do you really know how important neighbors are?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, May 28, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i used to time everything, to the minute. i have one stop with 4 houses in a row. all the same size, same basic layout. i was timing it, gate to gate, 65 minutes for the 4 houses. it came out exactly the same every time. so, i lost one, poor guy can't afford me anymore. anyhow, i timed the 3 houses, gate to gate, at 57 minutes. that means the other house, was only an 8 minute job, for $30. this tells me that there is more time spent than we realize to stop, get out of the truck, unload /start equipment, load it back up, etc. the additional house was only taking me 8 freakin minutes. THIS is why it is so important to group the work, one stop do the whole block. i may start offering small discounts to neighborhoods who sign up 3 or more neighbors. i'm thinkin maybe instead of $30, i'll go $27, $28. i'll still be higher than my $18-$25 counterparts
     
  2. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,449

    i have one stop with 8 houses, a few more 3's and 4's . Love not sitting in traffic paying Amigo by the hour.
     
  3. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    makes sense to me
     
  4. cajuncutter

    cajuncutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 626

    Is he just flat out broke? If not perhaps you ought to offer to do the yard for $20. That is better than 2 bucks a minute. Tell him to keep it between him and yourself and let none of the neighbors know it. Let him know you realize he is in a financial fix and you are willing to help him out by dropping his price however when times get better that you will resume at the regular price. Even if he never recovers you still won't be out much by doing it. You never know, the dude could hit the lotto or make some sort of miraculous financial recovery and remember the favor you did for him. I was rewarded greatly once for doing this for an elderly lady once, she was really on a fixed income (not one of those hopped up stories to try and cheat you out of a buck):)
     
  5. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 427


    People talk, so I wouldn't count on him keeping the discount from the neighbors. When he tells them, best case scenario is you now do them all for $20 each. Worst case, they get mad at you and drop you.

    And if you offer him a discount while he's going thru "hard times" and he takes it, I'd be REAL surprised if he comes to you and says, "Okay, I've got some more money now. Feel free to raise my rate by ten bucks!"

    Maybe I'm 100% wrong, but I don't think I would do it. At least not where several desirable accounts would be at stake.
     
  6. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    The best way for me to pick up new customers is neighbors. I now have 6 stops of 3 or more houses at once. Most of that comes from having 1 customer, adding neighbors, and then adding more neighbors. I love that. No seperate unloading, loading, driving, cleanup, etc. Get it all done at once.
     
  7. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    Damn dude, you discovered my secret. :mad:
     
  8. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    yup, I have one area where I do four houses, sometimes five right by each other. It's not bad
     
  9. FERT-TEK

    FERT-TEK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,035

    I have four jobs on this one street that I drop the trailer gate once for. Anyways, I had one customer recently drop me after 12 years of service at his house. Couple things about this job, it is a corner lot about 15K, swingset in back yard, two islands and all his landscaping is bordered by cobble stones about the size of 12"softballs. I would estimate the landscape edging at close to 250' plus the corner lot sidewalks. Claimes he wanted his lawn bagged instead of mulched. This year is the first year I bumped his weekly cost up from $25/ wk to $30wk in 12 years. Now the guy is trying to get all his neighbors to go with him to another LCO to make his job cheaper. He managed to get one more house to to switch to his new LCO with him. Oh by the way he had the guts to aks me to continue fertilizing his property since I also gave him a good price on that service. No thanks I said. I should have fertilized it one more time at double rate then dropped him. Why didn't I think of that sooner.

    If you had this happen to you please give me advise on how to keep the other 2 lawns from leaving. My pricing is competative and the raises in weekly service were long overdue. Also I didnt have a written contracts for these two houses. I was expecting them with last months bills because he kept "forgetting" to get it back to me and that is when they let me go. I feel like they played me like a fiddle. My advise to all new LCO's is get your contracts before work begins.
     
  10. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    FLC Dave,

    Let them go. Accounts are like girlfriends, it hurts when they leave but there is nothing you can really do to make them stay.

    In the future, like you said get the contract up front.
    Besides in this industry the odds of them getting good consistent service is pretty low.

    When and if they want to come back you and I both know the price just went up (again). Darn gas prices.
     

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