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View Full Version : The bizarre way I picked up what is one of my best customers of all time.


Keith
03-03-2008, 07:24 PM
Just thought I would share this, since most of us are usually complaining about customers.

I just went and finished up a small drainage job for one of my lawn customers. I had a bill for him for a little over $550. John said "that's fine Keith, but I'm going to go ahead and make it $850." This didn't come as much of a shock to me though.

I had worked for this gentleman back in 2000-2001. He was a decent customer for the short time that I had his lawn, but he decided to sell his house and moved out of state. Not happy with his decision, he decided to come back in 2004. Of course I did not know this at the time, and he did not know how to get in touch with me.

In the spring of 2006 I got an email from my uncle in WV. He and my aunt come down to Florida to visit for a few days about once a year. About 5 years ago, by chance, my uncle met a local fellow, Will, who had similar interest in hunting, fishing and gardening. Will happened to be a former neighbor of John, but also a good friend of his. Apparently one day John said to Will that he wished he could locate me. He wasn't happy with the person taking care of his lawn. Matter of fact, he was on lawn service number four since moving back here. Will told him that he actually knew my uncle in WV, and he probably could get in touch with me in no time. Will emailed my uncle. My uncle emailed me. And within two days I was back in touch with a former customer.

I met with John just a few days later. He had a nice list of things that he expected to be done and an even bigger list of stuff that he did not expect from me. I took a quick glance at the list and said "no problem." Strictly mowing, trimming, edging, blowing, and picking up debris that might fall out of the trees. No hedges or beds to worry about. I said "how about $180/mo and we'll see how it goes?" He replied "We'll start at $200 and see how it goes."

Three months later he informed me that he was increasing my pay to $225. Last spring he said "gas is going up, I'm bumping you to $250." In December he told me he would be increasing my monthly pay to $275. If there is the least bit of wind that knocks stuff out of the trees, he always throws in and extra $25 to 75. I have never once had to ask for anything extra. And never, ever felt like I was doing any work that I was not getting paid for.

I ran across a guy mowing in the neighborhood about a year ago. He said "I don't know how you can work for that guy. He so demanding." I looked at him with puzzled look on my face. The only thing that he requires, that he said others failed to do, is to show up. Just mow the place on a regular basis. John told me in May of 2006 when I picked up the job that the company that was currently doing the lawn had not even been by in 17 days. In May! Sometimes it would be 10 days, sometimes 14, and during the winter one time, they did not stop show up for 4 weeks. Demanding to them, a one-in-10,000 customer to me.

tamadrummer
03-03-2008, 07:33 PM
That is awesome!

I can understand not mowing for 4 weeks, but not showing up for 4 weeks is not going to get it! I am on all of my properties every 2 weeks in the winter. Trimming hedges or blowing off the driveways and walks and picking up papers out of the yards. Trimming palms or Robalinies (sp) It is the most important part of this business relationship in my opinion. Showing the customer that you can be depended on to be the type of service that they want to spend their money on.

Congrats man! I have a special one as well. Not quite the money generator as yours is but still really good.

Ooomwizard
03-03-2008, 07:35 PM
Good story.. thx.

kleankutslawn
03-03-2008, 07:44 PM
wow wish i can get a few like that!!!

jsaunders
03-03-2008, 07:44 PM
Good story.

One of my best customers stopped by when I was doing some work at a post office on a sunday- we had a little chat and I then stopped over at his house later when we were done. ......... Many years later- he has had one question about a bill - and figured out the charge and just wanted to make sure he figured it out right. Always comes out to say hi and shoot the sh*t- always offers beers during the end of jobs. He is one of those customers you would do the job for less pay just because he is a great customer/person.

CuttinUP
03-03-2008, 07:55 PM
That is pretty cool!:clapping:
That's when you know you are doing it right.
You should be proud of your self. If you do quality work it pays off.:cool2:

DLAWNS
03-03-2008, 08:03 PM
I got a few good customers that are really appreciative but that is just awesome. Keep up the good work.

