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americanlawn
11-22-2010, 06:29 PM
We had 6 or 8 complaints from homeowners this year. They said they """sat inside their house watching""" our ride-on applicators treat their lawns. Common complaint was, "My lawn is only 10,000 s/f, but it only took the guy 10 - 15 minutes to treat my lawn".

I KNOW you Z guys and T guys have run across this before. Keep in mind that I followed up on these "complaints", yet I never saw anything wrong. (nice weed control & green grass) :confused:

Too much time on their hands? Does retirement age make some folks feable?I'd like to hear your stories. :walking::laugh:

rcreech
11-22-2010, 06:36 PM
We had 6 or 8 complaints from homeowners this year. They said they """sat inside their house watching""" our ride-on applicators treat their lawns. Common complaint was, "My lawn is only 10,000 s/f, but it only took the guy 10 - 15 minutes to treat my lawn".

I KNOW you Z guys and T guys have run across this before. Keep in mind that I followed up on these "complaints", yet I never saw anything wrong. (nice weed control & green grass) :confused:

Too much time on their hands? Does retirement age make some folks feable?I'd like to hear your stories. :walking::laugh:


Only a few...but this is what I tell them
"I paid BIG MONEY so I can get their lawn done fast...it is called being effecient"

I also stress the importance of calibrated equipment and putting on the correct rate. Machines are MUCH MORE precise then humans.

Dunno...has worked for me anyway!

americanlawn
11-22-2010, 07:05 PM
Thanks RC -- I was hoping for your opinion. I tell 'em the same thing ---- you get better overlap & spray with a ride-on unit on lawns that are 8K or larger (even smaller lawns). With the aging population (okay, I might be one of them):laugh:, complaints like this will probably become more common in the future. Sh$t, I'll be watchin' my lawn guy too when I get old (er). :laugh::laugh:

Kinda like investing $12,000 for a ZTR mower, yet some folks expect to pay "21 inch Murray mower prices". :laugh::laugh:

BTW it was 70 degrees in Davenport, IA -- 31 degrees in Sioux City, IA. :cry:

mark123
11-22-2010, 07:09 PM
It's when they are paying $50 for a treatment that takes 10 minutes they are equating that to you making $300 per hour. Just tell them that there is $25 in materials and gas so I'm really only making $150 per hour! :laugh:

teejet
11-22-2010, 07:15 PM
Fertilizer at Lowes or Wallyworld is almost the same price for a 10K lawn,minus the weed spray and expertise.

ted putnam
11-22-2010, 07:47 PM
It's when they are paying $50 for a treatment that takes 10 minutes they are equating that to you making $300 per hour. Just tell them that there is $25 in materials and gas so I'm really only making $150 per hour! :laugh:

:laugh:roflmao:laugh:

gregory
11-22-2010, 08:02 PM
some people you cant make happy... before i got involed in this site i would've thought it to be cool to see one of those ride on's running across my yard.

i would tell them what RC said sounds pretty good to me.i have a friend in the mowing buiness and he has told me stories about years ago he had some customers thats didnt want his guys running there mowers on his drive way didnt want to see the tire marks on the driveway.......

Shegardi
11-22-2010, 08:39 PM
How many of the 6 or 8 are docs or lawyers making $ 400/hr..... :)

NattyLawn
11-22-2010, 08:53 PM
Some people feel they need to "get their moneys worth". Rod's explanation is good, but there's no pleasing these guys short of pushing a spreader. I had a few that wouldn't let me use a ride on, but I have phased these guys out over the years. These accounts are time wasters and to keep them you need to have a conversation about the weeds or spot that you seeded or talk about their kids/grandkids/jobs whatever. One customer will call after EVERY application to stop back because something was missed. Prices are raised every year and they still come back.

BlackDog3
11-22-2010, 09:00 PM
I had a customer like that, she claimed i was too fast cutting the grass, which caused the leaf blades to be slanted in the wrong direction? Also she complained about my heavy mowers. She canceled my contract and got somebody else to do it. People who complain about stupid stuff like that are better off with the next guy then me.....I dont have time for people having not enough to do in a day to bother me with bs about how fast i am cutting their grass. By the way it s 27 lawns one day.. one guy one lazer..... guess i was just too fast for her...

Chris

grassman177
11-22-2010, 09:17 PM
i always go with technical defense, but it is super rare for a ride on applicator to have a complaint. in fact, everyone here is uber impressed and wants to check it out and obviously loves the job it does with my helping hands of course, cause we are growing very rapidly

thomsoutdoor
11-23-2010, 05:23 AM
You can always give them two prices. One with the walk behind and one with the ride on. $60 if you want it down by hand or $40 by the ride on? What will it be? 10 out 10 they will take the cheaper one.

phasthound
11-23-2010, 08:12 AM
We had 6 or 8 complaints from homeowners this year. They said they """sat inside their house watching""" our ride-on applicators treat their lawns. Common complaint was, "My lawn is only 10,000 s/f, but it only took the guy 10 - 15 minutes to treat my lawn".

