Frustrated about my up-coming season

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BRIAN GALLO, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. BRIAN GALLO

    BRIAN GALLO LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    I need to vent! Man, I need a new customer base. I was out today delivering my annual "spring is coming" letter to my lawn accounts. No sooner do I get home and the calls start coming in. I find out that 2 of my customers are now in nursing homes (went in over winter) and more might be on the way! Add to this the customers I lost last fall to moving, the nursing home and death! I also get a call today from one of my good customers that says they don't want me to spray Roundup in the beds anymore because they are convinced that it is killing the shrubs - and from now on they want all hand weeding! I tried to tell them that the shrub deaths were due to diseases, but they didn't want to hear it. I am getting so sick and tired of always trying to "educate" my customers and having it fall on deaf ears! It doesn't seem to matter what the lawn care issue is, they don't want to think things can be done any other way. And the kicker is...they all want premium service (which I give them), but want to pay a lowballer's price!
     
  2. grassgobbler

    grassgobbler LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3

    This may help you. Go to mistermagnets.com. They have magnetic bussiness card that are full color. 2500 for $362. I have gotten great response from them by putting them on peoples mail boxes. I'm still getting calls from people from last years hand out. Good luck!!
     
  3. Commander

    Commander Banned
    Posts: 116

    I hear ya Brian. I lost one of my best accounts this winter (moved out of country). Ya know how I am going to cope with it? I am going to replace them with the new people in the house who are doing MASSIVE construction to an already big house. They don't need me now though because the lawn is gonna go to heck anyways. Try to market to those people who moved into your old houses. They probably will want lots of new landscaping done. As for those who went into homes, their kids may now own their houses, and if not then the house probably went up for sale. Just new people to market to. As for spraying the round-up. Why were you using round-up and not some form of pre-emergent? Also weeding by hand is not a bad thing. It's a good money maker. "Ok. We can do this the environmentally friendly way." I have several people who pay for hand weeding because they will not allow pesticides near their properties.
     
  4. millsmowing

    millsmowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    Thats the nature of the business when customers are senior citizens. Even though they go into nursing homes and sometimes pass on they are usually the best customers when they are around. Sure they are picky sometimes but they are always the fir
    st ones to pay their bill each month. Cherish them while you have them.
     
  5. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 738

    No offense to our seasoned citizens out there, but they are tough to work for at times. When you're 18 you think you know everything. When you're 70 plus, you're tired of people telling you what they know and they just want to make decisions to be in control of their life since they aren't in control of so many other things (their health, etc.).

    Older customers are not bad customers, in fact, they can be very good. They're stable and pay their bills, but they may complain a little more and tell you how to do your job.

    Younger customers may move tomorrow since their company promoted them, etc. You might have a tough time telling a younger person that quality maintenance practices will increase their property value and it's a good investment. You can't get them to stand still for 10 minutes anyways since the cell phone is ringing and the kids are screaming and they don't know if they're going to be in the house in 6 months.

    I've found that we have been very successful in targeting homeowners who have been in their home for less than 3 years. They are done working on the inside, or they're ready to make changes on the outside. Most of our new work (in our older neighborhoods) comes from those who just moved into the house within the last couple of years. They tend to be younger (under 40) and with families. Very stable. It's a good market. And they aren't going to move into nursing homes next week.

    Brian, I don't know where you or what your demographics look like, but try some new neighborhoods. Keep your head up... keep advertising and they'll come to you.
     
  6. MATTHEW

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Posts: 665

    Little old ladies will always be your toughest customers.
     
  7. TOSLC

    TOSLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 175

    Have you thought about changing your target market? Or at least adding a mix to the basket? It's the old saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket." I had an elderly lady last year, with a very large property, and larger checkbook that I had to drop. Sure she could keep me busy forty hours a week, but what happens when we disagree, or she passes on? I decided then I would diversify my market. Some old, some young, some upper class, some middle, some residential, some commercial. So far it's working great, and I have a "sense" of security!

    Plan for the worst, expect the best!
     
  8. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Posts: 278

    I generally find elderly customers are the best when it come to paying your bill's though many of them are on a fixed income and really can't afford what I'm charging.

    Recently, I have taken my business cards and taped them to doors of neighborhoods and have gotten several new accounts this way. You just sometimes have to be persistant and keep at them.

    I personally do not offer any weed pulling anymore, I got tired of people getting pissed at me when I told them that weed pulling was on an hourly basis and that it would be 30.00 plus tax per manhour for the service. to many folks think they should only pay 15 bucks at the most around here so I gave it up and swiched to white vinegar as a killer and the use of casoron granule or some pre-emergent weed controller to keep weed down in beds. If a customer demands weed pulling from me I just politely inform them that it will be 30.00 per hour plus tax period, I find that these people then do the weed pullin themselves or hire some local kid to do it for dirt cheap and that is fine, I really don't care.
     
  9. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915




    This is what old people do! Many of them feel that we owe them the world. Bite me! I'm here to make money so that I have enough when I'm an old cooter poot to hire a lawn service also. I have one retired guy and he isn't too bad, but I really could care less if I loose him. I haven't called him back for this season yet and don't know that I will. I suggest some of you market elsewhere.
     

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