Is It Just Me...Or What?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rodfather, Aug 20, 2003.

  1. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    This is our 9th year of business and I cannot remember one like this one when it comes to customers coming and going. It's like a roller coaster...one week I get 3, 4, maybe 5 new customers and lose none and the next lose 3 or 4 (for whatever reason) and get none. People (friends, family, business associates, vendors, etc.) ask me all the time how many customers we have and I tell them I honestly don't know. It keeps changing!!!

    I know from college days in marketing the term to describe some of this is "attrition" (meaning you will lose a certain % of your business each year from no fault of yours...people die, move away, decide to do things themself instead of hiring someone, etc.).

    Anyone else going through this or am I the lucky one?
     
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I went through that about a month ago. I was picking up like 4 to 5 new customers a week. And then all of a sudden like within a week I lost 5 customers. And of course each time the customer left because of the price.
     
  3. Yup I hear ya, whith the low intrest rates I've seen a lot of people buy larger houses for the same money as smaller ones.

    They aint putting no grass around them either.
     
  4. rob1325

    rob1325 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 685

    I remeber it being like this in late 80's and early 90's. Economy not so good and people are shopping for prices. Also many people are losing jobs.
     
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I don't think it's the economy...last year we had a terrible drought here in the NE and people saved money. This year, the exact opposite...we mowed just about everyone's lawn 5 times in July and boatload of double cuts I don't even want to think about.

    You talk bout a turnaround...jeez louise!!!
     
  6. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,171

    I know that many people are looking in my area, as I am getting 5 - 10 calls per week from potential new customers. I am pretty much full now so I can pick and choose which I want if any.
     
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Rod...as you know we don't do as much mowing as you do but what I've seen on a smaller scale, are:
    1. about 5 people a month calling me who are in the process of firing their current mowing service(they never seem to have a believeable answer)
    2. in general, people seem cranky and stressed out...overall rude(but not as rude as those Joysey yuppies that you have the pleasure of working with...haha
    3. I even got "fired" 2 weeks ago...not because of price....because when I trim, she says her husband did not want ONE blade of grass in his new mulch....unreal...then she says "you must bag every time...NO EXCEPTIONS...this was a normal nice couple...until something got in their water ....now they're both need locked up before they hurt themselves

    I guess all we can do is spoil the crap out of the ones we want to keep....as you know there are ways to do the little extras that don't cost us but a few minutes on each property...today I brought the recycle bin in for a customer...Her Highness comes out of her castle and tells me how much she appreciates our attention to details....I think this woman has spoken to me for less than 3 minutes in 3 years.....she's nuts too...she'll love me until Joes Mow and Go offers to do the $70 property for $30....

    On the positive side, we're getting calls every week for not so for not-so-small landscape improvements...people indeed seem to be doing a lot of planting and landscape improvements...even got calls through that typical slow period after the 4th of July until late Auguest...you know, that time period where people forget we land grunts even exist. Go figure Rod??...good luck...Gar
     
  8. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,003

    I try to trade the PITA ones, for the ones who dont bother ya
     
  9. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    So far my attrition rate has been greater than new customers however my sales while not increasing has remained flat. I have added fewer customers with a larger service bundle. Less customers, fewer stops, less labor, same sales = increased net profit. While I am not happy with this year's performance, the customers I have lost are those ones that were having us strictly mow with no possibility of upsales. They were price shoppers. While a large majority in my area have turned to cut throat price slashing I have held my price. I will be around next year and for those cut throats that survive the winter, unlike them I will not be saddled with a multitude of underpriced customers.

    I may go three days or more without so much as a call (other than solicitors trying to sell me the latest labor saving device or one time services which I do not accept) and then have 2 or 3 jobs to bid in one day. Sell value, not price. Make them understand that when value is compared, you are actually cheaper
     
  10. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    Haven't lost any but picked up a bunch lately.Lots of complaints about the quality of cut when we pick them up.I've seen a lot of dead spots from clumping and mulching in lawns with excessive growth. Seems like guys just don't want to do what needs doing to get it done right.LOTS of double cutting for us,but if that's what it takes then,ya gotta do it.
     

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