Keith
03-03-2008, 08:34 PM
That is awesome!

I can understand not mowing for 4 weeks, but not showing up for 4 weeks is not going to get it! I am on all of my properties every 2 weeks in the winter. Trimming hedges or blowing off the driveways and walks and picking up papers out of the yards. Trimming palms or Robalinies (sp) It is the most important part of this business relationship in my opinion. Showing the customer that you can be depended on to be the type of service that they want to spend their money on.

Congrats man! I have a special one as well. Not quite the money generator as yours is but still really good.


Absolutely. Even if it's just picking up a single stick laying in the yard. The simple task of making your rounds and making sure everything is in order is a must.

One downside to this whole thing though. It puts me in a strange position when I'm asked by a neighbor for a quote on their lawn.

lifetree
03-03-2008, 08:38 PM
Congratulations, everyone here on LS wishes they had a customer like that !!

Chill "Cuts" Lawn Care
03-03-2008, 08:51 PM
Absolutely. Even if it's just picking up a single stick laying in the yard. The simple task of making your rounds and making sure everything is in order is a must.

One downside to this whole thing though. It puts me in a strange position when I'm asked by a neighbor for a quote on their lawn.

Keith,

Great story for a great customer. I know what you mean about making you feel funny quoting other properties in the same neighborhood. I have a guy that I handle both his property and his mom's property. He sends me a check for $400 every 4th week. Not a month, but every fourth week, so it's like getting an extra month's pay every year. Great customer; loves my work; never complains, etc. Before I picked up his mom's property, I was getting $70/cut, every week just for his property and I had a couple of his neighbors ask me what I charge. I hated to tell them $70 because I knew I wasn't going to get their business at that price but I rolled the dice knowing that if I told them $60 or something like that, it would eventually get back to my customer. Oh well, I just you win some and you lose some. but I didn't want to lose that customer!

Keith
03-03-2008, 09:57 PM
In fact, I am dealing with this right now. The neighbor right next door did come over Saturday afternoon when I was fitting the last drain basin, and wanted me to stop by this week to give him a price. John is aware of it, and told me not to let the amount he pays me affect the price I give the neighbor. Easier said than done. There is no way I can price it lower. I look at like this, I never had the lawn, and I am pretty sure I never will. Just let the big numbers fly :D

UrbanGreen
03-04-2008, 12:23 AM
The very first customer I ever got is by far my absolute best. The customers are in their60's, Steve is retired airforce and his wife is retired from NASA. They are such great customers that they actually chewed me out one day for calling them a customer instead of family! So many great things to list about these guys. When we started 4yrs ago we priced it at $50 per cut. It is a beautiful zoysia lawn on a corner lot. We were probably a little bit high on the bid compared to other LCO's but since it was our first account we took phenominal care of it. Every year so far they have given me a $10 per cut raise! Every week Steve comes out and shoots the s*@t with me and pays me cash for the visit. Sometimes he says he had a good week so heres an extra $20-$40 for this week. They came to my wedding in 05' and constently insist on taking me and my wife out to dinner every so often. One of the greatest things was in 06' I was robbed at gun point for $9K (long story) and when I told them about it, Karen came out with her check book with one filled out for the $9K! I did refuse it however. I guess they were one of the biggest reason why I got rolling in the business pretty quick because they told anybody and everybody about our great services and got us tons of business. As you can image I baby that yard like crazy still today!

Keith
03-04-2008, 01:41 AM
It certainly makes it easier to start off with a few good ones than all bad. They sound like perfect customers...oop scratch that, family :)

sikagrass
03-04-2008, 07:57 AM
It does seem its easier to gripe about the bad ones.Its customers like that we should all be looking for and take good care of when you get them.Good for you!

UrbanGreen
03-04-2008, 10:08 AM
A'men to that! I love these types of customers because you can really build relationships with them and your not just the yard guy.