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View Full Version : How to turn down clients you cant take on?


kebrowns
12-11-2011, 10:14 PM
I am a solo guy for now and only equipped to do residential yards up to 1/2. People are however calling me to do yards up to 1 acre and sometimes more. Some of them want me to do more services also. Bear in mind I am doing this part time. How can I turn them down and still grow my business or maybe is there something I am not understanding.

36" zero turn walk behind bobcat
1994 sonoma
21" push mower.
Toro Detachable: edger, trimmer, blower

Big Bad Bob
12-11-2011, 10:25 PM
I am a solo guy for now and only equipped to do residential yards up to 1/2. People are however calling me to do yards up to 1 acre and sometimes more. Some of them want me to do more services also. Bear in mind I am doing this part time. How can I turn them down and still grow my business or maybe is there something I am not understanding.

36" zero turn walk behind bobcat
1994 sonoma
21" push mower.
Toro Detachable: edger, trimmer, blower

Why not ramp up a bit to be able to take some of these jobs on? Maybe trade the WB in for a small commercial Z. Or, you could just tell them you are not equipped to handle their needs.

JB1
12-11-2011, 10:27 PM
thats a very good question, I'd like to hear some answers as I have never turned any down.

DEPENDABLE LANDSCAPING
12-11-2011, 10:42 PM
Partner up with a larger operator. Work together on growing each others business so you don't have to say no. Good luck.
Posted via Mobile Device

LindblomRJ
12-11-2011, 11:11 PM
Update your equipment, expand to a second crew. I'd think twice about turning down work.

MDLawn
12-11-2011, 11:39 PM
I'm part time also (and will always be unless dramatic things happen). Do you want to stay part time or go full at some point? Growing your business and turning down work don't always go hand in hand... The only work you should be turning down is less profitable work. If some of these other potential clients can offer you more money at one property than a few of your currents combined I'd be taking that client. People will also say don't put all your eggs in one basket. I wouldn't turn down a profitable customer though. In fact I would and have dropped "mistake" and less profitable customers when I started out for more profitable customers. They were less profitable and needed to be let go. I have turned down potential mowing customers when my schedule was full, I never or rarely turn down landscape work. I would tell them "Sorry but my current schedule is full and I am not taking on anymore work. Please keep my number (or card if I met them in person) and call me if you run into any problems finding a service" This way you can still leave a possible door open for any future business and not make anyone upset.

I would like to have a situation where someone could throw landscaping leads my way and I would return lawn maintenance leads. That way you are still able to provide a customer with a service they need eventhough you may not be doing it.

Just don't turn down potential profitable work.

Total Lawn and Sprinkler
12-12-2011, 02:14 PM
I would partner with larger companies in your area. If you have business you're worried about turning down you can work as an affiliate for the larger company for referring business. You can either as for a cut or you can explain your situation and request an exchange for a smaller job.

ny scaper
12-13-2011, 01:44 PM
MD seems right on. Growing your business and turning down work (assuming it is all profitable) means you are not in fact growing. However, dont grow too fast, can be recipe for disaster, especially if you dont have the $ and resources.
Why cant you mow a 3/4 - 1 acre property with the 36 Z?

32vld
12-13-2011, 02:41 PM
I am a solo guy for now and only equipped to do residential yards up to 1/2. People are however calling me to do yards up to 1 acre and sometimes more. Some of them want me to do more services also. Bear in mind I am doing this part time. How can I turn them down and still grow my business or maybe is there something I am not understanding.

36" zero turn walk behind bobcat
1994 sonoma
21" push mower.
Toro Detachable: edger, trimmer, blower

Are you booked a solid 40 hours a week mowing?

Then you should not be turning down 1 acre lawns. A 36" mower will not do a 1 acre lawn fast but you should still be able to make a profit on it.

That extra profit is how you get the money to buy a 60" mower.

And as for landscape work find a company that has plain marked trucks that you can sub out the jobs that you have that are too big.

Also network to find some people that you can call in looking to earn some extra cash from time to time to use when you need extra help.

This does not mean you can take every landscape job offered but you take the ones you know you can do.

kebrowns
12-13-2011, 02:51 PM
It probably won't be an issues to mow 3/4-1 acre property with what I have by myself but when they call they say they need leaves taking up, bushes to be edged, and by the way its about 1 acre with allot of different ornamental design, curved concrete and it toke there former crew of 3-4 guys to the job in 4 hours and they charged $140 per 2 weeks. I have received 3 similar calls like this. I managed to ask the person what type of equipment they had. It didn't sound no more than what I have. They had one person mowing while one guy was edging and the other guy doing the bushes. So I said to myself ok I could pick up two or three hombres (no offense) down the road and do the same thing and pay them $9 per hour for about 4hrs. Then I did the math and realized I wouldn't make any money. I will probably come out tops in profit for my self about $30 - -$50 with two/three guys. I also thought the person was lieing about price and time. I also received 2 other opportunities similar to that that sounded very low in cost and no profit in my part.

