What do you do with this?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    Got an -mail from this customer last night at 8:35pm.

    We think it is time to cease with regular mowing. We may call for the next couple of months until winter sets in. How much notice do you need for individual cuts?

    The regular mowing schedule is for three more cuts. One today, one two weeks from today and one four weeks from today.

    What do you guys say in the reply?

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Posts: 2,419

    You sort of answered your own question: "The regular mowing schedule is for three more cuts. One today, one two weeks from today and one four weeks from today."

    If that is not acceptable with them, bill out the rest of the current contract and give em the name of the neighborhood kid.
     
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    Which works better, the threat or the plea?

    Option 1: The threat.

    The crew has already left with the day’s schedule and we have no contact with them during the day, so we will cut the lawn today.

    As for dictating the mowing schedule, we do not allow skipping with every other week customers. If you want to cancel the service after today’s cut, that is fine, but I will mention that our prices have gone up to be more in line with market rates. Market rates on a bi-weekly cut are $28 to $31 per cut and you are currently paying $23 per cut, which is the lower end of the price range for a weekly cut. We have never raised prices on any of our customers but we have had a few complain when they returned to our service after a brief cancellation.

    If you want to stay with us, we have three more cuts scheduled for this year: One is today, on is two weeks from today and the final cut is four weeks from today.

    Option 2: The plea.

    Would you work for an employer who sent you home without pay every time they had the chance?

    Our employees are no different. They don't even expect to have work for a full year...just 32 weeks per year. It is hard for us to provide work for our employees if customers are skipping cuts.

    We have three cuts left on the schedule for the year: One is today, one is two weeks from today and the final cut is four weeks from today.

    It is too late to skip today's cut because the crew has already left for the day and we have no contact with them when they are in the field.

    If you want to skip the final two cuts, that is your decision. Please let us know what you want to do.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I am leaning towards the plea. What do others think?

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  5. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Do you have a signed service agreement?If so,carry on as usual.If not,implement one for situations like this.
     
  6. z_clark

    z_clark LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    DFW,

    I think the plea sounds a bit desperate....although I am in the same boat as you, and understand.

    I have been letting customers go to every other week with no price increase as long as they let us cut until the week of Nov. 11.

    If they want to stop service this early, but pick up next year, I let them know that they will be affected by any price increase that occurs over the winter.

    If they want to stop service one or two weeks early, I will not worry about it....just pick up next year where we left off. It is not worth loosing a customer over one cutting.
     
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    Z Clark,

    I am afraid you are right with your decision to let these ******** dictate the mowing schedule. Just got back in from golf and both of the guys I was playing with thought I should take what I can get from customers like this. They both agreed that customers don't give a damn about our problems or our employees and both brought up the number of choices my customers have.

    While I am extremely tempted to see what happens if I tell them it's my way or the hiway or to see what happens if I try to make them feel guilty, I think I will take what I can get with this one.

    I think I will just reply as follows:

    The crew has already left with the day’s schedule and we have no contact with them during the day, so we will cut the lawn today.

    As for dictating the mowing schedule, we do not allow skipping with every other week customers. If you want to cancel the service after today’s cut, that is fine, but I will mention that our prices have gone up to be more in line with market rates. Market rate for bi-weekly service on a lawn this size ranges from $28 to $31 per cut and you are currently paying $23 per cut, which is a pretty good price.

    We have never raised prices on any of our customers and we do not intend to.

    If you want to stay with us, we have two more cuts scheduled for this year: One is two weeks from today and the final cut is four weeks from today. Otherwise, we can cancel service for the season but we cannot guarantee the same price per cut next year.

    Rest assured, if they come back to us next spring, they will not be getting Thursday or Friday service.

    Thanks,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  8. mgm

    mgm LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    Why not ( level ) billing? $18.00 per week + tax billed each service to CC for 52 weeks. Should be about the same as 36 week service billed at $26.00 .
     
  9. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    ++++Why not ( level ) billing? $18.00 per week + tax billed each service to CC for 52 weeks. Should be about the same as 36 week service billed at $26.00++++

    They'd eat us alive with cancellations in the fall and winter.

    This is a real problem in this industry. If all clients did this every spring and fall, the truth is, I simply would not be able to make a profit. Thank God most people have CLASS.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  10. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    You know what? Screw it. This customer is bi-weekly. If they took every cut we have scheduled with no skips, we would mow their lawn 17 times per year. So for next year, if we only get 14 cuts because she skipps everything after the first week of October, I gross $322 from this customer and about of $160 of that goes directly to labor.

    I will experiment with this one. Here is the reply:

    The crew has already left with the day’s schedule and we have no contact with them during the day, so we will cut the lawn today.

    We do have two more cuts scheduled this season, one two weeks from today and one two weeks after that.

    If you insist on skipping the two remaining cuts, we would ask that you find another lawn mowing company next spring. We get zero revenue from our customer base for 4.5 months per year as it is. If a customer has intentions of whittling that down even further, we simply have to walk away because it is not fair to us.

    Please advise.

    Probably suicide, but I have to know what happens if I try to stand up to them.

    I can already see the cancellation coming from a mile away.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     

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