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View Full Version : Overwhelming attitude of poor customer service


firefightergw
10-06-2006, 11:57 AM
Why is it that many of the views and attitudes on this site are just full of poor customer service. Everywhere, you read about how people will not do one-time cuts, refuse to cut any accounts bi-weekly (twice a month), refuse to do bed clean-ups, fall clean-ups, spring clean-ups, etc., etc.? The predominate attitude that I have seen is that I am going to stick it to them before they stick it to me. Now, I know many of you guys have been doing this for YEARS but it seems to me that many have become extremely jaded.

I personally believe that we are in the SERVICE industry and the better service you provide and the more services that you provide, equals a more lucrative business and more repeat business. Do I ever get a customer that is just too much of a PITA? Sure I do but that is certainly rare and certainly not the norm.

I haven't been doing this very long. As a matter of fact, this is my second year in business. I started out with a 21" residential mower, weed-eater, and blower in the bed of my truck. That was last year, solo with 15 accounts. Fast forward to second year. Two 21" commercial mowers, 36" walk-behind, two weed-eaters, two blowers, edger, and a whole lot of other tools of the trade. Two full-time guys servicing 100 accounts weekly while I make sure everyone is happy.

I've got to tell you guys that I attribute my success to doing things against the grain of what a predominant amount preach on this site. When we get a call from a customer and they ask how much we would charge to water their plants on the back porch while they are on vacation, I'll tell them that they are one of our best customers and we will take care of it without charge. You enjoy your vacation and we will take care of it. (It only takes 15 minutes) My labor cost on that 15 minutes is $5. We spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on advertising to get customers only to lose them over $5.

We had a customer call requesting that we give an estimate to mow a friends house. This friend was a single female that had recently had surgery and was unable to care for her lawn for two weeks. They wanted an estimate for us to go out and do a one time mow and my current customer was going to pay for it to help them out. I went out and looked at it. Mow, weed-eat, and blow would take 15 minutes. I called my customer back and told them, "you are one of my best customers. I like to help people too. We will service your friends home and will not charge either of you." My customer was speechless and has since given us three more full-time accounts, and, we did a substantial mulch job and stone edging for them at a good profit.

Now I know this is long but for those of you that are having a hard time making a profit and getting customers, you just may need to think about what makes a customer feel appreciated. Because I will tell you, you make them feel appreciated, and it will come back 100 fold to you. People are educated and have their gaurd up in today's world. They may like the way you make their lawn look but any of us can do that. What sells people your service year after year is relationships.

My two cents.

bullethead
10-06-2006, 12:09 PM
That's certainly one way to go about it. I think when you multiply the number of yards you have by 4,5,or 6 etc. - you'll find it more difficult and expensive to administer. At that point - you'll have to pick a direction to go a) continue the full service mentality and add the appropriate overhead or b) become more of a wham bam thank you mam lawn service. Both are interesting and rewarding in their own right - I know as I have both types of companies.

firefightergw
10-06-2006, 12:24 PM
That's certainly one way to go about it. I think when you multiply the number of yards you have by 4,5,or 6 etc. - you'll find it more difficult and expensive to administer. At that point - you'll have to pick a direction to go a) continue the full service mentality and add the appropriate overhead or b) become more of a wham bam thank you mam lawn service. Both are interesting and rewarding in their own right - I know as I have both types of companies.

To start out with, we are not the cheapest service. We are lean and I do track the crews time every minute of the day. I can go back six months and tell what my labor cost on every yard we have done has been. I can also go back that far and tell what my labor cost between each stop has been. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying one should be stupid and have a disregard for responsible time management and let their overhead rise, I am simply saying that I think a lot more people would be happier and many businesses on here would grow faster with higher profits if focus was shifted away from "they're not going to get me" to "letting your customers know you appreciate them".

HOOLIE
10-06-2006, 01:01 PM
A lot of it is just guys venting...I don't believe for a minute that people really say to these customers what they claim they tell them :laugh:

I do believe it's cheaper to give the occasional freebie than to try to acquire new clients.

RedWolf
10-06-2006, 01:10 PM
You know, I`m glade I`m not the only one that does one time work that my good customers send me. I weed flower beds and whatnot to better my services.Plus if you have alot of beds full of weeds it makes the rest of the yard look like crap. Because of how I run things I make money and my customers are happy and send me alot of work. The most important thing here is that you make money BUT also keep your customers happy. If they ask to have the the flower bed weeded then I do it and then charge.Also Do the best job you can an that also will bring you work. A lady saw one of my customers yards and asked her who did the yard because it lookd so good.That was three years ago and this lady is still a customer.Keep them happy and you will come in to great things.Treat them like crap and your future will look grim.

MarkintheGarden
10-06-2006, 06:36 PM
Thanks Firefightergw,
Great post about attitude, it is everything!
Six years in business and I am finding my attitude to be less positive than when I started.

I do not mind going the extra mile for my customers it does pay off, it's called Karma, do good things, good things happen.

lawnman_scott
10-06-2006, 07:58 PM
I disagree with everything this thread is about

Firefighter, what is your household income (other than lawn care)? If you dont want to say, just tell me if its more than mine. Mine is $00,000.00.

I do this to make money. One time cuts are usually a waste unless your doing the neighbor, or are driving right by. Some things just arent a money maker.

You can only feel bad for so many people.

Howard Roark
10-06-2006, 10:47 PM
Well,

It sounds as if you are doing everything right firefighterguy, so why bother coming on here and posting complaining how everyone else isn't?

Posts like this are absolutely ridiculous. No truly successful man complains about his competition NOT doing well enough.

90% of your post is telling us how great you are. Congratulations, you sound like most firefighters out there.

mslawn
10-06-2006, 11:41 PM
Well,

It sounds as if you are doing everything right firefighterguy, so why bother coming on here and posting complaining how everyone else isn't?

Posts like this are absolutely ridiculous. No truly successful man complains about his competition NOT doing well enough.

90% of your post is telling us how great you are. Congratulations, you sound like most firefighters out there.

Well said!!! Thats exactly what I was thinking!

kootoomootoo
10-07-2006, 12:05 AM
You run your business I will run mine. I like many on here have earnt the right to tell certain customers to foff.

Sorry I dont work for free.


""Two full-time guys servicing 100 accounts weekly while I make sure everyone is happy.""

Prove it hotshot. Some of us will remember a few years ago some guy claiming he grew 400 customers or so in 1 year.
Where is he now?

Jpocket
10-07-2006, 12:26 AM
sounds more like your in the butt kissing business. Just give the customer a good service bill them YOUR PRICE, and turn down the work your not interested in.

There is nothing wrong with telling a customer that you don't water flowers. Thats ridiculous. You have to have a direction in business and learn when to say NO. JUst b/c a customer asks you to do it doesn't mean it fits YOUR niche.

dvmcmrhp52
10-07-2006, 12:39 AM
Some folks like to work for free others don't.
I'm in the DON'T category.

Let's see, you cut someones friends lawn for free when you could have been paid for it...........Absolutely poor business.


And yes you're growing........because people like to get free service.................

Green-Pro
10-07-2006, 12:54 AM
I don't mind giving really good customers a break on price for certain services, but nothing for free, sorry.

I understand where you are coming from, but IMHO its a very fine line between customer service and keeping the customer happy by giving the occasional price break/going the extra mile for vs simply giving it away for the sake of warm fuzzies.

(run on sentence, I know, I'm sorry :rolleyes: )

Sandgropher
10-07-2006, 01:39 AM
Sounds like firefighter is doing o.k

Did a 15 minite cleanup for free and got 3 full time accounts and a big mulch job because of it.

Thinks theres an attitude of "they not gonna get" me amongsnt some members ??

i would tend to agree with this statement.

Thinks we should appriciate our customers more??? good idea.

lawnman_scott
10-07-2006, 08:47 AM
Sounds like firefighter is doing o.k

Did a 15 minite cleanup for free and got 3 full time accounts and a big mulch job because of it.

Thinks theres an attitude of "they not gonna get" me amongsnt some members ??

i would tend to agree with this statement.

Thinks we should appriciate our customers more??? good idea.I think we should appriciate some customers. But when this is your income, and not a side job for extra cash you have to do things different. Who else does stuff for free out of the goodness of their heart?

Green-Pro
10-07-2006, 09:03 AM
I want to print this thread out so I can show the folks I use for auto repair service, new tires service (after all I spent $1500 there this year alone), any type of appliance repair service, etc. Can't wait for the free stuff to come rolling in. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Sandgropher
10-07-2006, 09:14 AM
I think we should appriciate some customers. But when this is your income, and not a side job for extra cash you have to do things different. Who else does stuff for free out of the goodness of their heart?

For a 15 minite free mow he got back 3 full time accounts probally worth $1000s over the long term, it seems to have worked in this case, Jim Penman whos mowing company turns over $150,000,000 a year preaches doing little jobs for free, if you see a garden bed needing weeding do it he says (as long as its 5 minites or what ever) and it builds up the good will he beleives, i dont do jobs for free ,but there might be some thing in the theory, seems to be working for Firefighter any way.:)

kootoomootoo
10-07-2006, 09:40 AM
Hate to spoil the party....but i quote

""I went out and looked at it. Mow, weed-eat, and blow would take 15 minutes.""

I went out and looked at it
This wasnt pull a few weeds while you are there deal it was a seperate job he had to go look at first ..and let me guess he made a second trip to go do it.

Just the other day Local landscaper telling me a story where he gave a guy $2000 break on a patio earlier this year and now he gets nuttin but bitching from the guy.

topsites
10-07-2006, 09:50 AM
Some of us will remember a few years ago some guy claiming he grew 400 customers or so in 1 year.
Where is he now?

I'm with the guys here, that quote in a nutshell summarizes it, I certainly am one Lco who set out to prove that the rest were ALL WRONG! Yes, firefighter, I swore that I would NOT become like the rest of them, I was going to make sure I NEVER would treat customers like you describe. I SWORE it would never happen, not to me, I was going to be different.

And you know what? I got burned... Time and again I got took advantage of for being a nice guy, and not until I started shoving my foot where it rightly (and to some point deservedly) belonged is when the nonsense slowed down, and eventually stopped... It still hasn't gone completely away and I suspect it never will, but at least today I find it tolerable.

Then again, it wasn't until my 2nd year that it started to dawn on me, and it wasn't until my 3rd and 4th year that I started to play the Enforcer game, and even throughout the 5th year it is only due to consistent behaviour on my part that most of my problems and headaches have gone away (at least the ones over which we have some control).

Last but not least, I do this full time and have no other form of income... I believe once you go full time and you keep at it, year after year, that you will either end up like one of us, or unlikely you will be one of the few Lco's out there who for some reason never grow out of it, and you can go ahead and bend over backwards and get took time and again, because they will do it to you... A dime a dozen are the customers who love to take advantage of the naive business owner... And there are a few who never catch on, they do exist, but they are few and far in between, especially long term full-timers (read: 4+ years solo).

Btw I *AM* one of the dime a dozen customers who will not hesitate to take advantage of the new / naive business owner, so bring it on... Be glad to give your number to any customer I can't deal with, and I assure you that you will have more business than you can handle.

2 funny a thread thou, really...

topsites
10-07-2006, 10:04 AM
A lot of it is just guys venting...I don't believe for a minute that people really say to these customers what they claim they tell them :laugh:

I do believe it's cheaper to give the occasional freebie than to try to acquire new clients.

That's the other thing... I myself don't come here to talk about the perfect customer, I come here to resolve problems. After all, LS has helped me considerably, the experience of 100's of Lco's time and again has proven invaluable to me and my business.

I dare say LS added 4 years to my own experience, to where in my 5th year I feel like I am doing things in ways that I would otherwise not have realized likely until at least my 8th year. LS has, in summary, shortened my learning curve, and also given me the strength and resolution to do things the way I do them today, as I see that other Lco's face the same dilemmas and that time and again when a problem exists, the solutions of many tend to outweigh the oddball tactic.

And no, we don't treat all of our customers this way... For one, most of mine are pre-screened and are truly good customers. Really, I run into the comedy sometimes once / day, other times I can go a week or even a month (or 2-3) without a single incident. But it also seems that when it starts to happen, I could swear they come out of the woodworks, it's all over the place, everybody and their brother comes to me acting funny, and I do find it frustrating, and yes I do vent here because I have nobody else to talk to: Every single non-business owner out there feels like firefighter does, and to try and talk to them is asking to be sent to the nuthouse... First they don't get it, second they literally question your sanity, how could you, and so on...

And yes, I DO bend over backwards here and there, it IS cheaper to give a freebie than to acquire... No, make that pre-screen TEN customers to get one good one, but it also gets to a point, if folks come to expect the freebies then I have a problem, so one weighs the good and the bad and makes a choice.

stumper1620
10-07-2006, 10:59 AM
Why is it that many of the views and attitudes on this site are just full of poor customer service. Everywhere, you read about how people will not do one-time cuts, refuse to cut any accounts bi-weekly (twice a month), refuse to do bed clean-ups, fall clean-ups, spring clean-ups, etc., etc.? The predominate attitude that I have seen is that I am going to stick it to them before they stick it to me. Now, I know many of you guys have been doing this for YEARS but it seems to me that many have become extremely jaded.

I personally believe that we are in the SERVICE industry and the better service you provide and the more services that you provide, equals a more lucrative business and more repeat business. Do I ever get a customer that is just too much of a PITA? Sure I do but that is certainly rare and certainly not the norm.

I haven't been doing this very long. As a matter of fact, this is my second year in business. I started out with a 21" residential mower, weed-eater, and blower in the bed of my truck. That was last year, solo with 15 accounts. Fast forward to second year. Two 21" commercial mowers, 36" walk-behind, two weed-eaters, two blowers, edger, and a whole lot of other tools of the trade. Two full-time guys servicing 100 accounts weekly while I make sure everyone is happy.

I've got to tell you guys that I attribute my success to doing things against the grain of what a predominant amount preach on this site. When we get a call from a customer and they ask how much we would charge to water their plants on the back porch while they are on vacation, I'll tell them that they are one of our best customers and we will take care of it without charge. You enjoy your vacation and we will take care of it. (It only takes 15 minutes) My labor cost on that 15 minutes is $5. We spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on advertising to get customers only to lose them over $5.

We had a customer call requesting that we give an estimate to mow a friends house. This friend was a single female that had recently had surgery and was unable to care for her lawn for two weeks. They wanted an estimate for us to go out and do a one time mow and my current customer was going to pay for it to help them out. I went out and looked at it. Mow, weed-eat, and blow would take 15 minutes. I called my customer back and told them, "you are one of my best customers. I like to help people too. We will service your friends home and will not charge either of you." My customer was speechless and has since given us three more full-time accounts, and, we did a substantial mulch job and stone edging for them at a good profit.

