To Call Ahead Or Not...That Is The Question

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 24, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I have the majority of my customers on a call ahead schedule, meaning that I call them the night before we do an application to let them know we'll be out to treat the lawn. That way, they can make sure the gate is locked and that the dog is kept inside for the day.

    I am doing this for 75% of my customers right now. It is a very time consuming chore in the eveninings. But it is also costing me money because I find that a certain percentage are saying "Let's Skip It This Time."

    Of course, if you don't call ahead, three things will plague you. Locked gates. Dogs in back lawns. Customers who blow a gasget because they didn't know you were coming out and they let the dogs out when they got home.

    How are others handling this issue?

    Thanks,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 963

    Don't let them skip, hire a $6.00/hr person to call from a list with the standard, "We will be out to spray......." and armed with answers to questions that may be posed...What are you putting down, how long till my dog can go out, etc.
     
  3. tjgray

    tjgray LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    I do all of our call aheads. It is one of my least favorite task :(

    I don't see how to get around it. Your customers need a reminder or they will forget and leave the gate locked or the dog out etc...

    We have customers that we call ahead and they still leave the gate locked :dizzy: *I have heard more than once that they didn't get my message until too late*

    For this reason I have started making call aheads two days before service. It seems to have cut down some on the still locked gates so maybe giving a couple days notice is better.

    I also try and get an email. If I can communicate through email verses the darned despised telephone then I am all for it :D

    Hope everyones day goes well :waving:
     
  4. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    we only call those with locked gates and/or dogs

    we obtain this info at the time of sale

    we verify the info is still acurate each off season

    to call 75% of tomorrow's schedule tonight....no way we'd get anything done


    also, if we have called ahead and the gate is locked when we get there and noone is home, that part of the lawn does not get done and we adjust the invoice
     
  5. cemars

    cemars LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    A couple of comments on this one DFW. For starters, as far as the ones who let the dogs out when they come home, an easy fix is a posting sign at the end of the driveway so they will see that you done a service. Second, 75% is a huge number of call aheads, it leads me to believe that you are too soft at the time of the sale. Only offer call aheads if it absolutely necessary, and consider charging a $5 per service premium for those who demand it. It cost you time and money, pass along some or all of your lost profits to your customers. I have about 10% call aheads as a result of using the above mentioned methods, which is still 10% more than I would like. Good luck.
     
  6. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Posts: 866

    75% locked gates and dogs is not high for a metro area. A call ahead person is certainly the way to go, much more effective, cost wise. We would leave messages on voicemail if not at home. We'd simply tell them, we are coming tomorrow, have your gate open and dog put away. Not ask. If gates were locked, dog out, do front yard and continue on, no service calls for the back. Always leave them a leave behind with watering & mowing instructions and what we did and a note that we skipped the back for the no access reason. They'll either take the calls more seriously from that point forward,change services or be happy with FLO. Two days ahead? Most times people would say they didn't remember to do the task form the message the night before..lol,,,my schedule is tight, because I am in demand, should be the message your customers get.
     
  7. I also charge more for clients who want a call before. There is work and time involved and you should charge for it. I also try to turn all call befores into "call before/OK to leave message" meaning that all I need to do is leave a message, and not actually speak to someone.
     
  8. SOMM

    SOMM LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 425

    Time consuming in addition to placard-signage placed prominently upon ther lawns, we agree, DFW.

    As an aside, we understand "call-ahead" was signed into law in Nassau County, N.Y. Maybe we'll hear from more than at least 1 member that we can recall from that vicinity how well they like it.

    Before this come's down the pike for most of us, lobby your local leaders to allow for a post-dated postcard in client's mailbox, to serve same purpose.
    Or else some of us will have to resort to purchasing telemarketing machines just to accomlish this mode of notification, gees!

    Most documents are legal the day they are post-dated.
     

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