bad reflections

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by locutus, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. locutus

    locutus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,266

    i have a couple of really high end accounts, both lawyers ,both living in $650,000 dollar houses that dont mind paying me what averages out to be more than a dollar a minute for mowing.dispite my continuing efforts to educate them on the neccessity of timely applications i.e. crabgrass preemergent, aeration and overseeding , they are really stubborn about this. none of my other accounts have any problem with other services to make their lawns look better. the reason i started this thread is because i need these high-end accounts to be showcase lawns for the type of areas that i would like to creat a niche market for myself. the way these lawns look now is sort of embarrasing not from the quality of my mowing but rather just general neglect of applications etc, i feel that when neighbors ride by it may reflect negatively on me. anyone else with similar circumstances? if so how do deal with it? thanks in advance for any and all replies
  2. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    If, and I mean a "BIG IF" you think that if these yards were a show case then you could make big bucks off the neighborhood then I would seriously think of doing it for free and not telling them. I know everyone's butt is puckering at that thought! But do it only if you can turn it in your favor.

    Give you a quick example. I had the opportunity to bid a moderat sized condo complex ( about 5 buildings). The location was the key as it was at the entrance to this huge develpment. It was the first thing you saw when you came in and the last thing going out. I actually did it for break even cost. Got the job put in alot of time and effort. Turned it inot a show place. And preceeded to collect about $500K in additional condo maintenace accounts. Not counting the extras.

    So just keep that in mind. MHO:)

    SCAPEASAURUSREX LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    Unfortunatly the EPA and Pesticide control programs would frown on you putting chems on someones lawn without telling them... May want to think about that a little, especially if they have kids..

    May want to approch them and say ,,, Mr so and so... Your lawn really needs this treatment , I will be willing to apply it for you, and if you are not happy I will not charge you for it.... Or Just .. Your lawn really needs this traeatment , I would like to apply it with your permission at no charge this time..... or..something to that effect...
  4. pinnacle

    pinnacle LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 791

    Mate I have the same Issue but with around 80% of my residentials. I try to tell the owners that I can get there lawn looking the best on the street but they wont have a bar of it. They just want me to cut. That would be fine if there lawn was OK but some have more weeds than grass and it's real hard trying to look good for the people that potencialy want "Full service" because they see me cutting these crap lawns for months and months latter it still looks the same but my hands are tied.
    I've even considerd giving some of these "crap accounts" a free lawn restoration at the end off the year (only the ones that have been geting service for 12 months or more)
    Mabey this is the way to go?
    I fell your imbarrasment mate
    I have no idea what to do with these accounts
    Mabey slowly weed them out???
    All I can say is...........Welcome to the club man
  5. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Why not speak with owners, explain your thoughts/ideas/plans.
    Pricing on existing services would remain the same, but maybe offer the add ons at near break even prices for the first year (or 2). Be very careful in figuring your costs, don't want to go in the hole, and they NOT brag about pricing to neighbors.
    If you can live with all that, go for it, your taking a chance, but at least you've tried.
    Even if you shouldn't get any new business/accounts, all you'll be out is the labor time invested. You'll also reap the pride of knowing it was you and your effort in making their lawns look great.
  6. Gr grass n Hi tides

    Gr grass n Hi tides LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    First of all, most attorneys are a bunch of frickin tight wads. Good luck getting them to pay for anything else.

    I guess it depends on what you business goals are and how you derive satisfaction, but heck if these guys are paying you well for mowing........stay with them. Maybe you could book a residential across the street & get it looking dynamite......maybe that would change their mind because most attorneys are also overly concerned with vanity. What about getting photos of some properties you have provided ferts apps to & showing that to the right wads?
  7. locutus

    locutus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,266

    hi tides, although i was reluctant to mention it in my original post i would have to agree with you about lawyers being tight wads, but only on certain things. they both have really nice houses of course and dont mind spending money on nice cars heck one of them just recently built a enclosed porch/deck on his house that probably cost more than the house im living in now. having a house like these guys have with the lawn in the condition that they are is like wearing a tuxedo with muddy brogans imo.
  8. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    switch them over to a monthly contract and add in the services at or near cost, that is if they are show case lawns. I am getting ready to rebid some apartmentd that have sever crabgrass broblems ant I won't mow them next year if I don't spray them.

    On most accounts I have I can charge them $5-10.00 more each time and and call each one a service wether spray or mow and it'll come out about the same.

  9. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Sorry I meant don't charge them!
  10. I'd offer it to both, and explain that I could only afford to perform this display for only one of them. Then let competition kick in.

    From years experience trying it, I'll have to say you must be very cautious giving away services. They just don't appreciate it.
    And I'm not sure why. Maybe it has to be their idea.

    I have a lawn I've mowed for years. And they won't consent to any added service. Last year I asked their permission to "try out" my aerator on a portion of their back lawn.

    It about doubled the bluegrass population in that spot but still no response from the homeowner.

    This fall I'm going to ask to "spot treat" some rather barren spots in the front lawns. I'm going to aerate and top-dress the spots with compost and coarse river sand. These spots will turn so green it will look worse than any ring mold you've ever seen!

    When the homeowner says "Hey! you've made the rest of my lawn look bad!" my face will look like this :D
    I'll have to agree then I'll suggest "Why don't we just top-dress all over?" (He has a 6 acre lawn)


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