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View Full Version : Would you call these clients or just wait?


DFW Area Landscaper
09-15-2006, 01:56 PM
Two weeks ago, we consolidated our routes to save on drive time. Many clients were asked to accept a mow day much earlier in the week.

Of the 122 clients who were asked to move at least 2 days earlier in the week, a few called to demand Thursday/Friday service.

When they called, we asked them to allow us to try this for a couple of weeks and allow us to see how much time we would save from the consolidation and we would be able to see how many other clients were requiring the same thing. We promised them that if the time savings were there, and if there weren't too many people demanding this, we would be able to honor their requests.

All told, there are 4 clients who are demanding Th/Fr service at this time and we are supposed to call them back.

My thoughts are, if a client DEMANDS Thursday/Friday service, they are telling me, as a professional, that they expect us to:

a) be dependable, reliable and do good quality work
b) only work 8 months a year and only work 2 days a week during that period

I wish I could service all my clients on Thursdays and Fridays. The problem is, even if I had the capital investment to do that (trucks, machines, storage, insurance), I wouldn't be able to keep good help around if I only provided work for them for 2 days a week, 8 months a year. Would you work for someone offering a job like that?

The truth is, we could cave on these clients and give them what they demand because we are saving significant amounts of drive time. But that is only because the other 99% of our clients are being reasonable about this. We have decided that since they are being unreasonable, we will not cave. If they cancel, they cancel.

So, having said all that, we did promise to call these clients back with a decision in a couple of weeks. It's been a couple of weeks as of today.

Of course, if we don't call them, they will definitely remain on the schedule until they remember to call us. If we call them, as promised, they will more than likely cancel and we will lose them sooner rather than later. Besides, if Th/Fr service is SO important to them, won't they be picking up the phone pretty soon to see if we cave?

My business sense says to "accidentally forget" to call them back with our decision.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
DFW Area Landscaper

Fantasy Lawns
09-15-2006, 02:33 PM
I'm reminded of a nice short thought

"Do what you say you will do, in the time that you said you would do it"

Soo simple n soo true ....

My self I would have never told them any of my business thinking ....

"When they called, we asked them to allow us to try this for a couple of weeks and allow us to see how much time we would save from the consolidation and we would be able to see how many other clients were requiring the same thing. We promised them that if the time savings were there, and if there weren't too many people demanding this, we would be able to honor their requests."

This is kinda weak .... think about it ... you admit too your self that not too many people have objected .... in fact ... like you promised .... "if there weren't too many people demading this we would be able to honor their request" .... is this not the fact or true ....but your not really willing to honor it because the business side in you or common sense tells you this will cost you money ....but worse in fact as you grow later in the years ... these pita's will come back too being in the way of efficiency once again

Should have been explained in writing before the change & the message should have ended something like this

"If this is not acceptable, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, if you do not elect to continue our service. "

colawn
09-15-2006, 03:03 PM
I would charge an extra fee for service on a specific day. "Out of the area service fee" Tell them it is fine if they want service on a particular day but if that is not the most efficient day for you to service them they must be charged more. You have costs like fuel and labor sitting in a truck for 20 mins. to service on account out of the way. This is why the industry continues to get worse and worse because we let the customer dictate our business. If you request all these things for nothing you will be taken advantage of by the "customer"

newz7151
09-15-2006, 03:53 PM
I would charge an extra fee for service on a specific day. "Out of the area service fee" Tell them it is fine if they want service on a particular day but if that is not the most efficient day for you to service them they must be charged more. You have costs like fuel and labor sitting in a truck for 20 mins. to service on account out of the way. This is why the industry continues to get worse and worse because we let the customer dictate our business. If you request all these things for nothing you will be taken advantage of by the "customer"

I'd have to say I agree with this approach. Call the 4 clients back and inform them that it has been determined that your new route/day setup is working very well and that if they MUST be serviced on Thurs/Fri, that they will incur an "out of scheduled area cut" surcharge in order to remain on your client list. If they balk, drop them and continue to cater to the folks that understand it is YOUR business and YOU decide how to run it efficiently.

rodfather
09-15-2006, 05:39 PM
Ask yourself this. "How much am I going to miss those 4 accounts?" That should tell ya what do to.

General Landscaping
09-15-2006, 09:26 PM
Is the profit gained from those 4 equal more than your money saved with your new, efficient route? You should be on even money at worst..... with 4 slots available for new customers payup

Always follow up with promises..... especially when it is just a phone call. Customers appreciate honesty and knowing why you operate like you do. If the customer can't deal with you running as efficient as possible; they don't fit your business model anymore.

lawnwizards
09-16-2006, 10:51 AM
its your business. screw them, if they don't like it then let them call up johnny dipsh*t and have him at their beckon call. around here nobody cares what day they get cut just aslong as they do get cut.

topsites
09-16-2006, 11:18 AM
I don't bend to my customers wishes thou my heart is softer towards that than a demand, one thing is for sure: do not call them back.
No because for one we don't appreciate demands and for another if they should find someone else in the meantime then that is all good, too.

