The Green Industry's Resource Center

Old 04-17-2012, 03:01 PM
mlavin73 mlavin73 is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Layton, NJ
Posts: 180
Ideas on getting customers to commit to service earlier

Was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to get customers to tell you early on in the season if they will be using your services again for the year. Every year I always think I am losing a handful of customers because I don't hear back from them after I send my proposals out. Sure enough as soon as their lawn is a foot tall I get the call from them. I always send my proposals for the season out on March 1st. I've always included in the proposal "While we will be taking on additional customers this season, our loyalty is with our existing customers who made the 2011 season a success". Does anyone have any advice to add into my proposal to generate the calls earlier? My challenge is, as a solo operator, I turn away most requests for new work because I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. I pride myself in doing the best job possible and can only ensure that if I have the right amount of customers for what I can handle.

My next question is what do you do with that customer who then calls after the lawn is overgrown? In the past 5 years in business I generally just ate the cost of making it look right (assuming they don't want a clean-up). I've been fine with that because I have great customers who promptly pay on time, recommend me to friends, neighbors, etc. This is my 6th year in business and I have only had 1 customer beat me out of 1 mow. I would double, triple cut or whatever just to make it look right. Plus my truck is lettered so everyone knows who does the work and I want to make sure all my properties look their best. With rising fuel, insurance costs I don't think it's fair for me to eat the cost of making things right. Any ideas on verbiage I can add to my proposal to help my customers understand the importance of notifying me earlier?

Thanks for any input.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 03:45 PM
NYLawns NYLawns is offline
LawnSite Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Phoenix, NY
Posts: 38
I think there was a similar post on this. It came out to the landscaper just saying "see you next year" or sending your clients a letter asking them to call you and cancel otherwise you will continue as usual.
Landscaping & Mowing
Phone: 315-313-3271

Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 04:08 PM
StanWilhite StanWilhite is online now
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Decatur AL
Posts: 1,973
an icentive?

My "n" key quit working! :-) Meant incentive.
Maybe offer a slight discount or a free service if they sign up by a certain time.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 05:18 PM
weeze's Avatar
weeze weeze is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: weezertonfieldville, AL
Posts: 6,704
that's just how some people are. they don't wanna start paying until april sometimes. i've never understood it myself. to me you start cutting when the grass starts growing but some wanna wait until april regardless and the grass is a foot tall.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 05:27 PM
grandview (2006)'s Avatar
grandview (2006) grandview (2006) is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lancaster N.Y.
Posts: 3,479
Grab a beer and make a few calls and ask if they will be coming back because you starting cutting in X weeks.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 05:56 PM
knox gsl's Avatar
knox gsl knox gsl is online now
LawnSite Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: knoxville, tn
Posts: 4,403
I don't ask, they know when its time to get started that we will be there unless they have other plans and tell me. I only send out letters if there is a price increase something along the lines of- Stuff cost me more so its going to cost you more, thank you. I had one to cancel this year and I rasied her price by $7 per week and was hoping she would go away. Everyone else is back into the swing and willing to pay a few more dollars a week. I think we serviced all current customers for the first time the week of March 15.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 06:35 PM
Outdoors_Unlimited's Avatar
Outdoors_Unlimited Outdoors_Unlimited is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oxford, Michigan
Posts: 450
My agreements auto renew, meaning if I don't need to increase the price, and they don't call to cancel, I continue on as usual.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 07:49 PM
Weekend cut easymoney Weekend cut easymoney is offline
LawnSite Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Texas-The Hilly part
Posts: 3,921
Tell them in February your schdule is almost full and were wondering if they wanted for you to reserve a spot for them for the next year-

we offer a 3 percent discount for paying upfront for the entire year---buying 'x' number of mowings....everything else is extra (or you could figure on a certain number of hedge trimmings etc and all additional work...allow them to make three or so payments....)
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 09:42 PM
Roger Roger is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: McMurray, PA
Posts: 5,892
I don't use contracts, but a simple letter of understanding. I send it out in early March, saying " ... do the same as last year ..." including any price adjustments. The last paragraph is a negative-only reply statement. In other words, we are good to go, UNLESS I hear otherwise.

I learned many, many years ago that asking for a positive response didn't work -- just as you are finding out. Nearly all of my customers continue, but occasionally somebody will opt out. They understand the negative-only response, and will make contact promptly, without offense.

I think you are much better off with negative-only responses, instead of expecting positive-only ones.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2012, 11:38 PM
LawnoftheMonth's Avatar
LawnoftheMonth LawnoftheMonth is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 355
Thank them for last year's business and inform them when you will resume service, unless they notify you otherwise. Call the ones back that notify you to discontinue or tell you to wait a month or so, tell them why it's important to start earlier than they think (to scalp before it gets hot, keep weeds down, etc).
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Layout Style:

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Grand View Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:27 PM.

Page generated in 0.09625 seconds with 10 queries