Dumb Potential customers.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by proline32, May 9, 2002.

  1. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Posts: 278

    Don't you just love it when you are asked to do a bid because the person asking saw the work on one of the yards that you do, so they call you out to thier home after you go thru the process of questioning them on the phone and determining that they may make good customers. Then you show up and the first thing you notice is that it appears that they fertilized the yard and that the tips of the grasses are black like they were charred or burned, the homeowner really isn't very clear to you as to what they did, and then they proceed to tell you that they won't need service till july, and that they also are getting 5(count them) five other bids!

    This was not what we discussed over the phone, and you have to wonder were you talking to someone else? So, I politely ask why they didn't explain this to me when I asked them if they were getting other bids and they said "no" on the phone that they wanted me to work for them...... But in reality, They were looking for the cheapest rate... So, I politely inform them that I am not interested in providing services for them and for them to have a good day, ( what I really wanted to say was kiss my *&^) but you just can't do that... not good for business.

    Besides, I picked up a real nice customer an hour later whose willing to pay me by the hour for work.
     
  2. Big G

    Big G LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    Unfortunately, being new in the biz and still very much in need of many more accounts, I still must go through this stuff with potential clients.

    I am never the cheapest, so I probably get one out of 6 or so that call me. I push the quality aspect and that we are insured, but bottom line is MOST of the people who respond to ads or flyers just want cheap.

    I see the job that is done on their yards after they go with the cheaper guys, that is just what they get, CHEAP JOB. Clumps of grass, sometimes even missing small areas between passes, trimming is done every other week if that, and edging never happens. These guys are in & out in 15 minutes while I'm still trimming and edging.

    The only way I will build up a significant amount of accounts is through referrals and people that see the work we do and just walk over and ask for an estimate, but pretty much have decided that they like what they see. We've gotten several of those but we still need twice as much clients as we have.

    Patience is a virtue they say, in the mean time I'll have to keep putting out flyers and dealing with the ones who mostly just want CHEAP.

    I'm not willing to be cheap or do an unprofessional job.

    Big G
     
  3. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Posts: 278

    Sometimes we have to take what we can get Big G, My first year I took what ever I could to earn income and some of them were real stinkers. I've been able to develop to a point where I now can be somewhat choosey, I do a lot more questioning on the phone to see it a potential client will suit me..... I am only looking for quality work now and customers that want quality work. I have always in the past bid a job on a flat rate and even postd here to never tell a customer how much you make an hour.... However, I am starting to tell perspective customers that I do work by the hour and that I will charge them for work performed. If they only want the yard mowed that week and no trimming that is fine, this way I don't rush a job and go good work. It's an evolution in this business that you go thru, eventually you get to doing only really good work for some pretty good customers and yes, referals are a way to build good customer base though it takes time and you will run into some losers. I certainly can't say i'm a success yet, but I am making more money than I did when I started and not working as hard for it.
     
  4. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    Proline, Big G, I've been through the same situations that you're speaking of. I 've been in business for myself for 8 years and fortunately now I can be much more selective. I also picked up some great tips on qualifying customers over the phone right here on Lawnsite. It's very important that we dictate what happens at a clients property because, after all, we are the professionals. Just keep that attitude, and if a potential client doesn't want to work with you, move on. You know there's another one coming down the pike. Looking back, I wish I had never gone along with some of the PITAs, but I was desperate for work. Good luck, Mike
     
  5. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    right ,90% of customers dont know blip about how to get, an maintain a really healthy lawn.its the ones that think they know that get in my way. ive just gotten to the point that ii tellum ,tactfully ,to get
    out of my way. old friend of mine use to say ITS HARD TO LAND A GOOD RIGHT CROSS ,WITH SOMEBODY HOLDING U ARM,. mr. Teal of wadesboro , has long since passed on.
     
  6. It seems no matter how many questions you ask a certain percentage you show up, and you realize they lied to get you there. ( I guess they think as long as you are there you'll agree to do the work) Those lawns you fear to walk on and wouldn't put your equipment on, or a $5 budget and a $100 problem, or an expert neighbor that has already told them what you will need to do. and on and on
    I just say our services do not match your needs and run.

    Sometimes I think I waste too much time trying to weed out the time wasters. They still get me-all the time.
     
  7. ADMowing

    ADMowing LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 175

    We had a REAL wild one! She stopped us on the road at the neighbors and asked us to come over and quote her yard. Promised she was going to have leveling done and trim her own trees up and clean it up so it would be easier for us to mow. So she wanted a quote based on that. We had just started into the business -- so we believed her!!! WRONG!

    We gave her our quote sheet and she asked us how it was that we decided that there were two seasons in Florida? (She is a physchologist just out of college). I told her that we didn't decide for Florida, we decided this for our business and that is how things are done. Weekly mowing from April through the end of September and every other week from October through the end of March.

    After months of her not doing any of the above to clean up her yard, we raised her price. She didn't like it, but paid it. Then she promised she would have the dogs in the house 'cause they didn't like the weedeaters and mowers at all. Her housekeeper was over talking to the neighbors one day and the dogs were in the backyard (which we didn't know) when my partner went into the back on the other side of the house with the weedeater. The dog bit my parther's pant leg, narrowly missing his leg. They offered to pay for his jeans!!!!! We were shaken, needless to say!

    AND..., this same housekeeper kept parking on the front lawn on the days were out there to mow also. We kept telling them, but she kept doing it! So, we often missed much of the yard and all of the edging in the front of the yard.

    So, then she is complaining to me about us not cutting every week in October -- mind you, that here in Florida, you don't need to mow every week in October, plus this is not our policy! She was constantly calling and trying to play head games with us. Any other customer, we probably would have mowed it once or twice more in October just to please them (extra charge).

    So I told her at that time (final straw) to find another service 'cause we were not meeting her needs and she was too much maintenance for us. Get this!!! She said that we were not allowed to quit mowing for her. I asked her if I signed anything or if she did. She said "no." I said, "then you need to find another lawn service." We have driven by the yard every Tuesday for the past five years and it still looks the same (except not mowed).

    Not our headache anymore! It seems like we still have a headache or two, but we don't tolerate as much stuff from customers as we did when we started out. We needed to get started, so we put up with much more than we would now.

    One guy cussed at me on the phone and I just told him the second time he called to find another service. We don't tolerate that at all! Respect goes both ways. Can you really work for a customer who lies to you from the onset? I'd be wary!
     

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