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tighter routes?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Little o, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. Little o

    Little o LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Hey Guys,

    Newbie here again, looking back at how your business grew through the years, how did you tighten your routes. This spring will be my first, I'm sure the first time the phone rings, I'm gonna have massive anxiety. It'll get better with time I'm sure.

    Question is, I see the first year as trying to get established. Route is gonna be all over the board, just trying to book up. As the business gets a good reputation and hopefully grows, how do you tighten the route. I mean as a solo operator it won't take me much to load up, hopefully 40 customers. My conscience says that the customers that believed in me my first year, should be kept even though they are an outflyer from the majority of the route. This is assuming they pay like clockwork and are not PITA's.

    What do you guys do?


  2. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    Once I got to the number of yards that I wanted to get, and was able to bring in the max amount of money I thought those yards could bring in was when I started to make changes. Every season I go through my route and pull out the yards that are the farthest from me and decide what to do with them. I either up their prices, or drop them and add more lawns that are closer to the shop. I have have gotten to the point to almost having no relationships with my customers other then thanking them for their business, and this makes it a lot easier to drop. I guess the best thing I can tell you is not to worry about dropping those good customers far away, your in this business to make money. Keep your customers and friends seperate. Last year was hard for me, I dropped over 7 of my best customers, but I was able to add 10 new customers closer to me allowing me to add 3 new yards at $45 each per week meaning $540 per month extra in my pocket.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I don't agree with not having relations with your clients. It works both ways, makes it easier for them to drop you too. Otherwise I agree with ECM.

    Your first season definitely is all about getting work, wherever you can get it. Hopefully by season #2 you'll get enough neighbors (by referrals) to tighten things up. I'm at the point where I only take new customers if they are somewhere I already have a stop.
  4. Little o

    Little o LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23


    Thanks for the reply, your thinking makes perfect sense.

  5. jgc8fan

    jgc8fan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    You might also try to trade those accounts off with other LCOs that may have an account closer to your route they'd be willing to part with.
  6. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    Hoolie, for him it is probably better to have customer relationships because he doesn't have a full route and needs customers to keep him. For me though, I could care less if a customer drops me, every week I turn away yards that people call us wanting us to start maintaining. BTW... I'm not saying not to treat your customers with respect and be thankfull for their business, I'm just saying that I choose not to know everyone of my customers by name, and sit and talk to them every time I see them, sometimes a wave is all I have time for.
  7. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,351

    Routs can fill in quicker then you think but you will always find you have what you feel are weak parts of your list. I have a river that cuts my area in half its a pain in the ass to get to the other side I have 4 bridges in 10 miles and one is off limits to me. (Well there are 2 railroad bridges as well but I am not that crazy) So on that side I have 22 accounts in 4 towns on this side I have 80 accounts in my home town and another 25 accounts or so in the 3 towns next to me. The tight part of my list is sweet one road has 13 accounts which we built in only 12 months. The main side I have tons of 1 acre lawns and they are packed close so it really stuns me to see the 22 on the other side of the river that I hate going to pays better. I do 700 dollars across there and then can come back and do a few here in a good day and thatÂ’s with only a 2 man crew. I seem to have a hard time doing over 650 dollars in a day on the tight side. Go figure but price can out weigh how close they are and it never hurts to have an 80-dollar cut or 2 to really up the averages in a day.
  8. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    I am freinds with a lot of my customers. Maybe thats my problem, too nice :angel: . Actually most of my customers are ten year or so and I got them by my reputation as a profesional and by being freindly, they are loyal. I almost always get the neighbors. Every place we go to mow (except two), we are mowing several homes per drop of the tailgate. When Ive had to drop customers, I always have refered other lawncare guys for their service, I have several freinds who run good lawncare services.

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