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williams lcm
02-05-2010, 02:41 PM
I lost good customer down the street from me. Not only a customer but a neighbor down the street. I took care of three rental properties plus their home for them. Always showed up on time and have mowed them on Friday's because that is what they wanted. (Looking good for the weekend) They never had one problem with me. They loved the quaility of work I did. I did this for 2 years. Then they wanted me to rebid them to include trimming all shrubs , weed control and mulch all properties once a year. No problem. They told me that they got a bunch of quotes and I bid the same as the other company but that the other company was going to mulch twice a year instead. I did not back down on my price nor was I going to mulch twice a year when their contract stated mulch once a year. Well to make a long story short they told me that they where going with the other company because they would mulching twice a year for the same price. The properties would need alot of mulch. It is hard to believe that they would let me go and not know the quality of work or how reliable the other lco is. They own to sucessful business and always travel the world. New motorcycles , new cars ect. But they lost me over one more mulch per year. I cant see doing it for free when they are not affarid to spend money else where. What do you guys think of this?

AndyTblc
02-05-2010, 02:43 PM
I think a fancy house would look good with fresh mulch a few times a year, but it seems like a waste. It sounds like these people aren't "brand loyal" Who knows, they may want you back next year.

razor1
02-05-2010, 02:47 PM
It sucks but it happens to the best of us....you may get them back sooner then you think. Keep after them.

All_Toro_4ME
02-05-2010, 02:48 PM
Never take 'em for granted. Good for you for sticking to your price, but you can never be too sure they'll be 100% loyal to ya. It's unfortunate they moved on, but it happens in this business, just gotta be strong and move on. Keep them on your radar should they decide to call you down the road.

QualityLawnCare4u
02-05-2010, 02:53 PM
Yep, has happened to me several time. The client brags on your work and then BAM gets someone cheaper. I have actually lost clients over 5 lousy dollars. In this biz there is NO loyalty. I have gotten a few of them back after they see what job the new lco did. Face it, its all about the mighty dollar and as one member on here used to say "the customer ain't your friend".

coolluv
02-05-2010, 03:38 PM
I lost good customer down the street from me. Not only a customer but a neighbor down the street. I took care of three rental properties plus their home for them. Always showed up on time and have mowed them on Friday's because that is what they wanted. (Looking good for the weekend) They never had one problem with me. They loved the quaility of work I did. I did this for 2 years. Then they wanted me to rebid them to include trimming all shrubs , weed control and mulch all properties once a year. No problem. They told me that they got a bunch of quotes and I bid the same as the other company but that the other company was going to mulch twice a year instead. I did not back down on my price nor was I going to mulch twice a year when their contract stated mulch once a year. Well to make a long story short they told me that they where going with the other company because they would mulching twice a year for the same price. The properties would need alot of mulch. It is hard to believe that they would let me go and not know the quality of work or how reliable the other lco is. They own to sucessful business and always travel the world. New motorcycles , new cars ect. But they lost me over one more mulch per year. I cant see doing it for free when they are not affarid to spend money else where. What do you guys think of this?


How many yards of mulch are we talking here?

Dave...

DA Quality Lawn & YS
02-05-2010, 03:41 PM
Sorry to hear that. Commercial accounts generally aren't loyal, no matter who you work with and how well you know them. Other guy bids $1/cut less for ex, your gone.

I lost a townhome complex right across the street from MY HOME last season in a similar manner. To a guy who doesn't trim and puts down 3-way without a license (proven).

hornett22
02-06-2010, 07:06 AM
I agree,you ,may get it back.they are probably going to be mowed by illegals.

My budd lost a lawn in a golf course community here over $3 a cut. Again,a lot of Democrats here.

Before you ask,it has a lot to do with it.Don't start whining about it.

jvanvliet
02-06-2010, 08:21 AM
The other guy will propably spread less than half the mulch very thin to make up the spread.

clean_cut
02-06-2010, 09:30 AM
Sorry to hear it man, but they may turn back to you once they see how good of a job you do.

sehitchman
02-06-2010, 10:03 AM
I just lost nearly my best account. These people have referred four other accounts in the same neighborhood. They were our oldest annual account. They have two kids in college, one needed to move back home, and the wife took a job reduction so they planned to start doing the lawn care themselves. I knew they had zero equipment since they gave us a non working blower and trimmer three years ago. They showed us their new equipment, Arens, zt from the big box, craftsman 21" , blower and trimmer. Their pay back will be about 3 years if everything holds up that long. I've got the feeling the husband is going to try to get in the business and take a couple of my other accounts. I figure I'll get them all back about the 1st week of July when he wants a vacation and the heat gets to him or the equipment starts to fail. :hammerhead:

ProcsLC
02-06-2010, 11:18 AM
Anyone else seeing a problem here with the amount of money lost? Personally, if they came back and said XYZ company will do it twice and I am going to go with them if you don't match it, I think I would have matched the price to keep the customer (since they've been such a great customer) and their rental properties as well... Everyone here is saying good for you on sticking with your price, but come on... Was it worth it to lose 4 accounts over one extra mulch job? Couldn't you regain their loyalty and then make up the money on another job with them? I think pricing your jobs is one thing and not letting your customers dictate your business is also good.... They gave you a shot and wanted you to match the service the other guy offered... It's not like you were giving away your company here, I think I would rethink a few things if this situation presents itself again in the future... It's one thing to make money and not give yourself away, but its another to make poor business decisions and I can't believe no one else has chimmed in with this so far... A little less "poor you" and a little more "learn from this" might be a better way of looking at this situation....

Not trying to be the "bad guy" on here, just want you to look at it from the customers point of view... As far as customers not being loyal like a nother person commented. I disagree, I have people call me first and ask why is so and so cheaper then you, and then I re-sell myself, my services, and my company... This business is 10% work and 90% salesmanship... Believe in what you do and what you offer but also be willing to make proper business decisions and keep custome retention high... Last season we lost ONE customer, and that was due to a death in the family, everyone else stayed with us. Just something to think about.

betterlawnsandlandscaping
02-06-2010, 11:46 AM
Dont lose contact with them because it will cause them not to come back to you. If its a big account then you may need to try and work it out. Maybe do the extra they want, free labor if they pay for materials and make up the difference later when they have forgotten about it. Hopefully they haven't signed a contract yet.