I KNOW you Z guys and T guys have run across this before. Keep in mind that I followed up on these "complaints", yet I never saw anything wrong. (nice weed control & green grass) :confused:

Too much time on their hands? Does retirement age make some folks feable?I'd like to hear your stories. :walking::laugh:

Larry,
I'd say you should sleep well knowing that you have so few complaints. No need to worry about them. :)

Ric
11-23-2010, 08:57 AM
some people you cant make happy... before i got involed in this site i would've thought it to be cool to see one of those ride on's running across my yard.

i would tell them what RC said sounds pretty good to me.i have a friend in the mowing buiness and he has told me stories about years ago he had some customers thats didnt want his guys running there mowers on his drive way didnt want to see the tire marks on the driveway.......


You got to look at things from the customers point of view.

It isn't the equipment that gets the customer upset. The fancier the equipment the more perceived value in the customers mind. What gets the Customer upset is the lack of care shown to their property by you only being there for only 5 minutes. I can only compare this to a Doctor's Office visit. The Doctor has all the high powered equipment but only sees you for a few seconds as you are run through his assembly line. IMHO there is no way you can scout the property and look for potential problems and make an application in 5 minutes.

rcreech
11-23-2010, 09:51 AM
You got to look at things from the customers point of view.

It isn't the equipment that gets the customer upset. The fancier the equipment the more perceived value in the customers mind. What gets the Customer upset is the lack of care shown to their property by you only being there for only 5 minutes. I can only compare this to a Doctor's Office visit. The Doctor has all the high powered equipment but only sees you for a few seconds as you are run through his assembly line. IMHO there is no way you can scout the property and look for potential problems and make an application in 5 minutes.

I totally agree with the Dr office analogy!

I slightly disagree that riding a ride on reduces the visibility of the lawn or problems.

Using a ride on you are going over the same area and one can do a good job of looking around the lawn while riding? Technically on a small lawn it takes about the same time with a ride on.

No difference in quality of visit is my vote!

We run two guys in a truck (for many reasons) but one is to be more effecient and to offer better service. We pay close attention to every lawn ALWAYS looking for potential problems so we not only can improve the quality of their lawn...but also make some xtra $$$$$$$$$.
:)

Rayholio
11-23-2010, 10:15 AM
Any time I get a chance, I like to defuse customer complaints before they happen.. I call it 'realistic expectations' :)

I tell 'em when I sign 'em up that a lawn app doesn't take long because of the equipment we use.. working fast is how I keep the prices competitve..

Only complaints I had this year that were ride on related was some ripped turf from a ride-on's tires... and of course a couple fence 'issues'..

Oh.. well I do have one customer that insists that we NOT use a machine.. he hates black tire marks on his driveway, and sidewalk.. LOL

Generally customers don't mind the machines at all.

Ric
11-23-2010, 10:34 AM
RC

I am not knocking the Equipment, How can I since I never used a commercial S&S machine. I am knocking the time or LACK of time spend on the Customers Property. But I understand your Quantity account business plan from the Minimum Charge Thread. I wouldn't get out of bed for those prices but my marketing plan and expenses are totally different.

Ray

First thing on arriving at and account is the presentation of an invoice for the work to be done that day. This is my cash flow, customer retention, complaint defusement, Make my customer my friend, UPSELL and Good Will time with my customer. That alone averages over 5 minutes a stop. However at a leasurely 2 stops an hour I manage to Net $ 100 an hour in my pocket after expenses. Being Semi Retired I don't work but a few hours a day. I work more for a reason to get out bed in the morning than I do for the extra money to help my retirement income.

Rayholio
11-23-2010, 10:45 AM
Customer communication is VERY important Ric.. you're definately on the right track there, chattin' with the customers before each service. I guarantee you have a higher customer upsale, and retention rate that most because of that.. I also bet that they don't complain too much about any equipment you use... They know you care.

Communication is everything for customer confidence in our business.. It also sets 'realistic expectations'..

That's the main source of these type of complaints.. It's customers who are lacking in confidence.

If they know that you care, than it wouldn't matter how long the job takes... cuz they know you're doing it right. :) If they don't know that you care, they wonder how you could do the job so quickly, and still do it right..

Ric
11-23-2010, 10:54 AM
Customer communication is VERY important Ric.. you're definately on the right track there, chattin' with the customers before each service. I guarantee you have a higher customer upsale, and retention rate that most because of that.. I also bet that they don't complain too much about any equipment you use... They know you care.

