Lost best customer today

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Davis Lawn Mowing LLC., Sep 21, 2004.

  1. Davis Lawn Mowing LLC.

    Davis Lawn Mowing LLC. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 200

    Got a cancellation notice today from my best customer. This of course is my first year running my own business but been in the business off and on for 7 years. She was the first customer I signed onto my service from my classified ad and I felt good about her all year, always sent out a check the same day so I would get it the following day. But last week I wrote her a post script on her bill letting her know about my fall clean up service along with an estimate and also an estimate for her driveway and sidewalk this winter for snow service. She is in her mid 60s so I thought I would just add the post script with estimates because I felt she would probably need the service as I remember her telling me in the Spring she may require that service too. Then I get the cancellation notice saying she will mow her own yard the rest of the season, this after 24 cuts so far this year! I was blown away. Did I brick on the post script fall cleanup and snow service estimates? And by the way, they were very fair estimates, much below what I would normally charge because she was such a nice lady who was prompt with payment and her yard was not entirely big to begin with. Any critism or critiques would be valuable becuase if I should have waited until she asked for an estimate that is something I will do from now on. I just thought I would get her mind thinking in that direction since she did mention it back in the spring and fall is just about here. Thanks guys.
  2. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Call her and ask her if the service you were performing was not up to par with her expectations. Tell her, that if you did anything that she did'nt like that you would like a chance to make things right. Butter her up, with the whole, you were my first customer and I would hate to lose you act.

    Maybe she really wants to cut it herself, maybe she thinks she needs the exercise.
  3. Matts Mowing

    Matts Mowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    Davis - I really do not think it has anything to do with you. If there was a problem it certainly would have been addressed before this time of the year. I received a call the other day from one of my best customers. She left a message saying that the son needed to make some money before the start of college and would take over the mowing. She said she would call in the spring because the son would be in college. I did not call her - I only maintain so many lawns. She will be replaced this year and when she calls in the spring I will either tell her that she has been replaced or her new price went from $30 to $40. Her loss but I do not take it personally. :cool:
  4. Lbilawncare

    Lbilawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    I wouldn't let it bother you, people make irrational decisions all the time. Most likely she will mow it one time and decide to call you back. This has happened to us a few times over the last 11 years, if she was pissed off at you she would have probably said something. Quoting people services is not a bad idea. We had a few customers that were unaware that we offered a fertilizer program, of the 50 that we weren't doing last year we got 35 just by giving them pricing. The numbers are right there for them to look at and they don't have to call and risk the embarrassment of not wanting your services.
  5. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    Just another thing for you to consider. I've been through some rough times through the years (financially). When someone is trying to find ways to make ends meet or have had other expenses (like unforseen home/car repairs) they sometimes have to cut as many corners as possible.

    Whatever the case may be I wouldn't let it get me down too much. I would call her to make sure it isn't something you did to upset her though. Just call it good p.r.
  6. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Yes, I would at least call her. If she really is going to try to cut it herself, she might feel embarrassed to call you back if/when she decides she can't handle it.

    I agree with "Matts Mowing". I do not let customers fire me, so a family member can make some temporary money. That just shows you that your hard work is not appreciated. But under a circumstance such as yours, I would let her know that she can count on you in the future.
  7. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 458

    It really doesn't matter why you lost her the bottom line is she is no longer a customer.

    1. She did not like your estimate
    (Fine you say the price was fair if she wont pay a fair price move on)

    2. She was unhappy with your service
    (Since she never informed you of any problems how could you correct them. That is not a long term customer)

    3. She is trying to save money
    (You have absolutely no control over that so don't dwell on it)

    4. She thinks she is being taken advantage of
    (This happens with older customers, they get familiar with you and your service and then begin to wonder if they are getting taken advantage of. Your prices may be fair or even lower but if they perceive your gouging them they will drop you instead of confront you)

    So forget about it and move on.
  8. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Not always the case. I have had customers that say their doctor wants them to try cutting their own lawn for exercise (maybe they expressed to the doctor they don't like gyms). Then a couple of months later, they call you back and you have a long prosperous relation with them. You just have to watch them closely and decide if they have a legitimate reason for canceling service. If the customer is in an area were you drive by their house a lot. look and see if they are really cutting it them self.

    What ever the reason for them canceling, If you let them know that you will be there for them in the future. They will not be afraid to call you back. Once they call you back, then chances are you have a customer for life.

    Let's say, they dropped you because they wanted to test the waters with another company. So what... If they call you back, then you know that they learned a lesson and won't try it again.

    I get a kick out of people saying, screw 'em, it's their loss (I use to be one). The most important thing a business can do is build strong customer relations. Do you think the cable company is going to tell you to get loss because you wanted to try a Dish for a year? No, they are going to take you back in a heartbeat.
  9. Davis Lawn Mowing LLC.

    Davis Lawn Mowing LLC. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 200

    Thanks for the replies fellas. I wont let it get me down. This lady never complained at all, in fact, she was down right complimentary. I will give her a call this evening and let her know that if I did something she did not like I could change the way I was doing it and if she needed me back I would be willing to come back for the same price. She was a real nice old lady, even put out a cooler on a couple occassions this year with a couple soda's in it for me. I just hated to see here cancel her service.
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    The grass is slowing down...the weather is getting cooler and more comfortable to work in. Ambitions come into play, and people get an "itch", since they have not been able to do it all year. It is almost a "need" that some people have. Hang in there, and she may be giving you a call ahen she gets overwhelmed with all the leaves. Call her back later, and ask if you can be of any assistance.
    CamLand likes this.

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