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View Full Version : Customer calls me today and....


JayD
12-03-2009, 12:02 AM
About three months ago while at one customers house mowing, this guy flags me down and ask me about mowing his lawn for him. We go over and take care of it for him and gave him a good price seeing that we had four others on that same block. He lives on a nice corner lot with a lot of edge work. At this time we are not for sure if it is a one time cut or what. So we spend a little extra time making his edges look good ( pretty over grown ). He really liked it and even tipped us. Said he would call us in a couple weeks to mow again. He never called us back. I have been by it after that and looked like he cut it with a 20". Never thought no more about it until today when he called me.
He calls me ( Dec 2 ) and asked me if I can come by and do the edges again but the grass was OK and did not need cut.:dizzy:
I told him that we are done for the season and have put every thing away for the winter....
I just thought it was a funny story...

Bob_n_weave
12-03-2009, 12:45 AM
I would have said the same thing. :nono:

Jhill19
12-03-2009, 12:50 AM
I would have gone out and done it as long as he agreed for service in the spring...

kemco
12-03-2009, 12:52 AM
I always try to charge quite a bit more for "first time cuts" if overgrown. I too had in the past many people tell me that they would want it cut weekly, so I'd price it like it wasnt overgrown, just to get the yard near my other yards. It would take 2 or 3 times as long and Id never hear from them again. Live and learn, so I give them a first-time "get it back in shape" price, then tell them what it would cost on a weekly basis after that should they want me to continue cutting their lawn.

But as Bob n weave put it, "I'd have told him the same thing."

1993lx172
12-03-2009, 01:28 AM
I would have given him a price for the job and done it. The "trimming" is an aspect of the job that almost all of us just include when we mow a property, but never look at it as another service that we can offer.

Look at it this way, almost anyone can mow a lawn and there are more homeowners that have mowers than those who don't. But on the other hand, not many people have or really want to mess with trimmers and edgers.

It takes you guys with bigger and faster equipment, what twenty-thirty minutes or less to do an average sized residential yard from the minute you drop the ramp to when you put the ramp back up and pull away. How much of that time is dedicated to trimming? I'd look at it as an opportunity to branch out into an untapped source of income. Most people don't mind mowing it's the trimming they don't like or can't do.

Hawg City Lawns
12-03-2009, 01:59 AM
you lost money

Steven B
12-03-2009, 04:03 AM
Should've charged him the same price when you mowed the first time or more. :dizzy:

topsites
12-03-2009, 04:11 AM
while at one customers house mowing, this guy flags me down and ask me about ...

Yup...
I probably could've figured the rest of the story right from that point on, all except for the exact details.

I'm not really sure why, but for some reason in all of the years I have never
had much luck when I'm approached this way, not sure what it is...

Whether I bring it on myself, whether they all have some feeling of entitlement,
maybe it's the fact that I have to drop everything for a minute to attend to their
needs makes them think I'm a pushover?

Who knows...

But I'd say a good 90% of all walk-up customers always turn out some kind of pita bs later down the road, about
every last one of them pulls some kind of jerk-me-around nonsense on me, sooner or later.

That story in another thread about the lady who didn't want to pay me for cleaning up the leaves because
they didn't want that even thou the grass needed cutting, guess what, one of them kind.
Could have seen it coming, I knew it was only a matter of time, only thing I never know for sure is WHAT they're going to pull.

It's to the point a lot of times I get short with them folks right from the git go, then I get this look like "what did I do?"
I've even tried to tell them look, I don't have time right now, here's my business card, call me and I'll get an estimate out to you.
That doesn't work, they never call back, must be that's not what they wanted...

Why that is so, how to handle this, how to make it turn out different?

That's been bugging me for many years now.

joel29m
12-03-2009, 04:12 AM
you can make about the same amount of edging a yard than doing every thing at one price. i charged one guy 25 dollars just to edge a yard that only took 10 minutes to do.

topsites
12-03-2009, 04:24 AM
Yeah, of course, you could have gone out there and edged for a minimum charge of $30 but there's a problem...

Because when a customer says "ALL I need done is edging, the grass doesn't need cutting?"
That means they ain't planning on spending more than 5 or 10 bucks on it, that's what they really meant to say.

