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View Full Version : How to get an old contract back!!!!!!!


johnnybravo8802
06-20-2009, 11:31 PM
I need some opinions. I have probably mentioned this before, but here goes again. I used to mow a 19 acre church in my hometown, which took me two years of pestering to acquire. I really cleaned the entire 19 acres up and had it looking great. The place was perfect for every Sunday because I always mow my churches on Friday or Saturday. I had the neighbor tell me that it had looked better than it had ever looked in the history of the church. I also loved mowing it because I could kick back on cruise control on my 72" and sail. I finally paid my mower off and had been maintaining the church for 4 years and then I got the dreaded letter. It stated that I had done a great job but they wanted to give it to a member of the church. He picked at it for a couple of years and then they hired a guy to mow and clean the church, as a package deal. He was all gung-ho last year mowing with two mowers every week but didn't do much with the shrubs. This year, he's doing less and less and it's starting to look like sh@#!!!!! It's really pissing me off that I had it looking good and he's fu@#ing it up. I told my wife just last year that he wouldn't be able to handle it, even with two mowers and here we are.:clapping::clapping:Here's my question:How do you get a contract back that is being done inhouse now? Do I say, "Man, this looks like sh@# and you need a professional to make it look good again!!!" It's obviously about money and it's hard to compete with that and I need to make money, but people are more money savvy than they were 10 years ago. They are starting to forego the 12 month contracts down here. I seem to only lose the good ones where I'm actually making money and get to keep the PITA customers where I'm losing my arse-go figure!!!!:hammerhead::hammerhead:

dave k
06-20-2009, 11:34 PM
Send the Church Board, Before and After pictures.
Other than that, not much.

STIHL GUY
06-21-2009, 12:26 AM
Send the Church Board, Before and After pictures.
Other than that, not much.

thats a good idea. good luck hopefully you get it back

Az Gardener
06-21-2009, 12:55 AM
Join the church.

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-21-2009, 01:11 AM
get a pistol permit! or just buy a gun! you will be able to get it back ! i am sure!

topsites
06-21-2009, 03:49 AM
I think the problem here is that you take so much pride in your work that it's hard to let go,
and that's certainly not a trait I would get rid of or look down upon.

But forget it, that account is more trouble than it's worth, bad enough when I get an account
like that by coincidence, but I sure ain't going out of my way or chasing after it.
Heck in ways they did you a favor, now it might not have been meant that way...

It's a darn shame, that's for sure, but if the folks in charge don't "see" it, it ain't worth it,
I've talked to folks like these until I'm blue in the face and they'll nod their heads up and down
and agree whole heartedly with me, then they turn right around and go back to proving that
they first didn't hear a thing (or they didn't care and were only agreeing to be polite or to end
the boring "lesson" as quickly as possible) and either way it's smack right back to the same old.

So speaking for myself, when this happens to me I respect their choice in the matter, and move on.

Richard Martin
06-21-2009, 05:04 AM
If you want the contract back you're going to have to be cheaper than the guy that's doing it now. That is why they let you go and hired the other guy anyhow. Few people care about the quality of your work. Grass is just something they have to contend with and the cheaper they can get it done, the better.

Roger
06-21-2009, 07:23 AM
I agree with Richard Martin. You are more concerned about the appearance than those responsible for the maintenance. Price is undoubtedly the bottom line -- as you learned when you lost the contract. This situation is more about price of service than anything else.

I expect we have all had customers take another avenue, and we cringe at what happens after we leave the property. I had one residential customer that I worked very hard to do a good job, despite his irresponsible fertilizing practices. He told me he was going to retire, and "get a rig just like yours, except with a seat." I had been using a 36" w/b on the property for years. His answer to "a rig just like yours, ..." was a Snapper rear engine rider. Ugh! That happened many years ago, and it taught me a lesson about how some people view my work, and what is really important to them. To this man, sitting on his Snapper, my exacting mowing patterns (often double cutting), my trimming and edging, my cleanup of the myrtle beds, ... all unimportant to him.

johnwon
06-21-2009, 09:15 AM
I think the problem here is that you take so much pride in your work that it's hard to let go,
and that's certainly not a trait I would get rid of or look down upon.

But forget it, that account is more trouble than it's worth, bad enough when I get an account
like that by coincidence, but I sure ain't going out of my way or chasing after it.
Heck in ways they did you a favor, now it might not have been meant that way...

It's a darn shame, that's for sure, but if the folks in charge don't "see" it, it ain't worth it,
I've talked to folks like these until I'm blue in the face and they'll nod their heads up and down
and agree whole heartedly with me, then they turn right around and go back to proving that
they first didn't hear a thing (or they didn't care and were only agreeing to be polite or to end
the boring "lesson" as quickly as possible) and either way it's smack right back to the same old.