FourTrees
02-06-2010, 12:04 PM
Anyone else seeing a problem here with the amount of money lost? Personally, if they came back and said XYZ company will do it twice and I am going to go with them if you don't match it, I think I would have matched the price to keep the customer (since they've been such a great customer) and their rental properties as well... Everyone here is saying good for you on sticking with your price, but come on... Was it worth it to lose 4 accounts over one extra mulch job? Couldn't you regain their loyalty and then make up the money on another job with them? I think pricing your jobs is one thing and not letting your customers dictate your business is also good.... They gave you a shot and wanted you to match the service the other guy offered... It's not like you were giving away your company here, I think I would rethink a few things if this situation presents itself again in the future... It's one thing to make money and not give yourself away, but its another to make poor business decisions and I can't believe no one else has chimmed in with this so far... A little less "poor you" and a little more "learn from this" might be a better way of looking at this situation....

Not trying to be the "bad guy" on here, just want you to look at it from the customers point of view... As far as customers not being loyal like a nother person commented. I disagree, I have people call me first and ask why is so and so cheaper then you, and then I re-sell myself, my services, and my company... This business is 10% work and 90% salesmanship... Believe in what you do and what you offer but also be willing to make proper business decisions and keep custome retention high... Last season we lost ONE customer, and that was due to a death in the family, everyone else stayed with us. Just something to think about.

Nicely said.

Markets change and the market dictates price not the vendor. I will gladly take new customers of people unwilling to understand this.


In every industry prices rise, rise, rise, rise, reach a level they can go no further. Then economy goes down due to everything being slightly over priced. Prices drop. Some customers will seek to have their provider match new pricing or go with new vendor if provider will not comply.

I am sorry to say it, but i think you made a mistake. If they have not signed up with new guy yet I'd call and offer them an offer them cannot refuse. How much will it cost you to replace that client. More than a simple mulch job I'll wager.

Who knows this guy may just run his business better than you, and can offer that to gain new customers. Are you 100% certain you are running as lean as you can. Could you make that money back by later upselling them on something else.

I'll say it anyone who refuses to work with clients in this economy is either so rich and happy they need no more customers, more confident than I am as to how much longer this recession will last, or is stubborn and unwilling to change even in the face of the worse market forces the industry has seen in a long time.


I DO NOT SUPPORT LOWBALLING! BUT rather an effort to improve business to run more efficiently and economically, then reflecting this savings to attaining new clients and keeping current ones in these hard times.

Big C
02-07-2010, 12:29 AM
I would have thrown in the extra mulch at a discounted price....I would do this for accts that are as good as the one you mention.

AzLawnMan
02-07-2010, 01:13 AM
These properties come and go, they will see the quality work you have done for them in the past and may see they made a mistake. I would drop by every few months and see how things are going, and even write them a letter saying thanking them for all the years they were a customer. That usually works from time to time. Sorry bud, you win some you lose some. Watch out for those illegals though.

AzLawnMan
02-07-2010, 01:19 AM
I agree,you ,may get it back.they are probably going to be mowed by illegals.

Wow that had alot to do with the topic. Smart guy. Politics and religon should be talk about in the other threads. He didnt say some illegals underbid him, he asked what we would have done. But I guess the correct answer would have been just to wait at there house till those illegals showed up and confronted them. And since when did political lines have to do with cutting lawns? Well to save the thread and help the orginal poster get some real advice. *trucewhiteflag*

topsites
02-07-2010, 01:41 AM
I think you did what you could, nothing else doing, sorry to hear about that.

Walnut Shade
02-07-2010, 06:35 AM
I haven't posted yet, been reading and just getting a feel. I always hear about how most of you want top dollar for your services, all get no give! Well I may not be an expert, but I have quite a few older, well off clients and some younger but still loyal customers that you could not beat away from me if you tried! The secret is good old fashioned customer service! Now a day more than ever, you have to be customer oriented. All of my older clients get their shrubs trimmed up FREE OF CHARGE! yeah you are gonna say I'm an idiot and I'm giving my services away, but I have not lost one of them yet! Take time out of your so called busy schedule, sit on their porch with them when your done, have a glass of tea! be genuinely concerned! listen! and most of all communicate! Now a days with a computer and text messaging not too many people can actually carry on a conversation in person. Bring their trash cans up, pick up news paper, I don't care how much money they have, if they see you are genuinely a good person they will be more than generous with their cash! Christmas bonus, lunch, drinks, tips it all adds up, you'd be surprised! Now don't get me wrong, all I do is mow so maybe I have more time than someone doing both, but I still make a very comfortable living, have made many valuable contacts(you never know when you'll need someone). I'm just saying, the world has gotten so impersonable, if thats even a word! If you need some help adjusting try watching the Andy Griffith show, Little House on The Prarie, 7th Heaven, instead of the doom and gloom of today, you'll have a better outlook and not think the worst. PEACE OUT!

delphied
02-07-2010, 06:44 AM
I haven't posted yet, been reading and just getting a feel. I always hear about how most of you want top dollar for your services, all get no give! Well I may not be an expert, but I have quite a few older, well off clients and some younger but still loyal customers that you could not beat away from me if you tried! The secret is good old fashioned customer service! Now a day more than ever, you have to be customer oriented. All of my older clients get their shrubs trimmed up FREE OF CHARGE! yeah you are gonna say I'm an idiot and I'm giving my services away, but I have not lost one of them yet! Take time out of your so called busy schedule, sit on their porch with them when your done, have a glass of tea! be genuinely concerned! listen! and most of all communicate! Now a days with a computer and text messaging not too many people can actually carry on a conversation in person. Bring their trash cans up, pick up news paper, I don't care how much money they have, if they see you are genuinely a good person they will be more than generous with their cash! Christmas bonus, lunch, drinks, tips it all adds up, you'd be surprised! Now don't get me wrong, all I do is mow so maybe I have more time than someone doing both, but I still make a very comfortable living, have made many valuable contacts(you never know when you'll need someone). I'm just saying, the world has gotten so impersonable, if thats even a word! If you need some help adjusting try watching the Andy Griffith show, Little House on The Prarie, 7th Heaven, instead of the doom and gloom of today, you'll have a better outlook and not think the worst. PEACE OUT!