Now some folks can go on out there, stick their necks out and then see about getting paid, but I ain't doing it.

Hanau
12-03-2009, 04:32 AM
I'm not really sure why, but for some reason in all of the years I have never
had much luck when I'm approached this way, not sure what it is...

Same here. My theory is they just wanted someone, anyone, to pay attention to them for a minute. To make them think they're special.

Like you said, you stopped what you were doing to talk to them. For some seriously lonely pathetic people that's enough to make them feel good.

It's not like I'm hard to find. My business is listed all over my area. If they were really in need of something they would have called and made an appointment.

The exception, there's always an exception, is plowing. It's amazing what a few feet of snow drfted into a driveway will do to adjust peoples atitudes. The ones who thought my plow rates were a rip off are suddenly all too happy to pay when faced with the prospect of a few hours hard labor with a plastic shovel. Flag down rates on the plow route are 30% higher than contract rates for that reason.

topsites
12-03-2009, 04:41 AM
Same here. My theory is they just wanted someone, anyone, to pay attention to them for a minute. To make them think they're special.

Like you said, you stopped what you were doing to talk to them. For some seriously lonely pathetic people that's enough to make them feel good.

That's all fine and dandy, I don't even really have that much of a problem with it, but then don't F*&%^ me!
But what you said makes sense, I see one reason behind the approach now, so then the rest of it goes hand in hand too...

The exception, there's always an exception, is plowing. It's amazing what a few feet of snow drfted into a driveway will do to adjust peoples atitudes. The ones who thought my plow rates were a rip off are suddenly all too happy to pay when faced with the prospect of a few hours hard labor with a plastic shovel. Flag down rates on the plow route are 30% higher than contract rates for that reason.

That is true, I do have *RELATIVELY* good luck with highly seasonal work, in my case core aeration is an exception also,
granted not every flagger is a good customer even then but the ratio is pretty good overall, and tolerable.

But I'm going to keep that 30% hike in mind, that at least promotes contractual work,
and then if they don't want it I saved myself the hassle.

Hanau
12-03-2009, 04:52 AM
We've had good luck with firewood too. Didn't cut any this year, could only get a 20 cord permit so not worth it, but in years past we did well with it.

We usually get a bad, bad storm sometime in January that knocks out the power for a week or so. No electricity means that the gas, oil, and electric furnaces don't run. All of a sudden Johnny Homeowner has to run his wood fireplace to keep the pipes and kids from freezing. So we'd drive around with cords of wood and get flagged down. Over $300 a cord, cash or credit card only.

Hopefully in 2010 Idaho will revamp their regs and we can get a 100+ cord permit again.

Point is, if it's something people need, or pecieve they need, flag downs are good. It's when it's for piddly stuff like cut my lawn, trim my trees, "do you do free estimates" it becomes a hassle.

Leaf Jockey
12-03-2009, 08:11 AM
You've got four others on that block. I would have tried to make it five. Those small groups of accounts with no load/unload and travel time are the real money makers.

Scott

ALC-GregH
12-03-2009, 08:38 AM
You've got four others on that block. I would have tried to make it five. Those small groups of accounts with no load/unload and travel time are the real money makers.

Scott

Bingo!!!! :D

joel29m
12-03-2009, 08:59 AM
Bingo!!!! :D

That is true, but people like that are just like an relative, you don't wanna deal with them.
Posted via Mobile Device

joel29m
12-03-2009, 09:39 AM
But to be honest, that's how I picked up most of my clients, and yeah I did have some that was cheap and call you when they want it cut but don't you just hate it when someone you came across passing out flyers needed a serious clean up on their yard with that look like "no edging in 5 years look" to it? I did a 100 dollar job on a 40 dollar yard lookin nice when I was done but a month later, looked like I didn't do anything to but edge it but that don't look good anymore. Now that pissed me
off with their cheap a$&! They didn't want a weekly or biweekly job done. What's sad is that the house looks real good on a s@&$)y lot!
Posted via Mobile Device

Kennedy Landscaping
12-03-2009, 10:46 AM
I would have gone out and done it as long as he agreed for service in the spring...

