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Good Advice Here

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I'm going to give everyone on LawnSite some VERY good free advice that is statistically proven.

    If you are mowing lawns, you NEED to do chemical treatments too. Not only that, but when a new client signs up, you NEED to cram the chemical program down their throat when they order lawn mowing service. Do whatever it takes...even if you have to give away a chemical treatment for free...sometimes I give away 3 free chem treatments if I have to. If they're with a competitor already, I give them the 3 best reasons to switch to us...most importantly, we automatically coordinate their lawn mowing day with their chemical treatment day, that way, they don't have to worry about Scott's making a treatment and then we're out there mowing an hour later.

    I have 592 residential lawn mowing clients as of this morining. Been mowing lawns for 4.5 years and I KNOW what I'm talking about. I am making TONS of cash mowing lawns.

    The biggest problem with growing your client list is cancellations. There is no getting around it, residential clients cancel service (something rarely discussed on LawnSite.)

    I've studied my cancellations for the last year and a half. The numbers speak for themselves.

    I've taken 243 client cancellations since January 1st, 2006. Here's the breakdown:

    32 weekly clients cancelled after they took 4 or more chemical treatments
    33 weekly clients cancelled before they had their 4th chemical treatment
    79 bi-weekly mow-only clients have cancelled
    72 weekly mow-only clients have cancelled
    4 bi-weekly clients have cancelled after taking 4 or more chem treatments
    8 bi-weekly clients have cancelled after taking less than 4 chem treatments
    15 were fert only clients

    Bottom line, out of 243 client cancellations, only 32 were weekly clients who had taken 4 or more chemical applications. 87% of all cancellations are coming from clients who order a cheaper grade of service or haven't given us enough time to prove ourselves.

    Additionally, when I get them on the good program, weekly mowing with chem treatments, these clients treat me with MUCH more respect and complain a LOT less. They are less likely to skip too. The vast majority of my lawn mowing related complaints are coming from clients who haven't allowed me to put my best foot forward. These are the same clients who see no difference between me and every other lawn mowing company in town, including little Tommy down the street.

    I mean, when a weekly client calls to cancel after their 4th chemical treatment, alarm bells are going off in my head. What? Did we f*** something up? It's just extremely rare that one of these clients actually cancels service.

    Good, free advice for those who are willing to listen. I guarantee this is solid advice.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,322

    sounds like facts to me, what have been your five most important factors in obtaining so many lawns ie. yellow pages, word of mouth, flyers what is the best bang for the buch in your eyes?
  3. HeartOfTexas

    HeartOfTexas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    That's very good information DFW. I'm going to look into doing that. I'm in the Austin area. I guess in Texas a license is needed to do the applications. I looked into it several years ago and I believe a course and a test must be taken. Was that very involved?

    Also, did you need to spend much $ at first to buy the needed equipment?

    I did lawn care work on a part-time basis for several years and basically stopped this year and held only a couple accounts. I'm now re-thinking what I want to do and plan to do lawn care on a much larger-scale next season that I have done in the past. Better equipment, employees, etc. Your idea may well fit into what I will do.

    Nice web site. I notice that your mowing prices are low and am guessing that it may be due to Just Mowing operating in your area. They have recently come to Austin as well. Can't tell for sure how they are doing but they do advertise more than anyone else.

    Thanks for your insight!
  4. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    Thats good and all but to get licensed for chem applications you must have worked for a chem company applying chems for 3 years IIRC. Not much getting around that.
  5. echeandia

    echeandia LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,131

    How many of these people moved? I would subtract them from your numbers and see what your percentages are then. However, I do agree that people who spend more are likely to stay over people who spend less.
  6. Mr Priceless

    Mr Priceless LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 412

    Could you share some more statistics? Like were these ALL customers whom you chemically treated for free? And on average, how much did you end up spending for a 1/4 acre yard for EACH chemical treatment (if it was a free option you gave the customer)?
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    I'd see your numbers as a little more valid if you included the reason for the cancellations.
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    True reasons for cancellation are often not revealed. I am guessing dissatisfaction is the number one cause of cancellation.

    You see, when a new client signs up for service, they tend to focus on price. That's why I've recently stopped offering bi-weekly service all together. It's a crappy service and the bi-weekly clients create way too much churn...they sign up, they expect their lawn to look as good as a weekly client does, they just think it's going to be mowed less often. They forget that they selected our absolute cheapest service offering. And any time you remind them of it, they never agree.

    Same goes for chemicals. When the average american hires a lawn mowing company, they expect their lawn to look like they have a service. But if you don't get the chemical sale, they're lawn still looks like azz and they blame the landscape company, as opposed to realizing they didn't order the right package. They fire you and hire someone else. They won't give you a chance to put your best foot forward and when they do this, they're generally dissatisfied. But they NEVER remember the package they ordered was a lesser offering, they're only focused on their overall satisfaction right now, today.

    I question each client at the time of cancellation "Was the service satisfactory?" Seldom do they indicate dissatisfaction. Most of the time, they say they either want to do it themselves to save money or they're moving.

    But I know for a fact they lie, too. Many clients last fall told me they were moving and late this winter, I checked the Tax records and they still owned the home. Perhaps they were renting it...who knows.

    What I do know is, once I make my 4th chemical application, it is highly unusual to lose them. Once I make the 4th treatment, they're mine, I'm gold.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  9. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    Same here. From my experience in residentials, we would very very rarely lose an account. The main reason was the customer passed away or moved. Your company is totally different with that many accounts. The customer probably does not get the same type of personalized service as they would from a solo or a two man operation. We would get to know each of our customers and they would get to know us on a first name basis. A much larger operation such as yours would have different crews showing up, employee turnover etc. The customer can call us the night before or sometimes day of with a special request. I know most of the customers especially the seniors, greatly prefer the same person to show up every time for there lawn.
  10. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Posts: 4,548


    How did you go about picking up 500+ clients? What was your strategy? I am also assuming that you have a spray crew, prune crew, and many cutting crews?

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