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williams lcm
12-14-2011, 09:15 PM
It is that time of year again when the customer dosen't think he needs to pay the full monthly bill, because I only cut 2 times in the month. I have been mowing for him since 2006. Every year about this time he questions it. I bill the same monthly all year. He dropped me last year to go to a cheaper guy. 4 months later he calls me back because the lco did'nt always show up. Well alot of the neighbors on the block have this other guy that charges $15 per cut. He gets a ton of work in the neighborhood because of his cheap price.That would be $30 per month in the winter and $60/mo in the summer. (Full service mow ,trim bushes , weed control ect)My customer asked me if I can come up with a plan to make it cheaper in the winter months or he will switch to the other lco. I also mow his friends house and his friend wants to do the same thing. This is an older community 75+. I charge $65 per month. Small postage stamp yard. What should I do? I was thinking about calling him to tell him that I wont go lower. Enough is enough. I will probably lose 2 customers out of this. There are about 30 or so lco's that mow in this community. Most charge under $75.

ringahding
12-14-2011, 09:23 PM
Tough one! No one wants to lose accounts, but I guess I would ask myself, "Am I losing $" if i dump them/him?

unkownfl
12-14-2011, 09:35 PM
I really don't like saying this but at 15 bucks a lawn you can still make decent money on most of our yards in our area. I won't mow for that low unless i was getting a few then I'd consider it. 60x120 takes what maybe 6 minutes with two guys? Hit the beds 5 minutes twice per month and run the hedge trimmer over once-twice per month. Blow all the clippings into the hedges and be done. I do this a lot for those cheap ass customers and never lost one yet. Sometimes I'll blow the clippings into the yard and mulch them with the mower if its enough. It's still 1.34 per minute or 80.4 per hour for two guys. That's pretty good to me.

Keith
12-14-2011, 10:37 PM
For the few that have ever questioned it and can't comprehend why they are paying me the same in the winter as they are in the summer, I explain it simply. In your case it would be something like this. "You are paying me $780 a year, in 12 monthly installments. I can't mow you lawn for $65 a month in July. Or April through October for that matter. I am averaging it out over 12 months. If you prefer to pay me $90 for seven months, and $45 for the other five, we can do it your way."

FoghornLeghorn
12-14-2011, 10:55 PM
And what happens next year when these same old geezers find a guy who will mow the yard for $12, $10?

The fact that the other guy didn't show up all the time speaks volumes about why they called you back.

I'd do myself the favor and drop them, then when they call you back in 4 months, tell them the new price is $95 instead of $65.

Florida Gardener
12-14-2011, 11:18 PM
2 words:DROP THEM. The fact you have had this convo for 5 years with this guy is a problem. If you need the work that bad...wait, no, drop them.
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billslawn89
12-14-2011, 11:44 PM
for some reason, some of my clients can't figure out the pricing either. i explain to them the amount of visits per year, times by the price per cut, divide by 12 and there is their monthly payment. i agree with keith too

Florida Gardener
12-14-2011, 11:47 PM
for some reason, some of my clients can't figure out the pricing either. i explain to them the amount of visits per year, times by the price per cut, divide by 12 and there is their monthly payment. i agree with keith too

The only time I ever had a problem with this is when I did lawns that people put no money into, no fert/irrigation, etc. IMO they do get it they are just trying to find a way to not pay what they should.
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unkownfl
12-15-2011, 12:40 AM
I've really found that when I do yearly accounts at a flat rate I have to get a contract signed or I can expect not to get paid all winter.

Dr.NewEarth
12-15-2011, 01:28 AM
Competition must be brutal down there if that's all you can get for performing that long list of duties on your properties. Cheap skates!

Ric
12-15-2011, 09:37 AM
Competition must be brutal down there if that's all you can get for performing that long list of duties on your properties. Cheap skates!



The Irony of the above statement coming from a Canadian.


HELLO PEOPLE YOU ARE TRYING TO OPERATE A BUSINESS WITH OUT USING STANDARD BUSINESS PRACTICES.

TWO WORDS

SALESMANSHIP

CONTRACTS

PS: Yes I am screaming and about to pull my hair out reading this thread.

Plantculture
12-15-2011, 07:50 PM
Hope the Guy from Georgia is reading this thread.

Landscape Poet
12-15-2011, 07:58 PM
The Irony of the above statement coming from a Canadian.

I knew if you chimed in on this thread that was going to be along the lines of what you said. :canadaflag:

To the OP: How many years of this have you been explaining this? These two properties are the first two you replace next year and save yourself the headache next year. :)

As many have said - contract if you can but honestly you are only going to get so far with that as you can not get blood out of a turnip :rolleyes:...and some will say oh well put a lien on the house, small claims etc etc...but lets get real...for what you are charging for these size lots - what inputs are you going to have to use to get your money?

