Treating other customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tiedeman, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    Do you feel that is it fair that I give some customers deals or breaks, go the extra mile, or look the other way compared most of the customers. For example:

    1. A higher priced customer gets moved up front in the schedule compared to someone else

    2. A long term customer gets better treatment compared to a customer that is less than a year old

    3. A customer that pays on time and the full amount without complaining about the price sometimes gets little extra services or you might not charge for bagging or double cutting.

    4. A year round customer (lawn care and snow removal) is higher priority for snow removal than someone that is just a snow removal customer

    5. A customer that is surrounded or next door to two other customers gets breaks or deals on services.

    Do you feel that it is right that I do this? Why and why not?
     
  2. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Sure I think it's fair, or justified...there's a definite 'customer hierarchy' or at least there should be. I normally consider how much revenue a particular customer provides me each year, and also how long they have been a customer.

    This sort of thing goes on with most types of businesses I would think.
     
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,073

    1. The only way a higher price customer gets moved up in the schedule is if it's going to rain in the afternoon, We'll rearrange our route some to get the better customers in first or also the really fast growers that we can't afford to let go another day. Not going to kill ourselves getting to a $30 mow and go lawn if we are pressed for time and rain is on the way.

    2. no, treatment is the same for both customers. A first year customer will turn into a long term customer if you treat them right.

    3. no, in all honesty we don't have late paying customers. We charge for any extras that we do.

    4. We don't do snow.

    5. no, I understand some people do this, but then if you lose 2 of the 3 customers, then the third customer is being charged too little. We charge accordingly from the get go. At one time, we had 10 customers on one street, which is the most we ever had grouped together like that. All got charged our going rate. Sad thing is, we only have TWO left on that street now. They either died or moved to senior citizen homes. :dizzy:

    I feel if you do a good competent job on their lawn and give them good reliable dependable service, there is no need to give them any breaks. Our customers don't expect discounts, we are just a small business, not Walmart.
     
  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    you can honestly say Jodi that you do not treat other customers different from one another?
     
  5. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    For me it's not about giving free services away, I don't do that. But things like, a customer needs to be cut on a different day for a party...it's out of my way...is it a new client or an old one? If it's out of the way, I'll charge extra, but for a new client I may tell them I can't do it at all.

    It's more about the intangibles, like if you're a regular at a bar or restaurant, you expect that the staff knows you, maybe they save you your favorite table, or whatever.
     
  6. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,073

    Yes I can. With your examples, yep, I can honestly say that.
    We have first year customers that are just wonderful. Why would we treat them less than someone that has been with us for 6 years? Infact, if you want to treat customers different, it probably would be best to treat the first year customer BETTER, because the 6th year customer will probably let things slide a little if you skimp on a trim or an edge, etc.

    We truly don't discount. Here's an example. One of our favorite residentials brings in over $500.00 a month if not more depending upon what month it is and what else he gets such as trimmings or mulch. We do weekly leafcleanups at his place, it's hard work. Many beds to blow out, a lot of cutting back of shrubbery etc, had to be done including a huge patio poolhouse area that is like a leaf war zone. He is a great customer, but he got no discount. He's a doctor, he likes how Matt does the work, he will pay. His bill for October was $1430 that includes his cuts.

    Let's just say Sally on Speers street calls us. We have 2 other customers on Speers street. If the other 2 customers are $30 a cut, why would Matt go to the door and say, "ok if you sign on I'll charge you $27 cut?" The customer isn't expecting a discount, so we don't mention one. If Matt sold the other 2 at $30, then if Sally wants us, she'll have to pay $30 also. (I understand the reasoning behind trying to add on a third client to decrease drive time, etc.. but for us, we don't do the group rate discount thing.)

    We weren't always like this. We got burned plenty of times in the past. We just act different now, we cut a lot of bad baggage these last few years.

    As the years go on, the quality of our customer base keeps improving, we took on some really crappy lawns in the beginning, but no more.
    Where we seem to falter is the CONSTANT BATTLE to hold onto our customers. They keep dying, and that's the truth. If we pick up 12 customers a year, we lose 9. Growth is very slow in adding new customers.
    And on that note, we get the daily newspaper. First thing I do, is look on the left hand side of the column to see the obituaries.
     
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    #1-No I would not move a higer priced cust to the front of the scedual,they fall in line the order I want them to depending on alot of factors..but more money is not a decideing factor on who goes first.
    Though I did do that at first when I was low on $$ and knew a cust would hand me cash that week,I might do them 1st .
    #2-I treat all my customers the very best I can treat them,the one that is new gets just as good of treatment (if not better in some cases )as the one whos been there awhile
    #3-No Snow removal here
    #4-If I did snow yes that is the way I would do it-yr round 1st.
    #5-Not unless that cust got me the other two jobs or recommended me to them,it would be a one time break or deal to return the favor ..not a consistant lower price though.
     
  8. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    discounts can be reasoned if you are trying to get something for the money you give up. Trying to capture new territory, B vs A type service[save time], or giving a lower price for one service only to make up the difference on another. Discounting on leaf removal is something I have done just to get extra work from someone who you know won't go for the full price. I'm not going to give the same job for less money because the neighbors all talk and the full priced removals may want the B service too for less money. If i'm doing a cleanup and a neighbor who cuts his own lawn wants a price for removal it is higher than my customers. Then I tell them if they were regulars I could do it for less. I know they will talk to their neighbor and tell them the price I gave them and it makes my customer think they got a deal. I will skip trimming to save time on the job and the beds may get a little less time clearing on a B service. I look at leaf cleanup as a bonus on the season and your not on a cutting schedule where you will loose money if you skip one that week. The leaves will wait and its just a matter of getting to the jobs before the snow covers them up.
     
  9. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Who cares whether it is fair or not?

    You run and manage your business as you see fit...kind of a no-brainer IMO. You're in business to make money, not to be nice or fair or whatever. Of course you have to treat everyone with respect and that's a given. If you're doing LCO work as a hobby so be it. If it's your life blood, treat it that way.
     
  10. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    Rod, why do you always yell at me:cry:
     

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