Rant: Bad Day.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by K-OS, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. K-OS

    K-OS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    So I started taking over my dad's company. I'm 30 years old and have been working with him for 20 years now, it was about time. Sooo, I inherit all his customers, even the crazy ones....

    So today I began cutting grass, since my spring cleaning was done and I tirned the earth at all my customers. I sent a bill for the month of April already.I get about 4 calls today to come see customers.

    1st potential customer: Not home, wait, pass again answers door and tells me never mind he found someone already. Nice waste of my time

    2nd customer: An old man, 2nd year we do his property, starts yelling because the price is too high. Starts calculating the time I spend at his property, the price of a bag of fertilizer, the 20$ cut I take on the shrub to plant it. So I snapped after 10 mins of yelling and giving me heck on the price and told him in a quiet voice leaning towards him "Sir, find yourself someone else" and storm outta there.

    3rd customer: Sends my bill back highlighting the taxes, and the price with a note in BIG letters "STAY OFF MY LAND". Needless to say we've been doing his property for 15 years and I kept the same price.

    4th customer: Asks me to prepare a contract/proposal. Ok no problem. Send it, 10 mins back before I even leave the office he returns it with "CANCEL" written on it. Now, I burned 1 month doing spring cleanup at his place and fertilizer. Been 2 years we're doing his place and I didn't raise him, I even included his hedge!

    When working with my dad, I used to take care of everything, customer relations, employees, finishing touches and all. My dad just had to write the checks and do his errands. I don't know if it's because there is a lot more competition or if everyone had just gone mad, but I never had so much trouble!
  2. dex242

    dex242 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    im starting to get alot of competition down here to just hang in there it will go good. Some people down here cutting my prices in half, im just going through hoping they go down soon at those prices so just hang in there good things will come
  3. K-OS

    K-OS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    Hey Dex!,

    I'm starting to think everyone's solution to the recession was start a landscaping business.

    I don't understand the purpose of cutting prices, there is enough work for everyone, you don't need to steal customers and basically isolate your company from others.

    Where I work, we are a group of 6 landscapers (3 of which are family) that keep together, avoid stealing customers, keep the prices steady and share work so everyone get s a piece of the pie. My family has been doing this business since 1960, I am the third generation. We all know each other around here and when a new guy comes and cuts the prices just to pick up customers, really pisses me off.

    Thanks for the motivation though, I always did tell myself: "If they complain and quit, it's for the best, they weren't good customers". So one or two houses down helps me give better service to my good customers.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Now do you understand the reason why not all customers will stick with the next owner?

    Sir, they don't even care if you are the owner's son, why this is so, I don't know that's probably half the reason.
    People are funny, sometimes they will drop you just because you are not him.

    Now your dad really should have gone with you, made the rounds to each and
    every customer and introduced you to them, that MIGHT have helped some of it,
    certainly I don't think it would have hurt and on that note it might still be something to do.
  5. dex242

    dex242 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    well i got my dad's company last year and i did not lose any, i just let them know as time goes by lol best way to go they dont know the difference if everythings the same
  6. 18lmslcsr

    18lmslcsr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    Hang in there! It has been tough in the Mid West states too! Business is down about 30-40%...

  7. K-OS

    K-OS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    I really would have liked to do the turn of the customers with my dad, but he kept pushing it off. So I wrote a kind letter instead to all the customers.

    Some people really are funny. It's not like they don't know me either. I practically grew up on their property for the most part. But, it is mostly the newer customers that gave me a hard time. Complaining to lower the price. I don't think 120$/month is expensive for a 5000 sq ft lot.

    I am an honest man, and when a customer tries to cut into my price, I tell the truth. It was very difficult to get where I am today. 2 years of Horticulture school, 2.5 years of working for a prestigious landscaping company, and almost 20 with my dad.

    Thanks for the motivation guys!
  8. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    it would get to me too. i am in a position much like yours. my dad who is on here(br549oicu8) and i have the business, but he started it 29 yrs ago, i have been in it about 17 years i think( cant remember) i am 33. he is someday going to hand the riens when he feels i am ready etc. i have been a hugh mainstay in forwarding the business and basically came up with most of the impelementation and learning of new services over the years. so the customers actaully think i am the owner, more often than not. just relating to your story, but i know my dad would have done the rounds with me, a bad move on your alls part not too. i see more troubles in the future from the sounds of it.
  9. rcslawncare

    rcslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,684

    Iv lost some to price cuts and gained some from the quality of work. Just that time to let the price shoppers go and get the ones that want the work and have the money to pay. Give it time when gas is $4.00 a gallon, hard to see the $15 and $20 yard guys keep working.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    LOL I hear you, I've had similar experiences.

    Depends, to me that is a lot, but...

    This being the case you must have your reasons for quoting what you do,
    I was not aware you had this much background on the subject.

    And it doesn't always come easy, but the best answer I have heard is that
    this is why we grow a thick skin, to just let that stuff roll off...

    On another note...
    Is it possible to curb services to a degree while reducing the price?
    I've done it...

    Someone can't quite afford it, I either slow down how often I go out there or what have you, just to keep a customer...
    It's worth it, usually, bad times or otherwise, some they just always want something for nothing but not everybody is like that,
    I've kept more than one customer over the years by just not being as aggressive on the service(s).

    Because one thing I have learned...
    No matter how hard I work or what have you...
    It's ALL the same dang money at the end of the month.

    Peace out

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