PDA

View Full Version : Keep 'em Or Dump 'em?


milsaps118
03-12-2007, 01:06 PM
I have this customer who has been with me for the last 3 summers. He only signs up for fert/wc and prepays every year. I tried selling him on the mowing but he likes doing it himself.

Since last year I have been planning on droping him and 4 other customers because they are so fare spread out from one another. Anywhere from 10-15miles between all 5 houses. I hate to drop this pitcuallar guy because he's such a great customer. He pays up front all the time and I've upsold him on other maintenance and he doesn't even ask how much, he just says, "if I need it do it." He actually called over the weekend and left a message saying that he didn't get a renewal yet and is eager to renew.

Its such an inconvinence for me to go out and treat 1 place then drive 10 miles to my next job. If I had the mowing I'd really think hard about it but thats not the case. I hate to dissapoint the guy because he has been so loyal to me. He even got lowball bids in the past and still stuck with me, I think it's because I have turned his "horrid to look at lawn", into an "admirable lawn," in just 2 season.

Should I drop him, keep him, or sub it out. It would be hard for me to put this guys lawn into the hands of someone else if I subed it out. So I guess I'm on the fence as to keeping him or dropping him.

Any suggestions would help. Thanks in advance!

Turfdoctor1
03-12-2007, 01:11 PM
I have this customer who has been with me for the last 3 summers. He only signs up for fert/wc and prepays every year. I tried selling him on the mowing but he likes doing it himself.

Since last year I have been planning on droping him and 4 other customers because they are so fare spread out from one another. Anywhere from 10-15miles between all 5 houses. I hate to drop this pitcuallar guy because he's such a great customer. He pays up front all the time and I've upsold him on other maintenance and he doesn't even ask how much, he just says, "if I need it do it." He actually called over the weekend and left a message saying that he didn't get a renewal yet and is eager to renew.

Its such an inconvinence for me to go out and treat 1 place then drive 10 miles to my next job. If I had the mowing I'd really think hard about it but thats not the case. I hate to dissapoint the guy because he has been so loyal to me. He even got lowball bids in the past and still stuck with me, I think it's because I have turned his "horrid to look at lawn", into an "admirable lawn," in just 2 season.

Should I drop him, keep him, or sub it out. It would be hard for me to put this guys lawn into the hands of someone else if I subed it out. So I guess I'm on the fence as to keeping him or dropping him.

Any suggestions would help. Thanks in advance!

why not do some advertising in his area? surely you could pick up a few more customers with a little effort, especially if you have been servicing his lawn for years.

i wouldn't drop him, personally.

Uranus
03-12-2007, 01:17 PM
I would try to get some work in his area too. He's been loyal. I think this is the first thread where I've heard of someone complaining about a loyal customer.

You have to be up front with this guy. If you do decide to drop him you should do some homework for him and try to refer him to another company that does good work.

Doesn't it suck. Nobody wants to get rid of the good customers but sometimes you have to. I wouldn't drive that far out of my way for one customer. Good luck with your decision.

milsaps118
03-12-2007, 01:22 PM
why not do some advertising in his area? surely you could pick up a few more customers with a little effort, especially if you have been servicing his lawn for years.

i wouldn't drop him, personally.

Good point Td1. From my shop to this customer is 28 miles one way then about 10-15 miles from my next closest. I advertised a little in this area a couple years ago and had a few Sh!tty leads, wood. I spent $360 to run an add in there local paper and all I got was tire kickers who wanted everything for nothing. Although there has been a lot of new construction going on. I don't want to spend more $ on advertising and have to slowly build a clientele base out there, picking up 1 here 2 there so on...

LindblomRJ
03-12-2007, 01:27 PM
Why get rid of a good customer. He likes your work. I would keep him. If there is new construction in the area why not try advertising again in the neighborhood?

milsaps118
03-12-2007, 01:27 PM
You have to be up front with this guy. If you do decide to drop him you should do some homework for him and try to refer him to another company that does good work.