This sounds like more of a hobby than a job.

Walnut Shade
02-07-2010, 06:48 AM
I'm not talking about hanging out all day. And I'm sure there are going to be the same comment attitudes I have been seeing all along! Just remember, more than one way to skin a muskrat!

punt66
02-07-2010, 06:48 AM
This sounds like more of a hobby than a job.

another new lowballer. I wonder if he gives massage too?

Walnut Shade
02-07-2010, 06:53 AM
So, I guess you have to be a member of lawn site, to be bonafide? I haven't heard of Simsbury CT. but that don't mean it's not a real town, see where I'm going? If not I'll slow down.

hornett22
02-07-2010, 08:31 AM
Simsbury is a nice town.It's a yuppie snoot town but one of the nicer ones.People are actually all right there.Better folks there compared to where I live.

zturncutter
02-07-2010, 08:48 AM
I haven't posted yet, been reading and just getting a feel. I always hear about how most of you want top dollar for your services, all get no give! Well I may not be an expert, but I have quite a few older, well off clients and some younger but still loyal customers that you could not beat away from me if you tried! The secret is good old fashioned customer service! Now a day more than ever, you have to be customer oriented. All of my older clients get their shrubs trimmed up FREE OF CHARGE! yeah you are gonna say I'm an idiot and I'm giving my services away, but I have not lost one of them yet! Take time out of your so called busy schedule, sit on their porch with them when your done, have a glass of tea! be genuinely concerned! listen! and most of all communicate! Now a days with a computer and text messaging not too many people can actually carry on a conversation in person. Bring their trash cans up, pick up news paper, I don't care how much money they have, if they see you are genuinely a good person they will be more than generous with their cash! Christmas bonus, lunch, drinks, tips it all adds up, you'd be surprised! Now don't get me wrong, all I do is mow so maybe I have more time than someone doing both, but I still make a very comfortable living, have made many valuable contacts(you never know when you'll need someone). I'm just saying, the world has gotten so impersonable, if thats even a word! If you need some help adjusting try watching the Andy Griffith show, Little House on The Prarie, 7th Heaven, instead of the doom and gloom of today, you'll have a better outlook and not think the worst. PEACE OUT!

One of the things I find most entertaining about Lawnsite is that you can post good basic advice and you don't have to worry about your competition following it. I have used this business strategy for decades and it has worked out very well for me and my family. :usflag:

AzLawnMan
02-07-2010, 10:25 AM
Walnut Shade is right. When I see a customer that I havent seen in a while I will ask how everything is going and see how the family is. I manage my 4 crews, so that means that most of the time if Im not bidding, picking up parts are running errands I am doing paperwork at my desk and I rely on my crews to make sure we dont have any problems. So when I do go to a property wether it be commercial/residential and I see a customer, first thing out of there mouth is, "Hey I didnt know you still mow lawns". But I have a great relationship with most of my customers, I know their familes, and most of all I dont care what my schedule is I will shoot the sh!t with them for as long as it takes. Just remember when we were all coming up in this biz and when a customer wanted to talk we would. Now we are all big time guys and dont have time. Well they take that as we are blowing them off. My dad had way too much on his plate to talk with the customers the way I do, so in turn we lost alot of customers when we made a mistake, big or small. So take the time wether it be 1 or 10 minutes and say hello. Some customers are just as busy and will blow you off, and most wont even be home anyways. So give them a phone call every once and a while. It goes a long way in customer service. IMHO

punt66
02-07-2010, 10:28 AM
Simsbury is a nice town.It's a yuppie snoot town but one of the nicer ones.People are actually all right there.Better folks there compared to where I live.

yup, never do anything for free. My list is full. Dont advertise. Dont kiss butt. Ask a plumber to take in the groceries or get your paper. He is just lowering yourself to the yard boy statis. Could be a area thing.

punt66
02-07-2010, 10:31 AM
So, I guess you have to be a member of lawn site, to be bonafide? I haven't heard of Simsbury CT. but that don't mean it's not a real town, see where I'm going? If not I'll slow down.

another newbie trying to prove himself. :rolleyes:

Az Gardener
02-07-2010, 11:21 AM
Its a business decision plain and simple. How much will it cost in marketing and time spent to replace that volume of business -vs- how much will the extra mulch cost? I think I would have done the mulch for free. Of course I would have tried to negotiate it first. You pay for the mulch and I will spread it at no additional charge. But ultimately I would have given in if that what it takes to keep the accounts. I would also have done my best to politely impress upon the client that I would really be grateful for a few referrals to make up for my concession.

One other thing to consider is the crew moral. You want them to feel good about the company and the job they are doing. As far as they are concerned those houses looked primo and the boss lost it, he must be greedy. Bad message to have trickle down. Businesses are either getting better or getting worse nothing stays the same. In today's market you must be flexible if you want to hold what you have or grow.

AzLawnMan
02-07-2010, 11:25 AM
In today's market you must be flexible if you want to hold what you have or grow.

Cant dissagree with that

ProcsLC
02-07-2010, 11:35 AM
Its a business decision plain and simple. How much will it cost in marketing and time spent to replace that volume of business -vs- how much will the extra mulch cost? I think I would have done the mulch for free. Of course I would have tried to negotiate it first. You pay for the mulch and I will spread it at no additional charge. But ultimately I would have given in if that what it takes to keep the accounts. I would also have done my best to politely impress upon the client that I would really be grateful for a few referrals to make up for my concession.

One other thing to consider is the crew moral. You want them to feel good about the company and the job they are doing. As far as they are concerned those houses looked primo and the boss lost it, he must be greedy. Bad message to have trickle down. Businesses are either getting better or getting worse nothing stays the same. In today's market you must be flexible if you want to hold what you have or grow.


Very well said; a true businessman. I couldn't agree with this more!

Everyone in this business knows that a new customer COST money, now do that by X4... I totally would have tried to just sell the mulch and do the install for free... If that didn't work I would have asked for a few refferals as well or maybe say something like... "alright, you got me this time... Maybe we could work out a deal later with the fall clean up or look around their yards and see what you could upsell them...