Reflection
12-13-2011, 04:52 PM
As long as it's a property/customer that you 1) are capable of servicing and 2) will not hate doing the job (this is important) - I would say price the work at a rate that you are satisfied with and put the ball in the customer's court.

Let them turn you down.

32vld
12-13-2011, 08:54 PM
Never believe a price the customer say's they paid last year.

I had a lady tell me she paid $150 for a fall clean up last year.

I told her $366. Asked if I could do better. Told her no. I'm not making $366. I'm running a buisness that has expenses to be paid. When my truck or whatever wears out and needs to be replaced if the money is not made to do so just like any other business I'll be out of buisness.

She paid me the $366.

Don't be surprised that a nice person would take advantage of you being green by throwing out a low ball number to see if you would take it.

This is why you must figure out how long it should take to do the job with the right equipment and what you need to charge per hour to give a price for the job, not by the hour.

LindblomRJ
12-13-2011, 08:57 PM
If someone thinks they are going to get a deal, nice or not, they will try to make a deal.

32vld
12-13-2011, 09:03 PM
I ask again are you booked solid 40 hours of work every week?

If not why are you giving away customers.

Who cares if you have to be solo on one property for 8 hours to get the job done.

Getting more work then you can do solo then you hire a part timer.

ringahding
12-13-2011, 09:07 PM
I am a solo guy for now and only equipped to do residential yards up to 1/2. People are however calling me to do yards up to 1 acre and sometimes more. Some of them want me to do more services also. Bear in mind I am doing this part time. How can I turn them down and still grow my business or maybe is there something I am not understanding.

36" zero turn walk behind bobcat
1994 sonoma
21" push mower.
Toro Detachable: edger, trimmer, blower

I know the article is for "one time mowing", but I think if you read on you may find your answer. Read this article
(http://www.ringlawncare.com/one-time-mowing/)

kebrowns
12-13-2011, 09:15 PM
I am not booked 40hrs per week I am a part timer. I have a fulltime job I work 40-50hrs per week. I Give away customers because I think I don't have the right equipment or enough of it for what size property they have. But I like what you say 32vld. Price it in accordance to what I think its worth and put the ball in there hands and go from there. I also like your point why not doit if it even takes 8hrs. But listening to them swearing up and down its just $140 is just making the whole thing look disappointing. I know I can look other places but I get some calls like that. For example, $110 for a 2 acre yard. With them wanting this and that. and they say thats what they pay.

32vld
12-13-2011, 09:23 PM
With them wanting this and that. and they say thats what they pay.

Just respond that you can't work for that low of a price. Thank them and leave.

You could ask where is the guy that did it last year for that price. When they say he doesn't answer their calls. You respond he's most likely out of business from not making enough money at that price.

Then thank them and leave.

Jb3NH
12-13-2011, 09:27 PM
Partner up with a larger operator. Work together on growing each others business so you don't have to say no. Good luck.
Posted via Mobile Device

About what i have done and the relationship is good. The other guy has a similar equipment set up. we occasionally share a 'floating' labor pool when things get heavy, as well as co-op on other fixed resources. its a mutually beneficial relationship.

kebrowns
12-13-2011, 09:28 PM
thanks ringahding that was good reading.

ralph02813
12-15-2011, 08:11 AM
I ask again are you booked solid 40 hours of work every week?

If not why are you giving away customers.

Who cares if you have to be solo on one property for 8 hours to get the job done.

Getting more work then you can do solo then you hire a part timer.

I agree, I would add to this what others have said re evaluate your equipment make sure you have got the perfect gear for the jobs you are doing - save for a 48 or finance it - know your cost of doing business.

MDLawn
12-15-2011, 03:45 PM
save for a 48 or finance it - know your cost of doing business.

Man those few words are like a lit match near gasoline with some of the people on this site. :laugh::laugh:

ralph02813
12-15-2011, 04:15 PM
Man those few words are like a lit match near gasoline with some of the people on this site. :laugh::laugh:

yeah I hear yah! :cool2::cool2:

ny scaper
12-15-2011, 05:01 PM
Like 32V has said, but to put it more bluntly, who gives a s**t what the other guy paid. Why is she calling you now then if she had it so good? Either that $140 guy went belly up or he was doing crap work. Yeah, that little old nice lady or whoever it is in the future...She's trying to lowball you down more or less.
Dont sell yourself short on equipment. A 36 is fine. I used a 36 and 48 for years for a larger LCO I worked for and we banged out lawns, large and small.
Get what you need to get and if potential customer declines, move down the street to the next one. But if you do get what you want...make sure you deliver and dont give them a crappy product or she will be moving on.

MDLawn
12-15-2011, 05:04 PM
make sure you deliver and dont give them a crappy product or she will be moving on.

This is mostly all that matters.