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How much is too much?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FL&G, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. FL&G

    FL&G LawnSite Member
    from R.I.
    Posts: 91

    I dropped my second highest paying customer last week. I just had enough of their crap. They are a very wealthy couple, and were basically treating me like their slave. She would call me up at random and expect me to run right over there and do whatever. Run to the nursery and pick up annuals, re-arrange her flower boxes, pick up hay bails, pick up mums etc. I really didn't mind doing it because they always paid. They would call me on Sunday morning around 8:00 and read me a list of "to-do's", and expect them done right away regardless of any schedule I may have. And basically were never happy with anything. The last straw was this early snowstorm we had here a couple weeks back. I was still trying to finish clean-ups, (still have two I was'nt able to get to), and I sent out notification in November that I was"t going to be able to plow until Dec. 15. I was taking my truck in for some body work and other repairs before I had my new plow installed. I gave a list of backup people in case it snowed before the 15th. Out of 26 people They were the only ones with a problem. She called about 5 times before it snowed. 5 times while it snowed, and every hour on the hour after it snowed. I finally found someone to go over there and plow for them around 9:00 p.m. I had no contract with them to plow. Was it my responsibility to get there driveway plowed? to top it off she called me up the next day and bitched me out for the lousy job they did and that they looked like "shady characters". I didn't blow up or anything I just took her crap as usual. About 10 minutes later I called her up and told her I was dropping them.
    I guess the point is how much do you take? Yes that account was app. 25% of my total business. Ouch! I just had enough.
    Thanks for letting me vent. Any thoughts?
  2. lawncare18

    lawncare18 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 742

    Good for you... I think you did the corect thing... Rich people can be the late payers as well as pain in the buts. Rich people can be very demanding and i feel they lok down upon us landscapers thinking we are dirt balls when they have no idea how much money we make or how hard we work 7 days a week.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    Ouch, 25% of your business dude...I would've replaced them before I did that man. Actually I would've done my best to make sure they weren't 25% of my business in the first place. For every account like that I get I'd try to get 1 or 2 more, of equal revenue, just so it evens out.

    Im glad you showed them who's boss, but to be the Boss you gotta pay the cost! (Tighter Budget)
  4. WalkerMike98

    WalkerMike98 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    You have to draw the line somewhere. I believe you made a wise decision. I had a situation like this once that drove me crazy for 3 years. I have over 50 accounts and only one of them was a headache. This lady thought she owned me. She called one Friday afternoon and asked when i could come for some clean-up. I said how about Monday and she said she would get back with me. She had someone come over Sunday to do the work. I don't know about the north but in the Bible-Belt south working on Sunday is frowned upon. I would try to replace this account with another that comes without the constant headache. I am finally to the point with my bussiness that if a customer is hard to deal with they find someone else. It is not worth being in a bad mood all the time and turning something we enjoy into something we hate.
  5. FL&G

    FL&G LawnSite Member
    from R.I.
    Posts: 91

    Walkermike98 - Thats exactly my point. I manage 65 lawns a week. They act like their the only customer I have. As far as not letting them become 25% of my buisness. ?? Jobs come and go, of course you try to get as many big accounts as possible. Sorry that statement makes no sense.
  6. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    It just is not worth it to put up with these kind of folks, I dont care if its 25% or 50%. If it makes you feel any better I dropped 20% of mine this week and lost 25% that told me they would call me in the spring or might do it themselves. That is 45% so I got you beat there. I might be back down to less than 10 yards when spring gets here, big deal, been there and done that 2 years ago when I got down to 6! Point is no person is worth causing you undo stress:mad:
  7. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,413

    I dont care how much of your income they are , drop em . you started your own business to be your own boss right ? imo you did the right thing . heck if i got a cust like that i might as well be on their payroll as an employee .
  8. bobslawncare

    bobslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    My only concern is having too many eggs in one basket. You have to spread your income over a larger area, so when you want to get rid of someone, you don't have to worry about replacing that income.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I would have tried to built up some more customers. Even if you found two or three acounts that equaled 25% before dropping that one 25% account.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    This is one of two beefs I have with rich folks...
    One kind wants something for nothing, the other acts like they pwn you. I HATE it when someone thinks they're better than me... I did it for some time because it does help build humility, and humility is good... But like you said, enough is enough, we're nobody's slaves and the sooner you send those folk down the road, the better.

    I used to put up with it, but once I did what you did a few times, it became easier with time to where nowadays I won't even give the estimate if I think they're going to be like that.

    I will not tolerate someone running me around. I own the business, I set the rules, and everyone plays fair. The other thing used to bother me about it is, I got 50-some accounts ALL of whom have to wait in line to get service. And I am sorry but it really ticks me someone comes along and thinks they can just step in front of the line... Now the money flaunting does influence, but today in my business I charge everybody the same... If they want to pay extra that is fine by me, but they don't get service any sooner than I can get to it.

    I, too, strongly feel you have done the right thing.

    p.s.: I almost didn't make it through my 3rd year because of exactly this problem, I dropped (and got dropped) a number of accounts that took me time to realize it was a favor in disguise. This my 4th year has been the best year yet, by a large, considerable, and noticeable margin... I worked LESS hours total while I earned the MOST total ever! H3ll yeah, you got to get rid of those folk waste your time run you around like that.

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