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Pro-Lawn
07-28-2001, 11:31 PM
http://pro-lawncare.com

I raised prices not too long ago on 90 percent of my customers. Most were just a dollar, some were 3, it all depended on how big of a pain they were and how much trim time there was. Anyways everyone of my customers expressed there opinions on the subject, all were ok with the raise. Most of them said they couldnt blame me for raising a bit. All of them had no problem with the raise. Some said if you need to raise the price again, just go ahead, you do good work. Now about 5% of my customers, which amounts to 5 customers total always find something wrong. Its like there Looking for reasons to complain. WHich when i get a complaint i pay extra attention to that customer till the problem goes away. Which that is what i have done doing a bit extra here and there making sure everything was to the letter. But the complaints are still comming taking up my time, efforts, aggrivation. Its getting to the point i dont want to return there calls, just wait for the AX. :D Anyone got any suggestions of how to get back on top with customers like this, in this type of situation??? HELP :confused:

LoneStarLawn
07-28-2001, 11:35 PM
Like you said get rid of them....it is only 5% of your total accounts but it is draining your production levels and your temperment with customers. You tried to satisfy these customers to no avail. Some can not be satisfied. Drop them.

What happened to the other 5%??

smburgess
07-29-2001, 12:17 AM
I think the action needed for these "5%" is another raise in prices, one that makes it worth your time and trouble to pay "extra" attention to those clients.
If they balk and walk, that's solves your problem also.

Mike (MLC)
07-29-2001, 12:50 AM
I use to have clients like that. They are never pleased. They always have some complaint. Eventually, you will drop them because you are tired of the agravation or they will drop you just because that is how they are. You may want to drop them before they do you. You will see that things seem to run smoother without them. ;)

Freetime
07-29-2001, 01:08 AM
Drop the customers that have no legitimate complaint or whine about nothing all the time this will free up (your) time to better care for customers that love your work and appreciate the service. People that complain all the time are mostly price shoppers anyway meaning you will lose them down the road. (Or drive you to an ulcer trying to keep “Mr. & Mrs. Snodgrass” “Tightwad” happy.)

Down the road with them!
Good customers are gold and whiners are a nickel a dozen send the price shoppers to cut rate services and wish them good luck.
:mad:

Bob_McNaughton
07-29-2001, 01:33 AM
What I can't figure out is why nobody in this business is charging more today than people in the business 10 years ago charged.

When I mowed commercial 12 years ago, I charged $50.00 an hour. I see today, people still charge that, and sometimes even less.

Yet gas is more expensive, mowers are easily DOUBLE in price, labor is higher, overhead is much higher.

So why has everyone resolved to leaving price controls in place? 12 years ago my brother charged 60$ an hour for professional plumbing work. Today he charges $150.00 an hour. Thats almost a 3x increase in price.

I'm boggled by this.. Prehaps, its because every gimp with a truck is out there doing it, and it doesn't require a degree in rocket engines to make it happen? Whereas plumbing is a skilled trade? I mean, no offense, but there are some real bums doing this out there. Are they driving the prices down? Hurting the bottom line of the professionals that treat this as a professional trade??

If that is the case, what is the answer? Federal or State regulations and licensing? A journeymen style of certification for commercial mowers, simular to what carpenters and plumbers go through?? I'm gonna have to think on this one.. =p

Lets get those prices up.

bobbygedd
07-29-2001, 01:53 AM
i know 2 guys that have been in this bus along time, one 20 yrs, the other 12 yrs. the 20 yr guy says his prices have gone up about $5 a pop, the other guy says he hasnt raised them at all in 12 yrs. any how, i had, (and still have) this one customer who would call and complain at 5 am, 11 pm, crazy hours. it seemed to get much worse when she got a large bill that month, like if we put in mulch, or did trimming. one time she called 2 days after we cut and said her yard was "infested" with dandilions, so i ran right over, there was one yellow flower on the whole property. all of her complaints were invalid, so i did this: i told her from now on, for me to return her phonecall would cost her $40. for me to drive over to check an invalid complaint would be $40 per hour with a one hour minimum. its been over a year, and we still work there, and i havnt recieved one complaint. a valid problem we are happy to resolve, but some people just love to hear themselves talk. later

LAWNGODFATHER
07-29-2001, 02:58 AM
not a bad reply smburgess


you can go several ways:

you can dump them and free up time to give to your remaining customers then youmight have a chance to pick up more quality customers

you can raise their prices and make it more worth your time and aggravation

you can leave it at the way it is and keep doing the work till they eventually dump you if they are never happy,or they will eventually cool off and stop bugging you


but its going to be hard to answer your question we dont know if it is you high end cust. low end cust. or what?

