Elderly Customers ???

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GardenDoorNW, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Thanks for clarifying, that's what I meant, i was talking about maintenance. Al is correct when he says they aren't the ones that will be planning any big landscape jobs to their property.
  2. Lawn Enforcer

    Lawn Enforcer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,381

    I found that if you treat them right, they treat you the same. 99% of my elderly customers pay me on time. Sometimes if I am late on invoices and I see one of them at lunch they will come up to me and say "how much do I owe you?" They are nice people and I try to chat with them for a few minutes if they are outside. You are always gonna have the tight-wads, but I say go for it.
  3. Josh.S

    Josh.S LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,085

    Good and bad...

    Well it just depends on who you get, the ones that do nothing but sit around all day will be the ones that noticed that their mailbox didn't get trimmed around very well..... or sometimes they will even come out side WHILE I'M STILL MOWING to make sure I was going to finish the back yard...

    Then again, some will be the most friendliest people that you will work for, will pay you what you are worth..

    Most will delay you with old stories if you let them...

    Most will pay on time...

    Several will remind you of their "fixed income"

    Sometimes they are a pain when they won't mail their check, they just wait till next time you come back, and then talk forever...

    I've one that I told I would be back on wednesday, and then 10AM wednesday they are calling me asking me where I'm at..

    Overall not a bad group... but can sometimes be very nagging..
  4. Grimmy

    Grimmy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Most of that generation know what a hard days work is. Old school.
    Most of them been there, done that. When they see your work ethic no questions ask. Most of my residental accounts which consist of about 60% elderly persons are very adament in paying COD up front.
    Aside from the monetary part of the business, have compassion for them and reap the benefits of making them happy.
    I have no qualms taking care of their lawns and doing extra, besides look at this way we may be in there someday.
    Good book says take care of the elderly.
  5. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    and you will tire of the constant complaining. "you planted an evergreen 2 months ago and now i've decided that you have it turned the wrong direction. i expect you to dig it up and turn it 45 deg. oh, and i expect you to do it for free."
    "you put in some mulch 6 months ago and now it is fading a bit. can you remove it and put in some of a different color? even though i approved of it before it was installed or even purchased and you brought 5 different samples, i wasn't satisfied with that color from the beginning but thought i might get used to it. i now don't like it. oh, and i have plenty of money but i feel that since i've decided i don't like it now that you should do it for free. and if you don't, all my neighbors will hear of it and they to will drop you."
    not to mention that once the neighbors see you gave a deal to someone, they want that same deal. it doesn't matter that the other neighbor just spent $10000 on landscaping and you gave them 1 bush for free as a bonus and these neighbors are spending $500. they want the free bush too. or all of them will drop you.
    "since you are already pruning my neighbor's bushes, can't you do mine? at no charge or for a huge discount because you are already here?"

    not all are like this, and some are very profitable but you have to be willing and able to walk away if and when this happens. many of them are simply trying to "keep up with the jones's" even though they might not be quite as well off as the jones's.
    i think the ones who have been office managers or in some other supervisory position are the worst. the elderly farmers and factory workers are the best, though. they may not be as well off but they understand the value of quality and hard work.
  6. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    I understand about the fixed income, but does that mean we lco's have to charge less and become low income in our old age??

    No, charge the same as they weren't born yesterday and know you get what you pay for. I do many seniors only condos. Most are well off financially and usually living in 300 to 500k condos. I won't drop a dime and sometimes charge extra to give them that extra servcice. I always say "charge extra good money to give them extra good service". That doesn't mean making 50 bucks an hour, it means at least 80 to $100... per man, per man don't forget, so 4 men, you profit $400 --that much an hour...yes, otherwise, you'll become low income...:nono:

    Ps... sometimes in just lawn cutting, we won't achieve that high, but we make up in all other jobs we do for the projects and combined, our stucco, carpentry, landscaping, deck repairs will do it...
  7. A.D Services

    A.D Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 224

    yea i know how mowing for the elderly goes, no disrespect to them but they are cheap. i mow for a 99 year old woman whose husband was a store owner who passed away and left her with A LOT of money and yet she thinks she wont be able to make it through the month to pay her bills. she always tells us that she doesnt want us to cut it very much because she wont be albe to pay me for the work
  8. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    For the most part our experiences with the elderly has been pretty good. Some will complain about pricing, but you will get that with any age group. They are usually pretty good with paying their bill, unless they think they do not owe you any money. We have this one really nice older lady that swears that she is paid up, and no matter what refuses to understand that she isn't. Other then that they have been ok to us.
  9. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    I had a customer forget who I was! and that is a little unnerving.
    1)Confirm all charges before hand
    2)Be fair with your bill and be firm with your prices.
    3)Avoid doing extras without chargeing.
    4)Make it perfectly clear the payment is due upon finishing job.
    5)It is not nessasary to deal with them any other way than normal
    6)do not give over 65 discounts.
    one of my eldery customers son is a General in the US. Air force and I am always tempted to do extras for her but I don't without billing.
  10. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    exactly what he said only i dont do 40-50k installs yet.. below 3-5k range we are still nobodies

    and another thing every old person we have pays there bills really fast and the checks in my PO box within a day or 2 after the bill went out.

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