How To Deal With Losing Clients

RSMUTAH

LawnSite Member
Location
Utah
Losing even one customer by their choice/situation is a bummer. The good thing is the time of year.. Anyone looking for a new option is looking now.

One thing that has helped when a customer cancels on me is to simply ask "Is there anything I could have done better?" I usually preface it by saying "I'm always trying to make sure I'm running things as smooth as possible.." Or something along those lines.

Other than that, oh well! Thank them for the business thus far, and wish them the best!
Posted via Mobile Device
 

Chamber143

LawnSite Member
Location
Hickory nc
1300

Reference to just mowing

I'm never was offended on here. I thought it was funny

But WOW 12k worth of pine straw. Can I ask how bales that is?

Things person learns on here I use to trash pine needles till I joined this site around here nobody never used it. Now I have some customers I put it down for that list is growing. I don't buy it I have a place I can go get all I want for free then turn around make little profit on it.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

Chamber143

LawnSite Member
Location
Hickory nc
We didn't used to put out many around here either but our lists are growing as well. A lot more profit than mulch. We have gotten to the point now where we order 2-3 tractor trailer loads each year. (1100 come in each truck.)


Reference to just mowing

I'm never was offended on here. I thought it was funny

But WOW 12k worth of pine straw. Can I ask how bales that is?

Things person learns on here I use to trash pine needles till I joined this site around here nobody never used it. Now I have some customers I put it down for that list is growing. I don't buy it I have a place I can go get all I want for free then turn around make little profit on it.
 

moglide

LawnSite Member
When I was new I let it get me,screw that,turn it around flyers,web site,telephone book are nice but nothing is better than banging on a door when starting out while pulling your trailer.You will get to a point you will fire some of your own customers and service only long term clients,you will pick your customers and not them pick you,just hustle and you will be fine.
 
OP
Utah Lawn Care

Utah Lawn Care

LawnSite Bronze Member
When someone cancels unexpectedly I feel like I just got a $1000 pay cut. Obviously they are replaced, but when your goal is fast growth it is tough to feel set back.
 

Mjk1968

LawnSite Member
Location
Midwest
I have been in business for 24 years and I have learned as many have mentioned above that it is very important to understand why a customer cancelled. In addition, it is just as important if not more to keep track of how you acquired the customer in the first place. Let me explain, I as most everyone else have a limited budget for marketing and therefore you want to spend your marketing dollars on campaigns that result with the highest customer retention. A few years ago I ran three separate marketing campaigns that did boost my overall customer base. A year later I analyzed the retention of those gained customers and 2 of the 3 campaigns had approximately 90% retention and the 3rd campaign only had 40% retention. My service levels were the same for all customers so needless to say I didn't spend anymore wasted dollars on a campaign that only had 40% retention and I learned that sometimes the way you acquire a customer, regardless of service levels doesn't mean they are going to stick around for years to come. Some customers will always be in a shopping mode. New customers that were referred by another customer have always been the highest in retention. So instead of giving something away, like 50% off a service to a new customer that will only be in a shopping mode once again you may want to reward that existing customer for making a referral. Best of luck to you in the growth of your company.
 

spitfire3416

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Central Jersey
When someone cancels unexpectedly I feel like I just got a $1000 pay cut. Obviously they are replaced, but when your goal is fast growth it is tough to feel set back.
I would probably venture to guess that pretty much everyone on here knows what you're feeling. In a lot of ways starting a business feels like a marriage. A lot of ups and downs. When I first read your post I couldn't help but feel the similarities to me and my experiences so far. I'm currently going into my 4th season. Last year I had just over 40 accounts, and I lost 7 accounts as well. It crushed me. Made me feel like I just keep taking one step forward and two steps back. But I saw through it and tried to look at the good of it. Every single one of them was either a late payer or cheap, which is exactly why the cancelled. They couldn't afford it and started doing it themselves or found someone cheaper. One guy canceled to have another guy do it for $5 less per cut. I drive by the house all the time now and it looks like crap. These are not the clients you want anyway. So when I lost them I decided I needed to not only replace those 7 accounts but gain even more than I originally had. A couple weeks later I learned that a family friend who did maintenance on the side was getting rid of his accounts, so I ended up buying them. Between that and more advertising I ended up with just under 80 accounts by the end of the season. In a way losing those accounts actually sparked a fire under my ass to grow even more and not just replace the ones I had lost.

Now so far this season I've lost 2 accounts. Again, one was a late payer (every 3-4 months) and the other one was cheap as all hell, probably my least profitable lawn. Again, even though I knew all this and felt it was for the better, I felt down in a way. I'm now preparing to up my advertising even more this year and send out 40-50k postcards. It's hard to say what exactly I'll bring in, but what I do know is that it will grow my customer base and that's all you can focus on right now. Just keep growing and moving forward. My best advice to you would be that. Move on, and increase your advertising from last year. Because if you don't you may find yourself in the same position next year.
 
OP
Utah Lawn Care

Utah Lawn Care

LawnSite Bronze Member
Some great comments. Thanks guys. Now that the calls are rolling in I am over my losses. I am tracking where i get my clients from, which I had done very little of in the past. I am doubling my marketing budget, which will help as well. I think I have had quite a few more calls so far this year than previous years at this point. Thanks for the encouragement!
 

Ready to Mow

LawnSite Gold Member
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.
I know this is an old post, but hey this is the best time to lose customers because you can pick up more. One thing to do is always let customers know you have slots available, even if you don't.
 
Top