20 years mowing the same lawn.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by David Haggerty, Mar 19, 2003.

  1. I just had a "meeting" yesterday with a customer. I've been mowing this same factory for over 20 years. 3 years for the new owners.
    The "meeting" turned out to be a bid for the job!
    He explained "I hafta' get competitive bids but-I'm-sure-you'll-get-the-job."

    YEAH RIGHT!

    I've never raised the price since they moved in. 7.5 acres of sod cut up into little nasty parcels with curbs, chain link fences, streams to trim plus a lot of it's ditches and banks on a 45 degree slope so that I have to use a 4 wheel drive mower. And talk about trash! Oak 4x4's truckers throw in the lawn, steel banding and plastic shrink wrap everywhere!

    I mow and trim this stinker for $350/cut. Cut and billed only as needed. And they have the nerve to take bids on it? Some people don't know when they're well off! :dizzy: :dizzy:

    I'm just blowing off steam, sore at myself for not taking up for myself better.
    What I should have said was; $350 per cut? no-o-o-o-o that was just an old price that was grandfathered in. If you're taking bids, I want to recalculate my price!

    Has anybody else experienced such an incredible lack of loyalty and/or common sense?
    Whatever happened to "If it ain't broke don't fix it"?


    Dave
     
  2. lawnmutt

    lawnmutt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    Man what a slap in the face but I know how ya feel. I have a church property (my church) that I bid on every year. They want it in writing. After a heated business meeting where they point out the trash on the property(that was not there that morning). You just want to increase it so that it would be well worth all the headaches.

    Some people can catch me so off guard I stand there with my mouth open muttering. after the fact I do the "I should of" or the "I wish I would of" bit.

    Hey if you didn't hand in anything in writing it's not too late to raise your price and make your point.

    just a thought

    Marty

    God bless our troops.
     
  3. AGG Lawn Maintenance

    AGG Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    from Elberon
    Posts: 422

    I feel your pain. I used to do Landscaping along with the maintenance. I stopped doing landscaping years ago. I can't stand bidding on jobs over and over again and losing to a extremely low bid. It took hours to draw up and nothing. Now we only doing landscaping once and a while. I don't mind bidding and losing to a lower bidder. In most cases it does'nt take me that long to bid.
    Of coarse their is more money in landscaping but to much time in between of no money. I like the bread and butter of maintenance. You bid on a job pick it up and keep working. With landscaping you bid on a job do the work and hey I'll see you next year or so. Maybe just my experience who knows.
    Anyway 20 years on the same house shows you were doing something right. Some people are a penny smart and a dollar stupid. If you don't get the job this year I'm sure they will call you back after the other guy messes up. The question is will you take them back? Travis
     
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    that stinks david, but i think mabe the company mite be in trouble ,and the guys getting pressure from above.
    im mostly residential ,but im seeing tightning belts all over.
     
  5. djsmokin

    djsmokin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 127

    David,

    Been there and had that happen to me in another business.

    Looks like the head bean counter thinks it can be cheaper, or they have had someone tell them they would do it cheaper.

    Sounds like it was time for a higher weekly figure so you should bid it like it's a new account. If anyone low balls you I would bet the job will not look as good as they like it and you will be called back anyway.

    I vote, bid and raise the price and don't look back. Be sure and put some things in the bid reply they may not have listed like...Insurance, license, and all the services you can offer. Good Luck. Dj
     
  6. Andrew S

    Andrew S LawnSite Member
    Posts: 150

    I lost a large commercial account to the cleaners who were 40% cheaper. I had been mowing the property without incident or complaint for five years.A new facility manager came along and thought he would cut costs go figure.

    If customers are very difficult or really upset me,I increase the price more frequently,I never tell them I don't want them anymore,they can either let me go (their decison)or put up with my very regular price increases.

    unfortunatley I have found that some customers have short memories of past good service and no loyalty whatsoever

    thanks

    Andrew
     
  7. BAMARED

    BAMARED LawnSite Member
    Posts: 206

    David,

    Don't take this situation personally. I feel AWN hit the nail on the head. Many companies/corporations are in "financial straits" and are instructing their managers to cut every corner possible that's known to mankind. The company that I work for makes the employees themselves take care of the store lawn. We used to use a local LCO to do this, but due to the trimming of expenses, etc., the employees now do it in their spare time (what little of that is available to due the skeletalization of our workforce.)

    Again, don't take this personally. It's happening everywhere.

    Take care,

    BAMARED
     
  8. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    The same thing happen to a LCO in Chattanooga, Tn He had this account sence 1962 he lost this to a low life who under cut this over 50,000.00 per year. so if this low life reads this you see what we thing about you.
     
  9. I have to take most of the blame for taking the job for granted.
    I should have been doing a little more customer "hand holding" which is the part of this work I don't like.

    I've found that once a job's gone, it's gone for good. I only ever got one back, and I really didn't want them back. The guy that had underbid me just didn't show up.

    Times aren't tough for these people. He was bragging they're doing twice the business they did last year.
    The thing is, after years of putting me off on on any sort of improvements, now that things are looking up for them they're thinking about a "better" lawn service. These people wouldn't even approve mulch for the shrub beds! Of course it could look better.

    I think I'll offer them some "free" core aeration and topdressing with compost as an incentive to keep me on.
    But just enough of the free topdressing to make the rest of the lawn look like ****. Then sell them topdressing for the rest of the lawn.

    Dave
     
  10. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,555

    Dont even get me started on customer loyalty.Ive found out the hard way there is no loyalty in this business.Same for snowplowing.:(
     

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