Now I know this is long but for those of you that are having a hard time making a profit and getting customers, you just may need to think about what makes a customer feel appreciated. Because I will tell you, you make them feel appreciated, and it will come back 100 fold to you. People are educated and have their gaurd up in today's world. They may like the way you make their lawn look but any of us can do that. What sells people your service year after year is relationships.

My two cents.


Your an Idiot.

We had a customer call requesting that we give an estimate to mow a friends house. This friend was a single female that had recently had surgery and was unable to care for her lawn for two weeks. They wanted an estimate for us to go out and do a one time mow and my current customer was going to pay for it to help them out. I went out and looked at it. Mow, weed-eat, and blow would take 15 minutes.
I do not know of anyone on this board that has ever said they would not do a one time service for an existing good client.
For one thing if I had a request like you say you had, none of my clients would ask for an estimate, They would give me an address and say could you fit this in and then just add what ever you need onto my bill. I would respond by getting the job done ASAP because that is the kind of clients I base my business around. they trust me and I trust them. (Most, not all)
If my clients are going to refer others they just do it, I don't need to give away service to recieve that. I would never give away a mowing like you did, My getting that request done in a timely manner would be considered as a big favor to them because they know I'm busy and it requires extra hours for me to fit anymore in.
you wait till the day your schedule is so full that your out til dark every day and you'll get tired of freebees.
Also, maybe you should quit the dept. and have to pay your own Life and health insurance so you can have a good dose of reality.
what a Lawnboy!

MarkintheGarden
10-07-2006, 12:23 PM
Again it seems that blanket statements do not apply.

It seems there is resentment when our attitudes and practices are challenged. It is just a discussion in a forum.

I think there is a time to go the extra mile and a time to tell the customer to go get bent. At least I have certainly done both. We can only hope to know when is the right time for each.

Venting? Well sure we all need a little from time to time, and I take comfort when I read how others have the same headaches as me, teaches me that I am not doing anything too wrong. Mostly, I appreciate the chance to learn from others experiences.

firefightergw
10-07-2006, 01:11 PM
The purpose of this thread was for discussion. For those that are mature enough to contribute to the DISCUSSION, even though you disagree with my point of view, thank you. Differences of opinion is always good.

For those of you that have started the name calling, pointing the finger at the fact that I am also a firefighter, called me an idiot, etc., etc., I DON"T GIVE A RATS **S. You have only proven that your problem is not poor customer service but that you are just a geniune **SHOLE :laugh: :laugh: :payup:

hobbsd
10-07-2006, 03:23 PM
Your an Idiot.


For one thing if I had a request like you say you had, none of my clients would ask for an estimate, They would give me an address and say could you fit this in and then just add what ever you need onto my bill. I would respond by getting the job done ASAP because that is the kind of clients I base my business around. they trust me and I trust them. (Most, not all)
If my clients are going to refer others they just do it, I don't need to give away service to recieve that. I would never give away a mowing like you did, My getting that request done in a timely manner would be considered as a big favor to them because they know I'm busy and it requires extra hours for me to fit anymore in.
you wait till the day your schedule is so full that your out til dark every day and you'll get tired of freebees.
Also, maybe you should quit the dept. and have to pay your own Life and health insurance so you can have a good dose of reality.
what a Lawnboy!

Your the idiot!

firefightergw has a very good point!!!!! And your comment about how he needs a dose of reality is more in the line of a 5 year olds thinking. I think you need a dose of realty in that the world doesn't involve around your ideology. If you can maintain a customer list of people who bow to your feet then go ahead. But for those of us who have enough business to hire other people to be out there till dark, we will continue offering good customer service and our businesses will grow and grow.

Next time you need a paramedic or fireman to save your life why don't you tell them that they are idiots who don't know what reality is? Maybe he'll let you die, that might be real!:laugh: :laugh:


As for firefightergw initial comment, I know for a fact that many people (including myself) use this site to vent our customer frustrations. It is nice to talk to a bunch of people who understand how frustrating it can be.

stumper1620
10-07-2006, 04:02 PM
Your the idiot!

firefightergw has a very good point!!!!! And your comment about how he needs a dose of reality is more in the line of a 5 year olds thinking. I think you need a dose of realty in that the world doesn't involve around your ideology. If you can maintain a customer list of people who bow to your feet then go ahead. But for those of us who have enough business to hire other people to be out there till dark, we will continue offering good customer service and our businesses will grow and grow.

Next time you need a paramedic or fireman to save your life why don't you tell them that they are idiots who don't know what reality is? Maybe he'll let you die, that might be real!:laugh: :laugh:


As for firefightergw initial comment, I know for a fact that many people (including myself) use this site to vent our customer frustrations. It is nice to talk to a bunch of people who understand how frustrating it can be.
You also use this site to have idiots like me tell you how to grow grass.
I've seen enough of you never being able to figure a problem out on your own to know you should stay out of the turf business or go get an education in turf.
My referance to the fire dept. was simply pointing out that having insurance provided and taxes withheld allows for him to be able to give away service and bring the industry down, if you can't see that you do not understand business and overhead. Try full time with no outside income and benefits being provided.(in other words pay 100% your own way incl. 100% of the income tax) and see how you feel about freebees and low rates.
I have a family to feed and I really don't give a damn if you cut a lawn or not.
If its not Idiotic to give away a job that could have paid then what is it?
This was a completely different stop. not just doing a favor for a customer on the property while there. look at what he said, " I went out and looked at it. Mow, weed-eat, and blow would take 15 minutes."
Add on estimating time and windshield for both the crew and himself for the estimate. That has to be at least a total of 1/2 an hour invested with no return. he could have reduced the price got at least 20 bucks for the extra stop and still would have gotten the extra work.
I'm sorry for the name calling, maybe not an idiot but, this is just not good business or good for the industry as a whole.

DUSTYCEDAR
10-07-2006, 04:15 PM
its all about the money if u do something free they expect it again and again.
if u want to give someone a discount to help them out thats your choice.
i have had customers for over 10 years call me and tell me they got someone to do it cheaper "and it never seems to be a big or well established company" that takes the work from me its a young kid or a person doing it on the side for extra money.
get paid for what u do and train the customers to expect to pay for what they r about to receive.:usflag:

olderthandirt
10-07-2006, 04:23 PM
Ask nor what you can do for your customers but ask what can your customers do for you?

The only correct answer is put $$$$$$ in my pocket.

If and I doubt its true but if a free lawn cut generated 3 new accounts that won't don't require free plant watering and other freebies then I would say it was a smart thing to do.
But I would also say you were dam lucky and I sure would not run a business thinking that giving away free services will result in growth

DUSTYCEDAR
10-07-2006, 04:29 PM
thinking that giving away free services will result in growth
sure it will the growth of pain in your back lol

MarkintheGarden
10-07-2006, 05:00 PM
OK so how many people here sent in their address to get a free sample of Fluid Film???

I did, and if I like the product I will use it and reccomend it.

I did not hear anyone call the fluid film rep an idiot for giving away free samples.

It is OK to make sure you get paid for every second of your work, but lets face it promotional investments pay off.

lawnman_scott
10-07-2006, 06:28 PM
OK so how many people here sent in their address to get a free sample of Fluid Film???

I did, and if I like the product I will use it and reccomend it.

I did not hear anyone call the fluid film rep an idiot for giving away free samples.

It is OK to make sure you get paid for every second of your work, but lets face it promotional investments pay off.Marketing a retail product nation/worldwide is so much different than marketing a local lawn service.

Az Gardener
10-07-2006, 08:05 PM
We all run our businesses for our pleasure as well as an income. I would imagine most could make more $$$ with much less risk by having a job. So if fireman wants to be giving away work and calling it marketing so be it.

I do think its important for him and others to realize the full cost of this "marketing campaign". It is almost as bad as warranty work except with this you are only loosing your income two times as opposed to three times.

You have lost the income because you are working for free and you know and except that. What would you be doing during that time if it was not servicing that account? I would imagine you would be servicing another account, making money. So you have lost the 20 minutes or whatever the time was times two so now your up to 40 minutes of billable time lost throw in some free pot watering and some weeding here and there and you have just lost 10-15% of your production hours in a day.

All everyone else is trying to point out is when your entire income depends on those production hours actually producing an income you can't afford to give them away.

As far as advertising goes yes it is money out of pocket but if you hire a company to do it you can still produce an income and the advertisers can make their money too. So you are only out the money you paid the advertising company not your production hours. Its another story if you are using your labor and equipment to pass out fliers but that is another thread.

tinman
10-07-2006, 10:15 PM
Well,

It sounds as if you are doing everything right firefighterguy, so why bother coming on here and posting complaining how everyone else isn't?

Posts like this are absolutely ridiculous. No truly successful man complains about his competition NOT doing well enough.

90% of your post is telling us how great you are. Congratulations, you sound like most firefighters out there.
LOL :) :)
After a while you can just see he odds are against you when doing One time cuts, talking to paople who are only only only about the lowest price, etc.

hobbsd
10-07-2006, 10:52 PM
You also use this site to have idiots like me tell you how to grow grass.
I've seen enough of you never being able to figure a problem out on your own to know you should stay out of the turf business or go get an education in turf.
My referance to the fire dept. was simply pointing out that having insurance provided and taxes withheld allows for him to be able to give away service and bring the industry down, if you can't see that you do not understand business and overhead. Try full time with no outside income and benefits being provided.(in other words pay 100% your own way incl. 100% of the income tax) and see how you feel about freebees and low rates.
I have a family to feed and I really don't give a damn if you cut a lawn or not.
If its not Idiotic to give away a job that could have paid then what is it?
This was a completely different stop. not just doing a favor for a customer on the property while there. look at what he said, " I went out and looked at it. Mow, weed-eat, and blow would take 15 minutes."
Add on estimating time and windshield for both the crew and himself for the estimate. That has to be at least a total of 1/2 an hour invested with no return. he could have reduced the price got at least 20 bucks for the extra stop and still would have gotten the extra work.
I'm sorry for the name calling, maybe not an idiot but, this is just not good business or good for the industry as a whole.

Granted I don't know nearly as much about agronomy as I would like. Yes, I ask a lot of questions (humility?)
As far as my education and being in the turf industry? I currently am enrolled full time in a highly ranked business school with a GPA of 3.95. I do this at the same time that I run a full fledged LC company with enough work to keep multiple employees busy so I don't need to be out in the field doing dummy work on a lawn mower. Perhaps if you knew more about business you would have enough money and clients to better feed your family and enjoy life instead of ripping apart other people.:hammerhead:

stumper1620
10-07-2006, 11:11 PM
Granted I don't know nearly as much about agronomy as I would like. Yes, I ask a lot of questions (humility?)
As far as my education and being in the turf industry? I currently am enrolled full time in a highly ranked business school with a GPA of 3.95. I do this at the same time that I run a full fledged LC company with enough work to keep multiple employees busy so I don't need to be out in the field doing dummy work on a lawn mower. Perhaps if you knew more about business you would have enough money and clients to better feed your family and enjoy life instead of ripping apart other people.:hammerhead:
You still don't get it do you?
I feed my family fine, I enjoy my life and I have no desire to have employees at this point. beyond that I really don't think I need to explain my company policies or future to you. Now you go run your business on freebees for promotion and I will run mine on the same principles I always have.
simply stated I will not promote anything as free unless I see and I know there will be a ROI involved.

Howard Roark
10-07-2006, 11:14 PM
The purpose of this thread was for discussion. For those that are mature enough to contribute to the DISCUSSION, even though you disagree with my point of view, thank you. Differences of opinion is always good.

For those of you that have started the name calling, pointing the finger at the fact that I am also a firefighter, called me an idiot, etc., etc., I DON"T GIVE A RATS **S. You have only proven that your problem is not poor customer service but that you are just a geniune **SHOLE :laugh: :laugh: :payup:


Sure Champ, or shall I say "Chump"....it most certainly was not for discussion, it was to talk about yourself. And you're pissy because no one cares.

No problem in customer service here, with no complaints this whole season, and 99 % of customers on auto bill on credit card. I don't believe anyone here has proven they exhibit poor customer service or that we deserve the immature names you call us.

Perhaps we're just sick of lame A$$ Part time fighterfighter/cops wanne-be on-their-off-day-grass-cutters who think they can come on here posting such crap with the not-so-underlying tone that they're better than anyone else.

So why don't you kindly excuse yourself from society until you have something worthwile to contribute...

kootoomootoo
10-07-2006, 11:29 PM
""Perhaps we're just sick of lame A$$ Part time fighterfighter/cops wanne-be on-their-off-day-grass-cutters who think they can come on here posting such crap with the not-so-underlying tone that they're better than anyone else.""


:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
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stumper1620
10-07-2006, 11:31 PM
""Perhaps we're just sick of lame A$$ Part time fighterfighter/cops wanne-be on-their-off-day-grass-cutters who think they can come on here posting such crap with the not-so-underlying tone that they're better than anyone else.""


:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
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:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:
Dittos:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

huh
10-07-2006, 11:59 PM
I found this thread quite interesting....I can see some of the firemans points and I too have wondered if some on this forum do not just blow too many people off....on the other hand I know all too well about people that take a mile after being given an inch.....I guess it is up to each LCO to know their clients

I have seen some good knowledge from Howard Roark and It appears you are going with more of the mow, trim, blow and go from your replies in this thread.....nothing wrong with that!....from your replies in other threads I was a bit surprised to see you jump right on the fireman....but maybe you two have a history on here (oh well)....also I thought Austin would be a "full service lawncare dream"....but maybe it is for most and Howard has found his own nitch....good for him!

This thread has me going back and forth on what idea to go with IF I do get something started in the future....I can see the benefits of the lovey dovey customers love me and give me cookies, but I can also see the benefits of the "shut up look out and let me get your lawn cut fast and cheap and I don't mind if we never meet in person" approach as well

I WAS MOST INTERESTED in Bulletheads reply about running BOTH services which is what I had thought about after lurking on this site for a while....I think it would be something to investigate, but I have concerns about undercutting myself, and being "discovered" by the customer.....IE why do you come to my house one day with one company magnet on your truck then next day at my neighbors as another company and for CHEAPER....then you have to get into the whole "some people eat burgers at McDonalds and some eat at Fuddruckers" story.....and they both get what they want and they both get what they pay for.....but I see the customer wanting the same "full service" for their neighbors cheaper service price.....or the neighbor saying they are not getting everything they pay for

since this thread is down hill any way I will hijack it and ask Bullethead to expound on his concept if he does not mind

thanks :)

topsites
10-08-2006, 01:33 AM
This thread has me going back and forth on what idea to go with IF I do get something started in the future....I can see the benefits of the lovey dovey customers love me and give me cookies...

It has been my experience that even thou a humble start is good (and likely a requirement), it has also sent me into a world of trouble and headache. Alas, we have to learn some way, and nothing like good times for a proper education.

