Are residential customers a real PITA?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by capnsac, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 702

    I have been doing mainly sub-contracted work for this first season. It has been great because the guy I sub from is always on time with payment, and the couple of residential customers I do have are always on time as well. So all in all the first year has been a success.

    My question is, to increase business for next year I have one of two options. Either try and hit the commercial market or advertise like no other and gain a residential customer base. Now commercial seems to be the easier of the two choices, but it's not the easiest to get your foot in the door either. Residential are a little easier to get your foot in the door, but not as easy as far as billing etc.

    Please let me know all your thoughts and opinions, and if you want to include your method(s) of attaining your customer base that would be awesome as well.

  2. Flow Control

    Flow Control LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,267

    Not sure what is best for you. But regarding your Subject line; I don't think that residential customers are a PITA. I think that certain individuals are PITA's and that since you will have a contact individual for each account you would be more likely to have more PITA's as you build your residential customer base.

    Thank being said, the HOA's have a HIGH rate of PITA's.

    HOA's *trucewhiteflag*
  3. Wittapp

    Wittapp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    If you do go commercial route, be carefull of the chain operations. I ran into a situation this year that was a nightmare. I had a store manager contract with me to do the spring work on the beds and summer maintenance of beds as well as mowing. I showed up to weed and mulch the beds and there was another crew on site already doing the work. After many phone calls, e-mails and letters, I was told by someone higher up that I was out of luck. Seems that the mananger did not have the autority to hire me.
    I had a similar situation with a residential customer though. But that guys wife was just mean.
    Dave in Dayton
  4. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 27,060

    Thats my line of thinking.
  5. JimmyStew

    JimmyStew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    I would say the opposite, for the most part. There are always a few bad apples, but all in all I'd much rather work for residential customers than commercial. In fact, I tend to stay away from commercial work whether it be mowing, landscaping or plowing. The reason - NO LOYALTY! Commercial customers (in general) are looking for the lowest price, and assume that the quality will be the same (if they even care about quality). So even if you get an account, you will have to re-bid it every year or two. And trust me, there will be some other company out there that thinks he really wants that account and will underbid you just to get it. There seems to be this false impression that commercial accounts are easy money --- WRONG!
  6. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 702

    I can see both viewpoints, jimmy's, witt, and ICS. Since I have a general mix of HOA, Residential, and commercial, I was wondering what would be easiest to attain more work for next year. I could pass out 6000 flyers and hope that 1% turn into new/potential customers. Or I could go knocking on every commercial stand alone building wondering if they have a lawn care company currently taking care of them and if they do, if they're happy with them.

    I refuse to take work from people if they're perfectly happy with the service they already have. If I see something I don't like, and I see a slack ass job, then I will gladly take the work out from under them. So basically, I know HOA can have a high amount of PITA, but I also know that a lot of side work can come from them. I know that single-family residential get your name out there more, and that commercial work is easiest bang for you buck if you bid it right.

    So basically what I'm getting at is, what would be the best route of advertisement to acquire more work? Let me know all the trials and tribulations with it too please.

  7. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Messages: 1,346

    most residentials are fine as long as you let them know how the service works so there is no confusion.
  8. Albery's Lawn & Tractor

    Albery's Lawn & Tractor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,674

    A buddy of mine was contracted to do all of the Taco Bells here. Well a new manager comes in and decides to hire a buddy to mow but never got rid of the first guy. Long story short, Taco Bell wrote a check to my buddy for $15K to buy him out of the contract.

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