Doesn't it suck. Nobody wants to get rid of the good customers but sometimes you have to. I wouldn't drive that far out of my way for one customer. Good luck with your decision.

I'd tell the guy straight up if I dropped him, but I don't think I'd feel comfortable referring him to someone else just due to the fact that I really don't know anyone else that is reputable who services that area. I hate to have my name associated with some other LCO who did an unsatisfactory job for the this customer. Thanks for the input.

toac
03-12-2007, 02:03 PM
Charge him for travel time. How much more money would it take to make it more convenient for you to keep him as a customer?

topsites
03-12-2007, 02:38 PM
Charge him for travel time. How much more money would it take to make it more convenient for you to keep him as a customer?

Right on, don't drop a customer who pays no questions asked, just charge the man fairly and according to what you need to get.
Being that most of what you do for the man appear to be bigger projects anyhow, a price increase is not unusual in this day and age, just leave the bill as always and you should get paid. If he should call about it, just tell him the price has gone up a little.
Would, on a 100 dollar job, 120 be enough to pay for the 15 miles?
If so, there you go.
I guess keep in mind that if 20 is enough, then on a 200 job, 220 is the trick.

It sux but it sure seems a lot of things have gone up by like 10- 20 percent of late.

Man, I need more customers like that LOL

milsaps118
03-12-2007, 04:10 PM
I guess the big issue to me is, that I loose almost 2hrs out of my day to go treat this place. From the time I leave my shop, do the app, load up and get going to the next closest account on the route it's a good 1hr45min. depending on traffic, and only 30min of that is doing the app. Last year before the season even started I sent him a renewal and upped his price by about 25% thinking I was going to scare him off and he sent the renewal back with a prepayment for 6 apps!

I don't know... I just don't want to give up almost 2hrs on the day I have to treat his lawn, and since it's a once a month type deal it throws my schedule off that day. I usually schedule 10-15 stops for mowing a day in somewhat of a tight route, and for me to break off and drive 15 miles out of my way to do 1 app sucks. I hate windshield time.

Thanks for all the input!

creatived
03-12-2007, 04:16 PM
HIT HIS STREET OR AREA HARD WITH MARKETING AND GET HI TO GIVE YOU REFERAL TO HIS NEIGHBOR'S HE SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD CUSTOMER BUT IF IT IS NOT WORTH IT ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE FIND A GOOD SCAPER THAT DOES HIS AREA AND MAYBE HAS A COMPARABLE ONE IN YOUR ARE THAT HE WANTS TO DUMP AND SWAP! ANYWAY GOOD LUCK:usflag:

Runner
03-12-2007, 04:20 PM
Read the above post,....then read it again.

dcondon
03-12-2007, 04:21 PM
I would say with him also even if it does cost you a little windshield time. I'm sure you can pick up 1 more account to make up the difference.

bullethead
03-12-2007, 05:09 PM
I guess the big issue to me is, that I loose almost 2hrs out of my day to go treat this place. From the time I leave my shop, do the app, load up and get going to the next closest account on the route it's a good 1hr45min. depending on traffic, and only 30min of that is doing the app. Last year before the season even started I sent him a renewal and upped his price by about 25% thinking I was going to scare him off and he sent the renewal back with a prepayment for 6 apps!

I don't know... I just don't want to give up almost 2hrs on the day I have to treat his lawn, and since it's a once a month type deal it throws my schedule off that day. I usually schedule 10-15 stops for mowing a day in somewhat of a tight route, and for me to break off and drive 15 miles out of my way to do 1 app sucks. I hate windshield time.

Thanks for all the input!

I believe you are thinking about it correctly - opportunity cost, is something many others do not think about - but you are. If you are not interested in bulding route density in that area, you should raise your price to the point that you are making the same rate per hr as the rest of your week or you should drop the account.

milsaps118
03-12-2007, 07:41 PM
I believe you are thinking about it correctly - opportunity cost, is something many others do not think about - but you are. If you are not interested in bulding route density in that area, you should raise your price to the point that you are making the same rate per hr as the rest of your week or you should drop the account.