I feel that once we go the cookie route, you best watch it... Because the problem is that I am the business owner and now I have to 'lower' myself in order to accept said cookies, and now the tables have turned and I am no longer quite in charge... Next thing you know, here cometh the lowballing and the discounts and in the long run you're spinning tires and still can't make ends meet.

The real kicker thou, the one thing that I can almost guarantee will kick you so hard that you have to learn one way or the other is this:
You can bend over backwards and give away freebies and do everything you ever thought you should do and then go OUT of your way time and again for FREE and REALLY help out a customer, time and again, year in and year out, with me so far?
Yeah, and then one day it comes that time for them to spend BIG money (I dunno, some project, whatever, it's been waiting for months or years, you've seen it coming and you were always hoping they'd hire you to do it, at least a thousand dollars worth of work)... And you know what they do?
Take a WILD GUESS!
Get this: They will call someone else! They will call a BIG Professional company to do the BIG money job!
They will not even ASK you! Guaranteed!
I know this because I have been there, more than once but no more than a few times.
Good times.

MarkintheGarden
10-08-2006, 01:40 AM
Marketing a retail product nation/worldwide is so much different than marketing a local lawn service.


I disagree and so do most experts, wether you do business on main street or Wall street the same principals apply. Sure no two businesses are the same, but it is the same goal, expansion to the desired capacity and profit.

I have been in big business, multi national corporation and now I am in a small business, Same U.S. Dollar makes them both go around.

huh
10-08-2006, 01:46 AM
and here I was just torn over what would happen when I drop the 30 I need to drop, get my mid season tan on, and hook up with the hot single MILF on the route and she then wants a free cut! :)

in seriousness the lovey dovey VS cut and run It is something I will have to think hard about because starting out I will have to be a ***** and take some jobs just BECAUSE THEY MAKE ME MONEY (notice not giving anything away or discounting more like mowing over POO for the extra $5 I put in the bid), but then if I choose one method Vs. the other at some point It would be hard for a ***** like me to turn down an otherwise profitable account just because I want to move in one direction or another.....there will always be clients that DEMAND the lovey dovey and will pay the price for it....and those that DEMAND the cut and run...and will still pay a price for it that is profitable....the greedy guy like me would love both.....but you could end up burned just as you said when you end up giving neither of them what they want

and I am sure there will be some I will kick to the curb as fast as I can....Love me or hate me...I will probably hate them!

MarkintheGarden
10-08-2006, 01:57 AM
Sure Champ, or shall I say "Chump"....it most certainly was not for discussion, it was to talk about yourself. And you're pissy because no one cares.

No problem in customer service here, with no complaints this whole season, and 99 % of customers on auto bill on credit card. I don't believe anyone here has proven they exhibit poor customer service or that we deserve the immature names you call us.

Perhaps we're just sick of lame A$$ Part time fighterfighter/cops wanne-be on-their-off-day-grass-cutters who think they can come on here posting such crap with the not-so-underlying tone that they're better than anyone else.

So why don't you kindly excuse yourself from society until you have something worthwile to contribute...


It is as if you speak to no other purpose than to prove the firefighters point. If you do not care why did you post a response?

These are the words of an angry looser, who resents it when someone else is happy and succesful. You my friend are a dogberry! Or even worse a shylock.

It was not the firefighter who said who was better than who, it was you and proven it you have.

It must suck to be so angry.

topsites
10-08-2006, 02:06 AM
In this world Money talks, and more is better.
Everything else is bs.

MarkintheGarden
10-08-2006, 02:15 AM
What sells people your service year after year is relationships.




The above sentence is where the firefighter got it right.

MarkintheGarden
10-08-2006, 02:20 AM
In this world Money talks, and more is better.
Everything else is bs.

If everything else is bs what are you gonna do with the money, buy more money with your money?:waving:

huh
10-08-2006, 03:00 AM
its all about the money if u do something free they expect it again and again.
if u want to give someone a discount to help them out thats your choice.
i have had customers for over 10 years call me and tell me they got someone to do it cheaper "and it never seems to be a big or well established company" that takes the work from me its a young kid or a person doing it on the side for extra money.
get paid for what u do and train the customers to expect to pay for what they r about to receive.:usflag:

I must say this post caught my attention....while you may do well with your business and I hope you do.....when it is all about the money to you....you should expect it is all about the money to them as well.....perhaps there will come a day when the fireman loses his client and their 3 friends to someone cheaper....but I would bet they would scoff at someone that wants to under cut him for 5 bucks at this point and time :)

not every client is the same nor should they be handled as if they are.....if you are not what they are looking for I am sure someone else is....and you can take the clients that they can not service....hopefully everyone makes money :)

hobbsd
10-08-2006, 02:36 PM
It is as if you speak to no other purpose than to prove the firefighters point. If you do not care why did you post a response?

These are the words of an angry looser, who resents it when someone else is happy and succesful. You my friend are a dogberry! Or even worse a shylock.

It was not the firefighter who said who was better than who, it was you and proven it you have.

It must suck to be so angry.


Well-said dear Horatio. :clapping:

In the further soliloquy of Shakespeare, and in reference to Howard Roark, "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once".:laugh:

bullethead
10-08-2006, 02:40 PM
Customer service (which I think this is what the thread was about) for me is simply meeting or exceeding the customers expectations as long as they are REALISTIC. A customer that expects something for free from my company simply is not being realistic - we are not a non-profit landscape company. I am in business to make money. Until you adopt that mindset, you are ultimately going to find out that you are doing alot of work and not making a whole hell of alot of money. Like AZ Gardener stated - when you throw in the freebies you darn well better be factoring in your "opportunity cost" as well - into the overall cost of the freebie.

huh
10-08-2006, 05:36 PM
bullethead I would send you a PM but it will now allow me too

I have questions about how you run both types of services and avoid undercutting yourself and avoid people expecting one service to provide what the other does not (lesser price for full service or more service for cut-n-go prices) if they ever figure out you are one person with 2 companies

bullethead
10-09-2006, 06:23 PM
Personally I have two separate companies, but I think you could just as easily do it within one company. I even tell people that I have 2 different companies - and simply ask them what level of service they want, it's no big secret (most people can't afford the high end service but I lay it out there for them if I think they are interested):

a) If you want every leaf in its proper place, every plant illness diagnosed, things fed when warranted, color changed, beds mulched etc plus have your lawn mowed - we have crews that can offer this high level of service based on an hourly rate plus materials,

or

b) If you simply want your lawn mowed, we have crews designed to do just that - but that is ALL they do. If you need anything above and beyond this we can schedule it with one of our detail crews, it is available for $___/hr with a 1hr min plus materials

Most of our mow blow and go customers fall out of their chair when they hear the hourly rate - so I don't even have to worry about it. I only like to "worry about it" with the people that can spend this kind of money on a regular basis and for bigger chunks of time.

Grass Kickin
10-09-2006, 06:40 PM
In this world Money talks, and more is better.
Everything else is bs.

This sums the bottom line up. I currently have 70 stops to make in a week. It translates into 60 customers. Here is why I always consider a biweekly or one time job. One of the current customers who is good for about 600.00 a month on 6 properties started out this way. Had I acted like my "S" didn't stink and blew the job off, I wouldn't have a little extra lee way each month in the form of his business.

If the job is not for you, don't do it. If it won't pay well, nobody will do it but to make a one time job out of the question before even considering it only prevents you from earning a little extra and is defeating the purpose that you are out there in the first place.

tinman
10-09-2006, 06:54 PM
In this world Money talks, and more is better.
Everything else is bs.

This sums the bottom line up. I currently have 70 stops to make in a week. It translates into 60 customers. Here is why I always consider a biweekly or one time job. One of the current customers who is good for about 600.00 a month on 6 properties started out this way. Had I acted like my "S" didn't stink and blew the job off, I wouldn't have a little extra lee way each month in the form of his business.

If the job is not for you, don't do it. If it won't pay well, nobody will do it but to make a one time job out of the question before even considering it only prevents you from earning a little extra and is defeating the purpose that you are out there in the first place.
Your are right , because you never know,,,, but the odds are against getting a good client from a one time deal or other "signals" they give off. IF you have time to chase every single weird sounding caller that is great. But once you run out of time, you have to make a choice

Grass Kickin
10-09-2006, 07:19 PM
Tinman, you made a good point that I left out. Obviously you should only accept work that you actually can fit in to your schedule.

RyanD
10-10-2006, 01:59 PM
I am part time. It seems that a lot of the anomosity exists because he mows part time. Can someone explain?

Az Gardener
10-10-2006, 02:18 PM
All everyone else is trying to point out is when your entire income depends on those production hours actually producing an income you can't afford to give them away.


Thats it in a nut shell for part timers its bonus, extra call it what you will, it enables you to work for less. If your livelihood depends on this work you can see where the regulars can get have a little animosity to the part timers with the low overhead. Then there is the added factor that part timers make up such a large part of the workforce it dilutes the income potential for the full time contractors with real overhead running real full time businesses.

stumpjumper
10-10-2006, 02:31 PM
I was also stunned at the anger directed at partimers by some here. I started partime to make money doing something I like. I did partime electrical for years, much of it for fulltimers who were behind and needed help. The get out of the business I'm trying to make a living attitude don't hold water for me. Don't lowball your hurting the business I agree with completely, but get out this is my business is bullsh*t.

RyanD
10-10-2006, 06:26 PM
"Thats it in a nut shell for part timers its bonus, extra call it what you will, it enables you to work for less."

I typically get underbid by "real" outfits. Most of the time I can't bid as low as many if it is a large job. I am doing all the work my self, and my labor isn't cheap.




"If your livelihood depends on this work you can see where the regulars can get have a little animosity to the part timers with the low overhead."

What does overhead have to do with it? Are you saying that "real" LCO's are mad that they have a large overhead or that I don't? Our overheads are proportionate to the size of our businesses, aren't they? Actually, my overhead is greater in respect to my gross sales than a real LCO, right? I mean I have to pay the same for a license in my city as a big company operated by someone who does this full time. A million in insurance costs a big fish and a little fish the same (assuming you are doing the same services, if you have chosen to take on employees, that is your choice).




"Then there is the added factor that part timers make up such a large part of the workforce it dilutes the income potential for the full time contractors with real overhead running real full time businesses."

Or, you could say "real businesses take away from the allegedly 'fake part time businesses' income potential with all of our 'fake' overhead." I guess it just depends on what side you are looking at it from.

With all of this said, I assume you are only mad at the part time LCO's that do not know their costs and drive market prices down. I took offense only because you did not discriminate between the two but instead threw out a blanket statement. Tell me what you think.

stumper1620
10-10-2006, 07:22 PM
"Thats it in a nut shell for part timers its bonus, extra call it what you will, it enables you to work for less."

I typically get underbid by "real" outfits. Most of the time I can't bid as low as many if it is a large job. I am doing all the work my self, and my labor isn't cheap.




"If your livelihood depends on this work you can see where the regulars can get have a little animosity to the part timers with the low overhead."

What does overhead have to do with it? Are you saying that "real" LCO's are mad that they have a large overhead or that I don't? Our overheads are proportionate to the size of our businesses, aren't they? Actually, my overhead is greater in respect to my gross sales than a real LCO, right? I mean I have to pay the same for a license in my city as a big company operated by someone who does this full time. A million in insurance costs a big fish and a little fish the same (assuming you are doing the same services, if you have chosen to take on employees, that is your choice).




"Then there is the added factor that part timers make up such a large part of the workforce it dilutes the income potential for the full time contractors with real overhead running real full time businesses."

Or, you could say "real businesses take away from the allegedly 'fake part time businesses' income potential with all of our 'fake' overhead." I guess it just depends on what side you are looking at it from.

With all of this said, I assume you are only mad at the part time LCO's that do not know their costs and drive market prices down. I took offense only because you did not discriminate between the two but instead threw out a blanket statement. Tell me what you think.
I'm going to try to answer your Questions and make a point or 2,

If you want to mow part time that is fine, I have no animosity about that, the point we are all trying to make is simply, these are the cost that are the hardest to overcome there are others that are of little concern compared to these. If you think about switching to full time, these are the cost that are the biggest hurdle.
When you are part time (in other words, you work a full time job elsewhere)
You have a advantage that we as full time do not, that is or chances are, you have all or part of your health insurance paid by your employer( usually no less than 60% paid by employer at a group rate), you also, have taxes withheld at 50% of the total tax ( your employer is paying the other 50%)
We as full timers have to pay these cost 100% on top of that the higher our gross is ( which with full time it should be running a lot higher than yours) our insurance cost are based on this, basically meaning the insurance penalizes us for being full time because our gross is higher.
So the long and short of all this is, Part timers that offer free or tremendously cheap services are setting the market rate. If you have 5 or 6 part timers working an area and only 2 Full time LCOs you have the rates being set by the 5 not the 2, they have lower overhead by not having to account for the unseen expenses, thus,they do not include them in their price quotes, this is what causes the rates to be lower than they should and could be, so as a part timer, increase rates to account for the unseen expense, take it as added profit and that way the profit could increase for all of us and you would have youself set up to move full time anytime you felt the urge to do so.
I have no problem with the part timers, the problem I have is the rates they use. Yes I under bid some part timers if I didn't it would be difficult to grow.
it just means my profit is razor thin compared to yours.
I hope this will help you understand where we are coming from.
Enjoy and stay safe.

stumpjumper
10-10-2006, 08:57 PM
I know of no employer in the country that withholds taxes at 50%, I pay 100% of my federal, state, social security and fica, so does my wife. A nice health insurance allowance yes, but don't we pay for that with having to answer to the MAN that everyone despises. Please don't fault me for taking advantage of an option that you can also choose.

RyanD
10-10-2006, 09:18 PM
You have a advantage that we as full time do not, that is or chances are, you have all or part of your health insurance paid by your employer( usually no less than 60% paid by employer at a group rate), you also, have taxes withheld at 50% of the total tax ( your employer is paying the other 50%)

I AM SORRY THAT WE HAVE SOCIAL SECURITY. IN MY OPINION, THE GOVERNMENT IS STEALING FROM US EVERY TIME WE ARE FORCED TO PAY SE TAX OR SOCIAL SECURITY OR WHAT EVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT (I COULD THINK OF A FEW NAMES). I WORK PART TIME (24 HRS/WK) AT MY WAGE JOB. IT ALLOWS ME TO HAVE TERRIFIC BENEFITS AND STILL DO WHAT I LOVE TO DO (AQUIRE AND RENOVATE RENTAL PROPERTY AND RUN MY PROPERTY SERVICE BUSINESS). IF YOU HAVE THE MEANS, I RECOMMEND PICKING UP ONE OF THESE JOBS TO HELP OUT IF YOU THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER.



the insurance penalizes us for being full time because our gross is higher.


THIS IS SOMETHING I CAN NOT CONTROL (NOR SHOULD IT BE CONTROLLED).

