getting rid of pita customers and getting all contracts.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by QualityLawnCare4u, May 24, 2005.

  1. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Hello, how has everyone been? Ive been in the lurking mode lately but have a question. This week I had 3 clients call me and ask me to skip because their yard was not all that bad, One wants me to call him every Tues. to see if his needs doing,( for 7 years he has wanted this) went to two that had already been mowed by whoever, no phone call telling me anything, and I ran into a clients daughter-in-law in the store Friday that told me her MIL did not want me doing her yard anymore, was going to do it herself (was my third biggest income maker). Did not even have the gall to tell me herself when I got my check last Thurs. This account and two more was the ones I bought the bigger mowers for (I no longer have a single one of the accounts). This afternoon ran into the biggest LCO in our area and got to talking with him and telling him about my luck. He then told me "you want to know what to do" I put up with that sh$t my first ten years in biz and I had enough! EVERY client I have now is a signed contract, every week 9 months of the year, and EOW in the winter. I have bills to pay and if they dont like it then tough. It took me awhile to get where Im at today and your getting the trash I got rid of or dont want. If you have to go down to one yard today GET RID of these clients you have that are doing this or make them sign a contract! Its easy to talk crap when your already established and have lots of money. He said "I know its hard but try real hard to get some good ones". I then told him he had all the good ones and all that was left was the trash! LOL No kidding though, he has at least 55% of the accounts and the others are divided between numbers 2 and 3. Dont leave much for me to work with, but Im really thinking seriously about cleaning house and concentrating on the few good ones and offer them free cuttings and such if they send me a new full time customer. I figure that birds of a feather will stick together and the good clients will also have friends just like them or at least better than what I have now. How do you convince ppl to sign a contract when there are 10 more who will do the yard cheaper than me and without a contract already? They know what I can do and Im ALWAYS there on time, but it just does not seem to matter, its just who is the cheapest. It has really made my work to start suffering lately because Im losing my pride. I know that no matter how good I do it just doesnt matter, its all about cheap. Ive actually considered to going down to mowing only, no edging or weedeating, but Im having a hard times with that! I have always felt that contracts were not worth the paper they were written on but Im re thinking that. Maybe if ppl sign a contract they "feel" more legally obligated and wont be so quick to drop you. BTW, the daughter in law told me that her MIL might call me back if she saw it did not work out. Yeah, Im just on call whenever Im needed.
     
  2. SOMM

    SOMM LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 425

    get a sample of your bud's contracts and adjust it to your own situation, for sure.

    ....but get back into "the zone", the feeling , the burn -that got you into the business in the firstplace!!-

    you're blessed by being in one of the longest growning seasons in N. America, friend. you can pull this around to your advantage.
    there must be a market, a niche you can do better than anyone locally!
    new homeowners will soon be moving into your area between kids school semesters! get prominent real estate agents your cards when customers ask them about landscape maintenence, you got an across-the-board, 15% discount for all new clients of theirs who've purchased new homes in your area!

    time for a new set of flyers, time to do a Landscapers' Challenge with the first 33, 4-mowings(regular, straight-cut) Prepaid-Customers: FREE (milorganite, $7-$8 per 50# bag, 3-4 per acre) late spring/ early summer, "time-released" fertilizer with micronutrients, and 4 diagonal-line cuts at the regular, straight-cut prepaid mowing price !!!

    invite them just to to try the legacy of your business' expertise, on a limited, 4-mowings prepaid-basis first,

    then a few months later upsell/ offer them a better deal with a seasonal full-service written agreement("contractor agrees to hold customer forever harmless in the event of any injuries ever sustained by contractor's staff ever upon customer's premises"-style ) with a 90-120 day written cancellation notice by them, and a $500(just mowing) or $1000(full service) "Contract Damage Forfeiture" clause in the fine print section, incase they try and "whip-saw" you again!
     

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