Getting Tired of Residential Customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rookie03, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. rookie03

    rookie03 LawnSite Member
    from OK
    Messages: 184

    I've read many posts by everyone on this forum. And some I figured were just made up, but now I have to say that I'll never second guess a post about residential customers.

    I'm really getting tired of residential customers. I have around 20 residentials that are awesome. Most pay in advance, if not they always pay on time. They are respectful and praise the work that I do for them. It's great!

    Lately, I've ran into those residential customers that you just can't help but to laugh at.

    One customer wants a bid on two properties. One is around 2.5 acres, the other around 1 acre. They are going to be weekly so I'm pumped and charge $120 for both. She says she'll call back tomorrow.'s been probably 5 days?! I gave her a heck of a deal. Go figure.

    Every residential customer that has called this year wants to be on the 10 day schedule or "I'll call when it needs it again schedule." I can't stand that. Not one customer that I've got this year wants to be maintained weekly. :angry:

    And then you have the minimum price customer. Minimum price is $30 and the yard is a $30 yard. First they whine about your minimum price and then they complain that it's not short enough or it didn't take you long enough to cut it. Customer says it takes me 3 hours to cut it with this push mower. Uh ya, I have a 60" ZTR and it takes me 25 minutes. Then they sit there and watch you the entire time like you're not doing it right. I can't help but laugh at these ppl. And then they try to sell you their old murray push mower that smokes for $70. Do they not understand most of us in this industry do this for a living? They want to talk you down on your price, but there's no way they'll take $68 for that push mower.

    Couple of days ago this lady calls. "Hi, this is Tina....I need my lawn mowed every other week this year. I had someone mowing it every other week last year, but they are cutting back this year and I was one to be cut off the list. I can't pay very much so I need it every other week." (I'm thinking to myself.....this isn't the kind of customer I want. The guy cut you b/c your cheap and won't pay enough. He's not making any money off of you. So I knew what was coming, but I had to ask) So Tina, who was mowing your lawn? Tina says, "Chris was mowing my yard." I said, "oh ok, well how much did he charge you?" Tina says, "$15." I said, " oh ok, that must have been every week." Tina says, "No, that was every other week." I said, "oh ok, well what's your address, I'll be by tomorrow." (she tells me so I go by there the next day. You won't believe it. It was 3/4 acre yard with a lot of trimming, plus it had a chain link fence all the way around it to trim.) I tell her $30 she said she just had someone come by that said he would do it for $20. I handed her my card and said call me when he quits or if you aren't satisfied with the quality of his work. And I left.

    Sorry for all this, but I'm just steaming right now about these stupid homeowners. I had to let it all out. I know you guys know how it is, but dang.

    I'm going commercial property from now on. They have been less stressful for me.
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Sounds to me like you're working in the wrong area. Try finding an area to work in where people are 1) Working too much to do it themselves 2) the avg. income is very high and 3) Most lawns in that neighborhood are maintained by professionals.

    I think you'd get a lot better results.
  3. Luscious Lawns

    Luscious Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    I agree with Lewis. You can't work for "The Little Old Lady" and make a living. Target your clients to those who can afford the extra $$$ for detail. And don't loose sleep about a 30 dollar project. Those projects are a dime a dozen.
  4. Trevors Lawn Care

    Trevors Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,180

    i had a lady tell me i was raking wrong. She then gave me instruction on the "proper" way to rake, and then tried telling me my prices were to high and she only wanted to pay me $20/ hour for my lawn clean up. No mowing for her.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Nah, went to 100% commercial 3 years ago, love every minute of it. 30 days, there's the check, usually within 15.
  6. charlies

    charlies LawnSite Senior Member
    from earth
    Messages: 587

    i can't believe you wet out there for a lady who said she was paying someone $15 last year for every other week. sounds like you could have cleared that one up on the phone. of course, i do alot of useless estimates myself...
  7. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    You have $30 posted as your minimum and you went out and looked at the job??? Sounds like you like to waste your time on hopeless bidding.
  8. lilred731

    lilred731 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    Dime a dozen, dime a dozen.

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    Jim, this is fine and dandy if you work in Suburbia, USA but for us that work in Rural, USA, we can't be picky. I consider myself very fortunate since I've have been in this biz for 18 years and can afford to be picky as to who I take on, but for the new guy just starting out, I feel pity for them.
  10. MWHC

    MWHC LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Messages: 220

    Another idea is to "pre-qualify" interested new customers over the phone. It helps weed out the cheap people. Clues like "I only want it every other week", "I will call when the lawn needs done", "Can you come every 10-12 days?". Those should be good warning signs. Aim for high end residential, don't even waste your time with the tire kicking. We won't even look at the property unless you agree to our weekly mowing policy. Not every company fits every customers needs.

    Ahh, there may be a place for the scrubs after all. They are not so offended when they drive up in their clunker and $150.00 dollar mower and the customer says "can you skip me this week, it does not need it?" Try pulling up to the house with 20k in equip, not to mention the truck, 3 employees and all the other expenses that go with making the ship float. I tolerate that scenario for about 1 second and have them find someone else.

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