BOTTOM LINE IS, IN YOUR LAST QUOTE YOU STILL DID NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN LOWBALLING PART TIMERS AND THOSE WHO PRICE ACCORDINGLY (NOT TO MENTION LOWBALLING FULLTIMERS). THIS IS WHERE I THINK YOU OFFEND THOSE OF US WHO DON'T LOWER THE MARKET PRICE.

PART TIMER DOES NOT EQUAL LOWBALLER

RyanD
10-10-2006, 09:21 PM
Stump Jumper, You Don't Pay 100% Of Your Social Security Or Fica. Your Employer Picks Up Half The Tab, You... The Other Half. You Do Pay For All Of Your Income Tax Though.

stumper1620
10-10-2006, 09:33 PM
I AM SORRY THAT WE HAVE SOCIAL SECURITY. IN MY OPINION, THE GOVERNMENT IS STEALING FROM US EVERY TIME WE ARE FORCED TO PAY SE TAX OR SOCIAL SECURITY OR WHAT EVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT (I COULD THINK OF A FEW NAMES). I WORK PART TIME (24 HRS/WK) AT MY WAGE JOB. IT ALLOWS ME TO HAVE TERRIFIC BENEFITS AND STILL DO WHAT I LOVE TO DO (AQUIRE AND RENOVATE RENTAL PROPERTY AND RUN MY PROPERTY SERVICE BUSINESS). IF YOU HAVE THE MEANS, I RECOMMEND PICKING UP ONE OF THESE JOBS TO HELP OUT IF YOU THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER.





THIS IS SOMETHING I CAN NOT CONTROL (NOR SHOULD IT BE CONTROLLED).

BOTTOM LINE IS, IN YOUR LAST QUOTE YOU STILL DID NOT DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN LOWBALLING PART TIMERS AND THOSE WHO PRICE ACCORDINGLY (NOT TO MENTION LOWBALLING FULLTIMERS). THIS IS WHERE I THINK YOU OFFEND THOSE OF US WHO DON'T LOWER THE MARKET PRICE.

PART TIMER DOES NOT EQUAL LOWBALLER
I don't understand why you are YELLING at me, I'm trying to be as nice as I can be in this forum tonight since I seem to have offended so many the other night. I really don't remember nor have I found where I ever refered to you as a lowballer. I'm just trying to point out the differance between part time and full time cost. I saw a major fall coming to the mowing end of the business long ago, as of last fall I threw out the old business plan, aimed in a new direction and that direction has very limited mowing space availible for only the best of full service clients.

stumper1620
10-10-2006, 09:36 PM
Stump Jumper, You Don't Pay 100% Of Your Social Security Or Fica. Your Employer Picks Up Half The Tab, You... The Other Half. You Do Pay For All Of Your Income Tax Though.
Thank you, for pointing that out. I'm glad to see you understand my point about that.

stumper1620
10-10-2006, 09:47 PM
I WORK PART TIME (24 HRS/WK) AT MY WAGE JOB. IT ALLOWS ME TO HAVE TERRIFIC BENEFITS AND STILL DO WHAT I LOVE TO DO (AQUIRE AND RENOVATE RENTAL PROPERTY AND RUN MY PROPERTY SERVICE BUSINESS). IF YOU HAVE THE MEANS, I RECOMMEND PICKING UP ONE OF THESE JOBS TO HELP OUT IF YOU THINK IT WOULD BE BETTER.
You are a very lucky man if you can have a 24 hr week job that is willing to allow you access to benefits. around here they just get temp workers for everything, He!! UPS is almost all temp workers in Michigan. no need to hire in directly when Unemployment is over 20%

huh
10-10-2006, 10:12 PM
You are a very lucky man if you can have a 24 hr week job that is willing to allow you access to benefits. around here they just get temp workers for everything, He!! UPS is almost all temp workers in Michigan. no need to hire in directly when Unemployment is over 20%

part time package handlers in Tx (16-20 hours a week) get full benefits.....maybe they go temp to avoid stupid union crap :)

Az Gardener
10-10-2006, 10:32 PM
With all of this said, I assume you are only mad at the part time LCO's that do not know their costs and drive market prices down. I took offense only because you did not discriminate between the two but instead threw out a blanket statement. Tell me what you think.

I am not mad at anyone. The reason you probably loose out to some full time outfits is you actually know your costs and are trying to recoup them. Most part timers don't have a clue or just dont care.

I welcome anyone who wants to compete in my market. Many have tried many have failed. I am king of the PITA's, send me your worst, most demanding wealthy customer and I will keep them happy and make a profit doing it.

Thank you stumper for coming to my defense in my absence.

RyanD
10-10-2006, 10:35 PM
Stumper,
First of all, my caps do not mean I am yelling at you. I respect you for talking about this in a mature manner. It is refreshing to talk about ideas, etc. with some one who can carry on a conversation. Some of the jokers on this site have posted things which prove they have few brain cells. It is these guys who dilute the value of the site. Anyway, yes, I understand taxes, that is what I do at my part time job (IRS Collections).

Although you never called me a lowballer, or anyone for that matter that I remember, you used the phrase part timer as being synonymous with it I have no problem with the part timers, the problem I have is the rates they use.

All I want you to do is admit that not every part timer is a lowballer.:) Frankly, I am tired of being lumped in this category, that's all.:cry:

stumper1620
10-10-2006, 11:14 PM
Stumper,
First of all, my caps do not mean I am yelling at you. I respect you for talking about this in a mature manner. It is refreshing to talk about ideas, etc. with some one who can carry on a conversation. Some of the jokers on this site have posted things which prove they have few brain cells. It is these guys who dilute the value of the site. Anyway, yes, I understand taxes, that is what I do at my part time job (IRS Collections).

Although you never called me a lowballer, or anyone for that matter that I remember, you used the phrase part timer as being synonymous with it

All I want you to do is admit that not every part timer is a lowballer.:) Frankly, I am tired of being lumped in this category, that's all.:cry:
no problem here, I would dare say AZ just summed it up pretty good in the fact of most don't know and don't care what market price and their cost are. I honestly respect you for having competitive rates and as AZ pointed out that is probably why you have been under bid by the full timers.
I was generalizing and I will apologize for lumping you in with a large portion of others, no offense was intended to anyone that is truly trying to maintain reasonable market pricing. thats all I ask of anyone. Lawn care rates are way below where they should be as it is.

stumper1620
10-10-2006, 11:32 PM
part time package handlers in Tx (16-20 hours a week) get full benefits.....maybe they go temp to avoid stupid union crap :)
You are exactly right!!
The union was ready to blow a gasket over that one.

olderthandirt
10-10-2006, 11:55 PM
I don't understand why you are YELLING at me, I'm trying to be as nice as I can be in this forum tonight since I seem to have offended so many the other night. I really don't remember nor have I found where I ever refered to you as a lowballer. I'm just trying to point out the differance between part time and full time cost. I saw a major fall coming to the mowing end of the business long ago, as of last fall I threw out the old business plan, aimed in a new direction and that direction has very limited mowing space availible for only the best of full service clients.

Why does anyone need a "part time job"? If you don't make enough money in your full time job I would be looking for a differnt one. If your only there for the bennies then your still under paid and need a differnt full time job that pays enough and supplies bennies. And if you love the grass cutting so much that you can't stay away then quit the full time and cut grass for your living.
:)
I'm not always as nice as you

stumper1620
10-11-2006, 12:04 AM
Why does anyone need a "part time job"? If you don't make enough money in your full time job I would be looking for a differnt one. If your only there for the bennies then your still under paid and need a differnt full time job that pays enough and supplies bennies. And if you love the grass cutting so much that you can't stay away then quit the full time and cut grass for your living.
:)
I'm not always as nice as you
I know, I know
:drinkup: :drinkup: :) :)

Az Gardener
10-11-2006, 09:38 AM
Excellent point Mac. Now that is getting to the root of the problem.

Watch out I am about to throw out a generalization, a blanket statement no disrespect is meant to those who do not fall into this category.

I would suspect those who are working part time are underachievers in general and are not progressing in their regular jobs. Thats why they are seeking part time work. If they were to go out on their own they would probably underachieve at that too. Because for what ever reason, up-bringing, genetics call it what you will they are just not wired for success.

This will probably draw some fire.

MarkintheGarden
10-11-2006, 10:31 AM
There are a lot of reasons, good and bad reasons that someone would work part time. When I started out on my own in Lawn and Garden I worked part time to get the ball rolling. I had a night job with flexible hours so I worked full time at the night job the first year, the second year I went to part time on the night job and started increasing the time I put into my business.

I probably underpriced a few things in my first couple years. I did not give anything away, but I sure went the extra mile many times.

I can understand why a company that is fully booked would not give discounts and why start ups offer lower prices. Both make sense!

I do not care if a part timer or start up want to try to undercut my prices. If the customer is only concerned with price they can always find lower quality and a less reliable service for less money. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the words, "he did not show up" or "he did not even call me back".

Customer loyalty is hard to earn but once you do earn it, you can take it to the bank.

I know a guy who works part time at his lawn care and drinks full time. I do not know what he charges or how good a job he does. One thing for sure, he is no threat to my business, and neither is any other lowballer, there are plenty of PITA customers to keep them all busy.

If you build your business on quality, reliable service, and present a pro image, price your work to make a profit, the bottom of the economy will gravitate away from you and leave you with plenty of time to manage your worthy clientele.

The lowballers and pitas deserve each other, there is nothing in that, that I could care less about, in fact I kind of like it this way.

I had a customer tell me about how someone had offered them a lower price than I was charging. I just asked, do they have insurance, do they do good work, are they reliable? Then I said if you decide to go with them, give me their number cause I have a couple more customers they can have. Well that customer is still with me and has not mentioned other companies since.

As sure as hyundai will never put volvo out of business, the lowballers will never effect my business.

ED'S LAWNCARE
10-11-2006, 11:23 AM
Why does anyone need a "part time job"? If you don't make enough money in your full time job I would be looking for a differnt one. If your only there for the bennies then your still under paid and need a differnt full time job that pays enough and supplies bennies. And if you love the grass cutting so much that you can't stay away then quit the full time and cut grass for your living.
:)
I'm not always as nice as you

There are can be different reasons for working part time rather than full. I my self work " full time" making over 50k plus excellent bennies. My schedule is only 12- 12 hrs days per month. I can and do live off this comfortably. Now I run my lco 2 days per week with 8 clients per day. I don't lowball in fact my prices are probably higher than most in my area. You can call me greedy but with the extra money I use to invest and hopefully will be retired "very confortably" at 55.

Out side of full time paying more taxes as it should being the gross is higher I have the same overhead as full time. I carry 1 mill ins. Pay taxes. Carry a license, Prof equiptment, 2 trailers etc..

I value all's opinion on this site, I think the newer starts get quite a beating from some, not all. -

MarkintheGarden
10-11-2006, 11:40 AM
Why does anyone need a "part time job"? If you don't make enough money in your full time job I would be looking for a differnt one. If your only there for the bennies then your still under paid and need a differnt full time job that pays enough and supplies bennies. And if you love the grass cutting so much that you can't stay away then quit the full time and cut grass for your living.
:)
I'm not always as nice as you


I understand that you are already olderthandirt, but have you started to consider semi-retirement? I hope one day to work part time, semi-retired.

stumpjumper
10-11-2006, 11:58 AM
Az you have labeled an awful lot of the people here as underachievers. So people working parttime to better themselves and their families lives are geneticly inferior. I believe a majority of the fulltimers here started out parttime, did their genetics suddenly improve? A very condescinding statement in my opinion.

bullethead
10-11-2006, 12:58 PM
Let's face facts - we are in an industry with very low barriers to entry, as a result, there is mucho competition. Many dip their toe in the water, start to think they can make it full time, then dive in. Many dive in without truly understanding all of their costs. So, as they realize they are not making enough money to cover their overhead and grow the business from a paycheck to an actual company - they begin to transform themselves from "lowballer" to one of them there "high priced landscape contractors". Those that make the transformation stay in business. Many never fully get their arms around the whole cost side of things and return to their role as an employee, elsewhere.

RyanD
10-11-2006, 04:08 PM
Watch out I am about to throw out a generalization, a blanket statement no disrespect is meant to those who do not fall into this category.

I would suspect those who are working part time are underachievers in general and are not progressing in their regular jobs. Thats why they are seeking part time work. If they were to go out on their own they would probably underachieve at that too. Because for what ever reason, up-bringing, genetics call it what you will they are just not wired for success.

This will probably draw some fire.

That could have been the dumbest thing I have ever heard anyone say.

RyanD
10-11-2006, 04:26 PM
"Why does anyone need a 'part time job'? If you don't make enough money in your full time job I would be looking for a differnt one."

Obviously, you didn't think very long before you ask this question.;) I had a full time job. I started mowing. As the number of accounts increase, I decrease my schedule at the wage job (this is the stage I am in now). Some day... I will have the accounts to support me full time and I will quit the wage job. Unless you bought a business, you can not place an ad in the paper, buy a mower, and have a full time income the next day.

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 04:50 PM
I understand that you are already olderthandirt, but have you started to consider semi-retirement? I hope one day to work part time, semi-retired.

No! that would be like a part time job. If I want to work I'll do it full time retirement means not working and enjoying life. And I've done more than consider it :)

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 04:55 PM
"Why does anyone need a 'part time job'? If you don't make enough money in your full time job I would be looking for a differnt one."

Obviously, you didn't think very long before you ask this question.;) I had a full time job. I started mowing. As the number of accounts increase, I decrease my schedule at the wage job (this is the stage I am in now). Some day... I will have the accounts to support me full time and I will quit the wage job. Unless you bought a business, you can not place an ad in the paper, buy a mower, and have a full time income the next day.



So your not full time at any job ?

I would suspect those who are working part time are underachievers in general and are not progressing in their regular jobs. Thats why they are seeking part time work. If they were to go out on their own they would probably underachieve at that too. Because for what ever reason, up-bringing, genetics call it what you will they are just not wired for success.


If the shoe fits :laugh:

RyanD
10-11-2006, 04:57 PM
No, is that ok?

RyanD
10-11-2006, 05:01 PM
If the shoe fits

Are you saying that if I am part time, I am not wired for success? What is so magical about 40 hours per week at one job? How does that make me better if I drop hours in one place so I can work full time somewhere else?

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 05:07 PM
There are can be different reasons for working part time rather than full. I my self work " full time" making over 50k plus excellent bennies. My schedule is only 12- 12 hrs days per month. I can and do live off this comfortably. Now I run my lco 2 days per week with 8 clients per day. I don't lowball in fact my prices are probably higher than most in my area. You can call me greedy but with the extra money I use to invest and hopefully will be retired "very confortably" at 55.

Out side of full time paying more taxes as it should being the gross is higher I have the same overhead as full time. I carry 1 mill ins. Pay taxes. Carry a license, Prof equiptment, 2 trailers etc..