The simple fact is the Original poster gave us a situation... Told us how he handled it... And then asked for opinions from us to critque what he did. That tells me this guy is trying to improve himself and his business. He obviously didn't feel very good about losing the accounts so he wanted a different way of looking at it. To get on here and tell him "good for you, you stuck with your guns..." or bash other people with a relevant alternative to this problem to maybe keep it from happening again in the future truly defeats the purpose of a forum...

Inteligence is spoken from the mind, where wisdom comes from being inteligent. Maybe it's the times...

punt66
02-07-2010, 11:39 AM
Very well said; a true businessman. I couldn't agree with this more!

Everyone in this business knows that a new customer COST money, now do that by X4... I totally would have tried to just sell the mulch and do the install for free... If that didn't work I would have asked for a few refferals as well or maybe say something like... "alright, you got me this time... Maybe we could work out a deal later with the fall clean up or look around their yards and see what you could upsell them...

The simple fact is the Original poster gave us a situation... Told us how he handled it... And then asked for opinions from us to critque what he did. That tells me this guy is trying to improve himself and his business. He obviously didn't feel very good about losing the accounts so he wanted a different way of looking at it. To get on here and tell him "good for you, you stuck with your guns..." or bash other people with a relevant alternative to this problem to maybe keep it from happening again in the future truly defeats the purpose of a forum...

Inteligence is spoken from the mind, where wisdom comes from being inteligent. Maybe it's the times...


Giving free labor to keep clients is not good business sense. I have never done it. My list is full. Those are not the clients you want to have in your list. I certainly would never want anybody to work for me for free. He did the right thing. Giving labor away is degrading this business.

soloscaperman
02-07-2010, 12:04 PM
Hate to say this but Punt66 is right. Also once you do something for free the customer thinks they have a free life time pass and they will tell there friends and family and you will have a name.

You can make fun of me to but I do help with the newspaper and garbage cans for a couple customers. They are in there 80's and 90's and its hard for them so I do it. You can't put a price on smile and the endless thank yous. Usually they have garbage day when I snow plow which is even tougher for them on hills and long driveways. You don't want them hurt or dead, then you have no more customer.

Walnut Shade
02-07-2010, 12:15 PM
I am actually surprised! Most seem to go with the simple human approach. I really expected some more of the usuals to chime in about how I must be a lowballer because I actually care about the people. Punt 66 how do you feel when you spend your hard earned money to that plumber and he just throws the bill at you, you pay, no thank you, kiss my a@@ or anything. I myself wouldn't use that plumber again! So in closing I'm glad to see there are some genuine professionals that really care about their job, and people, but most of all their REPUTATION! As for me being a newbe, you don't have a clue how big or how small I am. And I will keep it that way! Most of you guys that constantly bash others have what I call the LITTLE DI%K SYNDROME. I wouldn't care if you had 10 lawns or 100, good folks are good folks! Chew on that for a bit.

dishboy
02-07-2010, 12:18 PM
I agree,you ,may get it back.they are probably going to be mowed by illegals.

My budd lost a lawn in a golf course community here over $3 a cut. Again,a lot of Democrats here.

Before you ask,it has a lot to do with it.Don't start whining about it.

OK, Dems are cheap, Pubs are ignorant, I would say it is a push.

Az Gardener
02-07-2010, 12:28 PM
I have a truck and a mini-van while they are both modes of transportation no one would confuse what a truck is needed for -vs- what a mini van is used for. Its very similar to owning a business -vs-owning a job.

No disrespect Mr. Punt but you own a job not a business. If you die so does your "business". You and you alone are dependent on your business decisions. Everyone has their own means to happiness and if a solo operator is yours congratulations its good to know what you want and to get it. I could not do what you do. Solo operator is not for me.

This guy presented us with a situation that his company is in something you as a solo operator are not qualified to answer. My answer may be different if I was a solo operator but for someone who owns a business and is responsible for the livelihood of many other people I believe my answer was correct.

My companies employees are responsible for 18 children. Your ego,balls, bravado call it what you want get a lot smaller when you are responsible for them and not just yourself.

torotorotoro
02-07-2010, 12:56 PM
Wow that had alot to do with the topic. Smart guy. Politics and religon should be talk about in the other threads. He didnt say some illegals underbid him, he asked what we would have done. But I guess the correct answer would have been just to wait at there house till those illegals showed up and confronted them. And since when did political lines have to do with cutting lawns? Well to save the thread and help the orginal poster get some real advice. *trucewhiteflag*

i did not know obama had a lawn service,i guess it is always good to have something to fall back on

punt66
02-07-2010, 01:44 PM
I am actually surprised! Most seem to go with the simple human approach. I really expected some more of the usuals to chime in about how I must be a lowballer because I actually care about the people. Punt 66 how do you feel when you spend your hard earned money to that plumber and he just throws the bill at you, you pay, no thank you, kiss my a@@ or anything. I myself wouldn't use that plumber again! So in closing I'm glad to see there are some genuine professionals that really care about their job, and people, but most of all their REPUTATION! As for me being a newbe, you don't have a clue how big or how small I am. And I will keep it that way! Most of you guys that constantly bash others have what I call the LITTLE DI%K SYNDROME. I wouldn't care if you had 10 lawns or 100, good folks are good folks! Chew on that for a bit.

i didnt say you shouldnt be nice. Wow you are out there.

punt66
02-07-2010, 01:45 PM
I have a truck and a mini-van while they are both modes of transportation no one would confuse what a truck is needed for -vs- what a mini van is used for. Its very similar to owning a business -vs-owning a job.

No disrespect Mr. Punt but you own a job not a business. If you die so does your "business". You and you alone are dependent on your business decisions. Everyone has their own means to happiness and if a solo operator is yours congratulations its good to know what you want and to get it. I could not do what you do. Solo operator is not for me.

This guy presented us with a situation that his company is in something you as a solo operator are not qualified to answer. My answer may be different if I was a solo operator but for someone who owns a business and is responsible for the livelihood of many other people I believe my answer was correct.

My companies employees are responsible for 18 children. Your ego,balls, bravado call it what you want get a lot smaller when you are responsible for them and not just yourself.

i sold my construction company with 11 employees 5 years ago. I am no stranger to supporting families. There is no excuse for giving away services.

