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how to drop customers nicely-& improve your business

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by lawnsaspire, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    I was hoping that this year would be a transition year- one where I could get enough new customers to drop the ones that aren't as profitable or are a pain. Well I've added about 10 mowing accts from the flyers I passed out and refferals. I bid high on all of my estimates and only had about 5 that didn't want my price. Now I'm up to 54 regular weekly accts solo and need to shed some of them to be able to keep up and it makes sense as I have some (3-5) that aren't very profitable, nice people that pay, but just still w a lowball price from when I first started out. Even though I've already started mowing for them, how do I let them go easily and politely?
  2. bocas

    bocas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 34

    No appreciation for the people that helped you when you needed it most?
  3. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    Yeah there's appreciation, but I can only take care of so many lawns, and their hedge trimming/ cleanup etc.. so there's a few that I'm not getting the right price on and I though of letting them go. I don't know who would take them either.
  4. lawnsaspire

    lawnsaspire LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,594

    Plus raising their price isn't really an option with these people.
  5. BOSS LAWN 2343

    BOSS LAWN 2343 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    I'm just straight forward with them, I had a commercial customer call today and ask if they were on the mowing list for the season... I told them (very firm) since you were 35 days late on your last invoice, no. But it was a recurring problem, all last mowing season too.
  6. hi_speedreed

    hi_speedreed LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 534

    Raising the price is always an option, why do you think it's not?
  7. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Posts: 1,067

    I have done this by explaining that I was changing my pricing structure and/or scheduling and I knew I was no longer a good fit for them. I referred them to someone good who was happy to take care of them. People aren't stupid, they know when they are getting a good deal and understand why you can't do it anymore. That was my experience anyway...
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  8. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,464

    in my opinion there's your way out. raise there price and they will leave.

    but in my true opinion and with my own way of doing business I wouldn't haven't taken on so much that I have to now drop people to begin with.

    the only clients I drop are the ones that don't pay. once you are a client your stuck with me until you fire me or you die.
  9. chipk1

    chipk1 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 393

    Just tell them that the economy requires you to significantly raise your prices. Give them a take or leave it price. Prices for everything have gone up.You are in business to FIRST make a respectable profit. Sometimes you just have to leave the touchy feeling stuff at home.
  10. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,757

    I'm a bit surprised by some of the responses to this post. I think all solo operators, if they are successful, eventually find themselves in a position where something has to give. Age, changing family structure, health, the economy, are all factors that can, over time, change not only your need for accounts, but also your ability to maintain quality service for all your customers. Logic dictates that the first accounts to go should be the least profitable, and/or, most physically demanding. That is pretty much a no-brainer.

    Just be honest. Tell them your business has grown to the point where you can no longer service all your properties and maintain the level of excellence you demand of yourself, so you must reluctantly drop some accounts from your schedule. Thank them profusely for their business and support, and, if you can, refer them to someone else.

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