I value all's opinion on this site, I think the newer starts get quite a beating from some, not all. -

Just so you don't think I'm beating on you I'll point out a problem I see now.
You work 144 hrs. a month X12 monthe for 55k + bennys.
I can generate $146,880 - bennies in those same hrs - 33% for bennies and other expenses and I'll still net $98,409 off the same 144 hrs.
And thats if I'm working. I can send an employee out and still make $50K without even working.

RyanD
10-11-2006, 05:13 PM
I can send an employee out and still make $50K without even working.

Then you would be genetically inferior for not working full time based on a previous post by that other guy.:dancing:

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 05:21 PM
Then you would be genetically inferior for not working full time based on a previous post by that other guy.:dancing:

You just don't get it and never will.
I would be generating $146,880 while an employee generates another $50,000

Notice the increase in revenue

School over with for the day :waving: :waving:

stumpjumper
10-11-2006, 05:30 PM
Hey Older, since I'm parttime and Topsites is fulltime does that make him geneticly superior to me?:cry:

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 05:40 PM
Hey Older, since I'm parttime and Topsites is fulltime does that make him geneticly superior to me?:cry:

:confused: :confused: :confused: Well so much for my theory :laugh: :laugh:

Topsites is the exception to every rule :waving:

RyanD
10-11-2006, 05:42 PM
You just don't get it and never will.
I would be generating $146,880 while an employee generates another $50,000


that is not what you said. You said
I can send an employee out and still make $50K without even working.

What I thought you were saying is that you could net 98k or you could hire an employ to do the work and you would still net $50k. I don't get it when one minute you say you are working and then the other you are not:dizzy: Or are you generating the 146k with out working?

sheshovel
10-11-2006, 05:50 PM
Quote Markinthegarden

Customer loyalty is hard to earn but once you do earn it, you can take it to the bank.

---------------------------------------------------------

Now, this quote above is very funny, boy oh boy have you alot to learn buddy.

RyanD
10-11-2006, 05:59 PM
Quote Markinthegarden

Customer loyalty is hard to earn but once you do earn it, you can take it to the bank.

---------------------------------------------------------

Now, this quote above is very funny, boy oh boy have you alot to learn buddy.


She,

Could you explain. Is customer loyalty not what it is cracked up to be? Or are there no such things as loyal customers? Or do loyal customers pay late or not at all? I am just new here, but it seems like a loyal customer would be a good deal (if you bid correctly). Thanks Sheshovel.

ED'S LAWNCARE
10-11-2006, 06:04 PM
Just so you don't think I'm beating on you I'll point out a problem I see now.
You work 144 hrs. a month X12 monthe for 55k + bennys.
I can generate $146,880 - bennies in those same hrs - 33% for bennies and other expenses and I'll still net $98,409 off the same 144 hrs.
And thats if I'm working. I can send an employee out and still make $50K without even working.



$146.880 / 1728 hrs per year = $85 per hour. I thought I was high at $65. Question I have with your above statement is only 33% for bennies and other expenses? I'm assuming taxes, ins, gas, maint...etc... that's a tight margin. Although it does put the fulltime thing in perspective.

MarkintheGarden
10-11-2006, 07:05 PM
Quote Markinthegarden

Customer loyalty is hard to earn but once you do earn it, you can take it to the bank.

---------------------------------------------------------

Now, this quote above is very funny, boy oh boy have you alot to learn buddy.

OK I will be your huckleberry, teach me!

I stand corrected!
I apologize!
I'm sorry I diden't really mean i!
You are correct!
OOPs I missed that!

RyanD
10-11-2006, 11:15 PM
Let's cut the crap. The bottom line is that the full timers are trash talking to the part timers. It seems they think of me as an inferior human being because I have a part time mowing business. The truth is that I have another indeavor that is more lucrative, and I have another job that I do partly for the money and partly because I feel called to do it. It cracks me up that I can't be on someone's cool list because I don't have employees or mow full time. As if the standard for being successful is to have a fulltime mowing business. :dizzy:

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 11:49 PM
Let's cut the crap. The bottom line is that the full timers are trash talking to the part timers. It seems they think of me as an inferior human being because I have a part time mowing business. The truth is that I have another indeavor that is more lucrative, and I have another job that I do partly for the money and partly because I feel called to do it. It cracks me up that I can't be on someone's cool list because I don't have employees or mow full time. As if the standard for being successful is to have a fulltime mowing business. :dizzy:

Ok lets cut the crap. You been in a part time business 1 yr. and yet you have all the answers or want to argue with the people that try and teach you something. You don't have a clue on how to run a successful business, it not the standard for success to be a full time LCO but it beats the heck out of being a failure at it. It cracks me up that you think there's a cool list :dizzy:
Either your successful or your out of business. But you already know that with that vast repository of business knowledge you poses. :waving:

olderthandirt
10-11-2006, 11:59 PM
Could you explain. Is customer loyalty not what it is cracked up to be? Or are there no such things as loyal customers? Or do loyal customers pay late or not at all? I am just new here, but it seems like a loyal customer would be a good deal (if you bid correctly).

A loyal customer is a great person to have but there rare. Sooner or later someones going to give them a cheaper price and better line and they will drop you in a second for the new guy that promises the moon and will do it a lot cheaper than your working for. Doing a great job and charging a fair price only works if no one else is willing to work cheaper and do a good job, The majority of customers never realize the extra work that a lot of LCO put into the property each wk. The kid down the street drags in a mower and trimmer and sweeps the drive when he's done and will do it for $15 and to a loyal customer they don't understand why your charging $50. And they don't care about ins. or overhead etc. they only care about their own pocket

ED'S LAWNCARE
10-12-2006, 10:22 AM
A loyal customer is a great person to have but there rare. Sooner or later someones going to give them a cheaper price and better line and they will drop you in a second for the new guy that promises the moon and will do it a lot cheaper than your working for. Doing a great job and charging a fair price only works if no one else is willing to work cheaper and do a good job, The majority of customers never realize the extra work that a lot of LCO put into the property each wk. The kid down the street drags in a mower and trimmer and sweeps the drive when he's done and will do it for $15 and to a loyal customer they don't understand why your charging $50. And they don't care about ins. or overhead etc. they only care about their own pocket

The part about the cust. not caring about the ins overhead etc. I agree with

olderthandirt
10-12-2006, 10:47 AM
The part about the cust. not caring about the ins overhead etc. I agree with

Do you disagree with the rest? I'm asking because I can tell you how to prove the point, Go to any competerors house and ask what they pay there LCO per month and then tell them you will do just as good a job for 1/3 the cost there paying. You will see how many are loyal and how many want it done as cheap as possable.

BTW-- Don't take customers doing it the way I suggested, loyalty lies in the dollars they save

LindblomRJ
10-12-2006, 11:11 AM
BTW-- Don't take customers doing it the way I suggested, loyalty lies in the dollars they save

I agree totally.

MarkintheGarden
10-12-2006, 11:29 AM
Do you disagree with the rest? I'm asking because I can tell you how to prove the point, Go to any competerors house and ask what they pay there LCO per month and then tell them you will do just as good a job for 1/3 the cost there paying. You will see how many are loyal and how many want it done as cheap as possable.

BTW-- Don't take customers doing it the way I suggested, loyalty lies in the dollars they save

Olderthandirt,
Sheshovel,

How many customers did you loose this year to lcos that offered lower prices?
I lost one customer to lower price, he had me mow the lawn a couple of times this year and then got the kid down the street to mow.
How many customers of yours got offered a lower price? I guess we can never know. I am sure that some of my customers did get offered a lower price and did not take it.

RyanD
10-12-2006, 03:06 PM
Ok lets cut the crap. You been in a part time business 1 yr. and yet you have all the answers or want to argue with the people that try and teach you something.

No, actually I never said I have all the answers. If you can find a quote of me implying that, show me. No one in this particular thread is trying to teach me anything except that I am allegedly genetically inferior. This is the whole reason why I am still talking to you. I am trying to help you understand that just because my business is part time right now, doesn't make me an inferior human being. I don't even believe you were inferior when your business was part time. If you are trying to teach me this, you are an idiot. I have never argued with the ones on here that have given me advise, unless my business sense tells me they are wrong (I have another successful business as well).



You don't have a clue on how to run a successful business, it not the standard for success to be a full time LCO but it beats the heck out of being a failure at it.

Am I a failure because my business is part time right now? If you believe this, I would rather not take any advise from you.



It cracks me up that you think there's a cool list

That was me taking a stab at your mentality. In you mind, if you are not a full time LCO, than you are a failure.



"Either you are successful, or you are out of business."

That is absolutely brillant.



But you already know that with that vast repository of business knowledge you poses.

I appreciate the compliment, but I wouldn't say it is vast. Enough to be successful in my endeavors though. Learning all the time.

Az Gardener
10-13-2006, 01:08 AM
Jeez I miss a day and Mac has all the fun.

Successful people have a skill set, work habits, call it what you will. They are willing to do what it takes to move up the ladder. They make sacrifices or at least informed decisions about what they are willing to spend their time on. If you want to be good at a full time job it usually does not leave time for part time work. The time spent on days off or after work could be better spent educating yourself to move ahead in the real job instead of cutting someone else's lawn.

Why would someone that makes a great living in few hours a month do manual labor for less money in their spare time? I just don't understand. If its just because they enjoy the work and its a hobby for a few extra bucks were back to square one with part timers working for low wages.

sheshovel
10-13-2006, 01:10 AM
She,

Could you explain. Is customer loyalty not what it is cracked up to be? Or are there no such things as loyal customers? Or do loyal customers pay late or not at all? I am just new here, but it seems like a loyal customer would be a good deal (if you bid correctly). Thanks Sheshovel.

Well, you sure can't take it to the bank. Customer loyalty lasts just as long as nobody undercuts your price. You may have only lost one customer this year due to a lower price, but that only tells me you probably are not charging enough or you don't have a large customer base. I can only tell you that in my expierience loyal customers in this biz a very few and far between. Non-existant really.

topsites
10-13-2006, 01:18 AM
If everything else is bs what are you gonna do with the money, buy more money with your money?:waving:

well, when it comes to money I have this problem...

See, every single TIME I think I have a little money...
2-3 days later *POOF*, it vanishes mysteriously, if it lasts that long.

stumpjumper
10-13-2006, 09:14 AM
Well Azz I must be a little slow on the uptake. You last post instructs us all to make sacrifices and educate ourselves to get ahead on our jobs. Your bio states you have 25 years in the business yet you have 2 current threads going asking for help pricing work.:confused: How many years experience do you think you will require to price by yourself?

stumpjumper
10-13-2006, 09:26 AM
She I must not just be slow, I must be brain dead. A recent poll here about customer retention seemed to showed established lco's with a 98 to 99% customer retention rate from year to year. It is constantly advised by successful people to price right and do excellent work if you want to succeed. You position seems to negate all this advice. Who's correct? Or is your statements just to support other longtime members? No I'm not trying to be a wiseazz, I'm confused by the conflicting advice I see.

Az Gardener
10-13-2006, 09:47 AM
You seem to have a lot of time on your hands unfortunately you don't seem to read all of anything. My bio also states I am a residential gardening service. Not an install contractor. You want pricing on weekly full service or flowers or plant replacements I'm the guy. Irrigation repairs, fertilizer injectors, thats right up my ally too. Oh I almost forgot I'm fairly well versed in pond maintenance and water plants too.

I throw out generalizations about the general population from time to time. This seems to have hit a nerve with you. Did I hit a little to close to home? You seem to have made it your personal entertainment to target me as the punching bag of the day. Thats fine I got where I am by asking questions I and I am humble enough to know I don't know everything. I also got where I am by being fair with my clients. The beauty of this site is you can bounce these things off other contractors that do specialized work on a day to day basis. Only a fool would assume to know everything and be good at everything.

You only wish you had my concerns. I might make too much money on one client and I don't want to gouge another.

stumpjumper
10-13-2006, 10:12 AM
Why yes Az you did hit a nerve with me. Your post about genetics and being wired for success struck me as very arrogant and condescinding, and I detest arrogant, condescinding people. You say your only worry is making too much money, so you continue because this is a hobby or what. I believe you made a sarcastic remark about partimers along the same lines. If you can generate unlimited profits why aren't you sitting on the beach at Cabo.

stumpjumper
10-13-2006, 11:15 AM
O.K. Az,I've cooled off a little, lets see if my limited ablilities will allow me to explain why you anger me so quickly. "I seem to have a lot of time on my hands". How do you know where I'm at or what I'm doing, you assume a lot it seems to me." Did I hit a little close to home". From your previous posts I would have to assume your are referring family lineage, well no superstars such as yourself, lets see 1 sister is an R.N at O.U Medical Center, other sister school administrator, myself ok. elect. contractor licence#57449. You remind me of the mean kids at school who tormented the other less fortunate ones. I didn't tolerate their bahavior then and I don't now. " I'm humble enough to know I don't everything". I don't see anything humble in any of your posts.

firefightergw
10-13-2006, 12:26 PM
I haven't checked back in awhile. Talking about a hijacked thread!:laugh: :laugh:

Sandgropher
10-13-2006, 12:30 PM
I haven't checked back in awhile. Talking about a hijacked thread!:laugh: :laugh:

Yes its funny watching threads(not just this one but all) there finish by talking about another subject altogether :laugh: it dosnt bother me its just like conversation, but its funny some times :)

stumpjumper
10-13-2006, 12:45 PM
You sure are right GW, I completely forgot what it even started out about. Got my old fightin blood apumpin though.:usflag:

MarkintheGarden
10-13-2006, 12:47 PM
Well, you sure can't take it to the bank. Customer loyalty lasts just as long as nobody undercuts your price. You may have only lost one customer this year due to a lower price, but that only tells me you probably are not charging enough or you don't have a large customer base. I can only tell you that in my expierience loyal customers in this biz a very few and far between. Non-existant really.

Loyal customers do exist sheshovel. Maybe they are rare, but I believe we can cultivate loyalty in all our relationships. I certainly do charge enough, at least 80% of my customers could find cheaper services. I do not know what would constitute a large or small customer base. I will take a small select customer base of loyal clientele over a larger customer base full of pitas. I do not want to be the wallmart of landscape improvement. I enjoy the sound of the phone ringing, for me it means a new venture, a chance to create, and meet new people and develop relationships. I think for many the sound of the telephone means another pita.

You make assumptions about me and my business, and all I can say is that they are wrong.

At the end of the day we are just people with tools and machines, without our customers. If we have customers we are in business without them all that is left are a few assets and liabilities. My customers are my business.

Do not sell your customers short. Perhaps we have different definitions of loyalty. Have they not payed for your services, referred you to others, placed their faith in you by putting fat checks in your hand based on the belief that you will deliver? Do your customers question every cost and price or do they trust you? How long have your customers been with you? Could they find cheaper services? Do they come to you when they need expert advice? How many do jump ship for a cheaper price?

