let's talk about "what a customer wants"

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    ok, we have a rocket scientist who claims, that all you need to do, to build a landscape company, is= "know what the customer wants, and , give the customer, what he/she wants". now that seems simple enough, don't it? ok, let's start from the beginning- a customer wants to call 15 companies, for a free estimate. a customer wants quality reliable service. a customer wants a reasonable price. i can do that, i mean, anybody can do that. ok, a customer wants a no strings attached relationship (no contract). a customer wants service, on a credit basis, with no aplication, no credit check, and no written contract. a customer wants a service, that will extend her this credit, and not harrass her with "payment due dates." hmmm, this is getting harder, and harder. ok, a customer wants service to continue even when payments are not being made on a timely manner. a customer wants not to be "nickle and dimed", meaning, if there is a mess on the property when u show up to mow, and it takes an extra 5 minutes to clean up first, then don't charge them $5 extra. a customer wants to pay the same as thier neighbor, even though her yard is more work. a customer wants a few weeds pulled, the cracks sprayed, at no extra charge. a customer wants to pay for her grass to be cut during heavy spring growth periods, and then skipped during slow, or dry periods. a customer wants to see the owner servicing her property, not some guys who can't speak english.a customer wants you to look presentable when servicing thier property= decent clothes, clean, newer model truck, and nice equipment. a customer wants to pay the same price, next year, as she paid 3 years ago. a customer wants to be able to "bark " at you, when she is unhappy, and not get "barked " at, in return. a customer wants, to be your boss. and last but not least, if the relationship is terminated, a customer wants to withold monies owed, and she doesn't expect to be harrassed, or dragged into court over it. yup, the gentleman was correct, give the customer what she wants, and then, you'll have a succesful landscaping business. see you on the soup line
     
  2. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Wants vrs reality, I'll agree that most customers would want what you descibed. But what seperates a business from a lawn boy is balancing there wants against your charges. A lawn boy will give the customer what they want and will only b!tch about it on a forum. A company can not provide free services but has to be very good at customer relations to stay in business. So as a company you throw the dog a bone every once and awhile to keep the customer happy and to build good PR with them so that when you do charge for the extras they won't be quite upset.
    No contract means no customer!
    So spell out everything and it only needs to be 2 page contract and let a couple of the smaller problems slide every once and awhile and enforce the ones that put the most in your pocket.
    Its the only way to retain your customers and with out them your out of business.
     
  3. theturfsurfer

    theturfsurfer LawnSite Member
    from mtka,MN
    Posts: 102

    Yes there are customers that are like you represented and then there are the customers who want a good job at a fair price. I have been able to build a business servicing these types. Yes, I will trim the occasional weed in the drive at no charge or do a little extra and think nothing of it but I also know that every year when I send out contacts I will receive all of them back signed. I am fortunate that I have not run into the problems BoobyGeed has encountered. I have a contract that fits on one page and have had good luck with it for 11 years. My customers don't expect me to work for free and I don't but I will give the customer a GREAT job at a fair price.
     
  4. Nosmo

    Nosmo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

     
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

     
  6. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    What do people want? Most of them what their "lawn" to be cut once per month for $10. And they want us to kiss their backside while we do it. The trick is to not let these kinds of people become customers.
     
  7. lawn_pro

    lawn_pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    6 yrs, maybe (7) customers like you are describing..of course they are gone, it seems like after a short period of time, you would be able to know what you are in for....just by talking to someone?
     
  8. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    yet, theres a lot of desperate lawnboys out there that cater to them.
     
  9. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,613

    No real problem with catering to what the customer wants, but, you gotta charge accordingly. Dont go around knocking down 2' of growth and trimming all their shrubs, ect for 20 bucks. GET PAID OR GET OUT!
     
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I HAD a TON of problems like Bg when I first started but over time I did what I call 'weeding out' and it took years and I know it sounds crude but that's what worked for me. As far as I know, 100% of my customer base is non-pita today (thou I did go from 56 or 57 to 48 in this transition over the year)... They ALL pay MOST of the time ALL are good guys, no contracts needed for me but whatever works is key, thou I agree a contract in and of itself is not the solution, it is how it is handled and I'm sure not perfect but...

    9 out of 10 prospective clients or folks who call me for an estimate I don't get the job when I count the initial phonecalls vs. the actual jobs I do in the end, some I weed out right off the phone, others at the site, SOME weed ME out (well it is their tune too) and this and that, whatever - I not only look for someone willing to pay the price but also I look for the clues, the red flags, the ding-ding-ding of a bell ringing that tells me SOMETHING is wrong and I make mistakes but I find in the end if I listen to my gut feeling, I am today better off than ever.

    I look for folks *I* think I can get along with, it isn't just about the job and the money (if it were, it really boils down to doing it for free), it IS about relationships and one way I used to say it is 'I got to find someone whose insanities are a match or a complement to my own' meaning I can either tolerate their quirks OR I don't notice them OR I have them myself *AND* vice-versa.

    What's a quirk, what's an insanity? We ALL develop these, they are like little computer bugs but they are in our brain and we ALL have them, they grow into us from living in this crazy place called world and there is nothing wrong with us, that is just what makes each and every one of us unique. Some of us talk to ourselves, others fidget, whatever, it doesn't matter, it's not quite a tic but it IS a quirk, really 'little' insanities describe it best. I have them, you have them, we ALL Have them - It is a matter to me that I get customers whose insanities either:
    1) I can not even see or notice.
    2) I have them myself.
    3) I can tolerate them easily.

    AND vice-versa. Now the customer isn't going to outright point out an insanity of mine and tell me 'dude I cant deal with you doing THAT' (you know, THAT) lol but I can tell if someone isn't quite hip or in tune with me, and that is a big thing for me - The gears should engage smoothly, the whole tone of things should go along without force or fake, if I can be myself and we can be cool with each other, that's half the problem fixed already, the rest really is cake in comparison (at least to me).

    And yes, I WILL work for $35/pmh for someone I get along with SO good BEFORE I work for $60/pmh for someone I can't DEAL with.
    Don't try and be someone or something, don't fake it, don't force it - just be yourself and let the pieces fall into place.

    .00000000000000000002
    (note to self: read my own advice more often)
     

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