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View Full Version : Question for northern lawn care owners


lawnman_scott
02-29-2004, 08:42 PM
I see people talking about signing up new customers this time of year, and have a question. At this time of year how many customers do you have lined up as opposed to last year? Do your customers from last year let you know that they want your service again early or wait till the last minute? I work year round here, and lose a few in winter, but no big deal. I think i lost 7 this winter, but probably picked up 10 including a big commercial, so I'm actually better off now that I was when our "winter" started. I would just be a nervous wreck if i didnt have anything to count on. Just curious.

specialtylc
02-29-2004, 08:51 PM
I lost 2 small commercial accounts this year. Change of ownership they found some one cheaper. Im not worried because we were turning work away last year . More will come. My major customers are on a 3 year contract. The ones not on contract I contact in febuary for renewal.

workaholic
02-29-2004, 09:00 PM
We have not lost any customers since we started in 1990. But i have weeded out some customers and before i did that i made sure i had 1 to replace. But to anwser your question most commerical accounts will tell you they no longer need your services at the end of your mowing year. Residential customers could be kind and give you notice others might tell you the first day you show up in the spring. Anyways i wouldnt worry about it if you have not heard anything buy now. GOOD LUCK.....

lawnman_scott
02-29-2004, 09:05 PM
im not worried, i work all year. I was just wondering how you guys do it.

lawnlubber
03-01-2004, 01:44 AM
I take the time to build a personal as well as professional relationship with my clients. This time is invaluable to my business for a number of reasons. Primarily my clients are intensely loyal, they repeatedly give me new business through WOM, in fact I haven't advertised in years. I don't use contracts, I've never had a problem with being ripped off by my clients, and I'm not worried that they won't want me in the spring. They usually want to be assured I will be there for them. I have also been able to learn so much from them, most of them are seniors with life experience ranging from accounting to attorney to horticulture professor to missionary they all have much to share.

bastalker
03-01-2004, 01:45 AM
I always ask the clients when the season is winding down if they would like us to continue service next year. At the same time I ask if they would like us to plow.

I am now calling, an setting up spring cleanups, an mulch apps. If over the winter they change thier minds, this is when I find out. Haven't had any problems so far...

promower
03-01-2004, 02:30 AM
Hey lawnrubber whats the name of your company, just wondering if I have seen you around.

mtdman
03-01-2004, 03:19 AM
I just sent out my renewal letters. I usually send these out in March, with any price rate changes, new services, etc. I'd say I get about a 95% renewal rate from year to year. And those that don't I don't worry about, I can always pick up more work to replace them. Turnover is inevitable, and sometimes good. As long as it's not a huge number, I'm not worried about it.

New customers are mostly added in March April and a few in May. I haven't had a whole lot of new customers in the past few years, haven't had to advertise too much for it. But when I do, it's those 3 months that matter the most. In the fall, I advertise for aeration and leaf cleanup a bit more.

I have considered re-signing people in the fall at the end of the season. I am not sure how that would go. Inevitably, people move, die, change their minds. I go for 4 months without contact with most of my customers, I'd have to send out some kind of communication in the spring anyhow to my customers letting them know start dates, etc.

That's about it.

bobbygedd
03-01-2004, 08:38 AM
lawnman scott, we have a customer base from last season. what we do is send renewel notices out in january. we get almost all of our clients back. then, to increase our client base, we advertise for the upcomming season, which starts roughly april 1st, pending weather. generally, for our area, the method is simple. if you start your first year with 10 clients, by seasons end, you may lose one or two for various reasons. so you carry over 8-9 clients, and try to add to that the next season, and so on, and so on. by the time u reach 40, 50, 60 clients, losing one or two means nothing, it doesn't put a dent in the big picture, and one or two are easily replaced.

CNYScapes
03-01-2004, 09:51 AM
We are about 5-6 weeks from the start of our mowing season and I will be sending out my renewal forms this week. Im sure I will lose a few, but I will also pick up a few in the next month.

Acute Cut
03-01-2004, 10:31 AM
I spent all last week calling last years customers that were not year around. I think i lost like 6. They said they 'werent sure" what they were going to do yet, but i took that as im looking for cheaper service. no biggie to me.

Big news though is i start my season........ TODAY! My crew will be here in 10 minutes. AM SO EXCITED TO GET BACK TO MOWING! WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

odin
03-01-2004, 12:04 PM
i sent renewal notices in jan...with terms of the contract for the upcomeing season.....lost 5 due to moveing out of state and 2 old folks died ...so i will put out some doorhangers get them and a few more back....im going to get my neices and nephews off their asses and put the doorhangers out this week.