I do like the extra charge bit, the way to do this I have learned is don't call them to inform them because you will get the lukewarm water treatment and they will make you feel ohhh so bad and my experience has been that if I inform them I either never get the extra bit or they find someone else or I get to cut it that one time and then no more, it is always like that... So what you do is fit them in however you can and cave in to their demands, then add a $5 to the fee and slip in to the bill nice as can be and thank you very much, have a nice day <- I have done this a LOT lately and I was pleasantly surprised how many people just pay the bill, while you may lose one or two here and there it makes up for it one way or the other.

But I do agree, as a rule don't go around consolidating and compromising. We treat everybody the same and since we can't service everybody's yard on the 2 days before the weekend, the best answer is usually 'I will see what we can do' and say it in a positive tone, let them know you WILL try but no promises (then if you can swing it, +$5 to the bill).

p.s.: I like it when with a first-time customer everything goes so well they agree to your price and are ready to go and all lights are green and right THEN they come off with that bs about the weekend, fun. (one version of the sneak-a-pita)

prizeprop
09-16-2006, 11:28 AM
How much time did it save by consolidating your route? I'm sure more than 4 houses worth of income. Most people think they have you by the marbles, show them they dont! There bluffing anyway.

WildWest
09-16-2006, 01:08 PM
Special request......SPECIAL PRICE! otherwise, ""I'm sorry sir or ma'am, we'll be unable to fulfill your request."

DFW Area Landscaper
09-16-2006, 01:39 PM
There is no price that they would bear that would justify driving out their place on a special request. If we had another two clients in the area, we could easily mow 2 of them in the time it takes to drive out of our way, sit at stop lights and then drive back. No one would pay $50 per cut.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

ACutAbovesiny
09-16-2006, 02:54 PM
If I told a customer I will call them then I would call them. You should consider some of these suggestions posted. Extra charge for special request.

ChadsLawn
09-16-2006, 03:02 PM
Why didnt you plan out some type of routing before you got 100+ accounts. I only have 9 but there on seperate days already.. Thursdays the customers south of me get mowed and fridays customers north of me get mowed. There all with in 6 miles of my house.
If I get 10 more on my friday route in the same area. Ill take the ones that are on the border and move them to Thursday's. Ive done 1 customer already. They called and asked why. I explained my routing plan's. They understood and thought it was a great idea.


If your area is somewhat square that you mow in. Divide it up into how many days you mow. Each section is a day of mowing and whatever home is in that section. Well thats the day they get mowed.PERIOD... Seems simple to me. Use mapuest to get your area maps.

Vikings
09-16-2006, 03:46 PM
In snow removal I have a route and can only do one house at a time. I refuse to zig zag because it would waste my time and gas. I basically travel through three neighbourhoods starting with my own. If a client in the last neighbourhood tells me they want to be cleaned by 8am I tell them straight that I cannot accomodate them.
I figure that if I can't do the work2 I cannot have the client and there is a lot of work for everybody so I don't worry about lost work too much.


I do try and be accommodating to all customers but you can only do what you can do. I lose customers every year and pick up new ones every year and over time I'm growing.

Precision Lawns
09-16-2006, 03:49 PM
Why didnt you plan out some type of routing before you got 100+ accounts.

Good point Chadslawn, I have 35+ and have been tweakin' my route from the start.
I have also found that after 'bending' to a customers wishes against my wishes, I loathe mowing their lawn. :cry: No amount of money (no amount they would pay) is worth that. At 122 (118) lawns, picking up 4 more within your new route won't take but a few weeks, if it takes that long.
I would, however, call them back and explain to them that you cannot accomodate there request. But only to use good business ethics. You said you would call them back and that is what you should do.
Dude, drop em' I bet you won't even think about it again.:clapping:

Good luck!

ALarsh
09-16-2006, 04:12 PM
Don't call back. If they call you to ask you for thur/fri, drop them. Its only 4 accounts.

You can't cry every time you lose an account.

fiveoboy01
09-16-2006, 04:13 PM
If you don't want to fulfill their demands, then simply don't.

But do what you said you are going to do, and call them.

HOOLIE
09-16-2006, 06:48 PM
If you said you would call, then you should call them either way...

Last year you said almost all your clientele was within 3 miles of your house...is that still true? If so then how much would it hurt to accomodate someone?

Precision
09-16-2006, 09:06 PM
you said you would call, so call. very simple

but just lead the conversation and follow the plan that Steve suggested. Let them know that you would like to continue maintaining their lawn, but economics makes it impossible to do it on the day they want. If (new day)will work then you will be happy to continue. If not, when would they like the last cut to occur?

you moved 122 people and only 4 are complaining. I would call that victory and move on. Less than 4% and you lose 4 a week anyway from what you said in an earlier thread, so who cares.