Az Gardener
02-07-2010, 03:15 PM
Unless your 80 or older you have never done it in an economy like this one. Different times call for different strategies. Besides if the math works out how can you argue with a trade off between mulch and cost to gain more clients?

What you can't do is start dropping your hourly rates, but you can give some things away on a case by case basis if needed. That is unless you are a lowballer to begin with.

punt66
02-07-2010, 03:26 PM
Unless your 80 or older you have never done it in an economy like this one. Different times call for different strategies. Besides if the math works out how can you argue with a trade off between mulch and cost to gain more clients?

What you can't do is start dropping your hourly rates, but you can give some things away on a case by case basis if needed. That is unless you are a lowballer to begin with.

i get $75yd installed. So you would be willing to pay (lets say 5yds) $375 a year to keep a client? If you cannot do that for all your clients then why do it for 1?

Az Gardener
02-07-2010, 06:17 PM
Would you be willing to pay $375 to buy 4 accounts that amounted to 800-900 per month just a guess.

As I recall some 5 pages ago he said he did this client who was also neighbor and his 3 rentals.

As I also mentioned there are other intangibles like employee morale, potential referrals, cash flow should all be considered. Now is not the time to draw lines in the sand. It is a time to hold on to what you have to continue to make those payments and to keep people fed.

zturncutter
02-07-2010, 06:36 PM
Another thing to consider is the fact that the second mulch install for the year is going to take much less material and labor. The second install while looking just as good to the customer is really just to color up the beds.

AzLawnMan
02-07-2010, 06:36 PM
Awhile ago I got a call from one of my commercial customers, a large national trucking company (big red trucks) and they asked if I can lower our agreement by 10%. He told me that they are trying to lower everything accross the board and I was next on the list. Now I feel for the work that we do there and the time passed between the last time I raised there price, I should have been getting a raise. I told him sure and he was a happy man again. Well later in the week he called me to clean up a flood retention area on some land that they own down the street, $2,200.00. About 2 months later he wanted me to trim all the tree's on the property, $1,800.00. And just Friday he called and said that we can go back to our original aggrement and he thanked me for being understanding the first time. Now had I said "Screw this, I have been doing this property for 4 years without a raise and now you want me to lower my price?" I would have lost the extra work, and lost a client who would go back to our aggrement in months time. Punt66, you say your solo operator, so what sense does it make for you to budge on your time? You dont have a payroll other than yourself. I think the advice given to the original guy is valid, comprimise and move on, when something better comes along then make a move. Instead he lost a neighbor and their rental houses all for, and we dont know the exact numbers I might mention, but you say $375 a year. Peanuts in comparison. Now you say you have a full list, so how many accounts does a solo operator do? 25? 30? I have 4 crews and my schedule is also at its limit, but that will never stop me from retaining my current customers and adding new ones as well. Your solo, so you may not understand how busy some of us are and the comprimise some us make for our employees and customers. You owned a construction company when our economy was in good shape so you cant begin to compare taking care of your employees then and now.

punt66
02-07-2010, 08:33 PM
Awhile ago I got a call from one of my commercial customers, a large national trucking company (big red trucks) and they asked if I can lower our agreement by 10%. He told me that they are trying to lower everything accross the board and I was next on the list. Now I feel for the work that we do there and the time passed between the last time I raised there price, I should have been getting a raise. I told him sure and he was a happy man again. Well later in the week he called me to clean up a flood retention area on some land that they own down the street, $2,200.00. About 2 months later he wanted me to trim all the tree's on the property, $1,800.00. And just Friday he called and said that we can go back to our original aggrement and he thanked me for being understanding the first time. Now had I said "Screw this, I have been doing this property for 4 years without a raise and now you want me to lower my price?" I would have lost the extra work, and lost a client who would go back to our aggrement in months time. Punt66, you say your solo operator, so what sense does it make for you to budge on your time? You dont have a payroll other than yourself. I think the advice given to the original guy is valid, comprimise and move on, when something better comes along then make a move. Instead he lost a neighbor and their rental houses all for, and we dont know the exact numbers I might mention, but you say $375 a year. Peanuts in comparison. Now you say you have a full list, so how many accounts does a solo operator do? 25? 30? I have 4 crews and my schedule is also at its limit, but that will never stop me from retaining my current customers and adding new ones as well. Your solo, so you may not understand how busy some of us are and the comprimise some us make for our employees and customers. You owned a construction company when our economy was in good shape so you cant begin to compare taking care of your employees then and now.
i do 60 a week. About 12 a day. 6hr day if just mowing. Renegotiating a contract and trimming everybodies shrubs for free to hopefully keep their business are 2 different animals. Our econemy was in good shape in 2005? (thats when i sold out due to health)

punt66
02-07-2010, 08:37 PM
Would you be willing to pay $375 to buy 4 accounts that amounted to 800-900 per month just a guess.

As I recall some 5 pages ago he said he did this client who was also neighbor and his 3 rentals.

As I also mentioned there are other intangibles like employee morale, potential referrals, cash flow should all be considered. Now is not the time to draw lines in the sand. It is a time to hold on to what you have to continue to make those payments and to keep people fed.

No i would not pay 375 for 4 new customers. I turn away referals regularly because my list is full. My truck does not have a phone number on it and i no longer advertise. Might be an area thing.

AzLawnMan
02-07-2010, 09:01 PM
You turn away the best advertising there is, refferals? That's an awsome way to piss off a customer telling someone else to use you, only to have you say your not interested. I'm gonna call B.S. Sorry I just don't believe that someone can be that dumb. I believe your smarter than that.
Posted via Mobile Device

punt66
02-08-2010, 06:30 AM
You turn away the best advertising there is, refferals? That's an awsome way to piss off a customer telling someone else to use you, only to have you say your not interested. I'm gonna call B.S. Sorry I just don't believe that someone can be that dumb. I believe your smarter than that.
Posted via Mobile Device

there are only so many i can do. I dont want anymore. Call BS all you want. Why would my customers be angry? You dont make any sense.

