another fine mess i'm in

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i have a street with about 6 clients. all full service accts, great payers, no problems. thier properties are all the same size, and they all get the same services. here is my problem: when i started there, i started with one. her price was $200 per month, with the understanding that fees would increase annually by no more than 3%. it was towards the end of that season, when i started cleaning the leaves, that i realized that neighborhood should be charged a bit more. so, newcommers on that block started at $210. well, after 4 yrs, i am up to 6 on the block. they have all been talking, and are a bit upset that client #1 is getting the same service as all the rest, but paying a few bucks less. they "just want fair and equal treatment." i spent the better part of last evening with all of them on the phone. i was blessed with a gift when it comes to talking my way out of things. what i wanted to say was, " MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS, and worry about your own bill." but, this neighborhood fetches in about $15,000 a season with a few extras, and i don't care to lose them. funny part was, they all agreed they could get cheaper service, they are all VERY HAPPY with my service, wouldn't dream of switching. none of them asked for a decrease, rather, they asked that i increase the #1 client. what do you do about this?
     
  2. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 81

    Try to explain the situation. Explain that you started her lower and that she was the first. Explain that you had an agreement with her and don't care to go back on your word.

    If these people are at all reasonable, they should be able to see it. LEt me know how it goes. This is my first season out. I'm doing pretty good, but I am underbidding stuff out of ignorance...I figure it out as I go, but I still have to honor the price I quoted, or my word's worthless, right?

    Braxton
     
  3. tfilbert

    tfilbert LawnSite Member
    Posts: 61

    Explain that you had an agreement with her and don't care to go back on your word.

    If these people are at all reasonable, they should be able to see it. LEt me know how it goes. This is my first season out. I'm doing pretty good, but I am underbidding stuff out of ignorance...I figure it out as I go, but I still have to honor the price I quoted, or my word's worthless, right?

    Braxton

    RIGHT!
    Tim
     
  4. TURFLORD

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    These people are whining about a $10 difference?!! If you can change your billing system. I charge per cut, per service. If someone wants something done, it's at hourly rate. Every property is going to be a little different. Pool,trees,gate,toys,dogs,sheds,double driveways,etc. Cutting and apps. are fixed rate. By charging an "area rate", the work level at each house is going to be disproportional to the rate charged. Say leaf clean-ups for example, one house can have no trees and the next house can be all trees. Maybe this is what they're complaining about? :waving:
     
  5. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    sounds to me as though you got drunk for St. Patty's day and your hangover from drinking Zima's all night is forcing you to make up yet another story and post it on this site. Go watch the NCAA tournament if you want madness instead of driving us nutz with your Dr. Seuss tales! :D
     
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    nope turflord, there is no way i'm switching to a per cut billing system. the monthly fee, with 2 months pre pay, is gold, and i'll never change it. the properties are identical in size and environment (trees, leaves, etc). i think it's very unfair that they talk amoung themselves about fees. should i start telling them who's late on thier payments? who whines the most about prices on extras? whos check bounced? chevy shut up
     
  7. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    I can picture Booby lying on his stomach pounding the floor like a baby, kicking and screaming in his Osh Koch Begosh overalls "boohoo, someone called me out, whaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh" :cry:
     
  8. TURFLORD

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 834

    Hey Bobby. If it work for you, stick with it. I have blocks of neighbors that are all friend too. More gossip there than a sewing circle. The things that they say to me about each other... yeah buddy. In answer to your problem, If they're all still customers next week ya did something right. :)
     
  9. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    I kinda had the same problem one time. I was servicing these 6 ladies on one block and they all found out about it and.........
     
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Actually, the way you've just explained it to us makes perfect sense, and it sounds as if this would be the most reasonable rationale to explain to the customers. If they were told this, and the way it was said above that you don't want to go back on your word, that is something that there is only one thing they CAN do with the situation...that is respect it. They will respect your decision, respect your word,...and respect you. The first customer, if she gets wind of this, will respect you as well.
    I just want to add to this, that it is not all that uncommon for a company to "sell" it's way into a neighborhood...we all know that. Good luck with it.
     

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