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non paying custermers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by A-1 Affordable Lawn Care, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. A-1 Affordable Lawn Care

    A-1 Affordable Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Are you guys having trouble with customers not paying for mowing services this year? And I live near Cincinnati Ohio and I'm having customers dropping left and right not because of quality of service but because thier saying i'm mowing when it doesn't need to be mowed but the agreement at the begining of the year they said every week.They don't call and say don't come this week I just don't hear from them. Do people think we should drive to the property every week to see if the lawn needs to be cut? If I drive there I'm mowing regardless. Gas and my time is not free. I would like feedback on this. Suggestions would be great! Thanks:usflag:
  2. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,034


  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    Hear have some good advice, I have been running a extremely successful Landscape company for as long as dirt is old and I use to laugh at postings like this, but I don't anymore. Now I think it is just sad. To answer your question, Yes they expect you to at "minimum" care enough to look at their lawn to see if it needs mowing why do you have a issue with this?.

    Now This is your Just 1 of your problems,,, please do not be offended...This is the issue right hear.... quote "If I drive there I'm mowing regardless"

    Your attitude sucks period. Now no ones advice will be any good if you don't be receptive to it. Who in the hell wants to pay for a lawn mowing when it doesn't need it?

    say your employee mows your own lawn on Fridays and Friday rolls around and it does not it in anyway shape or form need to be mowed. Do you have a issue paying your laborer to cut your lawn that doesn't need it. or do you send him home at the end of the day?

    A smart business man sends him home instead of throwing away money. Well your customers don't want to throw money away either and it doesn't matter if they agreed to a mowing every week. customers only see themselves throwing their hard earned cash away. You MUST REALIZE THIS...

    For every 1 customer who cancels your service you can count on loosing 5 potential future customers. This is just 1 major reason cutters fail and fold. I talk to all my customers all the time I know what they like and I without question respect what they like. If you look at this from their perspective you will see why they feel like you are stealing their money. I haven't lost a customer in many many years.
    skipping a lawn could be a blessing freeing you up for a extra account. Don't count on all those customers who canceld to refer you to their friends and that you can consider that major damage to your business.

    1) you need to change your mindset
    2) you need to start thinking differently and right now
    3) you need to stop counting pennies
    4) you need a happy friendly coopertive attatude
    5) you need to capeable of putting yourself in your remaining customers shoes
    6) you need to demonstrate to your customers "show" you care by deeds

    I bend over backwards for all my customers and my phone rings all the time with Hi I got your number from so and so and I was wondering if you could.....you know the rest. If you want to get your customers back PM me and I can suggest a few things.

    But if anything.. I strongly suggest an attempt to get your customers back, hopefully you did not have words or burned the bridges. Unless you don't need them.

    I have a question
    Why do you feel your customers are not worth the time and gas for a driveby to see if it needs mowing?
  4. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    I forgot to add this suggestion

    you would do better to have your ultimate goal be makeing your customers want you insted of a goal of takeing their money for 1 mowing.
  5. illday

    illday LawnSite Member
    Posts: 89

    I've actually had customers thanking me for skipping their lawn. It sucks losing the $ but in the end it's good business sense.
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    Maybe you are in the same vicinity as the concern expressed here,


    I agree with eshkis, your business approach needs a major adjustment. This is one more case which demonstrates the lack of understanding of a service industry. We provide services at the pleasure of the customer. We are not imposing our services against their wishes. Remember who owns the property. Remember we are invited to work on their property. We do not work on their property because that is what we want to do. That the nature of a lawn SERVICE business.

    If I was a customer of yours, you would be a former contractor, just like those you are complaining about.
  7. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    The philosophy "If it's scheduled it gets done" is straight out of TruGreen's handbook! Please don't be like them. We've been operating in Cincinnati since '01 and have never had this bad of a mowing season, but I wouldn't dare mow the grass (for almost 8 weeks) more than bi-monthly due to our "record-breaking" drought. A good regimen in Cincinnati is weekly in spring and fall and bi-monthly in summer (for mowing). Now I would sell them on bed care if you want the weekly income during drought months. Hope this helps, but PLEASE don't pull a TruGreen on us!!!
  8. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    Yes they will thank you, and they will respect you for it. And they most likely will say nice things about you because they will consider you honest and this generates more business. Do the opposite and they will be saying in their circle of friends that guy is a scumbag he mows when it hasen't even grown. Some guys need to realize that it doesent matter if they sign a agreement if you bill them for a cutting when the lawn did not need it they consider that dishonest and outright stealing. In the long run 15 happy customers who respect you is by far more valuable than a 10,000 dollar advertising spree. It took me a embarrassingly long time to realize this.
  9. verant

    verant LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 484

    I'm glad someone thinks like me! I do drive by's too, to check on their lawn. If it needs mowing i'll do it, if it doesn't i won't and if i'm not sure what the customer wants, i'll go in and talk to them.
    A1 Affordable - you're not affordable if you cut it regardless whether its long or short. stand behind your name and you'll keep customers happy
  10. A-1 Affordable Lawn Care

    A-1 Affordable Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Thanks for the advice guys. Its nice to hear that I'm not the only one out there that went down that route and its taken till now to realize what I'm doing wrong and to understand it. I think because of this post I will change my old ways because I want to have a successful business! .I'm thankful of this because this was my first year full time and did very well I think for the weather conditions.But very disappointed at the end of year when people stop paying you and you lose customers not because of quality service but the way i was doing business.

    Thanks again!

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