Communication is everything for customer confidence in our business.. It also sets 'realistic expectations'..

That's the main source of these type of complaints.. It's customers who are lacking in confidence.

If they know that you care, than it wouldn't matter how long the job takes... cuz they know you're doing it right. :) If they don't know that you care, they wonder how you could do the job so quickly, and still do it right..

Ray

The more you tell, the more you sell. One of the reason I don't have to travel over half the country doing account is because I do care about the quality of the job and not the quantity of accounts.

rcreech
11-23-2010, 10:57 AM
RC

But I understand your Quantity account business plan from the Minimum Charge Thread. I wouldn't get out of bed for those prices but my marketing plan and expenses are totally different.

.

Not sure I understand...so I will ask.

What do you mean?

If I pull onto a 3K lawn (we don't hardly have any)..it is going to cost me about $3.50 in product plus time. My trucks are already in pretty tight routes so I don't mind at all working for $36 for 5-10 minutes.

I am set up for 20+ K lawns so these are not my cup of tea...but they are pretty profitable!

It all comes down to product cost and effeciency!
I never want to make 3K lawns a priority on my list!

Ric
11-23-2010, 11:50 AM
Not sure I understand...so I will ask.

What do you mean?

If I pull onto a 3K lawn (we don't hardly have any)..it is going to cost me about $3.50 in product plus time. My trucks are already in pretty tight routes so I don't mind at all working for $36 for 5-10 minutes.

I am set up for 20+ K lawns so these are not my cup of tea...but they are pretty profitable!

It all comes down to product cost and effeciency!
I never want to make 3K lawns a priority on my list!

RC

We are talking Apples to Oranges here because of several factors. First Florida is the Bug Capital of America. Our Sandy Soil requires more Nutrients and the real BIGGIE is not every Tom Dick and Harry can legally treat lawns & Ornamentals. Our grass cutting industry is loaded with Grandma's failed Grand Baby who is a wannabe Stoned Yard Boy. As a result the $ 10 cut is alive and well. While the trek to a Florida CPO might be a hard one, the rewards are worth the effort. We are in a closed or only semi open industry.

Florida Independent operators are charging $ 15 per thousand per treatment. Big Box operator are charging slightly less for bad services so ours prices are safe. My Area has mostly 3 to 5 K lawns so my minimum is $ 75 and covers that 5 K lawn next door to the 3 K lawn. Both Customer are paying the same amount which leaves no area for price questioning they are both paying the same Minimum charge for service. My cost averages under $ 5.00 a thousand so I am walking with a 65% or higher profit or a minimum of $ 50 per treatment at two leisurely treatment per hour average. actually It might be 3 customer in two hours time since I feel so guilty making a $ 100 an hour as a Yard Boy. If I wanted to hump I could do 5 an hour since they are all close together. But how long would my customers except the Blow N Go perception???

rcreech
11-23-2010, 12:11 PM
RC

We are talking Apples to Oranges here because of several factors. First Florida is the Bug Capital of America. Our Sandy Soil requires more Nutrients and the real BIGGIE is not every Tom Dick and Harry can legally treat lawns & Ornamentals. Our grass cutting industry is loaded with Grandma's failed Grand Baby who is a wannabe Stoned Yard Boy. As a result the $ 10 cut is alive and well. While the trek to a Florida CPO might be a hard one, the rewards are worth the effort. We are in a closed or only semi open industry.

Florida Independent operators are charging $ 15 per thousand per treatment. Big Box operator are charging slightly less for bad services so ours prices are safe. My Area has mostly 3 to 5 K lawns so my minimum is $ 75 and covers that 5 K lawn next door to the 3 K lawn. Both Customer are paying the same amount which leaves no area for price questioning they are both paying the same Minimum charge for service. My cost averages under $ 5.00 a thousand so I am walking with a 65% or higher profit or a minimum of $ 50 per treatment at two leisurely treatment per hour average. actually It might be 3 customer in two hours time since I feel so guilty making a $ 100 an hour as a Yard Boy. If I wanted to hump I could do 5 an hour since they are all close together. But how long would my customers except the Blow N Go perception???

I understand what you are saying...and trust me I would charge more...but don't need to. Profits are good..and I will never SLOW DOWN production to make the customer feel good. I would stop and talk to them and give them as much time that is needed, but never would I reduce the amount of work.

If u are making $75 per lawn you can take you time and do whatever you want. That is great!

You are still doing the "blow and go" you are just taking your time.

If I am in and out in 5 minutes and you are there for 15 our quality would be the same.

That is why I like large lawns.

