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Another clean up story

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tiedeman, Nov 8, 2005.

  1. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    Ok, so I have a lady that has been a customer for the last 5 years. She is right next door to two other customers that I maintain. She is the lowest priced lawn care customer, $25, that I have and smallest property approx 4,500 sq ft. Really good customer, but the last 2 years her budget has decreased greatly, which I can understand that because my prices have increased.

    So basically doesn't have me cut it as much, or fertilize like I used to. I used to prune shrubs, weed beds, edge, etc. I mean used to give her the full service system, but know it's just the basic lawn maintenance, spring and fall clean up.

    So this fall she has only had me do a brief clean up when I mowed the lawn back in the first part of October. It really was nothing special because there were no leaves on the ground. Well the last month I have been hounding her to get some clean ups done because of how bad her leaves are getting. I normally do about 3 clean ups a fall season for her.

    Finally, today she decided that it was time for a fall clean up and price it out for her. Well, I know that she is on a limited budget, she has been a customer for 5 years, and she is right beside the two other customers, so I decided to give her a price break. So I price it out really cheap for her at $180. That is about $50 cheaper than I normally would charge.

    "Wow, that is too much," she said.

    "Well, what do you expect, you haven't had me come and do any clean ups in the past month, and so the price is right, in fact I am giving you a break," I told her.

    "Well, how about if you do only the front lawn?" she asked.

    "The front lawn is the worst, that is going to be probably around $108," I said.

    "Let me think about it," she said.

    That really makes me mad though. I give her a price break, she only wants one clean up done when all my other customers I demand multiple clean ups, and to make matters worse if I was to do multiple clean ups for her, the total amount of those 3 would probably be close to $450. So she is saving a lot of money. Just kind of makes me mad. I am seriously thinking about letting her go.
  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i think old people need to make up thier minds...if it's really that bad, make a choice, do u want to eat, or have the yard work done? i mean, if she can't afford it, she should get the bare minimum
  3. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    It isn't just the old. The lazy are in this category too.

    Too lazy to get an education, too lazy to work 2 jobs or at least full-time at one. Too lazy to cut their own yard. And for this we should bust our back and charge them below cost or be hasseled about our "outrageous" prices.


    have a come to Jesus meeting with her and tell her how things work. Then let her decide if she wants to remain a customer. I find that retention is about 40% with this, but of those 40% I no longer have any problems.
  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    This last year has been a headache with her. She is the ONLY customer that I call up a couple days in advance to make sure she wants her lawn mowed for the week. I do it out of being nice becaue I know she is on a tight budget. But this year might have been the final straw. I just hate to lose her because she is right by two other properties and it's only 4,500 sq ft.

    M RASCOE&SONS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,475

    I Have A Customer Like Her That Is On A Tight Budget So I Presented Her With A Couple Of Options ,1) I Do The Cleanup For $200 Or 2) She Rakes The Leaves To The Curb In A Big Pile And I Will Come Suck Them Up For $50 She Paused For A Moment Lookin At The Entire Yard And Said Go Ahead And Do The Whole Cleanup For $200.
  6. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    this may sound stupid, but I am thinking of letting her pay it over 4 months on a flat rate This way I am also assured money during the slow winter months
  7. lawn_pro

    lawn_pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    you gotta get rid of her.....just not worth it
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    this is not stupid at all. i'll do payment plans too. get a signature though, she's old right? if she croaks, somebody gots to pay the bill. i'll never forget when ole peach pitt kicked the bucket ( we nicknamed her that, cus she busted her tooth when she accidentally took a hard bite into a peach, and hit the pitt) . i sent 3 bills, all unanswered, then i was driving by one day and saw her kids cleaning out the house. i walked in without knocking, "i'm bob the lawn guy, who's in charge of payin this bill? " i got my dough
  9. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,246

    I go with you bobby, I'm in the same area as tiedeman and he will get taken care of. we do the samething sometimes if the people don't have all the money.:)
  10. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    I think we all have clients like this and can feel their pain. I have had some clients for 14 years and longer. There were 2 very old ladies that insisted in living in their house until they no longer could (2 separate clients). I know they didn't have much money. I also new the landscaper who cut their lawn. He had them for the past 25 years. When he told me he hadn't charged them for the last 4 years I decided to fo the same. Every time I go I have piece of mind that I am doing something nice for someone, and the cookies are great too...

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