how would you have dealt with this?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lakeside, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. Lakeside

    Lakeside LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    so yesterday a customer called me and left a message on my voicemail:

    "we are wanting to go to every other week service due to the heat"

    that isnt a problem that she wants to go to every other week, so i called her back and left this:

    "Mrs. ___ i am letting you know that there is no problem with every other week service. since we are going to every other week we will need to increase the price of each visit 10 dollars. with the taller grass, it is harder on the equipment, and there is more to trim and edge than normal. also, it dips into our finances at exactly half. if there is any problem, call me and we can discuss."

    mistake 1: talking about finances, b/c they dont give a **** if i go broke or not. they want their lawn mowed for the best price, and at the frequency that they desire

    today, i get a call from her husband:

    "Hi, this is Mr. ___, and i was calling b/c we have a problem. my wife says that you are fine with the every other week mowing, but you want to increase the price 10 dollars? now, i have owned and operated many lawn care companys, and i have NEVER heard of this. "

    me (caught off guard): "i dont know about that never happening before, b/c i know it is pretty standard policy to increase the price for every other week mowing."

    him: "well, it's st. augustine, so it doesnt grow 5 feet tall in this heat so i dont see the problem"

    me (being a desperate dumbass): "i'd hate to lose you, so i guess we can stick with the original price"

    him" "THANKS! i'll let my wife know, and i appreciate it"

    the entire time im thinking, if he does this for a living, or has, then why the hell isnt he out there mowing his own yard? and, what gives him the right to tell me how i should price, or that there hasnt been a president set prior in this situation? :rolleyes: maybe i am the first one to do this, but does that matter? if you can run a company more efficiently and fair than i can, do YOU want to take over? i hate mowing this guy's yard as it is. it has 3 levels in the backyard that are bordered with stone. it takes 30 minutes to mow b/c of lugging the mower around.

    my question to you guys....

    should i swallow my pride and continue doing the service?

    typical response im sure: "can you afford to dump her?"
  2. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    send cancelation notice:" dear sir, after further consideration i have decided it is in our best interest to discontinue service at your property."
  3. CamLand

    CamLand LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,300

    pretty much says it all,of course the owner of the property should expect the notice since he has owned and operated so many lawn care companies...
  4. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    The question is can you afford to keep her? Are you making a profit?

    For all my new customers and renewals, I've inserted the following statement into my contract "...the price will be $x per week for 23 weeks from 5/1 - 10/9. This price is based on an estimated average of 19-25 mowings per season..."

    This helps me in two ways:
    1.) No calls for "everyother week".
    2.) No reason to question whether I "earned my money" by mowing that week.
  5. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    I agree with bob.

    but the reason you give for canceling them TODAY is that TODAY you have decided to cancel all every-other-week customers...and unfortunately that means them.

    GEO :)
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    somebody pinch me, i'm dreaming, i must be. geo stated, "i agree with bob". ok, ok, where's the punchlune, come on, i can take it
  7. CamLand

    CamLand LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,300

    I no longer have customers on everyother week schedule,most i have educated and are now weekly accounts...
  8. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    "Don't let your customers dictate your policy" rings louder every day.I've learned,in my short time as an LCO,that most people expect you to be an idiot when it comes to finances and pricing.I've had more than a few try to sneak one in on me.
    Stick to your prices and policy.You're(At least I do) going to lose alot of business over this.Most expect you to work for very little,but demand perfection.Isn't worth my time to even worry over these people any more.I figure if I wait things out,I'll get the customers I want.Not the ones that want to tell me how to run my business.
  9. Rhett

    Rhett LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,071

    Lakeside, Depends where you are at client wise. If you are at the point that you can pick and choose or are turning away work I would let them go. If you are not and can still pull a profit from this account continue service until you can replace them. It all depends on where you are at in your business. You told them you would continue service. If possible, keep your word but let them know at the end of the season that next season you will be doing only weeklies.
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Do they have an irrigation system?

    I don't know how it is in your area. But around here, if people don't have an underground professional irrigation system installed, that's usually a huge warning for me when I am giving a bid. Now, SOME people are really good at watering with an above ground sprinkler. But MOST are not. So when I see a lawn without an irrigation system that's a huge warning to me that this person is probably going to not be watering that much in the summer. So I make it REALLY clear to them when they sign up that we mow EVERY SINGLE WEEK. And that they are paying a flat fee every month. I don't vary from that policy.

    Again, I don't know about your area. But in my area, I really try not to get maintenance accounts where there isn't an irrigation system in place. I don't really want to work for those kinds of people for the exact reasons that you're experiencing. I don't want to get that call about doing it every other week.

    If your client does have an irrigation system, then I don't understand the problem. If they are watering, it should be growing at least a little each week and need mowing.

Share This Page