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Is this customer worth it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by geogunn, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    one of my little old lady customers that has been with me from the beginning calls about once a month for me to mow her lawn which consists of field weeds, green moss and snaggly, gnarley, thatchy bermuda.

    in order to make it look right (as possible), I mow the whole thing twice and about 20 percent of the lawn three times

    from trailer to trailer, it takes 40 minutes and for that I charge $40.

    is this reasonable? should I keep her or cut her loose?

    GEO :)
  2. Grandview

    Grandview LawnSite Gold Member
    from WI
    Posts: 3,251

    If you are not doing anything to make 40.00 keep her. If you feel you need more charge more. Do you scedule it with a regular route or is it an extra trip.
  3. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    you are making the desired $1 per minute. But that does not include the pita factor or what I assume is extra wear and tear on the mower.

    Personally, I don't do on call service.

    I have a few landlords that call me when the client vacates and leaves the place with 12-18 in grass. I get great money for doing those so I don't mind. Usually $90 to 120 for a onetime rough cut (1/4 acre)and $45-60 for a cut a week later to make it look decent. $100+ per hour and they are infrequent so I add them into the schedule that week. But on a recurring basis, I don't think I would do it.

    And I usually don't do the actual labor on these, which makes it even easier.
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    What goes around comes around, Keep her if you have time. Were all gonna get there someday. Old that is, some sooner than others :D
  5. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    Geo, I have one lady that has been with me since I was a kid mowing lawns..as long as I make what I want to, she has earned a few "perks" like a skipped week's service or two.Her lawn is mostly shaded, and it's not flat...lol, so when we can skip it a week or two in a row, everyone is happy. Karma baby, Karma... :D
  6. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,823

    If she is a special person to you or if your not losing money and have the time, I would say keep her.

    Way Back when we first started our partnership, we took on an elderly lady. She was Russian. She was a proud woman and before the revolution in Russia, her family had been one of importance. It was wonderful watching this lady recall the memories of her youth. It wasn’t long before she knew all about our family and our children and parents by name.

    When we informed her of the first rate increase this proud woman gave us a very emotional call saying she would have to get someone else or do it herself. I know the words I can’t afford it had to be very hard on her to get out. The only things of monetary value she had were her house and what she had in it.And most of the things inside were only precious to her.

    I don’t usually let emotion get in the way of good business but this lady genuinely cared for us and it was returned in kind. It was well worth keeping her to get the joy of having this little lady shake her finger at me and admonish me ,I had better not work to hard take time to slip vodka she would say lol.
    Having her friendship more then payed her bill.
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    If she is on your route maybe convert her to a quick bi weekly for 25 a visit?? Or even 20 and it would take you a lot less time and not be as hard on your equipment. Just an idea. I got a customer icould never drop but she pays 50(her offer) for about 35 min svc. Little out of the way but its never a hassle and she always makes me a meal. Sometimes that's worth more than anything.
  8. OrganicBob

    OrganicBob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    I'd keep her, another 40 minutes, another 40 bucks, who knows, she may leave you something in her will. J/K. Long term customers are a good thing for any business. If you have to do them for a little less, so what. It is not all about money, besides, she might be a good reference. A reliable 40 bucks is better than a reliable no bucks or an unreliable 40 bucks. Long term customers say something about the service you provide. I'd spend extra time making her happy. to quote somebody who quoted somebody who quoted somebody else, What goes around comes around.
  9. efaubert1

    efaubert1 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 109

    I'm with OrganicBob, keep her. A lady here in Tipton where I live used to help an old farmer with his chores when she was a kid, and would visit him and so on as an adult. When he passed away about 10 years ago he left EVERYTHING he owned to her. Farm, tractors, cars, trucks, 100+ acres, ALL. And now she and her family are set pretty well. Karma, as said earlier.
  10. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    the reason I wanted some background opinions on this one is the daughter has moved back home.

    it was really dusty and the double blades were making a dust storm and it was drifting over the old woman's car. it just couldn't be helped.

    well, the 50+ year old plus daughter, whom I an not attracted to at all, comes out with a wet mop and starts mopping the dust off the car while I am still mowing and the dust is still blowing.

    I thought this was just ridiculous. so I killed the mower and walked over and told her I was going to blow the dust off of the car when I got done. and she gave me some kind of bozo answer that I didn't understand.

    when I got done and held my hand out for the check, I could hear the daughter back there..."did he blow off your car? he said he was going to blow off you car! did he blow off my flowers? I want him to blow off my flowers before he leaves....".

    it didn't really pixx me off but the daughter is giving me a little heartburn over the situation.

    as for my plans, I'll keep the old bat on the call as needed schedule.

    a little more background on the group of old ladies I still cut for.

    I always call them if we have bad winter weather/snow/ice that to see if they are OK. and they know they can call me if they have to.

    GEO :D

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