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Keep 'em or Cut 'em?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by VLM, Feb 9, 2001.

  1. VLM

    VLM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 189

    With the season coming on I have been reviewing my customer list and determining this years target areas and goals for this year in general. Here is my problem, I still have several residential customers who have been with me from the start, and I have developed a personal relationship with all of them, but some of them are just a down right pain. A few insist I bag their lawns, a couple refuse to let me use a commercial wb, and others (seniors) refuse to pay the going rate. What should I do? If I dump these accounts I know I can easily replace them with more lucrative and less time consuming jobs, but I feel a sense of loyalty to them.
  2. Michael Fronczak

    Michael Fronczak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 230

    Same boat here, will probably run a 3 person crew this year.
    And purchasing at least one new ZTR, crew is really to large to run on single residentials, luckily most are in groups of two or more, that will help. We stoped solicting res work 3 years ago, to concentrate on commerial work. I agree I feel I have a sense of loalty to those customers. It's a tough place because there is a different set of standards that are acceptable for each, it requires more training for employees, and they have to be tought to recognize the difference. Good luck.
  3. Nathan

    Nathan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 193

    I am sure everyone has a little bit of your situation in their operations. I usually will prioritize from first to drop down to last to drop. If you bring on a new customer that can replace an old pain drop #1 on the list. I only do this if I am running at a full schedule or if I want more free time. Otherwise you might as well keep taking new customers until you are full then start prioritizing.
  4. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Posts: 4,831

    If you have a full schedule, raise the price on them to make it worth your time.
  5. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 502

    Little song I sing from time to time: "it's time to draw a circle, it's time to draw a circle, it's time to draw a circle, around the one's you love".

    And every one else will just have to wait.

    Take a couple of Lawnboys and send 2 guys with a truck and no trailor out to do those old loyal customers and go get some real business to keep yourself busy and if the 2 man crew screws it up then that's where you'll be: better off with new business. But if they make it then you keep all the biz.
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    When we have clients "demand" that their accounts be bagged on a weekly basis. I just inform them that we can do so, however they will be billed for the additional time it takes to keep their clippings removed. I let them know that obviously with removing the clippings there is the arduious task of dumping and that they will have to pay for those fees as well.

    I understand that some clients do not like the "tractors"(z riders) commercial cutters are using today. This has been a MAJOR selling point for our company. We dont use them and customers are willing to pay a little bit more not to have their lawns destroyed by incompetent operators.
    [[LET ME JUST SAY THAT I AM NOT CALLING THE MAJORITY OF YOU INCOMPETENT. What I am saying is that there are many operators in our particular area who leave both ruts and divots from their lack of technique in running these machines efficiently. And yes the same scenarios are possible on a smaller scale from wb's as well.]]
    If a client refuses to let us use commercial walk behinds on their properties then we bill them steeply for our mowing services($75/hr - $50 minimum).

    We have them too and the only discount we offer them is $5 off mowing services. I tell them that by getting a reduced rate of $5 off it is the same thing as not charging them for trimming & blowing operations. I WILL NOT discount their services more than that.

    We must all keep in mind that no matter how well the QUALITY of service is that our clients are always going to be appreciative of some kind of added benefits for dealing with our companies.
    It is up to us to help these bargain hunters understand that we are in a BUSINESS. This business just happens to be Lawn Care. We can bend some or help them out where we can, but that line has to be very rigid and it has to be above the 80% mark.
    I believe in a partnership with them and that YES they call the shots, but THEY have to take into consideration that this is how we support OUR families.

    Just my .02 - sorry so winded,
  7. smburgess

    smburgess LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 469

    You are talking of loyalty, personal bonds, and business. You have to decide from which avenue you need to take to settle it for each one that satifies YOU.
  8. cleancut

    cleancut LawnSite Member
    Posts: 222

    I would say if you think they're a pain and dread doing them, drop them...That's the whole point of being in business for yourself..You don't have to do what you don't want to do....I understand that you feel a sense of loyalty to them, but you have to do what's best for your business...Help some young kid in the neighborhood that has a push mower..Give him the yards....Derrick
  9. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,491

    When you get up tomorrow morning and you look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself this question: "Self, are you in business to make money, or to make friends"
  10. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    Back in aug. 96 when I bought my turf tracer (dedicated mulcher no bag kit) they groaned, how are you going to bag it, well Im not, cuz I cant, this is how its going to be, lost 1 pita cust oh well. The rest adapted quite nicely. Last week I sold my 38 inch WB so the 3 pita gated yard customers will go by the wayside. Hey thats the way it goes.

    I have a few customers I had from the start, they are slowly becoming acclimated to the new way of lawnguy doing business. I no longer knock on the door for the check, I call from the cell phone and tell them Im coming, dont know when sometime today, just leave it in the clothespin bag.

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