That's great advice. Thanks.

Although I'm still on the fence about this account.

BSME
03-12-2007, 09:30 PM
I have a customer that reminds me of this...

I've dropped the ball for this guy in the past and he still sticks with us... I've kept him on because I plan on doing more work out that way as we get bigger.

Truth is though... you can't lose money on him. And yes... that does include opportunity cost. Honestly always seems to be the best policy in the end. If you have to, give him the higher bill and explain you feel bad that his price is higher than it usually is but you need to make it worth you while. Tell him that you are working on getting more customers in the neighborhood and if you do the price will come back down (if he really likes you he may try to get the work for you from his neighbors).

If he decides you really aren't worth the extra cash tell him you understand and you feel bad.... you'll drop him a note if you start doing more work in his area.

GARRETTWOOD
03-20-2007, 04:51 PM
Keep 'em that's the kind of customer you want .

Vikings
03-20-2007, 05:07 PM
Could you deliver 5-10 thousand flyers in HIS area? build up a customer base there.

tinman
03-20-2007, 07:05 PM
I have this customer who has been with me for the last 3 summers. He only signs up for fert/wc and prepays every year. I tried selling him on the mowing but he likes doing it himself.

Since last year I have been planning on droping him and 4 other customers because they are so fare spread out from one another. Anywhere from 10-15miles between all 5 houses. I hate to drop this pitcuallar guy because he's such a great customer. He pays up front all the time and I've upsold him on other maintenance and he doesn't even ask how much, he just says, "if I need it do it." He actually called over the weekend and left a message saying that he didn't get a renewal yet and is eager to renew.

Its such an inconvinence for me to go out and treat 1 place then drive 10 miles to my next job. If I had the mowing I'd really think hard about it but thats not the case. I hate to dissapoint the guy because he has been so loyal to me. He even got lowball bids in the past and still stuck with me, I think it's because I have turned his "horrid to look at lawn", into an "admirable lawn," in just 2 season.

Should I drop him, keep him, or sub it out. It would be hard for me to put this guys lawn into the hands of someone else if I subed it out. So I guess I'm on the fence as to keeping him or dropping him.

Any suggestions would help. Thanks in advance!

maybe triple your efforts to land some of his neighbors so he won't be the only guy on that route. Good ones are hard to find so I'd try to keep him by making the route profitable.

Az Gardener
03-20-2007, 07:29 PM
I agree, never dump a customer unless they are not paying or abusing your crew. Let them fire themselves by telling you your price is too high.

I have 2 clients like this. One pays us 60 or so every week just to get there before we even start working. Another dumped us last year when I raised her price and when she came back to town in the fall begged me to take her back at the new higher rate. She now pays between 5-700 per month for a 7-K lot with a 2500 sq ft home on it.

Raise his rate to get your hourly rate that you need to make. Explain your situation, he may have some referrals to help with the cost too.

mow & snow
03-20-2007, 07:54 PM
Tell him the only way you can keep him is if he signs up for mowing.

milsaps118
03-20-2007, 09:08 PM
Seems like everyone who replied says keep 'em. I have thought about it for a week or so and made a decision.

What I'm going to do is send him a renewal and increase his price by about 25%. Thats what I need to do to make my margins and cover cost. It wouldn't surprise me if he renews, but on the other hand, I wouldn't blame him if he doesn't.
I hate raising prices if its not really necessary, but in this case I have to, to make a buck on this job. On the contrary, if he does renew, I plan on sending out direct mailers within a 5 mile radius. In the past, I ran an add in that towns local paper and can up with ZERO accounts. Hopefully with all the new construction in the last 2 years I'll be able to score a couple accounts nearby.

Thanks for all the feed back!