How To Deal With Losing Clients

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Utah Lawn Care, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,582

    How do you deal with losing clients? Does it hurt? Do you feel depressed or sad? Sometimes they have a completely valid reason that they state. Other times they send an e-mail telling you they won't be needing your services anymore.

    A couple weeks ago I sent a letter or e-mail to my clients. I was just keeping in touch with them and let them know that in the next few weeks we would let them know the specific day we would start their services back up. I mentioned we implemented a way to pay bills online, yadda yadda yadda. I immediately started getting e-mails canceling service. Probably 7 of my 40 clients. Every e-mail felt like a huge slap in the face and it really gets me down. I spend so dang much money on advertising, and I want to grow my business so badly that it's hard to feel like you're going backwards. How do you deal with these situations without it getting you down or taking it too personally?
     
  2. PCLAWN25

    PCLAWN25 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 62

    There are unavoidable reasons that you cant get upset about. Customers move, lose jobs for example, not your fault. I would be worried about why the others left, was it price or quality. You need to find out why before you feel bad. It might be worth a trip to talk to them in person, could be an easy fix. No better way than face to face discussion.
     
    13Razorbackfan likes this.
  3. Ovi

    Ovi LawnSite Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 35

    Grief is a natural response to loss.
    Do a case study to identify your at risk customers before they show up. Ask your clients why they are unhappy with whatever they are unhappy with.

    Make courtesy calls when there are no issues, mailing out of the blue is like saying am coming soon for my money. Telephone conversation is a better way to communicate with customers.

    Face your grief by getting out of your comfort zone, rebrand if necessary, get more customers and move on.
    above all, know the importance of accepting and coping with change, understanding these could positively lead you to new opportunities.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  4. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,447


    Customers come and go.
    But I think 7 out of 40 indicates that something is awry.
    Did you mandate auto credit card billing, a price increase or other?
     
  5. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    That's 18% of your client base lost over the winter, find out why, because that's not normal. I had 40 end of season last year, and I expect a few of them not to be around this year, for whatever reason. One house I know is under contract, one is for sale, and so on. It happens, but unless you had for sale signs outside all 7, something is up.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,982

    First thing I thought was a new payment mandated.

    Call these people up and find out why they dropped you.
     
    13Razorbackfan likes this.
  7. OP
    OP
    Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,582

    I made no changes. One lady said her grandson was going to do it. One guy said he got his mower fixed so he would do his own. One guy told me he hired a more full service oriented company without asking me if I offered more than mowing. I realize that's my fault for not making him aware. Another guy who I do 2 properties for said he didn't need my services anymore.

    Most have good legit reasons, I find it hard to cope with this business consuming my thoughts pretty much all day all year then to see 7 customers go POOF and disappear in a matter of a couple weeks. I am competitive and I am always the first person to hate on myself in sports, or whatever I am competing in. I will suck it up and move on. I should ask people why they cancelled that don't specifically tell me but I don't want to come across as the kid that's cut from the team and demands an explanation why when the coach just wants you to get lost.

    This will be the start of my third year in business. I am in a town of 30,000 so my business can only grow so big. My company isn't old enough to have a large base of loyal customers. I imagine I will add a few loyal customers every year and others will come and go.

    I appreciate your input, as well as others.
     
  8. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    You just got blindsided by a big drop off then. Push hard in the spring sales rush, don't let anything slip through your fingers.

    Give new customers some company literature, giving information on services.

    You'll bounce back. You're at this point where your company is growing, and losing 7 lawns is a big deal, but you're just getting larger and the bigger you are the more you lose each year, because there's more to lose. Your core customer base (relationship based), expanded past it's roots.

    You're probably not screening through your customers, and getting solid, long term ones. You shouldn't expect to just get these people. Anyone that is going to pay their bill is a good customer, even if you only have them for two months.

    At the end of the day, this is still a business. Do you eat at the same place everytime you go out for dinner? If your dog is sick, and your vet isn't open on Sundays, would you take your dog somewhere else? It's business. Maybe a few will come back, but you can't cry over it. Push hard, do a good job, and you'll be fine.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  9. OP
    OP
    Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,582

    Thanks! You make some good points.
     
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Male
    Messages: 16,334

    meh

    Losing 18% of 40 isn't the same as losing 18% of 400.

    They could have just been swing/fringe customers to begin with.
    I don't buy the "more full service oriented company" line… In Cedar city? WHO? Where are the from? Parawan? Logan? There really aren't any big full service guys local to you Im aware of.

    You could ALSO easily have a sniper…someone who has started up, seen you working and has specifically targeted your customers he noticed you doing.
    That's usually the cue with 4 out of your 7.
    The other people probably weren't solid customers in the first place.

    You only have 40 customers thats a hobby not a company.
    I wouldn't sweat losing 7, you can add 10 just as fast.
     

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