problems with account

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Cutters Lawn Care, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    I currently have 9 Arby's. They will not sign a contract. Their district office will not let them sign any vendor contracts at all. The problem is that they keep asking me to do things that's not included in their monthly maintenance for not additional charge. I tell them that this isn't included and it will be x amount of dollars for me to do it and they get pissed. Example one store has 2 dead florida maple that they want me to cut down. I say no problem it will be x. One store wants me to make 2 new flower beds for annuals and not pay a dime more. What would you guys do to handle this. Don't really want to lose them it's about 28,000 per year.
     
  2. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Somewhere, there's a decision maker who's in charge of maintaining those nine Arbys' landscapes. I'd find that person. Explain that you value their business, but the freebies have got to start being paid for.

    It sounds like a misunderstanding to me. You are thinking the $28K covers this, but not that and they are thinking the $28K covers this and that. If they won't agree to a signed contract, and if they continue to require freebie services, I'd consider finding new accounts and dropping them.

    You need to talk to that decision maker. Make it clear that the agreement is between you and him/her, not between you and 9 store managers and 18 assistant managers.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  3. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    I totally agree that 28k isn't worth it. The problem is that I am dealing with 2 area supervisors. They are both arrogant. And have no clue about anything about landscapes. If someone comes along and beats my price by $10 per month they'll call me and say we are swithching because they are cheaper. I ask them if the other lco carried any insurance and are liscensed. They will call back in about 2 days and say they are staying because the other lco didn't have either. They say the work is excellent but they are always looking for ways to say money.
     
  4. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Posts: 4,739

    $28k is alot of money but obviously you wouldn't mind losing them. If they're so much of a pain they're not worth $28k a year, dump them! I'd hate to lose that much but you can't be expected to do extras free and I don't like the lack of contract.
     
  5. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    If it's the district office saying they can't sign then talk to the district office. And If they still wont' sing then At least meet with the manage of each location and explain in writing what is and what is not included n the regular service price. Also see if the district office will back yo up on this. Or raise the price accordingly to cover the extras.
    I think a talk with the decision makers is the best route.
     
  6. Mustang

    Mustang LawnSite Member
    Posts: 36

    Go in there for lunch. Order a burger. Have them ring you up. Then tell them you want a soda, fries, and whatever dessert they have. When they ask for more money, get pissed and ask why.
     
  7. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    thanks for advice
     
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    OK. You're dealing with two decision makers, so really and truly, no one is in charge. That's not a good situation.

    They've already attempted to drop you for a cheaper LCO once, they're likely to do it again. Next time, the competing LCO may be insured. And they're not bound to a term of service either, because they refused to sign a contract.

    You made a mistake in not insisting on a signed contract that clearly outlined what is and what is not included.

    I won't do anything without a written contract ever again. Period.

    My advice: $28K is too much to walk away from, at least it would be for me. I'd start adding customers and working extra hours to service the Arby's and the new accounts. Once you get to the point where you've got no time left, I'd drop em.

    On the other hand, if you aren't anywhere near a full schedule, you might have to put up with this for a while and hope no one with insurance under bids you.

    Along the same lines, if I've learned one thing about this business in my first year it's that you make money by contracting with your customers. Knowing how to contract isn't easy or automatic either. I had to learn from some pretty big mistakes. I'm still learning. But you make good money by contracting with clients. Not by working hard and doing good work. My opinion, for what it's worth.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  9. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    Thanks DFW
     
  10. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    DFW I totally agree about the contracts. I see we have been in business the same amount of time. What are some tips you have about getting customers to sign contracts? Do you do residential and commercial? I am only gonna do contracts this year also. I have learned a huge lesson my first year in business.
     

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