messing up real bad, can it be fixed?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Aug 29, 2001.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    ive been running my service now for about 7 yrs part time. ive lost alot of good customers because i just cant make it there all the time due to my full time job. i am trying to build, so that i can go full time, but i cant keep up with the work , so im kinda chasing my tail. i lost 2 customers today! at least they always say the same thing, u do real nice work, but i need someone more reliable. im afraid at this point that i have developed a bad reputation, word of mouth travels fast. the question is, how do i fix this? am i doomed at this point? i thought about putting my tail between my legs, and going to speak with some that have cancelled, to see if i can rectify this. and then trying to hire a full time employee, i dont care what it costs. every time i hire a part timer(been through about 15) it doesnt work out. any advice?
     
  2. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    I think your problem just solved itself. You need to dwindle dow some if you can't handle all your customers. Concentrate on the ones you still have and only add as many as your 100% POSITIVE you can get to on time.

    You don't want to ruin your name too much, especially if your ever thinking of going full time.

    Good Luck, hope this helps!
     
  3. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Guido is correct. Work with only those you can handle correctly. Up sale to them by selling other services for your profit margins. Its easier to make profits on current customers than it is finding new ones.
     
  4. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    I go threw the same thing every fall when I go back to college. I can't find a decent helper. I first make sure if I'm going to be late on an account it's not the good ones. I put the best acounts on the top of the list and work my way down. I do however have the advantage of the employment problem around here being known to all.
     
  5. Double D

    Double D LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    I was in the same boat as you this year. Part-time, had a nice route set up, and then we start working OT at my full-time job. On top of that, we had one of the wettest summers in quite a while. Needless to say, I was always behind. When I finally got to the account, it was way overgrown, which sets you back that much more. Hard to make good money that way. My solution, I helped about 30% of my customers find someone else to do their yards. Now, I can give the customers that I have left the kind of service that I want to be known for. And I can do their yards in much less time, because I can get to them weekly. Of course I kept the best accounts for myself. It was hard turning loose of those accounts, but it was the best move I made this year.
     
  6. captdevo

    captdevo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 932

    been there........kinda still am.

    i work an average of 243 12hour days on a riverboat, switching shifts.

    i know what you mean.

    i finally found someone i can trust to do jobs the way i would.

    what a wife!!! she's been doin' great.

    i also have a few other people i can rely on.

    bite the bullet and concentrate on the jobs you really want and can handle.

    if it means goin' back to prior customers, do it, and explain your situation and what you are doin' to remedy it.

    Good Luck!!
     
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Reliability is a big factor in this industry. I've grown way faster than most of the guys that started out when I did (150 residential accounts in 5.5. years) and a large part of that is because we are 100% reliable. Our clients know that they will see us at the same time every single week. Every once in a while we have a truck or equipment problem. We have backups so it usually doesn't slow us down. But still, every once in a while (e.g. once every 3 months) we get a little behind. But we're always there the very next day, no matter what. Our clients know this and know they can count on us.

    If you can't provide that kind of service you need to find out where the bottle neck is and fix it. What's preventing you from coming to their houses regularly? For some people, it's because they're lazy and like to wake up at 10:00 am. For others, it's because they've overbooked themselves. For others, it's because they refuse to work in the rain. In your case, maybe it's because you're trying to balance a regular job in with a part time business. I dunno. But you'll have to look at your situation and figure out what's preventing you from being consistent, regular and dependable. And then figure out whether it's worth it to you to fix the problem.

    Just remember, if you're not going to be coming on a regular predictable schedule each week, you're gonna lose out to those of us who are.

    p.s. I don't necessarily agree with the above post that you've fixed your problem by getting rid of these two clients. I think these are warning signs. And don't worry, we all get them. But when you get a few clients cancel within the same month for similar reasons it should be a big hint that there's something wrong. Then you need to find out what it is and correct it before others follow suit. Your problem might not have been that you had too many clients (as the above post suggests). Your problem may lie more in the fact that you aren't coming as regularly and reliably as you should.
     
  8. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    Excelent! As usual Jim!

    If I may paraphrase:

    80% of life is just showing up!

    (Or sumpin like dat!)

    :D
     
  9. MATTHEW

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Posts: 665

    I did that ft/pt thing for three years. The only thing to do is get a nice tight route with very little driving close to home. Word of mouth usually spreads to the neighbors anyway. Good luck.
     
  10. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    If you can't figure out by now, (after 7 years part-time) what it takes to make this business work, then get out of it. Why aren't you full time by now? Not making enough money to pay your bills? Then you aren't charging accordingly and screwing it up for guys like me. I jumped into this full time, balls to the wall. It's a risk but that's life. If you can't make enough money to pay bills, insurance, any other costs involved with this business, and to pay for a roof over your head, you don't have what it takes to run a successful business. I'm so sick and tired of all these guys pussy footin' around this industry part-time because they are afraid to quit the SECURITY of their full-time job. If you are afraid to leave the comfort of someone elses business risks, then quit screwing it up for me, cause I will guarantee you are not charging the right amount to run this business correct. Otherwise you would be doing it. You or whoever else falls into this category can call me whatever you want and say whatever you want, because I know, and you know, you are screwing it up for those that are trying to make it full-time. You asked for advice, and that's mine!
     

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