That was my thought.

JayD
12-03-2009, 11:32 AM
You've got four others on that block. I would have tried to make it five. Those small groups of accounts with no load/unload and travel time are the real money makers.

Scott

Yeah, I know.....That's why I jumped on the first time and worked extra hard on the edges, to show him what we can do. His edges looked great when we left.
I do want his work, but come on, I don't hear from him in 3 months then after my season is over and everything is all ready put up for the winter then he calls.......If I ran over there and did that, he would pull stupid crap like that all the time...

sjessen
12-03-2009, 09:11 PM
Yeah, I know.....That's why I jumped on the first time and worked extra hard on the edges, to show him what we can do. His edges looked great when we left.
I do want his work, but come on, I don't hear from him in 3 months then after my season is over and everything is all ready put up for the winter then he calls.......If I ran over there and did that, he would pull stupid crap like that all the time...

Get calls from time to time only wanting their lawn trimmed/edged. Said they mowed it themselves. What happened was the homeowner made wider and wider passes on the corners and expected me to trim whatever he left. It got ridiculous. Told him it wasn't a good deal for either of us and quit. Another problem with trimming only is that unless you blow off the clippings it looks bad when you leave. It just hasn't been worth it.

mowerbrad
12-03-2009, 11:08 PM
I would have gone out and done the edging, it would have brought in a little extra money for you, while not alot but still a little extra for the holidays. It's not like you would have to get out a few mowers and call up a few employees to go do the job. You will just get out a stick edger and blower and throw them in the back of your truck and you can go do the job, doesn't seem like that much trouble to do. I wouldn't blame the guy for calling you, afterall, he didn't know you were done for the season.

STIHL GUY
12-03-2009, 11:17 PM
i would have done it. its no big deal to winterize the edger or trimmer again

TMlawncare
12-03-2009, 11:54 PM
Yup...
I probably could've figured the rest of the story right from that point on, all except for the exact details.

I'm not really sure why, but for some reason in all of the years I have never
had much luck when I'm approached this way, not sure what it is...

Whether I bring it on myself, whether they all have some feeling of entitlement,
maybe it's the fact that I have to drop everything for a minute to attend to their
needs makes them think I'm a pushover?

Who knows...

But I'd say a good 90% of all walk-up customers always turn out some kind of pita bs later down the road, about
every last one of them pulls some kind of jerk-me-around nonsense on me, sooner or later.

That story in another thread about the lady who didn't want to pay me for cleaning up the leaves because
they didn't want that even thou the grass needed cutting, guess what, one of them kind.
Could have seen it coming, I knew it was only a matter of time, only thing I never know for sure is WHAT they're going to pull.

It's to the point a lot of times I get short with them folks right from the git go, then I get this look like "what did I do?"
I've even tried to tell them look, I don't have time right now, here's my business card, call me and I'll get an estimate out to you.
That doesn't work, they never call back, must be that's not what they wanted...

Why that is so, how to handle this, how to make it turn out different?

That's been bugging me for many years now.

I found myself just nodding my head reading through this. This same crap happens all across the country. I have the same luck with those walkup customers. The can't really seem to grasp the reason I can't fit their lawn into my schedule since "we are already there." Then there is the non-customers that come up in the middle of November wanting their lawn mowed that is 10" tall and covered in 4" of leaves, but its just a mowing like the one time I had you do it in June. Love those people.

pflasch
12-04-2009, 06:04 AM
Tell him that you'd do it, but you have a minimum for any stop... say $35.00... and if he agrees to it, do it!

It costs you time and fuel to get there, even if it's only a 10 minute job! Throw the trimmer and blower in the back of the truck and go do it!

Call any plumber or electrician... they will come out for a 5 minute job, providing you pay their minimum call rate... which in my area is $45 - $65!

georgiagrass
12-05-2009, 03:58 AM
When we quote a new customer, we more often than not quote it as a cleanup for the first visit and a monthly or per-cut price for subsequent visits. The cleanup price is normally a premium to take care of the extra work required to get the edging, trimming and pruning up to our regular standards. An average cleanup price runs about 2X-3X the normal cut price. Trenching the beds, mulch, etc. adds more, of course.