Flip the script for a minute, do you not know what it is like to hire a contractor to do a job? All the while you are thinking is this guy/gal gonna take my money and run? Are they gonna give me a load of BS to explain why I need to spend a small fortune? It takes trust in the uncertain to do business, when the uncertainty is eliminated by a working professional relationship you gain customer loyalty.

Without your customers, how you going to make trips to the bank? They are not going to let you deposit your shovel and pay dividends on it. No deposits are made with checks and that requires trust and well placed trust becomes loyalty. Sure if all you offer is service for a fee, then someone will always undercut your price. If you build customer loyalty based on satisfaction, that cannot be shortchanged by a lower cost. Lowballers cannot do what a professional can do and I do not want customers who do not know this.

MarkintheGarden
10-13-2006, 12:52 PM
well, when it comes to money I have this problem...

See, every single TIME I think I have a little money...
2-3 days later *POOF*, it vanishes mysteriously, if it lasts that long.


Well Tops, if you ever do figure out where your money mysteriously vanishes to, look around for my money cause I think my money must vanish to the same place.:confused:

MarkintheGarden
10-13-2006, 01:23 PM
She I must not just be slow, I must be brain dead. A recent poll here about customer retention seemed to showed established lco's with a 98 to 99% customer retention rate from year to year. It is constantly advised by successful people to price right and do excellent work if you want to succeed. You position seems to negate all this advice. Who's correct? Or is your statements just to support other longtime members? No I'm not trying to be a wiseazz, I'm confused by the conflicting advice I see.

Stump you are niether slow or brain dead. You are hearing people speak from both sides of the mouth! It seems that it is always greener on the other side of the fence, or at least so it appears.

Here we have hard working well trained professionals who see that there are a lot of lowballing, dull bladed, know nothings who can knock on their customers doors and steal their work. Let them have them I say.

I used to agree with olderthandirt about how customers do not realy know what a good quality job is and what goes into it. I have been rethinking this position, and in talking to customers I see that they do know the difference between good quality and cheap service.

Lord and Taylors does not fear wallmart, why should we fear lame azz lowballers with their cheap equipment and lack of expertise. If you want a bunch of grumpy, cheapskate, low budget, pita customers, get yourself some junk equipment and illeagal aliens for a crew and offer lame service for a lame fee. But do not try to tell me that is the greener side of the fence.

If you think that your business is in any danger from a hack operation with cheap prices, then you have a lot to learn about providing quality service and developing a good customer base.

olderthandirt
10-13-2006, 03:06 PM
I used to agree with olderthandirt about how customers do not realy know what a good quality job is and what goes into it. I have been rethinking this position, and in talking to customers I see that they do know the difference between good quality and cheap service.

The customer can't have good quality and cheap service . Good quality takes more time, time which = billable hrs. Cheap service is just that cheap service and thats what they pay for.
What I said or was trying to say is that most customers don't have any idea of the time it takes to give a quality job and they can not tell the differences.
If you don't believe it, don't edge one wk. skip it and see how many call, or don't trim that small spot behind the AC,or around fence post etc. I'll bet no one will notice but you the contractor. The customer drives in the drive and walks in the door make that area look good and 95% won't ever complain.

I will take a small select customer base of loyal clientele over a larger customer base full of pitas. I do not want to be the wallmart of landscape improvement. I enjoy the sound of the phone ringing, for me it means a new venture, a chance to create, and meet new people and develop relationships

You will not hear the phone ringing if you try and only target high end customers. You will be stuck with a small [and growing smaller each yr]# of loyal high end customers that will give carte blanch to the contractor. Its a different world today and most people want the most they can get for the least amount of $$$ thats why Walmart is always expanding and filled with customers and Niemem Marcus only has a few loyal ones willing to pay the higher price yr after yr. even though they get new customers in they don't come back when they see the price. Yes I have a couple and I've had one for over 18 yrs thats gives me carte blanch to do what I think the property needs so I have an idea of what I'm talking about. :waving:

RyanD
10-13-2006, 04:03 PM
Originally Posted by sheshovel
Well, you sure can't take it to the bank. . You may have only lost one customer this year due to a lower price, but that only tells me you probably are not charging enough or you don't have a large customer base. I can only tell you that in my expierience loyal customers in this biz a very few and far between. Non-existant really.


Based on what you have said (Customer loyalty lasts just as long as nobody undercuts your price), if someone is always willing to undercut your price, than there would be no such thing as a loyal customer.

So, if there are no loyal customers, what should our focus be on? How do we grow the business while all of our customers are leaving?

MarkintheGarden
10-13-2006, 05:53 PM
The customer can't have good quality and cheap service . Good quality takes more time, time which = billable hrs. Cheap service is just that cheap service and thats what they pay for.
What I said or was trying to say is that most customers don't have any idea of the time it takes to give a quality job and they can not tell the differences.
If you don't believe it, don't edge one wk. skip it and see how many call, or don't trim that small spot behind the AC,or around fence post etc. I'll bet no one will notice but you the contractor. The customer drives in the drive and walks in the door make that area look good and 95% won't ever complain.



You will not hear the phone ringing if you try and only target high end customers. You will be stuck with a small [and growing smaller each yr]# of loyal high end customers that will give carte blanch to the contractor. Its a different world today and most people want the most they can get for the least amount of $$$ thats why Walmart is always expanding and filled with customers and Niemem Marcus only has a few loyal ones willing to pay the higher price yr after yr. even though they get new customers in they don't come back when they see the price. Yes I have a couple and I've had one for over 18 yrs thats gives me carte blanch to do what I think the property needs so I have an idea of what I'm talking about. :waving:


You absolutely do know what you are talking about. And you are right there are a thousand wallmart shoppers to every Nieman Marcus customer.

I am a small company in year six, I do a little of everything, landscape design, maintenance and some small Installs. I have grown every year, I do not know why you think I will not continue to grow. Do you know anything else about my business? Do you realy think high end residential is that limited of a market?

I am sure of this, lack of customers will not be a hinderance to my growth, I got lots of good and many great customers. I can sell at top dollar more services than I can deliver. When I get larger this will probably not be as true.

Sure I get pitas! I pluck em quick as weeds, no wallmart shoppers! Well a couple of nice old ladies, but even the seniors that I have are not stingy, just frugal! More like sears shoppers!

If I have any problems expanding, my guess it will involve managing and training employees. So far that has been my biggest limitation.

stumper1620
10-13-2006, 06:07 PM
If I have any problems expanding, my guess it will involve managing and training employees. So far that has been my biggest limitation.
You and all the rest of us.

firefightergw
10-13-2006, 06:22 PM
You absolutely do know what you are talking about. And you are right there are a thousand wallmart shoppers to every Nieman Marcus customer.

I am a small company in year six, I do a little of everything, landscape design, maintenance and some small Installs. I have grown every year, I do not know why you think I will not continue to grow. Do you know anything else about my business? Do you realy think high end residential is that limited of a market?

I am sure of this, lack of customers will not be a hinderance to my growth, I got lots of good and many great customers. I can sell at top dollar more services than I can deliver. When I get larger this will probably not be as true.

Sure I get pitas! I pluck em quick as weeds, no wallmart shoppers! Well a couple of nice old ladies, but even the seniors that I have are not stingy, just frugal! More like sears shoppers!

If I have any problems expanding, my guess it will involve managing and training employees. So far that has been my biggest limitation.

Hang in there MarkintheGarden. I've learned that on this site you have to muddle through what anyone says. The same people give different advise and have different philosophies on how to run a business depending on what kind of day they are having. Pick and choose what you listen to and let the rest roll of your back. This is one of the few places that a 13 year old with a craftsman can be in their 20th year in the business, running 10 crews and grossing $1 million a year.

Seems like the people with the least amount of experience are usually giving the most advice. The ones that are successful are too busy and are too bright to tell everyone else everything they know. It's gotten worse within the last year and quite frankly it kind of reminds me of the stories my 2nd grader comes home with about all the whining and fighting that goes on during recess.

ECS
10-13-2006, 11:37 PM
Loyal customers do exist sheshovel. Maybe they are rare, but I believe we can cultivate loyalty in all our relationships. I certainly do charge enough, at least 80% of my customers could find cheaper services. I do not know what would constitute a large or small customer base. I will take a small select customer base of loyal clientele over a larger customer base full of pitas. I do not want to be the wallmart of landscape improvement. I enjoy the sound of the phone ringing, for me it means a new venture, a chance to create, and meet new people and develop relationships. I think for many the sound of the telephone means another pita.

You make assumptions about me and my business, and all I can say is that they are wrong.

At the end of the day we are just people with tools and machines, without our customers. If we have customers we are in business without them all that is left are a few assets and liabilities. My customers are my business.

Do not sell your customers short. Perhaps we have different definitions of loyalty. Have they not payed for your services, referred you to others, placed their faith in you by putting fat checks in your hand based on the belief that you will deliver? Do your customers question every cost and price or do they trust you? How long have your customers been with you? Could they find cheaper services? Do they come to you when they need expert advice? How many do jump ship for a cheaper price?

Flip the script for a minute, do you not know what it is like to hire a contractor to do a job? All the while you are thinking is this guy/gal gonna take my money and run? Are they gonna give me a load of BS to explain why I need to spend a small fortune? It takes trust in the uncertain to do business, when the uncertainty is eliminated by a working professional relationship you gain customer loyalty.

Without your customers, how you going to make trips to the bank? They are not going to let you deposit your shovel and pay dividends on it. No deposits are made with checks and that requires trust and well placed trust becomes loyalty. Sure if all you offer is service for a fee, then someone will always undercut your price. If you build customer loyalty based on satisfaction, that cannot be shortchanged by a lower cost. Lowballers cannot do what a professional can do and I do not want customers who do not know this.

I agree 100% with you MarkintheGarden. Customer loyalty does exist and it is based on great customer service, ambitipon, initiative, integrity, loyalty, willingness to go the extra miles, communication (both good & bad) and dependability. With these qualities one earns a great deal of trust, and loyalty. First year in business, becauce of this, the customers I took care of with my past employer, stayed loyal to me and made it possible for me to start my own business. There was no bad mouthing the company I worked for, who fired me, I just let the customers I took care of for that company know that we had parted ways and iIwas going to continue to stay in the valley and start my own business.

They chose to be loyal to me, because I was the one to take care of them in every respect, not the company which I worked for. I raised my lawn prices an average of 46% this past spring and did not lose a single one of them. I have keys to many homes and the alarms to these homes, because they trust me to take care of there home and property in their absence. If something needs to be taken care of, I do it and send them a bill and they send me a check.

I also think that loyalty depends on where a person is located. Some areas I can see that what Mark and myself believe, just won't happen. All of my customers are high end accounts and some are extremely high end and I pretty much have carte blanc with all of them and I do not abuse this. Before I spend their money on extras, I either talk to them in person, via the phone or in an email. The reponse is nearly always the same, if it needs to be done, take care of it.

I have also raised my hourly rate for odd jobs and plowing and none has said a thing. Some may think this is because my rates are too low, but this is not the case as my prices are the same or higher than anyone else.

My customers treat me with a great deal of respect and they pay me well and are as loyal to me as I am to them. I am the person they can call for anything and I will have it taken care of, either by myself or one of the many contractors I use. I do not need to know how to do everything, I just need to know where to get the answers and who to call.

sheshovel
10-14-2006, 04:17 AM
Look you can ask anyone here..I preach excellent service and customer communication all the time here. My customers are different than yours.
Yes they trust me with spending thousands of their hard earned dollars for them, they trust me to give them quality and they trust me to back-up my work.
They always pay me and pay me well for what I do for them. Trust is different than loyalty.
Do they refer me to other people?Yes, is that loyalty, no. It just means that they trust in my knowledge and skill. I am loyal to them but in no way expect them to be loyal to me.
If you build trust by giving them what they want for a price they can pay then your business will flourish but I have seen what happens to businesses in this industry when the economy gets tight and people need to save any way they can we are the first to get kicked to the curb for a lower price.
That is all I am saying here. You can't build your biz on what you expect your customers to do, you have to leave yourself flexible and adaptable so you don't fall hard when that loyal customer of 5 years moves, dies, retires and decides to do the work themselves. Are they disloyal for dieing?
For saving a buck? Do you call then disloyal if they move? See what I am saying?

MarkintheGarden
10-14-2006, 01:14 PM
I do see your point! And it seems we do have slightly different definitions.
What you are calling trust, I am calling loyal.
My customers die, move, and come into financial distress, I have lost a couple to each of these things.

I think my point is that many of my customers and I hope yours as well, would not drop me just to save five bucks a week. And lets face it five a week adds up to about $150. I do know that several of my customers have been contacted by other companies, I do not know what kind of prices they have been offered or anything about the companies that have approached them.

Maybe my customers are loyal, maybe they just trust me, I will take either!

Maybe they are just like me and my long distance service and credit cards, I do not know or care if another company can save me a couple bucks, I get offers to change every week. How many times can I switch? It is just stupid all the offers, who wants to entertain them all just to find out they are all the same.

sheshovel
10-14-2006, 02:25 PM
I don't need loyal customers because I don't do maintenance anymore and only do new installs and landscape rehabilitations.
But I still have longtime clients that I have done work for and they call me back for special projects and new plantings once or twice a year. You know why they call me? Because they know I am loyal to them. Not because they are loyal to me.
If I had not remained loyal to them and expected them to remain loyal to me and to call me again after me not showing up(disloyalty) or not answering their calls(disloyalty), I would have a rude awakening when I found that my loyal customers yearly money was going into someone else's pocket not mine.

markam70
10-14-2006, 03:40 PM
it seems to me that most on here are just greedy. can't you do anything to help someone? so firefighter gives away free service from time to time. is money everything in life? i admit, we do the same thing. and so what if i lose a little money. i am making way more than enough to cover the free services we provide. and to those who say you can't survive doing this, this is our 15th yr in business.

its funny how everyone keeps complaining about lowballers and they worry about losing their customers, perhaps you should get your heads out of your a$$es and consider a different approach such as firefighters.

MarkintheGarden
10-14-2006, 04:22 PM
Hang in there MarkintheGarden. I've learned that on this site you have to muddle through what anyone says. The same people give different advise and have different philosophies on how to run a business depending on what kind of day they are having. Pick and choose what you listen to and let the rest roll of your back. This is one of the few places that a 13 year old with a craftsman can be in their 20th year in the business, running 10 crews and grossing $1 million a year.

Seems like the people with the least amount of experience are usually giving the most advice. The ones that are successful are too busy and are too bright to tell everyone else everything they know. It's gotten worse within the last year and quite frankly it kind of reminds me of the stories my 2nd grader comes home with about all the whining and fighting that goes on during recess.

I do not take it all too seriously, good and funny points about lawn site in general.

