25 PM
You're not still using "snail mail" are you???
We use email for 99% of our residental/commercial business.
Even our 70+ year old retired clients communicate by email.
Keep the old beltdrive bobcat and homeowner trimmer, but update your mailing system.
thank you for some very sound advice:)

daveintoledo
02-03-2006, 01:43 PM
not ONE of them has a computer or internet...

lawnwizards
02-03-2006, 02:42 PM
not ONE of them has a computer or internet...
what he said... half my customers think a computer is a calculator..:p

Justcutitshort
02-03-2006, 06:00 PM
thank you for some very sound advice:)

bobbygedd/ I wasn't thinkin there for a minute. just beause my clientell have computers doesn't mean your people do. what i mean is what works for us may not work for you. sorry if it sounded like I was pounding out on you.

jc1
02-03-2006, 07:03 PM
You could always use the new regulations for New Jersey Licensed Home improvement contractor as you reasoning for them to sign.
Look near bottom of this. if over $500 dollars in work then written contract is required.

The Contractors’ Registration Act includes the following provisions:


Gives consumers three days to cancel a home improvement contract. The consumer must give the contractor written notice of cancellation. Contractors must refund to the consumer any money paid within 30 days of receiving the written notice of cancellation.

Requires home improvement contractors — those who engage in the business of making or selling home improvements including remodeling, altering, painting, renovating, repairing, restoring, modernizing, moving and/or demolishing — to register annually with Consumer Affairs, unless they are exempted from the registration requirements. Anyone who is not registered and not exempted will be barred from working in New Jersey as a home improvement contractor.

Bars municipalities from issuing construction permits to contractors who are not registered or exempted from the registration requirements.

Requires contractors to file proof that they have secured and maintain general liability insurance in a minimum of $500,000 per occurrence.

Provides that anyone who knowingly violates the Act is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. In addition, anyone who violates the Act is also subject to civil monetary penalties under the Consumer Fraud Act of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for each subsequent offense.

Requires a written contract when the improvement work exceeds $500. The contract must detail all terms and conditions, including among other things the legal name, business address and registration number of the contractor; a copy of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance; and the total price or other consideration to be paid by the consumers, including finance charges.

Requires each contractor to post his or her registration number on all New Jersey advertisements, contracts and correspondence with customers and all commercial vehicles registered in New Jersey and leased or owned by the registrant.

###

Ol'time Lawncare
02-16-2006, 02:19 PM
....12 clients didn't sign. Every one else signed with out any questions.Most people have trouble with having to pay 3% on late payment ! Another problem is if you more the 10 piles of crap on the lawn ,I charge 5 dollars clean up feee with there hose! ... and the list goes on. But i don't care,,, I want good clients and thats what i have now. 10 % loss changing over to service agreements! I'll make it up in the spring. us flag

Precision
02-16-2006, 02:43 PM
.... I want good clients and thats what i have now. 10 % loss changing over to service agreements! I'll make it up in the spring. us flag


Exactly. Screw em, cause the ones you lost are the ones out to screw you.

yrdandgardenhandyman
02-16-2006, 03:14 PM
i went around today and presented my service agreement for service for this up coming season. 8 of 10 signed. i think i will lost 20 % of my clients to operators with out contracts!


How many of that 20% were your problem clients. The ones who caused you to have to take this step to legitimize your business?

yrdandgardenhandyman
02-16-2006, 03:28 PM
Late paying and obsticles in the lawn are hardly a reason to jeopardize paying customers. what is the real reason you want to change things???
Late money is better than none at all. Obsticles is all part of the job


If you allow them to continually be late, are you receiving a finance charge?
I am not a bank. If they want to borrow money, which is what they are doing by paying late, they can see a bank, loan company, credit union or their local pawn shop. What do you think they'd do if their employer told them, on friday, "You'll have to wait a couple of weeks for your pay.", "I don't have it", "I didn't get your time card.", "I just don't have time right now to make out a check.", "I've been out of town.", "You're just not important enough to me and besides, this way I borrow xx amount of $ from you interest free. That way all my important obligations are met on time."

yrdandgardenhandyman
02-16-2006, 03:32 PM
accepting late money, is just plain poor business. i just sent out 3 revised (much stricter) contracts today, to clients who habitually make payments late. the bottom line is, it won't be tolerated. not even one single day late. i'll let u know, how it turns out


I don't know if this would be a very valid test. After all, you have those thousands of cowed clients. They's gonna be ascared to disagree wit youse.
hammer :)
We do agree. Allowing habituallly late payments is very bad business and affects cash flow in a big way. Go to a bank yourself and show that you are carrying these customers month after month. They may have second thoughts about loaning you money.

yrdandgardenhandyman
02-16-2006, 03:39 PM
not ONE of them has a computer or internet...


Very few of my elderly customers have a computer and those that do barely know how to use the email let alone how to receive and pay a bill online. Hell, most of the ones that do have one, use Intercrap Explorer and Outhouse Express. Not very secure.