AzLawnMan
02-08-2010, 10:01 AM
You don't understand why a customer might be angry? Well say a friend of one of your customers is having problems with her lco, and your customer gives them your number and speaks very highly of you. Only to have the person they reffered to you being told that your "list" is full and your not interested. You dont think that would upset the customer who stuck their neck out for you? You must not get any refferals because anyone who does understands that refferals are a high priority. Also we werent talking about trimming every customers shrubs for free. We were talking about putting down multch, one time a year.

punt66
02-08-2010, 10:19 AM
still doesnt make sense. I have never had anybody get angry because i am not taking new clients. Put down free mulch once a year for all your clients and then tell me its worth it.

AzLawnMan
02-08-2010, 10:24 AM
Once again we are not talking about every customer. One, only one. In your vast knowledge, please read past post. No one would agree to do free service for every customer.
Posted via Mobile Device

punt66
02-08-2010, 01:05 PM
Once again we are not talking about every customer. One, only one. In your vast knowledge, please read past post. No one would agree to do free service for every customer.
Posted via Mobile Device

oh? because its a loss? Then why do it for 1? Thats my point.

AzLawnMan
02-08-2010, 01:22 PM
I think your lost on the conversation.
Posted via Mobile Device

punt66
02-08-2010, 01:31 PM
I think your lost on the conversation.
Posted via Mobile Device

nope, my compass works just fine.

RodneyK
02-08-2010, 03:52 PM
I may and probably am crazy but I would consider matching the two per season mulch price. Spread it thinner each time. You don't want it to get too thick anyway.

Here is my logic... The cost and time to replace the client is going to outweigh the extra time and mulch. If it was one property no biggie but it is really four. Unless you have customers coming out of the woodwork... You could also consider having them sign a longer term contract since you are "matching" the price so they don't do it again to you next year.

I get that it is crappy what they are doing. Another angle would be to have a bit of a heart to heart with them telling them how much you value their business (you may have to stop yourself from choking) and how upset you are about losing the account. This does two things, it shows your loyalty to them (even though they don't deserve it) and how much you care about the account which hopefully they will remember in the future.

There are a million factors when considering what to do. Hope it works out for the best for you.

RodneyK
02-08-2010, 03:54 PM
I always forget to read the entire post and not just page one! Sorry if what I said has been all said before...

JayD
02-08-2010, 05:03 PM
There are a lot of good points here, but I think it depends on this guy and his customer(s). If this customer has paid on time every time and was not a pita customer, I might do it, but some times its just gets old when people are always trying to put the squeeze on you by threatening to drop you, then I say see ya...You have to remember that you are in this to make money, not to play lets make a deal...Do you go to your dentist and tell him that you got a post card in the mail from another doctor and he is offering get one tooth pulled and get the second one pulled free and you go on to tell him, either he meets that deal or your walking?NO....

Like I said, some times its just a matter of "this is my business and I do the pricing", once you start giving to much, then they will want it all the time.
But with all that, I'm not saying you can't help out a good customer, just that you should not be threatened to kick you to the curb if you don't.

froglawn
02-09-2010, 04:53 PM
hope they call you back dude!

hornett22
02-10-2010, 08:30 AM
OK, Dems are cheap, Pubs are ignorant, I would say it is a push.

I am neither a dem or a Repub but from what I have seen.........

Dems are cheap and ignorant. Pubs are a dream customers.They seem very grateful,seem to tip or pay extra,call and ask you back for more work.

Dems want extras for free,argue with you,don't know anything,whine and complain,piss and moan,call back to complain,when it's time to pay they are full of excuses or are no where to be found.

I'll trade you 100 Dem customers for 1 Repub customer any day.

The other thing about Dems here is,they all want the grass bagged,even though they are the ones that made it illegal.Unbelievable.

punt66
02-10-2010, 08:39 AM
I am neither a dem or a Repub but from what I have seen.........

Dems are cheap and ignorant. Pubs are a dream customers.They seem very grateful,seem to tip or pay extra,call and ask you back for more work.

Dems want extras for free,argue with you,don't know anything,whine and complain,piss and moan,call back to complain,when it's time to pay they are full of excuses or are no where to be found.

I'll trade you 100 Dem customers for 1 Repub customer any day.

The other thing about Dems here is,they all want the grass bagged,even though they are the ones that made it illegal.Unbelievable.

what? hahaha you ask all your customers how they are registered and vote. Do you ask them if they are cons or Lib?

hornett22
02-10-2010, 08:50 AM
what? hahaha you ask all your customers how they are registered and vote. Do you ask them if they are cons or Lib?

I am on a very casual friendly basis with all my customers.With the political climate these days,politics always comes up sooner or later.Then all is revealed.I have one customer that says he is a democrat but he sure doesn't sound or act like it so I let him slide.

If I get called out for an estimate and they have a Dem yard sign or bumper sticker on the car,I keep going or bid it high.I want to avoid their crap at all costs.I do not work for free.


I work in your town a lot.Great folks,nice town.I like the largest tree in CT too.

punt66
02-10-2010, 09:26 AM
I am on a very casual friendly basis with all my customers.With the political climate these days,politics always comes up sooner or later.Then all is revealed.I have one customer that says he is a democrat but he sure doesn't sound or act like it so I let him slide.

If I get called out for an estimate and they have a Dem yard sign or bumper sticker on the car,I keep going or bid it high.I want to avoid their crap at all costs.I do not work for free.


I work in your town a lot.Great folks,nice town.I like the largest tree in CT too.

thats funny, were a DEM town in a DEM state.

JayD
02-10-2010, 10:17 AM
I am on a very casual friendly basis with all my customers.With the political climate these days,politics always comes up sooner or later.Then all is revealed.I have one customer that says he is a democrat but he sure doesn't sound or act like it so I let him slide.

If I get called out for an estimate and they have a Dem yard sign or bumper sticker on the car,I keep going or bid it high.I want to avoid their crap at all costs.I do not work for free.


I work in your town a lot.Great folks,nice town.I like the largest tree in CT too.

Don't you think that maybe you are a little premature on your thinking?
You can't judge every one because of what party they pick, besides many people just pick a side and don't really know anything about them. This is your business my friend, you need to put your personal beliefs behind. Both sides are evil and you know it.

