Cancellations pouring in

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 16, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    My focus is on lawn mowing, but we also do a lot of fertilization & weed control. This spring, I advertised heavier than any other spring. The phone was ringing non-stop.

    Anyway, for lawn mowing, I require a six cut minimum. If they cancel service before the sixth cut, we charge the one time rate for all the cuts we've already done, wich is $15.00 extra per cut.

    For chemical apps, I've never required any mimimum number of apps before cancelling. That changed today. I was just thinking about all the cancellations I've gotten over the last couple of weeks. Very few mowing clients have cancelled, but almost all of the customers who signed up for chemical service this spring, and didn't take mowing, have called to cancel service.

    What they really wanted was a one time app to kill the dandelions.

    I've changed the policy: Now, chemical customers must commit to a minimum four apps. If they cancel before that, the one time rate will apply to all the apps we've already done, which is $25.00 extra per application.

    What are other chemical companies doing to reduce cancellation once all the dandelions are dead?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    The way I see either do contracts or you don't. If you go forward with that new spin, you are now doing a contract.

    I don't do contracts, so I'm also at risk for a customer to cancel at any time. One thing I've done to combat these types of problems in some situations is to ask a higher rate for the first application. Many times a new account requires pre-emergent, blanket broadleaf control, and fertilizer all at once. This obviously costs more to apply than a standard fertilization. If they cancel right away, of course you lose money. I'm at least covering myself by increasing the first app price. So far, not a single client has had an issue with the upcharge.

    Most of them realize their lawn is in bad condition, so the extra charge is no surprise.
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    We make money on every application, over our cost of goods sold. It's the first application that kills us with drive time. They won't wait until we're in the area to take the next scheduled treatment, so we have to make a special trip out to treat the lawn. That is where I'm getting killed with these spring fever'ers who change their mind in May.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

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

    I have had a lot of customers who sign up for our lawn mowing service indicate that they have another service. They would switch to us, but they've pre-paid the year in advance.

    This is probably the smartest way to handle it. Only problem I see with that is, a customer could call and say the kids or the dogs are getting sick and the doctor says no chemicals in the lawn. Then you have no choice but to refund their money. Several of the customers who have cancelled service this year are sighting this as the reason, though I don't believe them. They had no problem with chemicals when their lawn was over-run with henbit and dandelions.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  5. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    I couldn't agree more.
  6. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    I wish I knew of someone in my area that has had a contract signed, it appears no one in Texas thinks it needed....when I started, people looked at me like I was "jacked" when I showed them a contract..... :dizzy:
  7. LonniesLawns

    LonniesLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from KS
    Messages: 317

    Here is what I do to avoid cancellations -- I provide superior service. I haven't had a customer cancel in four years except for the one lady who dies -- and the people who moved into their home took over the next year.

    I would not look in how can I FORCE people to not cancel -- but rather -- why do I have to force people not to go with the next guy?

    I am not trying to bash you -- and I do not know you from a hole in the wall -- you may be the best damn fescue farmer ever -- but when I read your posts it is always about how to retain customers and how to get New customers and oops I used this chemical that I didn't really know anything about and it burned the yards.

    Focus less on the contracts and more on the science of growing grass -- the customers will be banging at your door -- guaranteed.
  8. TurfProSTL

    TurfProSTL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 693

    Sell the program. 6 apps at $xx.xx is $xxx.xx yearly.

    You can usually sniff out the 1-time shoppers. If they want an application of weed control only, provide it if it makes sense, price it at a premium and route it at your convenience.....

    You're always going to have a few that know how to play the "cancellation is upon your request" game, but I suspect you've got a problem in the sales process if a majority of your new sales is using this.
  9. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    Howdy, knowing what you know from experance set a 3-app minimum for weed control services & extra if pre-emergent is also desired.Use alittle of your expertise, also a perfect time to sell a seeding?......Regards payup
  10. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    Hello A., try calling it a "Service Agreement" & that its main benifit is that youve outlined all the priceing in writeing, Nows there is no question as to the cost of your service.[ see how the "Service Agreement" is protection for them] works in my area...regards payup

Share This Page