Do you have a Little Old Lady rate?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by A1 Grass, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. A1 Grass

    A1 Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 330

    I've read about this a lot, but it is a problem that I want to be able to handle with confidence. Ok, here goes:

    I try to be a nice guy - in general - don't care if "nice guys finish last", it's just me trying to be a good person. So whenever I get an old lady who can barely push the screen door open, my heart kinda gets mushy and I tend to price a little lower. Doesn't matter if there's a $100,000 motorhome in the driveway, I just get that way. I'm trying to get over it, but the horrified look on their faces when you give them the 2003 rate (as opposed to the 1968 rate they remember) is my soft spot. Can you tell I'm still just getting my feet wet in this business?

    I don't plan on changing the name of my business to Goodness of my Heart Landscaping anytime soon. I am trying to adhere to a new "get tough" policy, but obviously it bugs me.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    They got their money from getting paid for their work. You do the same.

    To show that she is a special customer to you, bring her a potted plant every now and again. She'll eat it up. But go up on your price ASAP. Explain why, i.e. cost of fuel these days, insurance, etc.
     
  3. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    I would say that it depends on the situation. Try your best to stick to your guns, but also know when to go a dollar or two lower. I've known a bunch of older ladies who don't have much dough to live on. However I also have known a few who have a lot of $$$. One woman, she didn't have much money to spend, however she owned a house that was probably worth close to $1,000,000 and it most likely did not have a mortgage on it due to the fact that it had been in her family for well over 100 years. No kids or husband, just a cat.
     
  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,131

    The only "little old lady" rate I have is for my 84 year old Aunt. I invoice her lawn care at 50% and don't charge at all for snow removal. All others pay full price.
     
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I must confess,...yes, I do have an "little old lady rate". However, all the little old ladies that I serve that can barely push the screen door open do not have a motor home parked in the drive. Not even a new cadillac. I know some of these folks ARTE on a tight budget, and have no other means of having their properties cared for, even by their worthless sons and grandkids that give a little extra to help out besides the "once a month cleanup visit". Our neighbors across the street, for example, the sons come and drink beer and mow the lawn about once a month. I'm real tempted to just knock on the door and offer my services, as I know this guy can afford it, but I have no access to the backyard as his gate is just narrow. He even had tru-brown spraying it last year, and I'm SURE he got took for a bunch of money by them.:rolleyes: Anything, esPECially good honest service would certainly help this guy. Something tells me, and somehow wouldn't surprise hat he has to PAY his sons to come over and do this for him, even WITH his own stuff.
     
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I don't have any drastic price range differences because in my area there is a network of little old ladies and most of them talk. If you do the low price to one and she knows Ethyl, then Ethyl calls and wants the same rate. I have reasonable rates for my customers in my area and I have a decent mix of customers. I have some high end payers that want the lawn looking good at a cost. There are some that want the lawn cut. I initially wanted lots of high enders but have found that easy going is good too.

    The little old ladies may pull your heartstrings and yes there are some that need help. I take it on a case by case basis. I can meet someone and get a pretty good idea of their situation by that first interview. I have a certain amount I have to get to make the mowers run but if I can help out by doing something extra from time to time and the person truly needs help I will help out.

    I was taken advantage by one old lady in my first year and it was a hard but good learning experience.(somehow that wasn't phrased right) 10k lawn she demanded it be push mowed, bagged and taken away for 25.00 a week. Yeeeeowww. Looking back I can't believe i did it. She had a 2500 sq ft ranch home and a new Cadillac in the garage. Of course that was before the days of Lawnsite.
     
  7. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    Exactly! Watch out for this.
     
  8. T-N-T Lawn Care

    T-N-T Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 61

    Beware of little old ladies! I learned the hard way from them. If I notice they are not well off I will give them a very small discount. The problem comes when they start wanting this and that done and expect it for free. Believe me !! They will start asking for everything. They begin to look at you as thier personal handyman.


    Tina
     
  9. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    I Have an OLD LADY Rate, One Of them Pay's Me With fried Chicken. now i Can afford To do this CAN YOU. Why don't you Try and Get Ahead First then You Can Be a Bleeding Heart Liberal.
    John
     
  10. lugnut#6

    lugnut#6 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 404

    i do yards for free for handicapped seniors,mentally disabled,etc.
    my reward will come when i leave this crappy planet!
     

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