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Keep 'em Or Dump 'em?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by milsaps118, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. milsaps118

    milsaps118 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 559

    I have this customer who has been with me for the last 3 summers. He only signs up for fert/wc and prepays every year. I tried selling him on the mowing but he likes doing it himself.

    Since last year I have been planning on droping him and 4 other customers because they are so fare spread out from one another. Anywhere from 10-15miles between all 5 houses. I hate to drop this pitcuallar guy because he's such a great customer. He pays up front all the time and I've upsold him on other maintenance and he doesn't even ask how much, he just says, "if I need it do it." He actually called over the weekend and left a message saying that he didn't get a renewal yet and is eager to renew.

    Its such an inconvinence for me to go out and treat 1 place then drive 10 miles to my next job. If I had the mowing I'd really think hard about it but thats not the case. I hate to dissapoint the guy because he has been so loyal to me. He even got lowball bids in the past and still stuck with me, I think it's because I have turned his "horrid to look at lawn", into an "admirable lawn," in just 2 season.

    Should I drop him, keep him, or sub it out. It would be hard for me to put this guys lawn into the hands of someone else if I subed it out. So I guess I'm on the fence as to keeping him or dropping him.

    Any suggestions would help. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 705

    why not do some advertising in his area? surely you could pick up a few more customers with a little effort, especially if you have been servicing his lawn for years.

    i wouldn't drop him, personally.
     
  3. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    I would try to get some work in his area too. He's been loyal. I think this is the first thread where I've heard of someone complaining about a loyal customer.

    You have to be up front with this guy. If you do decide to drop him you should do some homework for him and try to refer him to another company that does good work.

    Doesn't it suck. Nobody wants to get rid of the good customers but sometimes you have to. I wouldn't drive that far out of my way for one customer. Good luck with your decision.
     
  4. milsaps118

    milsaps118 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 559

    Good point Td1. From my shop to this customer is 28 miles one way then about 10-15 miles from my next closest. I advertised a little in this area a couple years ago and had a few Sh!tty leads, wood. I spent $360 to run an add in there local paper and all I got was tire kickers who wanted everything for nothing. Although there has been a lot of new construction going on. I don't want to spend more $ on advertising and have to slowly build a clientele base out there, picking up 1 here 2 there so on...
     
  5. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    Why get rid of a good customer. He likes your work. I would keep him. If there is new construction in the area why not try advertising again in the neighborhood?
     
  6. milsaps118

    milsaps118 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 559

    I'd tell the guy straight up if I dropped him, but I don't think I'd feel comfortable referring him to someone else just due to the fact that I really don't know anyone else that is reputable who services that area. I hate to have my name associated with some other LCO who did an unsatisfactory job for the this customer. Thanks for the input.
     
  7. toac

    toac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 350

    Charge him for travel time. How much more money would it take to make it more convenient for you to keep him as a customer?
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Right on, don't drop a customer who pays no questions asked, just charge the man fairly and according to what you need to get.
    Being that most of what you do for the man appear to be bigger projects anyhow, a price increase is not unusual in this day and age, just leave the bill as always and you should get paid. If he should call about it, just tell him the price has gone up a little.
    Would, on a 100 dollar job, 120 be enough to pay for the 15 miles?
    If so, there you go.
    I guess keep in mind that if 20 is enough, then on a 200 job, 220 is the trick.

    It sux but it sure seems a lot of things have gone up by like 10- 20 percent of late.

    Man, I need more customers like that LOL
     
  9. milsaps118

    milsaps118 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 559

    I guess the big issue to me is, that I loose almost 2hrs out of my day to go treat this place. From the time I leave my shop, do the app, load up and get going to the next closest account on the route it's a good 1hr45min. depending on traffic, and only 30min of that is doing the app. Last year before the season even started I sent him a renewal and upped his price by about 25% thinking I was going to scare him off and he sent the renewal back with a prepayment for 6 apps!

    I don't know... I just don't want to give up almost 2hrs on the day I have to treat his lawn, and since it's a once a month type deal it throws my schedule off that day. I usually schedule 10-15 stops for mowing a day in somewhat of a tight route, and for me to break off and drive 15 miles out of my way to do 1 app sucks. I hate windshield time.

    Thanks for all the input!
     
  10. creatived

    creatived LawnSite Member
    Posts: 69

    HIT HIS STREET OR AREA HARD WITH MARKETING AND GET HI TO GIVE YOU REFERAL TO HIS NEIGHBOR'S HE SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD CUSTOMER BUT IF IT IS NOT WORTH IT ONLY YOU CAN DECIDE FIND A GOOD SCAPER THAT DOES HIS AREA AND MAYBE HAS A COMPARABLE ONE IN YOUR ARE THAT HE WANTS TO DUMP AND SWAP! ANYWAY GOOD LUCK:usflag:
     

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