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Help with stubborn but good customer

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by blakes estates, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. blakes estates

    blakes estates LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    I have a customer that brings me in $10,000 - $15,000 per season, has been a regular cust for three years. All his properties that I cut are a set price, all other work is time and materials. Because he gives me lots of work I cut him a break on the labor per hour which is well below what I charge other cust. Over the winter we had a meeting and he was looking to have me lower my hourly rate. I service an area in Lancaster Pa, looking to see what the going hourly rate is for most landscapers in this area. He says if we don't come to an agreement that he may be forced to look elsewhere. Any advice comments or questions would be helpful.
  2. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 549

    Are these rental properties he owns? Ask him if he's lowering rents this year.
  3. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    let him look. He'll be back if you do good work.
  4. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    I had a customer tell me recently that my price for his hardscape was high. "this is very high, know this blah blah".........here's what I know, he's an idiot and just looking to get me to lower my price. Take it or leave it, already a winter rate....otherwise I'll sit at home where its warm.

    More info about your customer.......Henry hit the nail on the head.
  5. blakes estates

    blakes estates LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    He owns all props , 3 are his homes all others are his businesses. The guy is very wealthy but cheap ( aren't they all)
  6. CAG

    CAG LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Posts: 344

    when u meet with him tell u cant go lower because next year u have to raise everybody's rates and stick to it.. then tell him at the end your willing to keep the price the same, but just for him... their a lot more thats going to have to go into the conversation and I'm sure you can figure it out.. he's just need to feel like hes getting a better deal.. i have one the same way.. he's a big shot business owner (millionaire)thats has spent lots of money with me for five years and just like and one else feels like he deserves a good deal... this guy i deal with always gives me the BS your to expensive and when i ask him if he is happy with a job its always just OK.. he's to scared to tell me he's happy because it might cost him more money next time.. some people r just tools but if they got $ u gotta get it...lol.. just mark up prices then give him a discount..
  7. blakes estates

    blakes estates LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    The one good thing about this guy is that he will have a job for me and have me just do it and bill it. No quote or paper work or delay in doing the work. This is worth something.
  8. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 682

    you cant call someone with 3 houses cheap lol thats just stupid . He is wealthy because he is good at what he does.. ex. making you give him lower rates when he knows he can ...instead of having someone else charge him full price on everything

    back to the subject if his price drop is reasonable wouldnt you rather gross
    14k (1k drop for easy math) extra this year by having a "good" customer as you called him or lose him and have your gross drop 15k

    If he isnt reasonable tell him go somewhere else.. u the only one that knows if losing him will affect your pocket enough to do damage maybe you are making tons of money and he is chump change and doesnt matter if you hold your ground and lose him
  9. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Raise his rates. If he leaves, this gives you more of the most precious commodity- time. You can get more customers at the correct rate. Result? More money for you.
  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,942

    When I was in another industry, one of the big car dealerships we serviced sent letters to all the vendors stating "due to a slowing in the economy, all of our vendors will cut their prices a minimum of 5% to retain their contracts, effective immediately." Yep, let me get right on that. We didn't miss their business at all.

    Service the customer, let the customer think they're king of their castle, but run your business how *you* need to run it. I'd tell him that as a businessman, you're running as lean as you can to take care of him at a rate well below your average. If he's a successful businessman, I would think he'd get it and back off. Sometimes I think people forget we're running a business here.

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