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Guys with 110+ accounts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jpocket, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Whats your turnover rate from year to year. I had about 115 at the peak of this season. My customer service was lousy...I haven't been good about calling ppl back this year, or getting extra work done on time. As of now I have 110 clients. I have just singled out about 12 that i expect to cancell next year.

    How many do you guys normally lose, esp. when you let customer service slip? I am wondering b/c i am trying to figure how hard we'll have to advertise next spring. I figure worst case scenario I will lose 20 accounts, which is doubtful.
  2. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

  3. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,449

    i cut about 100 a week, as much as 125 peak in the summer.
    I can lose around 5 a year maybe, but mostly due to people relocating, or passing away. There are also some customers i weed out. I always gain more then i lose even without advertising, all word of mouth recommendations.
    My customer service has improved over the years as i get get a handle on things, but in years past, yes, its hard to keep track of all the mental notes and calling back in a timely fashion.

    the last 2 years i've really been on the ball... maybe that's why i needed to hire another guy recently:usflag: The extras are attended to, and i'm able to call back potential customers pretty fast.

    i may have not gained a huge quantity over the years, but the quality of the route has improved greatly.

    but 20 a year seems high. how many do you pick-up on average a year? How many employees do you have? r u solo?

    i remember reading a book, and their was this paragraph that stood out. basically saying that it is so much cheaper retaining customers rather then spending money to attract new ones. seems obvious, but i still have to remind myself sometimes.
  4. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    I can pick up about 40 per year advertising lightly. I have 2 employees. Yes 20 is very high. I normally only lose about 5, but we grew substantially this year and i have done my best to keep things in order. I plan to ad another guy next year. Looking to do about 140 per week.
  5. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,449

    i try to mold my business around existing similar ones in the area, including my brother in law, who cuts more them 400 a week. he's been in business for 15 years now though..
    i have 2 employees at the moment, and can't see hiring another guy til i'm around the 200-225 accounts a week.
    right now, just routine cutting, we should be able to finish up 125 house, in 3 or 4 days.... leaving atleast 2 days for weather or the $$$ extras:)

    40 a year pick-up would be outstanding for me. I may start advertising as of next spring, gonna really step it up. Its gotten to the point, where i recall that saying:
    "**** or get off the pot"
  6. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Yea i dunno i have some real good ones now, in fact they are ideal to build around. Just would hate to have to replace them 2.
  7. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,510

    it is all relative the more you have the biiger the amount you lose the less you have the fewer turn over pertage is. I wouldn't worry about it some years I have 10 quit and gain 20 what are you gonna do it just fluctuates all you can do is get as much cash from them before they jump.
  8. Hermanator

    Hermanator LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    4% to 7% on average
  9. jsf343

    jsf343 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,767

    Interesting thread. My business sounds like it is close to the same as yours and Adams, although I have around 75 accounts right now. I feel like we are pretty full with the accounts and 2 employees that I have at the moment. How did you (and the other poster, Adam) move to what seems like another notch higher (as far as accounts) how are you able to manage the business? Do you have the 2 employees run 1 route each day or 2? do you run a route as well? I can not seem to keep my really good employees for more than a year at a time. Either they want to go do some sort of deal on their own or go find a job with benies (which I can not afford to offer yet)
    I know this is off topic a bit (sorry) I am curious though and always interested in hearing how others have taken the next successful step.
    Care to respond? this is long and slightly off topic so I understand if not.
    c-ya Jeff
  10. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,449

    hey Jeff,
    its strange, beacuse i don't get to "help" too much on this site because there are very few businesses set like mine.
    as far as stepping up, its taken me almost 8 complete seasons to higher a second guy full time. so slow and steady is in an understatement for me. I'm going to really push the envelope now, and make things happen.... as in this past, work just falls in my lap.
    I go out and do the work every single day we're working. i usually run the trimmer, and the guy(s) mow.
    i have Moday houses, tuesday houses, etc. etc... start on monday, if we finish early enough, and if its been atleast 6 days since the last cut, we'll jump ahead. its too early for me to gauge the regular routine with the added help, because he came the exact time of the fall de-thatching, fertilizing, and ofcourse the leaves have started falling here already.
    issues with employees, forget it. you could talk for hours and find 1000 threads on it. That's been one of things that has probably slowed me down over the years from expanding. learning to let go og some of the field responsibilty, trusting someone to drie the truck/trailer.... not cut croners on properties if i'm not there. Since my very first day, til maybe 3 years ago, i had my younger brother work for me full time. Excellent worker, but i couldn't expect him to stay forever as a lawn laborer. He's in college now full time.
    I jumped around worker wise for alittle bit, til i got my current worker, this is his 3rd complete season, and i asked if he had a friend who was looking for work. I still expect worker turnaround, as it seems to be a given eventually, but i try my best to make me and them money. I'm easy to work for, never asking them to do something i wouldn't. I don't sit in the truck while they are working (unless i'm on the phone). i'm raking leaves right there with them. Do little things as well. like, finish @ 4:15, clock them out for 5. Minute actions like that that cost me a few dollars in the long run save me alot of headaches.
    do you do snow work? that's also an incentive to keep a worker around. You can understand not being content with a job where you have off for 2 months without pay.
    we work until the second week of december, and usually start in early-mid march. and hopefully fill in woth alittle snow work. my snow guys get 15-25 dollars and hour so less work gets them by.

    lastly, pushing it ot the next notch? i become content very fast unfortuneately, and sometimes need a wake up call. i currently have an apartment, but we're in the process of building a home, and the mortgage that starts next month has certainly served as an eye opener. all the potential is there.... just have to keep motivated to do it.
    hope this helps alittle.

    what type of machines do you use?

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