I am new to lawn site and kind of new to this business, but not at all new to the world.

The funny thing about lawn site is, it is a great resource in regard to many topics. When it comes to business practices, so often we see the exact oposite of what the rest of the business world calls good customer relations.

You started this thread to point it out and ironicaly so many have chimed in and confirmed your point by preaching negative attitudes regarding customers.

Maybe all of our customers are the same, unloyal, just looking for a better price and a chance to be a pita. Maybe the only difference is that some of us choose to appreciate our customers and some of us do not.

I have no doubt that customer appreciation is solid, wise, and effective business practice.

sheshovel
10-15-2006, 07:31 PM
It's funny how you now twist this subject with your words.
I never said you should not have good customer relationships. I don't preach that you should not trust them and I jump against anyone who treats their customers badly in any way. Building a good customer base with good solid customers you get along with and communicate with well is #1 priority of all businesses.
BUT that's not what this thread was about at all.
This was about earning the loyalty of your customers and then expecting their loyalty in return.
Or did I miss something? Nobody here is saying you should treat your customers like crap and hate them.
Nobody here treats their cust's like that either.
They just come here and say they do.

Thirdpete
10-15-2006, 07:47 PM
i mean, lets be realistic. you shouldn't trust your customers. i mean, do you trust some of the kids you went to grammer school with even though you were there with them for 13 years? so what makes me think i'm going to trust all my customers?

you should know where you stand with your customers and vice versa. you provide a service, they pay for the service.

as far as loyalty goes, 'that's a thing of the past,' as they say. and what's loyalty anyway? at what point to the contractors wishes/requirements/rules etc. cross the line? when can a customer say "no" to a contractors request/rule, etc without being considered unloyal, and vice versa?

you obviously can't say "loyalty exists everywhere" or "loyalty doesn't exist at all" but i bet it exists to a certain degree everywhere. around here, its hit or miss. some would jump for a different price, some wouldn't. loyalty only goes so far though, you still have to be on your game as far as everything else goes. loyal customers don't mean you can just mess up and be alright.

firefightergw
10-15-2006, 10:36 PM
You know, it's funny. There has been quite a mix of opinions on this topic. What I find interesting is that many of the same people that disagreed with my initial post are also saying that customers aren't loyal. It's all about the price. That type of thinking, I believe only goes to prove my intial point.

I am not cheap. My prices are not the cheapest in my market nor are they the highest. Yes, I am a full time firefighter but my company also maintains approximately 100 clients a week. This does not include extra jobs such as mulch, stone work, landscaping, etc. Though, I believe my business is still in infancy, you can certainly not classify me as being a part-timer. I guess I have two full time jobs.

The initial point was that many people do not do jobs, don't do the little extras and constantly complain about lowballers and that they can no longer make it in this industry. My point was that by taking on the jobs that many people refuse to do (Because it is beneath them or they refused to be "used") and doing the little extras that may cost an additional $5 in labor, occasionally, I believe that you build value in yourself and your business. Many of the customers that I have now, tell me that they have never been happier with the service that we give them. Am I tooting my own horn? Maybe, but I think it means something when you take on a very dissatisfied customer that has literally been through a half dozen LCO's and they make the effort that they do to let you know how much you are appreciated. I believe that regardless of what some of you think about customer loyalty, that when it comes down to it and my customers receive an offer from another LCO that is $30 a month cheaper, I think they will remember the past experiences that they have had with other LCOs and the service solution that we have given them and give the offer a resonding NO.

Believe what you will. For those that disagree, so be it. You do things your way and I will do them mine. Some of your philosophies have allowed my business to grow and have made us look very good to our customers even though we may charge a little more.

And by the way, if this response makes you mad then you should probably take the time to think about that.

sheshovel
10-15-2006, 11:56 PM
Hey I have done everything from mowing to rain-gutter cleaning on 45 degree roofs where I had to wear a climbing harness and tie myself to the chimney to do the job. I have changed light bulbs and fixed old widow's toilets.
I once took a customers Jeep to the parts store, bought a catalytic converter for it then taken it to the tire shop to have it welded on..he had been raising hell about what the dealer was going to charge him. I said gimmie your keys and I'll take care of it for you. Saved him $300.00.
I have cleaned ponds and installed some too. I have washed vehicles and house/dog sat for my customers. Now I specialize but if a customer asks me if I can take care of something for them I try to do that. I even will meet my clients at the nursery and do walk through with them if they are unsure of the plants they want or I have suggested to them. Yes there are many guy's here that do not choose to do anything other than what they do.
I see nothing wrong with simplifying and streamlining if your running a mow/edge/blow business..you cannot become distracted by doing various things and still make money in those types of businesses.
You are older, you have had a career already, these guys operate in a totally different way from you and you can't expect them to see what you see.

MarkintheGarden
10-16-2006, 01:00 AM
Hey I have done everything from mowing to rain-gutter cleaning on 45 degree roofs where I had to wear a climbing harness and tie myself to the chimney to do the job. I have changed light bulbs and fixed old widow's toilets.
I once took a customers Jeep to the parts store, bought a catalytic converter for it then taken it to the tire shop to have it welded on..he had been raising hell about what the dealer was going to charge him. I said gimmie your keys and I'll take care of it for you. Saved him $300.00.
I have cleaned ponds and installed some too. I have washed vehicles and house/dog sat for my customers. Now I specialize but if a customer asks me if I can take care of something for them I try to do that. I even will meet my clients at the nursery and do walk through with them if they are unsure of the plants they want or I have suggested to them. Yes there are many guy's here that do not choose to do anything other than what they do.
I see nothing wrong with simplifying and streamlining if your running a mow/edge/blow business..you cannot become distracted by doing various things and still make money in those types of businesses.
You are older, you have had a career already, these guys operate in a totally different way from you and you can't expect them to see what you see.

It is good that you help people, I try to as much as I can. My comments about poor customer appreciation were not inspired by your posts. I understand why people run their businesses the way they do. I do not expect them to see what I see, but I can at least point things out the way I see them.

I bet your customers are loyal to you, sounds like you have earned it.
I know we cannot count on loyalty, that would be foolish, but I think if we earn trust, loyalty will follow and that will pay off. If it does not pay off that does not matter, cause helping people is about the best we can do in this life.

topsites
10-16-2006, 10:46 AM
Well, you sure can't take it to the bank. Customer loyalty lasts just as long as nobody undercuts your price. You may have only lost one customer this year due to a lower price, but that only tells me you probably are not charging enough or you don't have a large customer base. I can only tell you that in my expierience loyal customers in this biz a very few and far between. Non-existant really.

See that's my whole thing with customer service, while more than a few customers have proven to me time and again that all the stuff about loyalty and what have you is as worthless as their word, their promises to us devoid of meaning, like you say, all that stuff really does not exist, not in the real world.

So where does that leave me, where does my obligation to provide good customer service come from, where do I get the incentive to want to treat them like gold when time after time I get treated like dirt.

It's another way of saying, in this world nice guys don't win.
And I further agree that anyone who hasn't or doesn't see this simply has not been around the block enough times, yet.
Sad, but true.

p.s.: What you can do is treat them right after an undisclosed introductory time frame, after they appear to have proven to you that they are better than the rest, but again don't be surprised if your face ends up in the dirt lol. Meanwhile, this time frame will be different for everybody but it usually takes a year or two, so to speak, to break the ice right.
Then, someone comes along and wants to break the ice right away and endear themselves in a week or a month by taking a shortcut...
Those relationships tend to be the shortest of them all, lol.
Always somebody's gotta try and get smart on you, but I do think if you're consistent that you will develop, over time, a pretty decent base, but much beyond that is just not happening.

firefightergw
10-16-2006, 01:54 PM
See that's my whole thing with customer service, while more than a few customers have proven to me time and again that all the stuff about loyalty and what have you is as worthless as their word, their promises to us devoid of meaning, like you say, all that stuff really does not exist, not in the real world.

So where does that leave me, where does my obligation to provide good customer service come from, where do I get the incentive to want to treat them like gold when time after time I get treated like dirt.

It's another way of saying, in this world nice guys don't win.
And I further agree that anyone who hasn't or doesn't see this simply has not been around the block enough times, yet.
Sad, but true.

p.s.: What you can do is treat them right after an undisclosed introductory time frame, after they appear to have proven to you that they are better than the rest, but again don't be surprised if your face ends up in the dirt lol. Meanwhile, this time frame will be different for everybody but it usually takes a year or two, so to speak, to break the ice right.
Then, someone comes along and wants to break the ice right away and endear themselves in a week or a month by taking a shortcut...
Those relationships tend to be the shortest of them all, lol.
Always somebody's gotta try and get smart on you, but I do think if you're consistent that you will develop, over time, a pretty decent base, but much beyond that is just not happening.

topsites...don't take this wrong, I am laughing with you but you sir have issues..:laugh: :laugh:

sheshovel
10-17-2006, 03:57 AM
Dosn't he though?
Please Topsites do not agree with me like that!
It's embarrassing.
I treat them right from the moment I answer the phone or return a call.
I treat them right even if they treat me wrong.
I smile, I agree, If I disagree then I take it to them face to face and discuss options and solutions to our disagreement.
I do what needs to be done.
They never talk down to me or disrespect me ever, never have I had that attitude from anyone.
It could very well be because I hold my head up and look um in they eye.
I speak clearly and articulate my thoughts to them well.
I carry myself proud and they can tell I am happy with myself and well grounded in my self confidence.
I make it work even though it looks like might not.
I know they make my living.

topsites
10-17-2006, 04:19 AM
Dosn't he though?
Please Topsites do not agree with me like that!
It's embarrassing.

You can take that to the bank, I won't do it anymore.

...............................
Someone calls and wants an estimate but they don't have a lot of money, what do you do?
You went out there, red flags and all, and it's 2 acres and it should be $100 but you felt bad and quoted $90...
There are a half dozen dogs or better, and you explain your stuff to them, knowing full well what comes next...
But, but, they can only afford $20 / cut (thou they don't say it, I can see the figure in my head)...
And what comes next is: Can't you do it for LESS!??!
Yeah because the wife lost her job and they have 12 children and blablabla...
Ok, no, really, it's 90 dollars (and they grudgingly agree, but they give you a dirty look, you have no mercy, you're filth).

Yeah ok, you go out there the first time but guess what, you have a problem.
The customer still feels they're paying too much, no matter how long and hard you explain it to them.
They thought, they were convinced it would be less and were ready to pay $20 but really they had figured it MIGHT cost $30!!!
But no, it's 90... That's a lot of money.
So, the customer now wants to talk... Yeah, because... It's a LOT of money and $90 ought to buy some tail kissing time, see?

Soooo, you're working and they want to talk (and talk, and talk, and talk).
And you're in a hurry, and they want to talk for at LEAST 30-45 minutes.
So you wave and smile and keep riding, right?
Oh no, they don't make it easy.
They STEP in front of your machine and STOP you to talk, and if you don't stop you will hurt them, so you have to STOP.

And every single time you go out there, it's talk talk talk...
And when that doesn't work, then they want you to delay their cut by a FEW days (about a week or two, it's already tall enough thou), and so on... Let me cut it short here: It NEVER ends.
Because they don't have any money because gramma has herpes or something.

And you finally say, in a kind voice and with a sad face, 'I am sorry but I cant help you.'
But you can't leave.
One of them grabs you by the arm and holds you, strongly, against your will.
Ohhhhh pleeeeeeease don't leave us you can't DO this to us!

What do you do, miss customer service, please do tell.
Let me guess... You gladly spend several hours with them, until they finally allow you to leave?
Guess who is in charge now?
They are!

Forget it lady, I don't do that.
Thank you for your time.

sheshovel
10-17-2006, 04:37 AM
You betcha I do and you betcha I will...because I don't talk about $20.00 or $45.00 cuts. When I talk to a potential customer we are talking thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars
not pocket change baby.

MarkintheGarden
10-17-2006, 11:18 AM
You can take that to the bank, I won't do it anymore.

...............................
Someone calls and wants an estimate but they don't have a lot of money, what do you do?
You went out there, red flags and all, and it's 2 acres and it should be $100 but you felt bad and quoted $90...
There are a half dozen dogs or better, and you explain your stuff to them, knowing full well what comes next...
But, but, they can only afford $20 / cut (thou they don't say it, I can see the figure in my head)...
And what comes next is: Can't you do it for LESS!??!
Yeah because the wife lost her job and they have 12 children and blablabla...
Ok, no, really, it's 90 dollars (and they grudgingly agree, but they give you a dirty look, you have no mercy, you're filth).

Yeah ok, you go out there the first time but guess what, you have a problem.
The customer still feels they're paying too much, no matter how long and hard you explain it to them.
They thought, they were convinced it would be less and were ready to pay $20 but really they had figured it MIGHT cost $30!!!
But no, it's 90... That's a lot of money.
So, the customer now wants to talk... Yeah, because... It's a LOT of money and $90 ought to buy some tail kissing time, see?

Soooo, you're working and they want to talk (and talk, and talk, and talk).
And you're in a hurry, and they want to talk for at LEAST 30-45 minutes.
So you wave and smile and keep riding, right?
Oh no, they don't make it easy.
They STEP in front of your machine and STOP you to talk, and if you don't stop you will hurt them, so you have to STOP.

And every single time you go out there, it's talk talk talk...
And when that doesn't work, then they want you to delay their cut by a FEW days (about a week or two, it's already tall enough thou), and so on... Let me cut it short here: It NEVER ends.
Because they don't have any money because gramma has herpes or something.

And you finally say, in a kind voice and with a sad face, 'I am sorry but I cant help you.'
But you can't leave.
One of them grabs you by the arm and holds you, strongly, against your will.
Ohhhhh pleeeeeeease don't leave us you can't DO this to us!

What do you do, miss customer service, please do tell.
Let me guess... You gladly spend several hours with them, until they finally allow you to leave?
Guess who is in charge now?
They are!

Forget it lady, I don't do that.
Thank you for your time.


Just tell them to call around and get some more qoutes! That will give them a reason to leave you alone while they talk someone else to death (or at least to profit loss). By the time they get done calling around and talking about grandma's herpes, they will either have gotten someone cheaper or they will be glad to give you your $90. In either case you have shook them from clinging to your leg.

Tops, I just love your posts, reading this one I can see in my mind these pathetic customers clinging to you, saying no please mow our lawn cheap, we are so poor and desperate, please don't go...

sjessen
10-17-2006, 11:38 AM
Topsites, we all get those customers. When someone tries to get work done for a price that is way below my rates I tell them to shop around and that they may find someone who will do it for that. But, if we are that far apart on price from the beginning I almost never take the account because it almost always leads to the problems you described. I believe that if people cannot afford the services we provide at fair prices they always have other options which include doing the work themselves and/or having a family member do it for them.

