Good customers with crappy yards.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Green' Go, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Green' Go

    Green' Go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I have several clients that are great people that pay on time and love to chit chat everytime I am there. Question is, there yards are terrible. Holes, weeds, junk in the yard, and they only want it mowed every 2 weeks. The grass gets tall in 2 weeks here in north Texas. The yards are just your average size yards in older neighborhoods. They are mainly elderly people which i am notorious for underpricing myself for. I charge the same amount for a yard mow depending on size. Should I consider raising the price due to the difficulty and extra time to mow the taller grass? These type people are not interested in winning yard of the month or even having a nice yard. They are mainly having me mow just enough to avoid a nasty a leter from the city.
  2. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Green go, I have 2 just like this, one is a home daycare center and the other is in the country. The daycare center has so much junk in it that I dread it every time I have to go, 2 weeks on Monday. Her kids have tore up the back yard with a fourwheeler and has added many new play gyms, takes twice as long now to do it. However, the owner treats me nice and hunts me up to pay. Second one is a nice older guy who lives in Fla. and owns the house here. It is so uneven and lumpy that it will jar the fillings out of your teeth mowing it. Hoever, he pays a month in advance then calls me to make sure I got the check. Since my phone ain't ringing for new accounts right now I am holding on to them. When I pick up 2 more good ones these 2 are going up in price, like 100% or I will drop them.
  3. Green' Go

    Green' Go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Good thought.
    I just noticed that it appears I cant spell the word letter, and "there" should be "their".
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,286

    Green - what is your business motto, or what do you pride yourself on as far as your work goes?

    If it is high quality - then you should probably look at dropping these folks as you have quality standards that YOU adhere to. Explain this gently to them and advise for your reputation and work ethic, you need to step it up and make the properties look nicer (for more $$ of course). If they balk, hard decision, but look at bailing.

    If you are fast-willie mow and go and don't care, just leave it look half buns and go.
    This isn't the way I could stand to be in business, but you need to make that decision.
  5. Green' Go

    Green' Go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Well I am on both sides of the fence here.
    I have some that want me to mow only. And I am ok with that, but I sure dont put a sign in their yard. On the other hand I have some that I pay a lot of attention to go above what is expected and they pay for it. So I guess as long as I still have holes in my schedule of available days I will just hang on and do my best to attract new clientel.
  6. UrbanGreen

    UrbanGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162

    Starting out I had a business partner that thought we should take on anything that came our way including a bunch of these type of customers. I think what Da Quality Lawn said was right on. I hated doing these lawns and wanted to focus on the high end accounts more so eventually I bought out the other guy did exactly what I wanted to do. As soon as I picked up a good quality account I was dropping the old ones. Every two weekers can really mess up your schedule and are usually a big pita!
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yes don't you just hate that? :cry:

    I wouldn't let the pricing be a deciding factor, you did admit this was your fault and
    I've done it and to a point still do, this gets better in time so leave it be.

    I don't know what to say as for the other part...
    I've been dealing with those types of yards for years, can't seem to get away from them.
    Worst part is they get a little worse looking from year to year, nothing ever improves.
    At the same rate if it wasn't for them kind I about wouldn't have any customers lol

    But DO charge the right price...
    Because it it possible one day they get a wild hair and want to make some big improvement...
    Yeah and get this: They very well might call someone else (yes there's a fine chance of this happening)...
    And I know from experience it burns bad if you gave them a good deal all those years been busting your tail and one day you show up and WOW the whole yard is immaculate and what happened, and they come out like "hey yeah how do you like it" and so on... That burns so bad it is very possible it's over right then and there.
    But I also know it burns a whole lot less if you've been charging the right price all along, and it might still be over but at least it's considerably more "oh well."

    So charge the right price, and so long they pay on time and are decent to deal with I say get it while it's good.
    It helps to reduce the engine rpm's when it's hot and dry, bit less dusty.

  8. Turfrific

    Turfrific LawnSite Member
    Messages: 180

    why there being so nice, they got you cutting foot high grass.:weightlifter::laugh:
  9. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    I had a old lady wanting me to start cutting her place every 10 days after doing it weekly because she said she can't afford to pay every week, it's too much. I simply told her that I only cut weekly or bi-weekly and that bi-weekly would be XXX amount. I told her the grass is growing fast enough that it would take longer to cut it every 2 weeks and is harder on my equipment. I then told her (in a polite way) that I wouldn't be able to continue maintaining her lawn if I didn't cut weekly.

    I'm still mowing for her weekly at the same rate. :D
  10. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,286

    ALC - nice post!

    You are right, when it comes down to it, people will pay for what they really want and value. Sometimes you just need to stick to your guns (aka business plan) and folks will come around because they want a nice job done and your the guy (or gal) that can do it.
    Drive a hard bargain!

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