Another "should I drop this customer?" thread

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grassmasterdawn, May 20, 2006.

  1. grassmasterdawn

    grassmasterdawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I have a weekly "pity" mow that I do. It's a horrendous yard with large diseased trees that drop branches at the slightest breeze. The smaller trees have branches that droop all the way to the ground. It has a playground for day care kids, where I have to move most of the equipment to mow or if I don't feel like lifting, I have to string trim the whole area. She has a day care parent parking area that is full of stones which spill into the grassy areas. There is a 3 foot drop off in the front yard with a natural stone retaining wall that spans about half of it. She has water from her washing machine pumped out directly onto her back lawn, so I have to ride through a big grassy mud puddle. She has two large wood piles sitting right smack in the middle of the yard with several years of accumulated bark spilled all around them...

    Then there are always at least 2 cars for me to mow around. Her son and daughter-in-law always park on the grass instead of the stones, for some stupid reason. There are tires, a trailer, 4 wheel barrows (every time a wheel goes flat on one, she just buys a whole new wheel barrow).

    When this woman called me for a quote, she sounded terribly desperate. Her husband had left her. She couldn't afford any of the lco's she had called. The lawn hadn't been mowed in the year since he had left. I quoted her a low price based on the fact she said she only had a 1/4 acre property - well it turned out to be closer to a full acre! I adjusted the price when I actually saw how large the yard was and how much crap was laying around

    It's taken me over a month of cleaning-up with every single mow, just to get it into any kind of shape to maintain on a weekly basis. Now...even though I gave her an incredibly lowball price just because of her situation, she says she can't afford me weekly. She wants me there bi-weekly for the same exact price. I'm ready to tell her to just get her son to do it. I thought I was doing a kind gesture, but my kindness has its limits and the businessperson side of my brain is kicking in. No more charity work!

    I probably will drop her after today's cut, but I just needed to get this out of my system.
  2. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,064

    I'm the same way I have a few yards that I would like to drop but I guess I don't have the guts or maybe I just need to think about it more. I've always been like this I also hate raising prices.

    If I was more decisive I would simply tell them I have cut the lawn several times now and have a better idea of how long it takes and it is badly underpriced... I think thats what I'll have to do with at least one of my lawns mind you its not nearly as bad as the one you describe.

    I also like to type about my problems here and generally as I type I get new ideas or and least feel better about it. I've read you're suppossed to think on paper.
  3. maxkicker

    maxkicker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    i always charge my 2 weekers 50% more unless there grass truly doesnt grow much but 2 weekers as i call them arent worth having for the most part always cheap
  4. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,534

    yea and how many kids does she watch for daycare?
    most daycares charge atleast $100.00 per week per child and that is the cheap daycares. so she might just be giving you a sob story to get over on you.Don't worry it happens to us all we've had a few but we are up to a little more than 30 customers no so we are starting to weed out the BullS$#%%Ers
    and tell all the new ones that come along to get lost. Ok so we dont tell them to get lost we very kindly tell them that is the lowest we can charge, but if they would like we will ask any other lawncares we run into if they need more customers and if they can cut it for less, and that where very sorry we cant help them at this time but if there situation changes and they can afford us , and want our service to give us a call and thank them for considering us for their lawncare needs.(very politely) We know they won't call again but you dont want people out there bad mouthing you company thats a killer. P.S.secretly we enjoy how much it pisses them off when we are so nice about them not using us and thank them for calling(IE wasting our time)
  5. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,064

    Yeah, I had one I actually thought she was a weekly when I made her price then she quoted it back to me when I told I charge extra and why. She actually said that she could do the trimming so I wouldn't have to charge extra. I said no ofcourse, but she did get me her mothers lawn which is a weekly.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    LOL I used to call them kind 'repentance' yards because I figured at the time that everybody needs this to make up for the bad stuff we do... This resulted in some interesting moments but in the end nothing ever came of it, and like you said you are being so nice because they say they can't afford it but then one day just to PISS you off they get a BIG job done that costs a fortune but they call someone else without even bothering to ask you.

    So that right there tells me something... They DO have money, they DO want some things done right but evidently if the yard looks like crap then they don't care about the yard but I also think to them we are not just a lawnboy but really the lowest form of life on earth... The more I think about this crap the angrier I am getting so let me conclude by saying I don't do garbage lots cheap and really if I see the crap when I pull up to estimate, I never even stop but keep right on driving because I HATE running my equipment in the dirt for these mofos anymore.

    Dang just chipped 2 nice new blades this week, big chip like the size of a pinky fingernail, maybe one of them I can not remember but the other one was sure enough one of them POS lots. Good thing I charged double because the grass was tall, but I'm still fumed about the blade, thou as a bonus at least I didn't smoke the 80-dollar blade belt this time.

    Somedays, like when I got the old mower loaded I don't mind it too bad, but cheap it isn't regardless of machine.
    If they can't afford my services, I thank them for their time.

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