Lawn Shark prop mgmt LLC
02-10-2010, 11:17 AM
Anyone else seeing a problem here with the amount of money lost? Personally, if they came back and said XYZ company will do it twice and I am going to go with them if you don't match it, I think I would have matched the price to keep the customer (since they've been such a great customer) and their rental properties as well... Everyone here is saying good for you on sticking with your price, but come on... Was it worth it to lose 4 accounts over one extra mulch job? Couldn't you regain their loyalty and then make up the money on another job with them? I think pricing your jobs is one thing and not letting your customers dictate your business is also good.... They gave you a shot and wanted you to match the service the other guy offered... It's not like you were giving away your company here, I think I would rethink a few things if this situation presents itself again in the future... It's one thing to make money and not give yourself away, but its another to make poor business decisions and I can't believe no one else has chimmed in with this so far... A little less "poor you" and a little more "learn from this" might be a better way of looking at this situation....

Not trying to be the "bad guy" on here, just want you to look at it from the customers point of view... As far as customers not being loyal like a nother person commented. I disagree, I have people call me first and ask why is so and so cheaper then you, and then I re-sell myself, my services, and my company... This business is 10% work and 90% salesmanship... Believe in what you do and what you offer but also be willing to make proper business decisions and keep custome retention high... Last season we lost ONE customer, and that was due to a death in the family, everyone else stayed with us. Just something to think about.


I agree... especially in this economy, and if he was a good customer. I would have matched the other bid.

AzLawnMan
02-11-2010, 11:26 AM
Dem or Rep? I dont care what race, color, religon or political lines you are. All I care about is Green, and Im not talking about grass. Keep putting your political views in with your business and you WILL not be very successful. That is a gaurentee. I live in AZ and we are a very conservitive state, lots of very old retired people, who by the way are Republicans, and I will never make the mistake of bringing my religon and political views with me to a bid. A bid is a bid, regardless of what sticker or sign I see. Geez people what is the point in being in business if all those issues come into play? Your clients are limited already and now you just lowered your percentages. Good luck with all that.

hornett22
02-11-2010, 09:00 PM
Don't you think that maybe you are a little premature on your thinking?
You can't judge every one because of what party they pick, besides many people just pick a side and don't really know anything about them. This is your business my friend, you need to put your personal beliefs behind. Both sides are evil and you know it.

I used to be a Republican but no more.

what I am saying is,the Dems always say they are for the working man,then they vote for the candidates who raise taxes and do everything they can to kill the working man.WhenI show up to bid a job,they want me to work for free.

I have better luck with Republicans,they appreciate hard work and a fair price.They pay and say thank you,usually feed us and say thanks,never seem to ask forfreebies and refer us to friends and family.

I do agree though,Repubs are dreaming of something that no longer exists.They just can't accept the party of morals and dignity is gone.

hornett22
02-11-2010, 10:38 PM
thats funny, were a DEM town in a DEM state.

Dems in your town are a lot different then the ones over here then.Always nice folks over there.Even your police Captain was nice when I put the intercom speakers in the new jail cells a few years ago.

hornett22
02-11-2010, 10:44 PM
Dem or Rep? I dont care what race, color, religon or political lines you are. All I care about is Green, and Im not talking about grass. Keep putting your political views in with your business and you WILL not be very successful. That is a gaurentee. I live in AZ and we are a very conservitive state, lots of very old retired people, who by the way are Republicans, and I will never make the mistake of bringing my religon and political views with me to a bid. A bid is a bid, regardless of what sticker or sign I see. Geez people what is the point in being in business if all those issues come into play? Your clients are limited already and now you just lowered your percentages. Good luck with all that.

Even here in Libland.I do not bring it up at estimates.They usually do first.I am seeing a trend though,a lot of Dems have had it with the Liberal agenda.

to be quite honest,I don't like homsexuality at all.They are great customers though.as long as they keep it to themselves and aren't hanging all over each other,I get past it. Some are even conservative.Kind of weird but seems to be true.

punt66
02-12-2010, 06:39 AM
Dems in your town are a lot different then the ones over here then.Always nice folks over there.Even your police Captain was nice when I put the intercom speakers in the new jail cells a few years ago.

yup. I guess thats why running a business is so easy here. I am sheltered by educated nice people. hahah

KGraham41
02-12-2010, 01:53 PM
Anyone else seeing a problem here with the amount of money lost? Personally, if they came back and said XYZ company will do it twice and I am going to go with them if you don't match it, I think I would have matched the price to keep the customer (since they've been such a great customer) and their rental properties as well... Everyone here is saying good for you on sticking with your price, but come on... Was it worth it to lose 4 accounts over one extra mulch job? Couldn't you regain their loyalty and then make up the money on another job with them? I think pricing your jobs is one thing and not letting your customers dictate your business is also good.... They gave you a shot and wanted you to match the service the other guy offered... It's not like you were giving away your company here, I think I would rethink a few things if this situation presents itself again in the future... It's one thing to make money and not give yourself away, but its another to make poor business decisions and I can't believe no one else has chimmed in with this so far... A little less "poor you" and a little more "learn from this" might be a better way of looking at this situation....

Not trying to be the "bad guy" on here, just want you to look at it from the customers point of view... As far as customers not being loyal like a nother person commented. I disagree, I have people call me first and ask why is so and so cheaper then you, and then I re-sell myself, my services, and my company... This business is 10% work and 90% salesmanship... Believe in what you do and what you offer but also be willing to make proper business decisions and keep custome retention high... Last season we lost ONE customer, and that was due to a death in the family, everyone else stayed with us. Just something to think about.

Very well said.

1 extra mulch job = keeping 4 accounts.
"sticking to your guns" = losing 4 accounts.
I'm sorry but we have to bend more than that, not saying it's right, just saying.................

punt66
02-12-2010, 04:41 PM
Very well said.

1 extra mulch job = keeping 4 accounts.
"sticking to your guns" = losing 4 accounts.
I'm sorry but we have to bend more than that, not saying it's right, just saying.................

good luck with that.

FourTrees
02-12-2010, 09:55 PM
I just don’t understand the refusing to negotiate on price or service DURING THE WORST ECNOMY IN OH SO LONG.

