This is ridiculous ...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by topsites, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Fine, I know I'm guilty that I don't have enough customers, yes I should have seen the recession coming and adjusted my attitude sooner (if I should've ever copped one), my pride is still too high for my own good and I know our soldiers blood pays for our gas, and all of the rest and everything else with the foreclosures and the banks and what have you I'm fine with.

    And I've lowered my prices considerably, been pretty nice to these folks in comparison to years past, bent over backwards to please their demands, yes sir / yes ma'am / ok and thank you and please and everything else, too...

    So then how goes it?
    Folks calling all freaked out about why I haven't come out to cut the lawn when I know it doesn't need it... A simple check of the schedule tells me as much and I tell them it doesn't need it at all but back and forth it goes because their little heart won't calm down until I show up and sure enough it really doesn't need it!

    It's not like it's 2-3 days away from needing it, it's like it still looks freshly cut... And I tell them if I run the mower my blades won't even touch the grass it is so not in need of cutting but I still can not leave because three little blades are 1/16th of an inch above the rest of the turf and blablabla and pitter patter and chit chat and back and forth it goes, 30-45 minutes time holding hands and would I like to come in for a drink and so on, and so forth...

    That's on the rich side of things, perhaps I should be grateful I didn't get "bestowed upon the privilege of being 'allowed' the opportunity to work" this time... On the other hand I did think about this and the next time someone offers a drink I'm going to ask for food and a meal, seeing how it would have been cheaper than to buy a foot-long sub at the station later.

    On the poor side of things I am grateful they do respect me, that much is a relief from this side of earth to heaven and back, to be sure. But at 1/2 price they still can't afford it, bless their hearts they work two jobs and can't make ends meet here's another 30-45 minutes gone and as soon as they see me bending over backwards it starts all over and it doesn't ever end here, either.

    Now I don't got a 1/2 a leg to stand on, but I do got a mind to cop this attitude if I'm going down then I'll go down with pride and all, heck if it's going to be this way with me driving all over the county eating 12 MPG BLOOD fuel what good does it do?

    Maybe I'm just the most ungrateful sob on the face of the earth...
    Or maybe I'll print a few copies of this, then when it starts I just hand it to the customer and not say another word.
     
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    OK... I'm going to say this to you because you need to be told a whole lot more than you need your feelings spared....


    Topsites.... you're always looking at the "HOW" and never the "WHY"


    You start with one "how" and you are jumping all over the place to 35 more before the end of a post.


    It's time to re-focus... first focus on "WHY" this really is... and once you're sure you have some answers... then look at "HOW" you can adjust to remedy the situation.

    And by that, I mean real solutions... because lowering prices and sucking up don't work... as you can see and HAVE SEEN.


    Bottom line is that if you can't adapt, adjust and overcome while still staying happy and proud... well then, your fate is pretty much sealed right there... may as well accept it.


    ************************************************************

    It certainly sounds to me like you were moving up and beginning to cherry-pick... and meanwhile the economy was going down. Also sounds like you started to loose some customers to it, like many of us already have. (nothing you can do about that)

    Sounds like you still have some good ones... ones expecting to see you... but maybe not enough... too few and too far between maybe?

    12 mpg.... gas $3.25 or more a gallon... lower rates... tight times... and knowing you probably do run a real tight ship already......... not a swell picture.


    That sounds like some of the "WHY" to me....


    Maybe it's time to reorganize a little... re-route, re-schedule... make a sacrafice or two in order to get better tow vehicle mileage and acres per gallon...

    Like re-routing/re-scheduling for shorter routes and single mower-in-tow days... just the Toro or just the Warrior... and maybe a V-6 truck that gets 20 mpg or better.... etc...
     
  3. bill8379

    bill8379 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 778

    Last year I caught hell from 3 different customers because I decided their lawn didn't need cutting. I got into it with one of them, I guess she felt offended that I skipped a cut. I wasn't even late or really even skipping a cut I was adjusting her to a different day. She stopped service but still phoned me for Snow clearing this winter.

    Another was with a nice yard, good price, but it was so dry I left wheel marks on his lawn so I decided to skip it then I cut it with a 21" even though it's fairly large. He caught me and told me to cut his lawn anyway because he likes the fresh cut look. He also told me to cut it more then once a week when it's really growing.

    I figure these people are ok and I'm not skipping cuts for almost anything. I'm going to pay more attention to the grass conditions and let the grass grow a little longer before the weather gets too dry. Hopefully that will prevent damage. I don't care if it needs it, I want the money and I don't want the aggravation. I MUCH prefer THESE people to the ones that tell me to skip cuts because they are cheap.
     
  4. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,186

    Welcome to the USA economy topsites isn't grand...?
     
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Sometimes you just have to pretend that you're just starting out all over again.

    Before I moved to NC a couple of years ago I had a pretty decent solo LCO going. I wasn't making the kind of money that a lot of people on Lawnsite claim to be making but I was doing alright. All of my bills were paid, the wife had a new car and I had all of the toys that I wanted.

    But I could see the writing on the wall. I wasn't entirely happy with some of the customers I had. I really wanted to dump quite a few of them for various reasons. A whole bunch of my customers were talking about moving too. The impending real estate bubble was just starting to burst too and I had the feeling that it would cause problems too.

    So rather than start all over again from scratch I just added this to one of the many reasons I decided to move.

    I'm not saying that you should pick up and move because of your customer issues but rather that you take a just starting up again approach. Design some new flyers, door hangers and stuff like that. Maybe even change your company name. Make sure that you migrate your previous customers that you want to keep to your "new" company.

    All companies come and go. Maybe it's time for a new one.
     
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Richard -

    Thank you for this post.

    This being the 20th year, and for me having run my business the same way with the same customers for basically the same amount of money doing the same amount of turf, I'll see how this year goes, but yes, it does feel like I need a new start.
     
  7. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    You lowered your prices? Why?
     
  8. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,952

    I am definitely not lowering my prices. I am not raising them either--which is in effect lowering them because expenses have gone up lol
    But anyway, I got into it with a customer too for skipping his dead yard. He said he wanted it cut whether it needs it or not. So I said fine with me. You just need to know what the customers want. Either ask them up front if they want you to skip a cut when its dry or when you find out the hard way, then do it! This is about knowing your customer expectations and good communication.
     
  9. Toad

    Toad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    I think some people like to take advantage of a bad situation. Thats what I see. I will not lower my prices this year, but will try hard not to raise them this year. I figure a 30% increase this year is going to cost me close to a grand in fuel cost, the only thing I can think to offset this is to aquire some new accounts, tighten up my routs, and be more frugal with money like everone else. I have started by buying a car for my wife that gets better fuel economy, (got rid of the gas guzzling SUV) and so on.
    I will continue to try and save money throught the year and hopefully it helps, I dont know, we havent even started this year well see. Good luck !!
     
  10. lostmdboy

    lostmdboy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Pretend you are talking to your grandmother, or anyones grand mother. makes things a little easier. Heck if someone wants there grass cut I am mowing. If the blades are not touching just means they are not getting dull. :D Heck!! Last year here in the south people were calling saying because of the drought that there grass had not grown, and not to come. I am just thankful for eveything I have today.
     

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