After 4.5 years...no more new bi-weekly clients

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Existing bi-weekly clients are grandfathered in. But we are not taking any new bi-weekly lawn mowing clients.

    Several reasons for this decision:

    1.) Cancellation rates with bi-weekly clients are about 5X that of a weekly client who also takes our chemical program. They just don't stay on the schedule. What do bi-weekly clients do? They cancel.

    2.) When clients call to order service, explaining the bi-weekly option and the fert restrictions and the reasons for the fert restrictions takes entirely too long. The people who ask about bi-weekly are generally poorer and less educated and often don't get it on the first explanation. I can close a weekly client in less than 10 minutes. The bi-weekly sales pitch (and close), when I have to go over it, goes 15 to 20 minutes. They get twice as much of my time for half the annual revenue.

    3.) Bi-weekly clients acount for roughly 20% of our client base but EASILY account for 50% of all complaints. They focus on price when they sign up but after that 100% of the focus is on quality. They don't understand why their lawn doesn't look as nice around summer solstice, when the grass is growing faster, as compared to the way it did in the early spring or late fall when the grass was growing slower.

    4.) Heavy rains in the DFW metroplex for 3 straight months means our bi-weekly clients have gotten away with murder. Our crews are spending the maximum allowable time on these lawns without having to charge by the hour. If you charge by the hour for mowing a jungle, often times they get mad and cancel.

    5.) They pretend they don't remember our fert restrictions and if you confront them with it they act like their lawn is special and even with fertilizer it just doesn't grow fast enough to warrant weekly service.

    6.) If you call them and ask them to switch to weekly, even for a little while, because the grass is growing too fast, they ALWAYS respond with "I just can't afford it."

    7.) Since moving to mandatory next day credit cards, we have been stiffed for a mow by 11 clients. 9 of the 11 were bi-weekly mowing clients.

    8.) The credit cards of bi-weekly clients are two or three times as likely to decline as a weekly mowing client's credit card.

    9.) If the gate is locked or another reason prevents us from mowing the back lawn, they will always call to have us return to mow the back at no charge. The weekly clients are less likely to make that call because they are only a week away from the next mow. Our policy is to not charge for returning to mow a back lawn.

    The most important reason for this decision is simply the cancellation rate. If the bi-weekly clients were staying long term, I'd probably be willing to tolerate them. But they are such unlikely candidates to turn into long term clients, it is a bad investment of my time to pitch them in the first place.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    YYYaaaa ..... GGggooo BUNDY !

    I hear ya ....No Single Cuts ....No Bi -Weekly's

    Yearly Contracts or the hi-way
     
  3. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,667

    DFW, what do you do if it's really dry for extended periods of time? I'm asking because of that other thread, people saying they haven't cut in 4 weeks etc.

    anyway, I have heard some of those very complaints myself this spring. It's only my second year in lawns and I'm not nearly as organized as I should be but Bi-weekies I tell them NO fert (cause I want to do it) then I find a sign on their lawn.
    I lost a couple jungle types, I told them it needs weekly period. Clumps everywhere, when they didn't budge I just did as fast a job as possible without cutting it twice, blew the clumps and they cancelled.

    A couple went weekly though and a couple more are actually very thin grass that's easily cut.
     
  4. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,667

    Do they have an option to sign up online? I believe just mow it has that. I was trying to implement something along those lines this spring (because basically I just copy everyone as best I can) but I waited too long and got too busy. But if they could sign up online it might limit your phone calls and may give you a chance to cherry pick who you want to upsell.
     
  5. lawnboy dan

    lawnboy dan LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,712

    do you get coffie for closing?
     
  6. Rob.C

    Rob.C LawnSite Member
    Posts: 157

    I totaly agree they are a pain in the ass, They dont have brains...They exspect to pay little and get everything for free. I tell them this "if your grass is to high u will get charged 1.5 x cost due before I cut it", and I charge a lot more per cut for a bi-weekly customer.
     
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,317

    Bi-weekly mowing breaking the back of the 21" mowit kind of boys this year .......lot of rain have these yards real tall.....we watch them suffer. Hate to see them get out of bi-weekly business if you got the mower to cut it it don't take ANY longer.
     
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    The Ferris 32 Hydro would cut these lawns, no problem. The Honda 21's struggle. I know the Dallas Monsoon season is over and it'll probably never happen again.

    Problem with large mowers is the damage they can cause. The 21's don't cause much damage at all. The large walk behinds on small residential are an accident waiting to happen AND they're a complaint factory. So I am stuck with 21's exclusively.

    That is not the reason for the decision. The decision is based almost entirely on my spreadsheet, which tells me verbatim, the bi-weekly clients just don't stay long term. They are here today and gone tomorrow. There are exceptions, but by and large, they don't stick around long enough to warrant me investing 40 minutes selling then and getting them set up in the computer and welcome letters sent out. Plus, I look forward to the reduction in complaints as they churn off the schedule.

    What do bi-weekly clients do? They cancel.

    Period.

    Not wasting my time pitching them anymore. I've already been turning them down for about a month now anyway. The client base continues to grow without them.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  9. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,522

    I disagree with not taking any longer. Reason is I have a 36" Exmark w/ a 15 Kawi and a 36" Scag Z-Cat w/ a 19 Kawi. Both of these mowers have been bogging down on most of my bi-weekly accounts. I made the decision 6 weeks ago that I wouldn't accept any more new bi-weekly accounts because of the very same reasons DFW has mentioned. I have converted some of the existing bi-weeklys to weekly for the rest of this month and then we will reaccess the situation.
     
  10. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,157

    Looks like Ed Hess will be picking up some more clients. None of my Bi-weekly customers are a pain. We charge them more for this option of Bi-weekly mowing. Its Explained thorughly why we should cut weekly thou. It doesnt take long to weed out the pita ones thou ? I do Agree on some Things you stated DWF ,Good Luck !
     

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