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How to turn down clients you cant take on?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    I am a solo guy for now and only equipped to do residential yards up to 1/2. People are however calling me to do yards up to 1 acre and sometimes more. Some of them want me to do more services also. Bear in mind I am doing this part time. How can I turn them down and still grow my business or maybe is there something I am not understanding.

    36" zero turn walk behind bobcat
    1994 sonoma
    21" push mower.
    Toro Detachable: edger, trimmer, blower
  2. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    Why not ramp up a bit to be able to take some of these jobs on? Maybe trade the WB in for a small commercial Z. Or, you could just tell them you are not equipped to handle their needs.
  3. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    thats a very good question, I'd like to hear some answers as I have never turned any down.

    Messages: 1,343

    Partner up with a larger operator. Work together on growing each others business so you don't have to say no. Good luck.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    Update your equipment, expand to a second crew. I'd think twice about turning down work.
  6. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I'm part time also (and will always be unless dramatic things happen). Do you want to stay part time or go full at some point? Growing your business and turning down work don't always go hand in hand... The only work you should be turning down is less profitable work. If some of these other potential clients can offer you more money at one property than a few of your currents combined I'd be taking that client. People will also say don't put all your eggs in one basket. I wouldn't turn down a profitable customer though. In fact I would and have dropped "mistake" and less profitable customers when I started out for more profitable customers. They were less profitable and needed to be let go. I have turned down potential mowing customers when my schedule was full, I never or rarely turn down landscape work. I would tell them "Sorry but my current schedule is full and I am not taking on anymore work. Please keep my number (or card if I met them in person) and call me if you run into any problems finding a service" This way you can still leave a possible door open for any future business and not make anyone upset.

    I would like to have a situation where someone could throw landscaping leads my way and I would return lawn maintenance leads. That way you are still able to provide a customer with a service they need eventhough you may not be doing it.

    Just don't turn down potential profitable work.
  7. Total Lawn and Sprinkler

    Total Lawn and Sprinkler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    I would partner with larger companies in your area. If you have business you're worried about turning down you can work as an affiliate for the larger company for referring business. You can either as for a cut or you can explain your situation and request an exchange for a smaller job.
  8. ny scaper

    ny scaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    MD seems right on. Growing your business and turning down work (assuming it is all profitable) means you are not in fact growing. However, dont grow too fast, can be recipe for disaster, especially if you dont have the $ and resources.
    Why cant you mow a 3/4 - 1 acre property with the 36 Z?
  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Are you booked a solid 40 hours a week mowing?

    Then you should not be turning down 1 acre lawns. A 36" mower will not do a 1 acre lawn fast but you should still be able to make a profit on it.

    That extra profit is how you get the money to buy a 60" mower.

    And as for landscape work find a company that has plain marked trucks that you can sub out the jobs that you have that are too big.

    Also network to find some people that you can call in looking to earn some extra cash from time to time to use when you need extra help.

    This does not mean you can take every landscape job offered but you take the ones you know you can do.
  10. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    It probably won't be an issues to mow 3/4-1 acre property with what I have by myself but when they call they say they need leaves taking up, bushes to be edged, and by the way its about 1 acre with allot of different ornamental design, curved concrete and it toke there former crew of 3-4 guys to the job in 4 hours and they charged $140 per 2 weeks. I have received 3 similar calls like this. I managed to ask the person what type of equipment they had. It didn't sound no more than what I have. They had one person mowing while one guy was edging and the other guy doing the bushes. So I said to myself ok I could pick up two or three hombres (no offense) down the road and do the same thing and pay them $9 per hour for about 4hrs. Then I did the math and realized I wouldn't make any money. I will probably come out tops in profit for my self about $30 - -$50 with two/three guys. I also thought the person was lieing about price and time. I also received 2 other opportunities similar to that that sounded very low in cost and no profit in my part.

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