Story time:

A client of mine is VP of a local, but very large business. They have many locations through out my mowing area. My client loves my work; we talked about me bidding on the business properties. He gave me a good reference, but final decision is up to facility manager. Facility manager was very friendly in our meeting. We discussed many things including his current contract.

The FM had just signed (within the week) another contract with his current provider. He said I was welcome to bid next year, but from our conversation I get the feeling this will be a very hard contract to win, even if I came in slightly lower in the future and carry a great reference. He is loyal to the current company because:

1. They are reliable and do quality work.

2. The have provided good service for years.

3. During current economy they renegotiated contracts and both side made some cuts to make it easier for the client to survive these hard times.

In the future as times get better I am certain that this LCO will get back its “losses”, slight as they are. They will continue to make good money even in bad economy from client.

Now turn the tables and say that week LCO has just refused to negotiate at all. I walk in with recommendation from VP, give a good bid and am willing to make negotiations for services need in a down economy. Am I saying I would lowball, NO. Am I saying I would mow for half of what it is worth, NO. BUT dang sure I would negotiate reasonable ways for them to save during these times. Looks like I could have picked up a very large nice client.




Giving free labor to keep clients is not good business sense.

Say’s who? You and some lawnsite buddies? Show me somewhere that teaches it is good to be unreasonable and unwilling to work with clients that have been good clients for you!

Who knows, they may want you back next year.

you may get them back sooner then you think. Keep after them.

Keep them on your radar should they decide to call you down the road.

I agree,you ,may get it back.they are probably going to be mowed by illegals.

Sorry to hear it man, but they may turn back to you once they see how good of a job you do.

These properties come and go, they will see the quality work you have done for them in the past and may see they made a mistake. Watch out for those illegals though.

hope they call you back dude!

Why should they? He has shown himself to be unwilling to work with them. Nobody said the guy who was willing to negotiate was some illegal slob. He probably knows what he is doing. He just picked up a few good accounts. He seems to be on top, and shows some good marketing skills.

They told me that they got a bunch of quotes and I bid the same as the other company but that the other company was going to mulch twice a year instead. . . . Well to make a long story short (made it shorter) they told me that they where going with the other company because they would be mulching twice a year for the same price.

This was no fly by night slouch under bidding unless OP himself was lowballing. They came in at same price. Minus second mulch which would not require as much as first as it would be more cosmetic.

The other guy may just be running more efficiently and to him it is no big deal.

Have an nice night. :)

KGraham41
02-13-2010, 02:22 AM
I just don’t understand the refusing to negotiate on price or service DURING THE WORST ECNOMY IN OH SO LONG.

Story time:

A client of mine is VP of a local, but very large business. They have many locations through out my mowing area. My client loves my work; we talked about me bidding on the business properties. He gave me a good reference, but final decision is up to facility manager. Facility manager was very friendly in our meeting. We discussed many things including his current contract.

The FM had just signed (within the week) another contract with his current provider. He said I was welcome to bid next year, but from our conversation I get the feeling this will be a very hard contract to win, even if I came in slightly lower in the future and carry a great reference. He is loyal to the current company because:

1. They are reliable and do quality work.

2. The have provided good service for years.

3. During current economy they renegotiated contracts and both side made some cuts to make it easier for the client to survive these hard times.

In the future as times get better I am certain that this LCO will get back its “losses”, slight as they are. They will continue to make good money even in bad economy from client.

Now turn the tables and say that week LCO has just refused to negotiate at all. I walk in with recommendation from VP, give a good bid and am willing to make negotiations for services need in a down economy. Am I saying I would lowball, NO. Am I saying I would mow for half of what it is worth, NO. BUT dang sure I would negotiate reasonable ways for them to save during these times. Looks like I could have picked up a very large nice client.






Say’s who? You and some lawnsite buddies? Show me somewhere that teaches it is good to be unreasonable and unwilling to work with clients that have been good clients for you!















Why should they? He has shown himself to be unwilling to work with them. Nobody said the guy who was willing to negotiate was some illegal slob. He probably knows what he is doing. He just picked up a few good accounts. He seems to be on top, and shows some good marketing skills.



This was no fly by night slouch under bidding unless OP himself was lowballing. They came in at same price. Minus second mulch which would not require as much as first as it would be more cosmetic.

The other guy may just be running more efficiently and to him it is no big deal.

Have an nice night. :)


And I'll say again:
Very well said.

1 extra mulch job = keeping 4 accounts.
"sticking to your guns" = losing 4 accounts.
I'm sorry but we have to bend more than that, not saying it's right, just saying........ it's business.

punt66
02-13-2010, 05:50 AM
And I'll say again:
Very well said.

1 extra mulch job = keeping 4 accounts.
"sticking to your guns" = losing 4 accounts.
I'm sorry but we have to bend more than that, not saying it's right, just saying........ it's business.

there is no way i will lower myself or my services to a point that i will work for free to hopefullly keep a client happy and on the list. Never have and never will. I will not degrade this industry or myself. Its funny how my list is full and those of you who say you give away are struggling. Ask the plumber to do free work so that maybe someday he will make money on you. Ask the electrician. You are devaluing yourselves by doing that. Landscapers in my area would NOT do it and thats why this industry is not treated like a lawn boy.

Walnut Shade
02-13-2010, 06:13 AM
Well I see this is still going on, I guess it's like everything else in this world, and on this site with several different topics, no one person is going to do the same thing as the next, they will do what they think is right to them. That is what makes us all unique! I say whatever works for you, do that, it's your company, run it as you see fit. This will go on forever and you will not change either persons beliefs until one of them has an experience one way or the other, and they make that choice. PEACE!

hornett22
02-17-2010, 09:32 PM
there is no way i will lower myself or my services to a point that i will work for free to hopefullly keep a client happy and on the list. Never have and never will. I will not degrade this industry or myself. Its funny how my list is full and those of you who say you give away are struggling. Ask the plumber to do free work so that maybe someday he will make money on you. Ask the electrician. You are devaluing yourselves by doing that. Landscapers in my area would NOT do it and thats why this industry is not treated like a lawn boy.

Every now and then I will do a quick freebee for my good customers like trim a branch or something but for the most part,freebees will get you taken advantage of.Business is for profit.no companies survive on charity.That is NON PROFIT! You need a 501C3 for that.