Thirdpete
10-17-2006, 12:32 PM
the problem is, people actually get offended by a high price. i dont mean, like "wow that's high" but the actual look of disgust, like you just killed their dog. someone who gets offended by what i need to make to turn a profit and do a good job is someone i won't be working with... not necessarily because they won't agree, but because they'll feel like they're getting shafted, when i'm just trying to make an honest living.

this is reduced dramatically when working with commercial clients.

markam70
10-17-2006, 08:11 PM
You can take that to the bank, I won't do it anymore.

...............................
Someone calls and wants an estimate but they don't have a lot of money, what do you do?
You went out there, red flags and all, and it's 2 acres and it should be $100 but you felt bad and quoted $90...
There are a half dozen dogs or better, and you explain your stuff to them, knowing full well what comes next...
But, but, they can only afford $20 / cut (thou they don't say it, I can see the figure in my head)...
And what comes next is: Can't you do it for LESS!??!
Yeah because the wife lost her job and they have 12 children and blablabla...
Ok, no, really, it's 90 dollars (and they grudgingly agree, but they give you a dirty look, you have no mercy, you're filth).

Yeah ok, you go out there the first time but guess what, you have a problem.
The customer still feels they're paying too much, no matter how long and hard you explain it to them.
They thought, they were convinced it would be less and were ready to pay $20 but really they had figured it MIGHT cost $30!!!
But no, it's 90... That's a lot of money.
So, the customer now wants to talk... Yeah, because... It's a LOT of money and $90 ought to buy some tail kissing time, see?

Soooo, you're working and they want to talk (and talk, and talk, and talk).
And you're in a hurry, and they want to talk for at LEAST 30-45 minutes.
So you wave and smile and keep riding, right?
Oh no, they don't make it easy.
They STEP in front of your machine and STOP you to talk, and if you don't stop you will hurt them, so you have to STOP.

And every single time you go out there, it's talk talk talk...
And when that doesn't work, then they want you to delay their cut by a FEW days (about a week or two, it's already tall enough thou), and so on... Let me cut it short here: It NEVER ends.
Because they don't have any money because gramma has herpes or something.

And you finally say, in a kind voice and with a sad face, 'I am sorry but I cant help you.'
But you can't leave.
One of them grabs you by the arm and holds you, strongly, against your will.
Ohhhhh pleeeeeeease don't leave us you can't DO this to us!

What do you do, miss customer service, please do tell.
Let me guess... You gladly spend several hours with them, until they finally allow you to leave?
Guess who is in charge now?
They are!

Forget it lady, I don't do that.
Thank you for your time.


topsites...perhaps they see your unprofessional image and figure you to be the lawn boy and assume you can work so much cheaper.

i don't even know you but, to me, you give off "bad vibes" about your professionalism so maybe these terrible clients you refer to are getting the same vibes.

this is where image is important. if you're going to charge like most real companies would, then you need to look like a real company, not the lawn boy

huh
10-17-2006, 09:40 PM
I think Topper and Sheshovel would make a good couple :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

sheshovel
10-18-2006, 01:22 AM
Topsites and I have been going round on this very subject for a long time now. I thought for awhile there his attitude and view towards his customers had changed for the better, unfortunatly I now see that that's not the case at all. I understand we all have "bad" things happen with our clients but not over and over and over again like he does.
If I had to be that cynical and untrusting of the people who provide my main source of income,
I would not continue doing it at all.

Thirdpete
10-18-2006, 02:09 AM
sheshovel, i dont understand how you can "trust" customers. maybe we're using trust in different terms. i wouldnt lend any customer money, per se. i trust them to pay their bill on time (after paying first month in advance) and trust them to be decent folks but past that...

i also think its good to have a healthy cynicism surrounding your business. it keeps you on your toes, i think. i'm not so naive as to assume that my customrs aren't tryinng to get over on me, because im sure that of the few i service, some are. and out of every lawn i pick up, i have to assume that there will also be a few trying to get over on me. where does your immense faith in people come from?

topsites
10-18-2006, 02:46 AM
I think Topper and Sheshovel would make a good couple :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

omg dude, I find the distance that separates us healthy, I think we'd be at each other's throats before long at all.

I can and do admire the person who can speak words that cool off a potential disaster, but it also has to turn the situation around.
And preferrably, once it has turned around, that it stay fixed and not 2 seconds later I'm dealing with the bs again...
If she is capable of doing that every single time, then more power to her.

But as for me, I've 'explained' until I was blue in the face, it almost never did any good, no matter how nicely I tried to say it... I've even had people go 'ok ok' and shake their head up and down in complete agreement, and just as soon as I turned my back they went right back to their old tricks. The smart ones would stop doing whatever it was I caught them with, but they'd start pulling something else and first it takes time before I see it but when I do it just gets to that point I realize it's never going to end... And at that point I gotta go, preferrably long before my anger gets the best of me.

The other thing is, I can't deal with spending 10-20 minutes or longer of my time every single trip out there to explain things, especially when it's always the same old song and dance (yeah ok, with some the verse changes).

Time is money to me. I don't mind pointing out one or two things but much beyond that we ain't going, we either know how to play the game or we don't. The chit chat is ok to a point, so long that when I say 'I need to go,' they let me leave... Those who hold me back and won't let me go, once or twice too many and I've had enough, I don't got 2-3 hours every time I come out to stand around bs'ing.

At the same rate, it would stand to reason that I might find most of she's customers intolerable, likewise she might think the same of mine: As bad as it may sound, Lco's need this uniqueness that separates not only us, but the customers we service... For if our business models were all identical, it truly would not work. It's like they say, it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

indy2tall
10-29-2006, 11:12 PM
I don't have any trouble with customer loyalty.

At the end of the season I TELL THEM they will be renewing for next year. If any of them have a problem with this I call Bobby G and he pays them a visit with his shovel. They always renew after that.

On a different note... how does that song go....Sheshovel and Topsites sittin' in a tree, K I S S I N G, first comes........:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

HOOLIE
10-30-2006, 01:55 AM
At the end of the season I TELL THEM they will be renewing for next year. If any of them have a problem with this I call Bobby G and he pays them a visit with his shovel. They always renew after that.



Yeah baby that's how it's done :cool2: I know the power company doesn't call me each year: "Hey HOOLIE, you want lights next year???" They just keep supplying power.

...Topsites you say you can spot red flags and read people but you appear to read on a 3rd grade level...

the ace
11-07-2006, 11:41 AM
Customer loyalty? Hmmm, let me think about that for a minute.

a.) customer loves my work, loves the price, asks for a favor from time to time, which I do no charge, calls last week to cancel gutter cleaning "I found someone cheaper"
b.) customer loves my work, loves the price, never asks for favors, insisted on giving me a $20.00 tip because of rising gas prices

Customer loyalty?

firefightergw said 15 minutes cost $5.00 = $20.00/hour! I think thats the difference between someone doing this part time and someone who is full time. A full time job with full benefits also alows you to do the little extras for free because it only costs you time. A full time lco does not have the luxury of giving his time away. Do good service, be polite, offer a fair price for your time, other than that it's just business.

firefightergw
11-08-2006, 12:56 AM
Customer loyalty? Hmmm, let me think about that for a minute.

a.) customer loves my work, loves the price, asks for a favor from time to time, which I do no charge, calls last week to cancel gutter cleaning "I found someone cheaper"
b.) customer loves my work, loves the price, never asks for favors, insisted on giving me a $20.00 tip because of rising gas prices

Customer loyalty?

firefightergw said 15 minutes cost $5.00 = $20.00/hour! I think thats the difference between someone doing this part time and someone who is full time. A full time job with full benefits also alows you to do the little extras for free because it only costs you time. A full time lco does not have the luxury of giving his time away. Do good service, be polite, offer a fair price for your time, other than that it's just business.

15 minutes cost $5.00. 4 X 15 minutes cost $20.00/hour! I guess your point is that I can afford to give better customer service than the average LCO because I have another income. Good for me! If you want to be able to do the little extras for free, I would suggest you stop supporting what your avatar suggest. You could save that money and that time and provide your customers with better service. JMAO

apowell18
11-08-2006, 03:04 AM
OK TOPSITES...i have read quite a bit of your posts on this site and just can't take it anymore!!! It's spelled though not thou. Sorry, just a friendly jab...

This thread has had me up for almost 2 hours now reading every single post. I will begin next season officially in lawn service. Part-time. I have aerated quite a few yards this fall and hate driving 30 miles to give an estimate that I may not get. This is time away from my family.

Like I said I will be part time. I understand most of the comments in this thread and acknowledge most opinions. My time is just as valuable as any fulltimer on here, and my rate reflects that. We partimers do not want to drive any market down, we want a share of it at the going rate.

As far as those that feel they have it more difficult than us being full-time, life sucks sometimes, but you chose this life. I believe most of us part-timers would love to be full-time running a successful business in this field. But why, when I don't have to? (genetics?) How many teachers have part-time jobs because they need that extra money to support their families? I guess they underachieve, huh!!! I just figure those of us that are already making over $50K a year, with unreal benefits, and do this part-time for an extra $15 -$20K a year would be considered somewhat genetically superior to those that can't handle both lives. (if you can't find the sarcasm in that last statement, then you have to be mentally stunted).

I have really enjoyed this site thus far in my venture to begin my business. Keep up all of the great posts, no matter how retared!!! (don't worry, I have my fair share of 'em too)

the ace
11-08-2006, 11:34 AM
15 minutes cost $5.00. 4 X 15 minutes cost $20.00/hour! I guess your point is that I can afford to give better customer service than the average LCO because I have another income. Good for me! If you want to be able to do the little extras for free, I would suggest you stop supporting what your avatar suggest. You could save that money and that time and provide your customers with better service. JMAO

It's obvious you don't get the point. I never said anything about you being able to give better customer service, I said you were able to give FREE service with it only costing you some time due to the fact this is not your primary household income. Just because you can give away free service due to your local government funded job does not mean your service is any better or any worse than the hard working full time lco's that post on this site. It's also in my opinion that until you do this business as a primary income you can not know the pressure that comes with making enough profit while maintaining customer satisfaction. You may do everything that a full time lco does but, you could wake up one day and call all your accounts and say "I QUIT" and life will go on unimpeded financially. I'm not saying you would but just knowing that you could takes tremendous pressure off you which the rest of us have to deal with every day! Your an apple and I'm an orange and what we do can not be compared equally. The financial pressures you deal with in the lawn care business are almost nonexistent, so to suggest free service could or should be given to maintain good customer service is ludicrous. Sometimes the financial struggles that are associated with this business can be more difficult than the actual work itself, and this is a side of the business you have never seen. No I am not talking about the decision to buy some equipment with this weeks fire department check or next weeks check, I am referring to customer dependent income and the hard work that goes with getting it. I make a decent living but it does not go without hard work and the pressure of running a business that is responsible for supplying my wife and kids with cloths, food and a roof over their heads. I'm glad you have the luxury to help people out with a free cutting or service from time to time but you can't expect this to be done by everyone.

Oxmow
11-08-2006, 12:37 PM
Wow...I have been sitting here for the last hour reading this post from the beginning (from my chair at the firehouse). There have been lots of jabs from all kinds of directions showing alot of different views and thoughts about each other and a very few about the initial question.

I do look forward to reading posts on here from a PROFESSIONAL point of view as I run a PROFESSIONAL lawn maintenance company (an LCO just does fert and squirt right?). Yes, someone said two "fulltime" jobs. And it's true that a person with another job that provides bennies might not have to worry about that aspect for their family or maybe just themselves. However, what makes you a PROFESSIONAL company? What you do, how you look, services you provide, knowledge, new trucks, new equipment, or that this is ALL you do?

Now there was discussion of "freebies" and alot of talk on what they mean to a business. How the "freebies" are shown on the P&L may be how simple this really is. If you are a PROFESSIONAL business I would think that you keep track of the difference in PROFIT for the business and all expenses of it. There have been people talk about how a "freebie" is just wasting time and not getting paid for it. Some have said that a "freebie" is a way of advertising, IF there is a ROI (return on investment). I would say that a business is successful if it has turned a PROFIT, you are happy (owner) and the employees are happy (if you have them), and the customer is happy, and you (company) have made a PROFIT.

Now, back to the "freebie" thing. If you aren't making a profit then you have problems. However for you that are owners and your salary is coming out of the profit then you should look at how you do your accounting maybe. If your salary is coming out of income before profits then a "freebie" costed against the profits shouldn't cause that much of a problem given that you can let the profits absorb it. In this case though you do have to watch how many "freebies" that you do. No PROFIT= no BUSINESS.

I also, as some have heard before I am also a firefighter. So i guess that this makes me suspect as well. I hope that maybe i have added to the initial thread starter in some constructive way.

MarkintheGarden
11-08-2006, 05:08 PM
It's obvious you don't get the point. I never said anything about you being able to give better customer service, I said you were able to give FREE service with it only costing you some time due to the fact this is not your primary household income. Just because you can give away free service due to your local government funded job does not mean your service is any better or any worse than the hard working full time lco's that post on this site. It's also in my opinion that until you do this business as a primary income you can not know the pressure that comes with making enough profit while maintaining customer satisfaction. You may do everything that a full time lco does but, you could wake up one day and call all your accounts and say "I QUIT" and life will go on unimpeded financially. I'm not saying you would but just knowing that you could takes tremendous pressure off you which the rest of us have to deal with every day! Your an apple and I'm an orange and what we do can not be compared equally. The financial pressures you deal with in the lawn care business are almost nonexistent, so to suggest free service could or should be given to maintain good customer service is ludicrous. Sometimes the financial struggles that are associated with this business can be more difficult than the actual work itself, and this is a side of the business you have never seen. No I am not talking about the decision to buy some equipment with this weeks fire department check or next weeks check, I am referring to customer dependent income and the hard work that goes with getting it. I make a decent living but it does not go without hard work and the pressure of running a business that is responsible for supplying my wife and kids with cloths, food and a roof over their heads. I'm glad you have the luxury to help people out with a free cutting or service from time to time but you can't expect this to be done by everyone.



Ace I respectfully disagree with you about some of this.
I did this business part time for a couple years, and now I am full time.
There are so many other variables than the FT/PT issue. My wife works full time and my daughter is grown up. So I do not have the same headaches as you particularly the only income in a large household, and yet we are both full time operators. I could not have started my company even part time if I had your obligations. Now for all we know our firefighter friend has a lot of obligations, perhaps he is more like you than you think.

So why do you firefighters mow lawns? Is it the money? Would it make you mad if I started putting out fires cheaper than you do. What if you were on strike and I scabbed the job on the cheap?

I think even part time you gotta show a profit or it is going to become a boring hobby real quick. Part time is no picnic if you are doing it right.

New companies are always happy to be able to just be in business, with a small investment and what looks like (and may be) easy pickings.

If you are willing to do stuff for free to build the customer relations, then charge for everything they ask for, and do other stuff for free.