Dropping Clients

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by gamoose, May 30, 2003.

  1. gamoose

    gamoose LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    At what point do you all say enough is enough and drop a client ?
    We recently did a beautiful landscape job for a regular client as we picked up a check we notice a "thank you" note, or so we thought. She wrote a check for the full amount and went on to tell us how nice the landscaping looked and what a nice joj we did
    . Then the tone of the letter changed to our labor costs and how she couldn't justify our 70.00/hour charge for mere manual labor. She also informed us that most landscape companies cap thier fee at 30 an hour and that is with two or more Mexicans working as well. The capper was that we charged more for our labor per hour than she as a nurse practioneer with two Masters degrees who handles life and death resposibilites makes. What a kick in the face! I don't know how to deal with this one. I still have a mowing contract with her. Do I just shrug this off and go on with business as usual. I pride my services on developing a solid realtionship with my clients and this has definetly been damaged. I guess I have alot to learn about poeple. Sorry to vent but I thought you all might undestand and lend a sympethic ear. Thanks, Josh
  2. GeorgiaGrassMan

    GeorgiaGrassMan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    You say she paid you in full? Sounds like she just wanted to vent a little. Even though its hard to do, I'd try not to take it personally. I have found that nurses as a group often feel underpaid and underappreciated. While I might tend to agree that they are underpaid, that's beside the point and they knew what they were getting into when they choose that profession. As long as her comments don't affect what she pays you for work going forward, just try to file it under the "I'll take that under advisement" category and move on. If this topic comes up the next time you quote her for something, I wouldn't neccessarily drop her, I'd just tell her "well - that's my price" as in take it or leave it.
  3. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    I would educate her as to how much the hospital or Doctors office charges per hour for HER labor. She doesn't have a clue how the real world works.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Ask her if she also has to provide her own hospital, office space, tools, equipment, etc. to make her salary.

    Ask her if she has to drive over to each patient's home to do her thing.

    Ask her if her job is seasonal, with little or no work in the winter time.

    Ask her how often it reaches 95 degrees and 95% humidity in her exam rooms.

    Ask her what financial risks she assumes in her job if enough patients don't show up.

    Ask her if she has to pay out of her pocket to advertise to get patients.

    Ask her how often people in her profession get injured on the job and lose their ability to make an income.

    Ask her to show you her figures quantifying why you're only worth $30/hour. Or ask her how many years experience she has costing landscaping work.

    Then, finally, ask her how much her employer charges a patient for a typical 5-10 minute office visit. I'm guessing about $50 average, at least. That works out to......ooops....$300 to $600 "per hour", not $30.

    Then can her sorry rear end asap. She obviously doesn't appreciate what goes into providing the service and frankly thinks she's better than you are and that you only "deserve" some arbitrary low level of income that she's decided on for you.

    This type of customer will never be happy with what they're getting and will always begrudge you a good living. This is what is known as "an educated fool".
  5. Moguy

    Moguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    very well put Brucec32!
  6. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    I guess if she was really pissed she would not have paid you in full. I agree with the educated fool theory. I have one lady who is kinda the same in that she is never happy. I have told her she is more than welcome to find a new service. As soon as I mention that she back-pedals and says she doesn't want that. Strangely enough I really under charge her because of her financial situation....

    Some people are hard to please.....and some just don't get it...

  7. mh1314

    mh1314 LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 133

    Brings back the old joke....

    Customer to Landscaper.....

    "I don't charge that kind of money and I'm a doctor"

    Landscaper to Customer......

    "You're right, I wasn't able to charge that much either when I was a doctor"

    Sometimes you just need to give them a turn key price and not break it down for them. If you do they will find the materials cheaper or attack the labor....
  8. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I had the same thing happen to me recently and I called her up and explained to her that the reason for the costs was because of taxes, insurance, overhead, etc. Without the extra cost for the insurance, if one of the workers were hurt on her property then she could be held liable
  9. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    That's a satisfactory answer.
  10. A1 Grass

    A1 Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 330

    I have learned a lot from everybody here recently. I learned to write my own policy, make it reasonable and stick to it, no exceptions. I just enacted my new "friends-don't-get-no-discounts" policy. It's working great!

    All in all, if you know you did right then let her think whatever she wants...

    Next time she calls, charge her the same. You really have no need to explain it - it's just yes or no.

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