So speaking for myself, when this happens to me I respect their choice in the matter, and move on.
This is very true in some situations and it applies to X-girl friends too.

grass_cuttin_fool
06-21-2009, 09:45 AM
I had a church that spent alot of $$$ to get it in shape and maintain....then 3 years later the $$$ was starting to run out and they wanted me to mow every other week....let the mulch go....prune shrubs once a year and no fert.....I told them people saw that lawn and associated it with my lawn care bizz and I couldnt do it.....they got some one cheaper that they could afford....mAybe they cant afford a good service anymore........bottum line....I would place a qoute on it but if they dont take it....try to get passed it....lawns come and go

johnnybravo8802
06-21-2009, 10:05 AM
Yea, I know you guys are right but it's really tough to let go when you completely transform a church. I think I may just drop a brochure off to the grounds committee and remind them that I'm still around. It's funny but it's been a while and I just heard the first negative comment about the property yesterday-maybe that's a good sign. I tell you what I hate is when you let something go and then you see another company mowing one day when you ride by. I think people tend to forget about you and you have to keep reminding them.

coolluv
06-21-2009, 02:14 PM
Price, Price, Price, is all that matters today. Most of the people that want lawn maintenance don't notice half of the extra stuff you do and see. Its just like a painter, he can look at a paint job and pick out everything wrong with it that the customer never would notice. These days everyone is focused on price. Every commercial you see is price orientated. When you watch tv or listen to the radio every commercial is trying to sell products and services based on price. Not that they didn't before, but it is much more prevalent now.

People are easily brain washed. They keep hearing over and over how they need to save money in a time like this and they think, hey their right I should save money. If Dale Earnhart wears Levis, then I should be wearing Levis. People are sheep and want to be told what to do. Most live in a fantasy world that they see on tv and try to emulate. That church probably doesn't see what you see. All they see is the bottom line. I have a couple of lawns in a very nice golf community, 1/2 acre lawns, $400,000 to $500,000 homes. Right next door to one of my accounts these Mexicans are servicing the lawn and have 4 right next to one another. I used to do one of those lawns but the customer sold the house and said she would refer me to the new owners. Well guess what? I never heard from them and then I see these guys there. That lawn would be a $45 a week account for me. These homes have extensive landscaping with beds on all four sides of the house, plus beds on the property lines on both sides and the back. That requires lots of maintenance in edging around the beds and trimming with the trimmer. That doesn't include all the pruning and trimming of bushes and shrubs that would have to be done 7 or 8 times a season. If they wanted the beds maintained that would be a $60 week account for me.

No name on the truck(as usual) and two Mexicans flying through the property. One guy edging and trimming and the other mowing. The guy edging and trimming is also taking care of the bushes and pruning. Well I go there the next week and happen to look at the bushes and they look terrible. They practically ruined most of the landscape plants. They left most of the trimmings in the beds. Nothing that was touching the side of the house was pruned back, it looked like $hit. It just so happened the wife was out there when I was finishing up, I thought she was going to say something to me but didn't. I was about to walk up to her and ask her is she was satisfied with the job she was getting from these guys. But I thought if she was unhappy she would have said something to me.

My point is these guys were probably charging her $30 for everything and it was all about the price. Maybe she didn't notice how horrible her landscape looked. I don't know. She probably wouldn't know the difference or just don't care because she is saving money. The problem is I try to price my work with quality in mind and the time it takes to do a quality job. Thats my problem, I don't get alot of work because I bid it based on quality. Before the bottom fell out of the economy most wanted the cheapest they could get. But now everyone is conditioned on cheap, cheap, cheap.

Do people care about quality? I say hell no. Its all about the dollar. From the blue coller to the Doctor or Lawyer. Who has the best price. It may be different in other parts of the country, but around here that is the way it is. How long do you think it will take to get prices back up after all this is over. Next year will be the same way. Things may get somewhat better in the economy next year and people may feel somewhat better. 2011 should be better than 2010. Buuuuuut, do you think people are going to go back to paying a decent wage for lawn maintenance? I don't think so. Will there be just as many lowballers out there next year and the year after that. You bet your sweet @ss there will be.

Mower prices going up year after year. Gas going up slowly this year. Wait till next year. Gas will be at $3.00 to $4.00. Commodity prices are expected to rise higher and higher from here on out. Food prices, Fert prices, everthing you need for your business will be on the rise. Wanna guess what service prices will be for lawn maintenance? I'm no Nostradamus, but I will bet they will be the same as they are now. But I put out 800 flyers and got 75 accounts, I'm working 14 hour days. Cracks me up. You guys that are reading this thinking about doing this full time, you better know what your in for. Don't listen to all the Bull$hit on here, most are kids and part timers.

Quality, yeah right.

Dave...

nosparkplugs
06-21-2009, 02:26 PM
You may be thinking he is doing a crappy job, but your not involved anymore, your out. If the Church elders or board members are happy, your not going to undermine the church's own employee's or choice, that would be a reflection of them. The economy has changed the country, and the way folks do business, you cannot argue your way back into this one. Take that anger or frustration, and focus it on current customers, or new business or advertising.

Listen to yourself JohnnyB?? I feel your pain I too have lost accounts to inhouse folks, but you must move on let it go. Lose one gain three is what I live buy.