We can do an acre in the same time as a 10K sometimes! :)

DA Quality Lawn & YS
11-23-2010, 03:55 PM
Good thread Larry.

My brother got scolded by an small town old guy when doing an app to his lawn with a PG. He was told to "get that damned hi speed go cart off his property"

americanlawn
11-23-2010, 04:45 PM
Thanks buddy - Nice posts by all others as well. I was going thru a "ride-on manual" this morning. Said the unit treats "4000 sq. ft. per minute". I figure this is one reason ride-on units are so widely used. (reducing applicator fatigue is another major benefit).

We have only one customer that will cancel if we use a ride-on applicator. So we hand push it or hand spray it everytime. It's a 9000 s/f corner lot.

Here's something interesting:

Whenever I get a chance to talk to a "ride-on customer" (or even an estimate I'm doing), I tell 'em up front, "I like lawns like yours because my guys can use one of our ride-on units that recently came on the market". They like the idea that we are not sitting on our hands by using outdated equipment on their property. (even had one customer take a picture of our ride-on last year)

I also explain that they usually get a better application, and my guys are not as tired at the end of the day". ....... 100% of the time, the customer agrees and has a friendly smile on his or her face. Customers like this use "logic", and they empathize with us, cuz they know we work hard and try hard, while service calls are always free.

I've found that explaining to customers why we use a ride-on for their lawn is a win/win situation. And the proof is in the pudding, cuz our "ride-on lawns" tend to look the best which also results in low cancellation rates.

I am sure glad that Permagreen, LT Rich, TURFCO, and others provide us with the equipment we need and want. All made in the U.S.A. :usflag:

Good thread Larry.

My brother got scolded by an small town old guy when doing an app to his lawn with a PG. He was told to "get that damned hi speed go cart off his property"

mikesturf
11-23-2010, 07:17 PM
The absolute biggest complaint I hear from new customers I pick up is that the previous fertilization company was in and out in 10 minutes. Some people equate time spent on the property equal to quality of the job done.

If there are any lawn problems, people may tend to side with the company that spends more time on the lawn. The customer may have the feeling that the company which is there for 10 minutes really doesn't care as much.

grassman177
11-23-2010, 09:58 PM
so do we, we ALWAYS inspect each lawn for issues and leave a note and or call/email the customer with a solution. i dont see how anyone in this business could do a lawn app and not inspect it for issues. heck, at least you could see it as a way to increase sales./

Ric
11-24-2010, 04:52 PM
I understand what you are saying...and trust me I would charge more...but don't need to. Profits are good..and I will never SLOW DOWN production to make the customer feel good. I would stop and talk to them and give them as much time that is needed, but never would I reduce the amount of work.

If u are making $75 per lawn you can take you time and do whatever you want. That is great!

You are still doing the "blow and go" you are just taking your time.

If I am in and out in 5 minutes and you are there for 15 our quality would be the same.

That is why I like large lawns.

We can do an acre in the same time as a 10K sometimes! :)

RC

I respectfully disagree with you on a grand scale. There is no way you can even inspect a property in 5 minutes from the top of a Spread & Spray Machine at 5 mph.

The absolute biggest complaint I hear from new customers I pick up is that the previous fertilization company was in and out in 10 minutes. Some people equate time spent on the property equal to quality of the job done.

If there are any lawn problems, people may tend to side with the company that spends more time on the lawn. The customer may have the feeling that the company which is there for 10 minutes really doesn't care as much.

so do we, we ALWAYS inspect each lawn for issues and leave a note and or call/email the customer with a solution. i dont see how anyone in this business could do a lawn app and not inspect it for issues. heck, at least you could see it as a way to increase sales./

Grassman and Mike

I am glad someone agrees with me about Customer Perception. I also hear the stories of Darwin award winners in such a hurry they walking backward cutting S patterns in the lawn with their spray guns. Each market is different and in my market I have mostly retirees with nothing to do and all day to do it. Even if my customer isn't home their neighbor gives them blow by blow details. Just as we have scrubs cutting grass cheap, Fert & Squirt has Misinformed TG/CL Wannabes with cheap prices and quality to match.

Rayholio
11-24-2010, 05:53 PM
When the customer is home, we find that the visit takes AT LEAST twice as long.. because we chat with them, and do the lawn-counceler thing.. but if they're not.. we hope to spot any deficiancys while performing the treatment.. and essentially get in and out as quickly as possible.

Any lawn application can be done PROPERLY in a very small amount of time.. what takes a long time is lawn analysis and prescription.

jasontimm
11-24-2010, 07:57 PM
I'm i loosing it or did some of the posts get deleated off this thread. (larry's post)

Michael J. Donovan
11-24-2010, 09:19 PM
alright guys...enough is enough