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Easy Come Easy Go

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by grasscutterman, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. grasscutterman

    grasscutterman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    What would everyone else do?

    We are based in the North East and just had a huge storm. The ground is soaked, lawns have grown some but not alot. This was the first nice day and one of our clients hired someone else to cut her. We do not sign contracts because no one else but Brickman in this area does. How can we prevent client lost, to low bidders, crazy old people who do not understand that we have an active schedule and may not be able to cut the very next day.

    Thanks for the advice, does anyone really last in this business?
  2. Tony Clifton

    Tony Clifton LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 865

    Why don't you sign contracts?
  3. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    I understand it's not easy dealing with residential. They can be very flaky, the sun comes out and they want us there in 2 minutes...dah...lol :hammerhead: :hammerhead:

    We do spring cleanups for residential and it's enough for the whole year for me. I'd never ever cut grass for mrs. smith. They just don't get it and it will never change. After 1 week and maybe 70 spring clean ups, I don't want to hear another "where are you, the sun just came out" line.

    There is a way out and it's commercial and condos. They are no cakewalk either, but all in all, you are left alone more often than not. The pay is much better, in my estimation at least double if not triple from what I've read on here and from my friends in the business. Also, the commercial/condos offer many more chances to augment your sales with addons such as snow, landscaping, painting, stucco work, deck repairs and various other projects.

    Once you've changed over to commercial/condos and taste the money and freedom, you won't go back. Mind you there are lots of guys who hate those, so it leaves more for the rest of us!! :)
  4. razor1

    razor1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,985

    Did they call to let you know?

    Here are some options....

    1) Give them a call to see what happened.
    2) Show up (early) next week and cut it like nothing happened.
    3) Dump them unless they call.

    I'd at least give them a call before you dump them.
    Unfortunately in this business, it's becoming a serious buyers market.
    Good Luck
  5. grasscutterman

    grasscutterman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    This year in particular everytime I mention signing up with us clients have freaked out. Apparently unless it is a big mulch job, or pavers no one signs in my immediate area makes clients sign contracts.

    It this standard elsewhere?
  6. Tony Clifton

    Tony Clifton LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 865

    I would tell them it is standard policy for your company.
    Also, do not call it a contract, call it an "agreement"
    People are not as intimidated by "agreements"
  7. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Messages: 1,209

    contracts don't lock your customers in anyway. It is not like a cell phone with an early termination fee. You are an at will contractor for them.
  8. N.H.BOY

    N.H.BOY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,603

    How did you get all there commercial accounts?? and also condos. Helpful info please. Thanks and sounds like you love this type of work.
  9. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    Depending on where you live, condos/commercial offer great opportunities. If you live in a large city it's easier as there are more properties to chose from. I'm from a city of about a million people with small cities around us. With this scenario, I'll send out very short and to the point faxes to management companies for every service we offer one at a time and only in the season it pertains to. It's that easy to get them. We just started to offer parking lot clean up this spring, so I had my office mgr fax out to all property managers, all hotels, all commercial properties etc... she'll sit by the fax for days...lol I'm kinda nervous when this happens as she's paid like 50k a year, but the faxes always work. Went out to estimate a Sheraton parking lot and a few hotels just today. I'll get the hang of properly estimating the lot sweeping soon enough. Oh, today was bonus day. I also offer line painting with the sweeping cause that's what they want. I was busting my chops to figure how I'd do the line painting, so I got an attachment from Lemmer for my L1000 and it's pretty cool. My office mgr. looked at me and said, you should call guys who do line painting and see what prices they charge. I didn't want to but she gave me the evil eye and I called. LOL... I found a guy who does my competitors lines and he's willing to do mine and he's so cheap, I can double his bid and I don't do a thing. They do it for like $2.70 a line. I can't even do it for that. So worked out nicely!! This guy runs 3 crews doing lines and he's happy. To each his own, I personally can't dream of working for the profits he's making, but in this case, it's working in my favor, so if he makes $500 for lets say 200 lines or so, I'll profit the same. Seems fair...:)

    Anyway, what I'm saying to you is that's how I've started most of my services, shooting from the hip. Getting the accounts takes good bidding, a bit of good old bullsh*t and some luck. Of course I get my share of aholes who want it for nothing, I just forget about them and move on. I've got no patience for managers who want me to do for low prices.

    If you work your way around the obstacles, the profits are there if you avoid the usual pitfalls, the low profit work, and the grunt work that will waste all your productive time.

    If you want more info, pm me otherwise I'm prolly boring the sh*t out of most guys...lol


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