I need some opinions. I have probably mentioned this before, but here goes again. I used to mow a 19 acre church in my hometown, which took me two years of pestering to acquire. I really cleaned the entire 19 acres up and had it looking great. The place was perfect for every Sunday because I always mow my churches on Friday or Saturday. I had the neighbor tell me that it had looked better than it had ever looked in the history of the church. I also loved mowing it because I could kick back on cruise control on my 72" and sail. I finally paid my mower off and had been maintaining the church for 4 years and then I got the dreaded letter. It stated that I had done a great job but they wanted to give it to a member of the church. He picked at it for a couple of years and then they hired a guy to mow and clean the church, as a package deal. He was all gung-ho last year mowing with two mowers every week but didn't do much with the shrubs. This year, he's doing less and less and it's starting to look like sh@#!!!!! It's really pissing me off that I had it looking good and he's fu@#ing it up. I told my wife just last year that he wouldn't be able to handle it, even with two mowers and here we are.:clapping::clapping:Here's my question:How do you get a contract back that is being done inhouse now? Do I say, "Man, this looks like sh@# and you need a professional to make it look good again!!!" It's obviously about money and it's hard to compete with that and I need to make money, but people are more money savvy than they were 10 years ago. They are starting to forego the 12 month contracts down here. I seem to only lose the good ones where I'm actually making money and get to keep the PITA customers where I'm losing my arse-go figure!!!!:hammerhead::hammerhead:

ashelton
06-21-2009, 02:44 PM
I agree with most of the advise, "let it go". If you can not let it go, send the church a nice, SHORT letter explaining that due to changes in your business, you are able to offer the same quality service as before, but at a cheaper price. This might get your foot back in the door if price is their motivating factor, and by letting them know that it was changes in your business practices that have led to the ability to decrease the price, they won't feel like you were ripping them off for all those years. People will sometimes lose trust in you if you go from charging x to x-20%, they think you were just getting "rich" off of them by charging an extra 20%. That is why I would say something about changing business practices.

Good Luck!!! Remember that all the time you spend worrying about a lost account, is time you could spend gaining a new account.

nosparkplugs
06-21-2009, 02:49 PM
I would not even waste my time sending them a letter, In this situation the church was looking to save money. I would call it border liner begging stick to your orginal price, including it in a written lettter begging for another chance will leave money on the table. If the church grounds look like the pitt's JohnnyB higher price was just. Him lowering his standards will get him the contract for even less money:hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

I agree with most of the advise, "let it go". If you can not let it go, send the church a nice, SHORT letter explaining that due to changes in your business, you are able to offer the same quality service as before, but at a cheaper price. This might get your foot back in the door if price is their motivating factor, and by letting them know that it was changes in your business practices that have led to the ability to decrease the price, they won't feel like you were ripping them off for all those years. People will sometimes lose trust in you if you go from charging x to x-20%, they think you were just getting "rich" off of them by charging an extra 20%. That is why I would say something about changing business practices.

Good Luck!!! Remember that all the time you spend worrying about a lost account, is time you could spend gaining a new account.

wnccutter
06-21-2009, 03:13 PM
...and then they hired a guy to mow and clean the church, as a package deal.

The first clue that I might want to stay away from this job.

JB1
06-21-2009, 03:21 PM
churches like donations.

coolluv
06-21-2009, 03:51 PM
Quote by Ramairfreak98ss

Hell back around 2000 when i started out with just a push mower "illegal at that time i guess", i bagged TINY 1/8 to maximum 1/4 acre lots for $38-45 all week long. I had maybe 15-30 at any one time and made a good chunk with next to zero overhead.

Now i cant get these same properties for $27 "our minimum" weekly and i hear some are doing them for $15-20 End Quote

Just proves my point.

Dave...

david shumaker
06-21-2009, 08:57 PM
I've never had a church, but from what I've heard and seen from the church across the street from me, they look for a cheaper price every year if they can't get a volunteer.

You're probably lucky you had the job for 4 years.

I've seen one person after another doing the church near my house. They tried using their own homeowner lawn tractor one time and broke it the first day.

thu cutting edge
06-21-2009, 09:15 PM
basically i had the same thing with an account. i had got it and it was horrible looking. so i did a lot of enhancements on the property. very big and expensive enhancements. but i take pride in every thing i do if its a $300 job to a $30,000 job it gets the same work ethics from me. but back on track i end up loosing the account to a low baller who cuts it with a rider and every thing he owns is from sears. so the quality of the cut is horrible. then the property had a bad lace bug problem. so i told the management company that the plants that we installed would be wiped out. well a year later almost all of the plant material has died from salt damage or pest damage. but you have to be able to let go and just look at the future and not the past.

johnnybravo8802
06-21-2009, 09:39 PM
Well, I'm definitely not willing to do it for less than I mowed it back in 98'. It's like I have always said, this is the only business I know of where overhead has increased 100% but we still work for 1980's prices!!!!:hammerhead::hammerhead:I am going to make up some brochures and just drop one off at the church from time to time. I'll just remind them that I'm still around and let them decide what to do.

Heavyduty1
06-21-2009, 10:11 PM
The contract business is cold hearted for sure. You think the job is going well and someone they don't really know underbids you usually just a little. :walking:

justanotherlawnguy
06-22-2009, 12:08 AM
Join the church.

that may be more painful then watching the current guy screw it up.:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh: