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Catering to Elderly/senior citizens

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by firebox700, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. firebox700

    firebox700 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 121

    Just curious....anyone in the business try to cater to the elderly/senior citizens as their main customer base? I know it would be hard to only have them as your customer base but wonders if its do-able and worth trying to base your business around them. In my mind they are the ones that really need the service of lawncare and deserve to get good service and fair prices. Like I said, just a question and I did do a search first.
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  2. clipperslawnservice

    clipperslawnservice LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    I have several and they dont want to pay sh!t, and only want cut bi-monthly. im thinking of droping all of them next season. prob. going to raise prices= fired or will make it worth the pita!
     
  3. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Posts: 1,267

    and actually if you think of it, its discrimination by age. Why should the older person get the lower price then the younger person who may be on low income? just throwing it out there. Ill try to drop the price a little but im not taking 10% off or anything like that becaue as clipper said they are a pain in the ass
     
  4. grass pro llc

    grass pro llc LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Posts: 62

    amen!!!!!!!
     
  5. firebox700

    firebox700 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 121

    I didn't mean they should get a better price. I worded that wrong. Anyways, I definietly got my answer! Thanks for the replies.
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  6. Curtis

    Curtis LawnSite Member
    Posts: 162

    Hey when you get old how do you want to be treated ? Ever read that verse you reep what you sow . When you are younger you have the ability to earn more than an elderly person can , sometimes it's a choice between your medicine or getting the grass cut .
     
  7. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,038

    most elderly people are on fixed incomes so its "thats alittle more then i wanted to pay '' or " can i call you when i need it again" 3 weeks later its not my fault they cant afford the lawncare or how we schedual them , they can just get someone else to mow their lawns .
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    I consider most elderly people we work for to be charity work. If you're planning to build your business around it, you can do it. But you're never going to get rich doing that. The majority just don't have the money.

    Now in my area there are essentially 2 classes of "elderly" people. The well off - who live in big nice homes up in the hills. And most of the rest, who live in retirement communities or older broken down homes. By retirement communities, I don't mean an assisted care facility. Around here, at least, there are entire neighborhoods and sub-divisions with hundreds of real homes in them (all one-level, all smaller in size) and you have to be 55+ to buy a home there.

    The people in the first set are great customers. They pay our rates without question, don't ask for discounts, and are glad to pay for extras because they have money and have managed their finances well throughout their lives. The people in the second set are almost always total cheapskates, on a fixed income, always want extras for free, and always expect a huge discount on everything.

    I don't usually even take calls in the second area. It's just a waste of my time - almost always. Our rates are double what they would like to pay. So there's no since in wasting their time either. But occasionally I get a referral into an area like that or end up getting a really good lead in an area like that (like for installing a large paver patio) and then as soon as the neighbors see my truck, I usually have 2 or 3 neighbors asking me for a bid for a small clean-up or something. In those cases, I know I can't give them a competitive price so often I'll just lower my price just out of compassion for them. Again, I consider it charity work. We're big enough that I can afford to do a few jobs each year at a loss, if I want to. So I'll just be very considerate and patient with them and give them basically a smokin' deal and then try to get out of that neighborhood before anyone else stops me.

    The funny thing is that even when I am basically giving them the job at a huge discount from our regular prices, a lot of them STILL don't hire us. Again, they just don't have the money.

    I do know 2 LCOs who specialize in working JUST in those kinds of communities - just doing maintenance and light landscaping in those smaller elderly communities. They make "okay" money because they can get so many homes in a row. I know one guy who takes care of up to 40 per day with one crew because each yard is so small. One guy just mows and then goes next door and mows and then on to the next house, all the way down the street. The next guy follows with the edger and maybe a third guy follows with a blower. In, Out, Quick, Fast, Cheap. But even with that, those guys don't ever make any really good money. They're never going to make 6 figures like I do. I'm not bragging. It's just a fact that you're never going to make really good money servicing those clients. Maybe if you lived in Sun City, AZ where like 95% of the residents are elderly and maybe if you got 5000 accounts or something. But realistically, for most of us there just aren't enough of those clients to ever really make good money.

    In this business, it's wise to follow where the money is. If you want to be nice and do charity work on the side and have a route in an elderly community, awesome! But don't plan on making really good money doing that. You'll be disappointed and always frustrated with your clientele.
     
  9. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,741

    I think it is actually more complicated than just the fact as to whether someone is on "fixed" income or not, and their ability, or desire, to pay. I'm old enough at 58 to have grown up when most of the older people I knew, including my parents, were alive during the Great Depression, which makes the situation we now find outselves in look like a Sunday picnic.

    Those lessons learned then were acquired the hard way, and many elderly people simply are extremely tight with money. Many people in their 70's and 80's, even if they don't remember the Depression themselves, remember the stories, and growing up dirt poor, and I think there is always a little bit of fear of one day having to do without in the back of their minds. The current economic situation has made a lot more people realize that can actually happen. Inflation has also taken a toll on retirement income, even for many of those who planned well.

    That said, I also agree that one, to a certain extent, has to ignore this when you have a business to run. If you can do a job, and make a reasonable profit, then fine, but if not, leave those jobs to little Johnny down the street.
     
  10. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    I don't really like to work for elderly people. I have some customers that are retired and they are also some of my best customers. But on the other hand I have some PITA elderly customers. They always complain about how their lawn looks and it is never good enough. I think I would go crazy if most of my customers were elderly.
     

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