For those who've started over 7 years ago....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    For those who've started your LCO business over 7 years ago... Do you find that your clientele has changed a lot since then?

    I read in a landscaping trade magazine that in this industry, we should expect to change our entire clientele every 7-10 years. That is, in 7-10 years, most LCOs don't have any of the same clients from year #1.

    I started about 8 years ago and I can testify that's fairly accurate. I only have 1 client from my first year. And for good reason too! Back then I was a crazy low-baller and most customers were seasonal. Nowadays we charge about twice as much as I did back then and don't take anything but year-round.

    I just thought it was an interesting study.

    If this is true, what does that say about the need to always be getting new clientele?
  2. weve

    weve LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Central Illinois
    Messages: 385

    I started my business in 1989 and have about 30 accounts. I still have one account from 1990 and seven others from up through 1995. 59% of my accounts have started since the year 2000.
  3. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I have maybe 2 or 3 from the first few years I started. As long as it's out with the old and cheap, in with the new and more profitable, I'm good.

  4. muxx

    muxx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    I started in 89 and I still have 2-3 accounts from then.
  5. Nope. Most of my accounts I've had for 20-25 years. I've seen kids go to college I once saw go to kindergarten. Trees I've seen planted have gotten too big and were removed. Businesses I mowed were sold and the new owners kept me on.

    There are relatively few huge lawns. So I nurture existing customers. And try to get them to upgrade their lawns. Kind of improve the customers I have instead of looking for new customers.

    But starting this year I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm going to advertise more. Already have a cell phone and a business line with an ad in the yellow pages. Maybe a radio ad, or newspaper ad in the spring.

    I'm just going to try to target jobs I qualify for. Big lawns. Lawns measured by the acre. I can't make money on small accounts. I already have too much overhead. I really needed to sort thru my existing accounts and upgrade to fewer and larger accounts.

    I've really let my business stagnate.


    BOTURF LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 316

    My client list has changed almost 100 % since 1993, i have one i have had since say 1 but rest have passed on or moved . Thats why i never turn much work down , you never know whos going to move or die
  7. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    I have never advertised so most of my clients have been with me over 7yrs they are starting to thin out
  8. CamLand

    CamLand LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    I'm just being my 14th year and i have 10-12 of my original customers...
  9. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    Good topic Jim. I was really upset in April 2003 when I lost one of my first accounts. It was a good bit of money but not the most profitable accounts. Not long after I picked up a new account to replace it. Always seems to work that way.
  10. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899


    We put our business on the books in 1988. I still have a few lients prior to that date. Over the years, I have weeded out the lkess desirable accounts as most do. The clients which have been with me for this period, were the ones which trusted me enough to do all of their maintenance from the start (pruning, mulching and some fertilizing). As our business grew, we try to sign more full package accounts or lawn care (fertilizing) accounts only. Our retention rate is high, and as we have evolved as a company, we have seen several of our accounts evolve as well. We have a great working relationship w/ our clientele, and as a result have been able to upsell the mowing & clean-up only accounts to add pruning, mulching and fertilizing.
    These services along w/ core aerations and lawn renovations have helped us out in drought seasons as well as have helped us stand out from the mow & go LCOs.

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