Unknown has a similar few that I do - figure out what you are making per hour on these lots and do not get caught up in the price per month. If you are flying through them and can afford to meet the comp while making a good amount per hour....then do it...especially if there is nothing that you do that he does not that you can point out as a value to the customer and that is were the salesmanship Ric mentioned comes in. Obviously if he has tried this other company and reliability was a issue...remind him of this and ask him if it is worth $120.00 or whatever the difference is per year to go through the headaches of wondering if his lawn service will show up or not. :confused: What separates you from him? That is your pitch to the owner. If you keep him at the current price then great....if you have to lower your $ per month to keep two accounts during the winter months....do it...and if they allow you to keep making a good profit even at those amounts....then accept it....if not next spring the next two accounts you pick up...drop the others and just consider it a wash for the better. :drinkup:

Landscape Poet
12-15-2011, 08:00 PM
Hope the Guy from Georgia is reading this thread.

He is reading it aloud on his mobile while his wife is driving the truck loaded with lawn equipment right now on the way down here. She is currently pulling a U-turn!

Florida Gardener
12-15-2011, 09:03 PM
I knew if you chimed in on this thread that was going to be along the lines of what you said. :canadaflag:

To the OP: How many years of this have you been explaining this? These two properties are the first two you replace next year and save yourself the headache next year. :)

As many have said - contract if you can but honestly you are only going to get so far with that as you can not get blood out of a turnip :rolleyes:...and some will say oh well put a lien on the house, small claims etc etc...but lets get real...for what you are charging for these size lots - what inputs are you going to have to use to get your money?

Unknown has a similar few that I do - figure out what you are making per hour on these lots and do not get caught up in the price per month. If you are flying through them and can afford to meet the comp while making a good amount per hour....then do it...especially if there is nothing that you do that he does not that you can point out as a value to the customer and that is were the salesmanship Ric mentioned comes in. Obviously if he has tried this other company and reliability was a issue...remind him of this and ask him if it is worth $120.00 or whatever the difference is per year to go through the headaches of wondering if his lawn service will show up or not. :confused: What separates you from him? That is your pitch to the owner. If you keep him at the current price then great....if you have to lower your $ per month to keep two accounts during the winter months....do it...and if they allow you to keep making a good profit even at those amounts....then accept it....if not next spring the next two accounts you pick up...drop the others and just consider it a wash for the better. :drinkup:

I don't necessarily agree. You don't build a solid business on people that drop you over $10, keep you in the summer and then demand price decreases in the winter. I guess if you need the business that bad, I guess deal with the bs. I would drop this guy with no questions asked. It's not like it's a high dollar account and the people are picky. It's low dollars and cheap people. Just my .02

Landscape Poet
12-15-2011, 09:33 PM
I don't necessarily agree. You don't build a solid business on people that drop you over $10, keep you in the summer and then demand price decreases in the winter. I guess if you need the business that bad, I guess deal with the bs. I would drop this guy with no questions asked. It's not like it's a high dollar account and the people are picky. It's low dollars and cheap people. Just my .02

The OP's original Post stated that most likely two accounts were in question. These accounts I believe he said were $75 wanting the $65 price. If he can keep them at the current price that is $150.00 a month....great for him. If he has to match the comps price of $65 a month, that is $130.00 a month in the winter months, which is why I said keep them through winter and drop them in the summer when replacements come along. Assuming he cuts twice each month for the rest of winter at the $130.00 and each visit at both property takes him 30 minutes which is hard to believe if he is doing the bare basics given the size, he still only has two hours in on BOTH properties so he is grossing $65.00 a hour and has this income during the winter months when accounts in our part of the industry are harder to gain.
IF he does as you suggest and drops them out of his pride...that is $0.00 a month.

Now pride is great and all but I will take the Moneypayup especially during the winter.

Let me leave you with a scene from one of my favorite movies that sums up my feelings on this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XliISCN8xs

stickleylawncare
12-15-2011, 10:04 PM
Sounds like you just need to switch over to an annual contract. Most of our customers are 12 month billing, on contract. For those that dont, we are just month to month, and they pay a higher fee. They keep us year to year, and they pay extra each year when we start up again to clean out the winter mess. We probably make more off the non contracted customers, but I like the peace of mind, and the contracted customers like having a lawn guy year round keeping an eye on things for them. These are the same customers that don't skimp on weed control, mulching, and fertilizer too.

Also, I pay Comcast a flat fee every month, no matter how much bandwidth I use... why would not bill the same as a monthly service provider.