there are some good post on this but it is your decision


good luck LGF:blob1:

lawnboy11
07-29-2001, 10:50 AM
Pro Lawn-

Do your own design work. You stole and posted the before and after clips from D.I.G. on your site, thief.

trimmer
07-29-2001, 11:36 AM
Bob,

I am right there with you. The reputation that we get as a profession is not very good. We need more lawn care association to help distinguish the professionals from the fly by nighters and to help lobby to get better regulations on the industry so it isn't as easy to get into to. Last but not least, like anything we need to educate people and bring awareness on the differences between a professional and fly by nighters, and bring facts to the table about accidents that have happened in the past either to people or property I beleive it would really scare people about how dangerous this profession really is and how important it is to hire people with the proper insurance. Facts like people being killed by flying objects that were propelled through the air after being sucked up by the blades by the mower of a lawn maintiance with no insurance. Who is responsible? I have some more to say but it is a little off subject, sorry.


As for the problem customers drop them, if you are worried about your reputation don't be people understand that some people just can't be pleased.


Exquisite Lawn Services
Give me a call, we do it all.

Albemarle Lawn
07-29-2001, 03:08 PM
If your profit margin is 25%, then raising prices 10% results in a near 50% increase in profits for you.

I have a degree in economics and having talked this matter over with economists from a local university. Our conclusion was that the price elasticity of demand for lawn service is rather low, meaning going up 10% will typically not cause a loss of customer.

In spring of 2000 I was miserably overbooked. It was raining and the stock market had not yet crashed. I could have easily bought more equipment and hired more guys. BUT I DIDN'T. I raised prices 10-15% and lost no customers.

Then this spring I raised most another 10% on top of previous increases. I began to lose customers, usually the ones with nasty properties.

NOW I HAVE ABOUT 1/2 the work I had two years ago, and make less money. BUT I KEEP MORE MONEY!!!

It's not what you make- its what you keep.


FIGURING OUT YOUR MARGIN...

You could figure out $ per hour mowing, etc. But an easy way is to take your gross income and compare to your net. If you gross 120K, and keep 30K, your margin is 30/120, or 25%. Of course its not an exact science, but a good starting point.


RAISE YOUR PRICES NOT YOUR OUTPUT QUANTITY to make more money. At a 30% margin, raising one lawn 10% is as good as getting 3 new customers!!!

Ken

Pro-Lawn
07-29-2001, 11:47 PM
Gee, LawnBoy11 , what do you think ?? Do i design my own work? Hmmmm i paid 800bucks for the DIG program . I just show the before and after pics on the site as an EXAMPLE. I have not done a Landscape design yet big enough to put it on the site. WHen i do , it will take place of those DIG pics.

Back to the subject of my post, this customer is high end. Customer has a nice property. But it is a high Mait. Property. And i think i am going to raise the price again on her. And just see what happens. I was over there again Today. SUNDAY ?? She called last night said her Bushes in front were infested with weeds. I went over there today and pulled maybe 2 handfulls out. This is getting rediculous.

Bob_McNaughton
07-30-2001, 02:16 AM
Don't worry pro-lawn, i've learned that on this site, half the people are here to help, the other half are punks looking for a fight.

Don't let em get to you.

Premo Services
07-30-2001, 09:45 AM
I am in this sams situation now. I purchased company from someone. To this day, I cannot figure how he priced the jobs. I have made several raises, but on the weeding,trimming of bushes, I raised the prices, but started out with an hourly rate, (his rate), which was low, and I just can`t go to the customers and tell them I will be bidding on the work from now on. With new customers I bid, and don`t have to tell the hourly rate. The job gets done as if a professional had done it, and I get the proper pay for what I am doing, everyone is happy.I have just a few customers that stuck with me, and with the raises I make decent money, but when I am doing the work I think about what I could be making, and can`t figure out what to do about it.

AltaLawnCare
07-30-2001, 10:58 AM
I agree 100% with Ken. Its not how much you gross, but how much money you make. Being able to sell profitable jobs is what separates the estabished LCOs from the "fly bys".
I hear people bragging about how many customers they have and working mega hours per week to get it all done, and have to wonder - Why?
I believe a solo operation can do well on 24 production hours per week in season. -my opinion only.