Customer Cancels

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Meier, May 1, 2003.

  1. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    OK. Got my first cancellation from a customer today. Her lawn looks great right now after two applications.

    I went in last February and spread pre-M with 0-0-7 and treated all the broadleaf weeds. Henbit was all over the place. Did the second app first week of April. Sent her a bill for the second app last week and she calls here acting all confused. She says she thought I charged a single app price for all six apps, although I know this clearly isn't what she understood when she had 12" of flowering henbit all over her lawn at sign up.

    In this industry, do you see a lot of folks sign up for the plan in Feb/Mar when they've got broadleaf weeds all over the dormant lawn, get one app and then cancel?

    I educated her for a good 5 minutes at the time of sale about how the cultural practices and pre-emergent apps were much more important than killing the ugly weeds right now. In one ear and out the other. The lady lives three doors down from me and I've seen her out pulling weeds in the past with one of those wal-mart special garden task sit n scoots.

    I don't have any of those glossy paperwork packages explaining and selling the importance of the year round applications, but I plan to get them printed before my yellow pages ad comes out in September. Do you guys find that the glossy paperwork helps reduce cancellations?

    (FYI: The reason this lady cancelled was the price. As I mentioned, she was the very first customer to ever sign up for any of my services. At the time, I didn't have a minimum [which I do now of $32/app] and I was only charging her $24. While she was on the phone with me acting all confused, she said something along the lines of "so this is going to cost me about $170/year?" I explained that it would only be around $150, but it didn't matter with her. Too cheap I guess. Oh well.)

    Thanks,
    DFW, TX
     
  2. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 565

    I explain that each app cost $XXX and a yearly totle is $xxxxxxx

    Then I explain the cancellation process to them "if they cancel before all 5 applications are completed I reserve the right to charge them for the cost of an additional application, as a cancellation fee"

    It is fair and legal!

    Being that some applications do cost us more in materials or labor and the cost is averaged out ovet the full contract.

    Jim
     
  3. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    ++++Then I explain the cancellation process to them "if they cancel before all 5 applications are completed I reserve the right to charge them for the cost of an additional application, as a cancellation fee"++++

    I like that idea, but honestly, how many people pay the cancellation fee when they get your bill? Or do they normally agree to take another app and then cancel?

    When I worked for Chemlawn during the summers in college, I never knew what percentage would take the henbit app in Feb/mar and then cancel afterwords. As far as I know, Chemlawn doesn't have any cancellation fees or anything like that...their customers can just call up and cancel at any time.

    Do any in this industry charge more for the feb/mar app when the demand is there and charge less for the other apps?

    I'm guessing the folks in this industry see a lot more demand during the feb/mar period when the grass is dormant and the broadleaves are taking over.

    Thanks,
    DFW, TX
     
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    meier, this is why i i get paid paid for the whole program, at time of signing. this is just one of the games customers will play with you. there are many more, such as: my lawn looks bad, im not paying for your last visit. or, please dont put anything down, we are on a water restriction. or, lets skip this app, the lawn is looking pretty good, i dont think we need it. get paid, in full, in advance
     
  5. masterpiece1

    masterpiece1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    That is part of the business. She is cheap and just wanted to see how far she could push you. Shame on her. Forget her and go out and get better quality customers. You will lose a few here and there but have faith as your customers list continue to grow. I got taken advantage of badly when I first started because I needed the customers and they knew it.
     
  6. You live and learn, just play that game better then her.

    Spell it out on paper from now on.
     
  7. vegomatic40

    vegomatic40 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 6
    Posts: 406

    This a prime example of why I push pre-payment (and the discount I offer) so hard. That way your overhead is covered and your not left eating the costs for pre-emergents. labor, insurance etc. I understand the frustration of explaining the program and have them cancel all too well. I try to do a little fishing on the initial inquiry from the customer and if they sound like they are "one shot wonders" I jack up the price accordingly to cover the eventual cancellation. I also look for clues when doing the estimate. Unfinished projects in the lawn, homes that are for sale etc. Sometimes it is based on just a feeling and only a ton of experience can teach you that I'm afraid.
     

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