LGL
01-15-2012, 06:58 PM
I agree with Diamond, drop them, continue delivering quality service to the other locals you have close by. Be polite, professional and explain that you just can't reduce your prices to match the lowballer. Your work will speak for itself as it did last year, when he returns have him sign a contract or forget it. Spring is arouond the corner, you will find two accounts before you know it. Doesn't sound like its worth the drama. Remember, you are in business to provide quality services in which customers pay for, you are in this to make money, don't let someone make you feel like you are the bad guy, don't play his game anymore. You have to MAKE MONEY!!!!!

jvanvliet
01-15-2012, 07:36 PM
:wall I still can't believe people engage in verbal agreements:It's simple, if they don't want to sign an agreement, they don't intend to stand by their word.

rob7233
01-15-2012, 08:57 PM
:wall I still can't believe people engage in verbal agreements:It's simple, if they don't want to sign an agreement, they don't intend to stand by their word.

Yep, That's how you screen new potential clients guys. A service agreement protects both parties without the reoccurring stress of you having to explain your company policies over and over again.

wildstarblazer
01-19-2012, 09:45 AM
Hope the Guy from Georgia is reading this thread.
Ha ha ha, I'm thinkin that's me..
I still got my eyes on Florida! I would do the guys lawn for 15 bucks a cut and do the nicest job too. Don't let those other guys take over.

Some people just don't like the monthly year long deal. Your currently charging 65 a month with around 32 cuts a year, your almost 10 bucks a cut higher than the other guys.

But if you get 5 or 10 lawns and knock em out your doin alright.

RigglePLC
01-19-2012, 11:41 AM
As above, it is salesmanship. There will always be some idiot willing to cut prices. You have to emphasize your higher quality, less risk (because you are insured), more experience, more knowledge, more reliable, better equipment, sharp blades, cleaner cut, no shortcuts, drug-free workers, American workers with warm personalities, (most of whom can converse in the local dialect), spare mowers in case of breakdown and so forth.
If you really have to offer a discount--you could give him a discount for paying by the year, or for paying in advance for the month, or if he pays the same day or within 5 days..or whatever suits the situation and you can negotiate with the customer. Perhaps you can offer him a cut rate contract if your work at his place is not guaranteed. Or if you agree you never spend more than 15 minutes on his property.

Florida Gardener
01-19-2012, 11:59 AM
Ha ha ha, I'm thinkin that's me..
I still got my eyes on Florida! I would do the guys lawn for 15 bucks a cut and do the nicest job too. Don't let those other guys take over.

Some people just don't like the monthly year long deal. Your currently charging 65 a month with around 32 cuts a year, your almost 10 bucks a cut higher than the other guys.

But if you get 5 or 10 lawns and knock em out your doin alright.
The people that don't like that down here are cheapos and get rid of you in the winter. If you want to be a lawn cutter, you will have a hard time establishing a lucrative business. If you want to be a landscape manager, you can do very well.
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wildstarblazer
01-19-2012, 12:16 PM
I get all the salesmanship and cheap customer stuff etc..
BUT- as long as your blades are turnin, your working and making money. If some one drops you, you take care of the ones that are left and try to get more.

After a certain amount of years your customer base will probably be all different customers than when you started anyways.

Some customers just want their grass cut. They don't care about how "whatever you are". Those are sometimes the best customers.. Do what they want and make money.

Landscape Poet
01-19-2012, 03:56 PM
American workers with warm personalities, (most of whom can converse in the local dialect).

Hell Riggle, we live in FL, there is not a local dialect cause everyone here is from somewhere else. The biggest thing I wish I knew before I moved down here....was Spanish...so much of the population that is the primary language...and they struggle sometimes with conversing in English....So being able to speak Spanish would make the situation more comfortable for them.

Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care
01-23-2012, 08:16 PM
Sounds like you just need to switch over to an annual contract. Most of our customers are 12 month billing, on contract. For those that dont, we are just month to month, and they pay a higher fee. They keep us year to year, and they pay extra each year when we start up again to clean out the winter mess. We probably make more off the non contracted customers, but I like the peace of mind, and the contracted customers like having a lawn guy year round keeping an eye on things for them. These are the same customers that don't skimp on weed control, mulching, and fertilizer too.

Also, I pay Comcast a flat fee every month, no matter how much bandwidth I use... why would not bill the same as a monthly service provider.

Where can you find a good contract or wording for one? I made up something kind of nice but should I have it printed for carbon copy invoices or would a good old inkjet print be ok with 2 copies? You give your customer a copy right?:confused:

jvanvliet
01-24-2012, 07:55 AM
Where can you find a good contract or wording for one? I made up something kind of nice but should I have it printed for carbon copy invoices or would a good old inkjet print be ok with 2 copies? You give your customer a copy right?:confused:

Of course you give them a copy.

Check your private messages.

Patriot Services
01-24-2012, 10:35 AM
I always fire a preemptive strike letter with their November invoice. Outlines the plan for the coming winter months and our holiday schedule. :usflag: