How to make up for lost customers

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, May 14, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    I just had one of my first customers of the season, tell me I'm charging too much and he can't afford me. He has about 1/3-1/4 acre and it takes me about 1 hour to mow and trim with my 21". I'd been charging him $35 and it was never an issue in the 4-5 cuts I've given him this year. But instead of letting me come back this week, he decides to get out his mower and do it himself. He had been pleased with my work, so that's not an issue. But since he sees he can do it himself, I guess he figures he can save money as he told me he'd on a limited budjet. I was not about to lower my price for him, especially since I felt like I was doing HIM a favor by comming about 9 miles outta my way ( with no other customers near him) on an on call basis.
    In a way I'm glad I don't have to deal with him cause he would want to talk for 3-10 minutes each time I'd come and it was just a sorry situation. However I will miss the income of that customer. I've had a few older ladies that had been using me tell me that they would no longer need me cause they're grandsons would be doing it from here on out. Is this normal to loose a few here and there? What do u do to make up for it? Is it still ok to put out flyers even though it's late into the season? This is my first year and so far it's going well, but some of these folk really leave a bad taste in your mouth and seem quite unnappretiative!
  2. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    You can always put out more fliers. I lost one at the beginning of the year, but I've picked up 3 more in the last 2 days. 1 of them is 1 1/2 acres & the other two are 1/2 acre lots. The one I lost was 6K. Tell me which one I'd rather have!
  3. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    Sounds like u got over that loss quick! What kind/size do u use on the 1 and 1/2 acre and how long does it take u?
  4. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    This doesn't mean that I got over it quick. I hate losing a customer, even if they were a royal pain from the beginning. I'm always concerned that the former customer may tell other people that they weren't satisfied but not tell the whole story. Oh well, what can you do.

    I use mostly Ferris equipment. On the majority of my properties I use my 61" IS3000's. I also have a 48" Walker MTGHS that I use for any bagging needed during lawn renovations or season clean-ups. I typically figure about an acre an hour so that if something comes up unexpectedly I have already planned for it.
  5. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Just advertise heavily in the neighborhoods where you are already working. You will probably pick up a client from a day of passing out fliers. If I had a limit to how many yards I could do, I would drop the four that I have 12 miles away and find 4 closer yards to replace them. But since summer just started for me and I will have to drop mowing entirely when college starts, I'm trying to make as much money as physically possible right now. So I'll hang on to them for now, since its an extra $150 in the bank every week.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Customers, they come, they go.
    Some women, some men, some young, some old, some this way, some that way, whatever...
    Next, please.
  7. CoreyD

    CoreyD LawnSite Member
    Posts: 207

    my year aint going like i want it... i only have 4 full timers right now im about to go around knocking on doors....
    as for the fliers id say pass them out all summer long, some people could have a mower break on them in the middle of the summer, some of the houses you have passed fliers out in the past may have not even been looked at and thrown in the trash, but then those people decide they dont want to cut their grass when the time comes and see your flier in their newspaper box ( or however you pass them out ) and give you a call,

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Geez I agree with Topper :dizzy: I think for the 2nd time ever :laugh:

    You should always be looking to improve routing/efficiency...that means sometimes cutting loose a customer or 2 or 3 here and there. No sense driving 18 miles roundtrip (that's a gallon of gas at $3+) for one customer.
  9. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    Yeah, I'm glad he's gone. He wanted me to trim like 4 9ft high x 8 ft wide and 6 ft deep hedges, a bunch of small shrubs, and do weeding over 300 sq ft beds. I figured I MAY be able to do it in 3 hours. I figure kinda low at my first year at $90 ( $30/hour). When I said it would cost $90 he looked at me like I was trying to rip him off. It's an old dude, vietnam vet. I tried to be friendly with him and explain that my prices are fair, but he thought I was too high. El-cheapo's, I'm finding out, are rarely worth wasting time on. It's so annoying!:dizzy: They make me sick!
  10. Mr.Lawn

    Mr.Lawn LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 93

    To make up for losing a customer I bid on a landscape job here and there. We haven't even got to summer yet, so keep handing out flyers. Trust me when its 100+ they will remember your flyer. I got alot of advice from the pros on this. They told me to use a saying on my flyers along with a discount for signing a contract. On the back of my flyer I have a clip art of a guy sittind down and relaxing and a guy mowing and in the middle I put down life is to short to cut your own grass,

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