Looking Back

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by ArTurf, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,345

    I'm sure we all would do a few things different and avoided some issues. Here are a couple that come to mind and how I'd do it different from the beginning. Hope this helps others avoid some future problems.

    *Adding time/labor to lawn.
    Not usual for the customer to add "crap", bushes, trees, bird feeder/baths, lights and you name it increasing the time & labor required to maintain the lawn. Make it clear upfront any changes could result in increased costs. You have to do this the 1st time you are discussing terms and at the beginning of every year. I explain it something like this; If it takes me 30 minutes to mow your lawn I charge you for that, if it takes me 1 hour and is more labor intensive I charge twice if not more.

    *Doing things for free.
    We all do things for "free" for regular customers and that's fine. But at some point it may become unfeasible to continue to do so. Make it clear little things you do are not part of what you are being paid to do and at some point you may need to charge or make some sort of change. An example I recently came across is adjusting irrigation settings. I did this at no charge for years but as time went I realized it was adding significant time/effort to my day. Before the beginning of this year I make a deal with my customers that if they would install a WiFi controller that would allow me remote access I would continue to do so at no cost. Most reacted to this positively but there was one that had a very negative reaction. I let them control it now and here's what happened, they didn't turn it on when it stopped raining and it burned up, then they turned it on and set it at high settings to catch up and then we got some rains. They have not adjusted it and the place is a swamp. The ultra wet grass clogs and leaves clumps and I don't bother to clean them up. Maybe they will figure it out but probably not.

    Hope this helps some avoid situations. Feel free to add your suggestions.
     
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  2. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Agreed, but I wouldn't have done it differently from the beginning. I feel those extra things we do when we just got started out is like paying your dues. It gets you a good name and a lot of customers through word of mouth. That allows you to grow quickly and get into your targeted market rather fast. Phasing those extras out after you get established however, is a must do. I have 1 customer today that was with me from the beginning. The rest took offense to not getting free sh1t. I drive by their property occasionally and man it looks awful but hey, they're still getting those tree's and shrubs trimmed for nothing!
     
    hort101 likes this.
  3. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,345

    Nothing wrong with doing "extra", they just need to understand from the beginning it's not part of a normal mowing for instance and at some point it may need to be charged for or at least done in a more feasible manner.
     
  4. La Chandler

    La Chandler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Would not all these problems not go away if you charge by the minute? Granted this would make the charge different for every service, but if that was explained to the customer up front, it should not be a problem. The customer won't agree to this? OK, maybe the next customer will.
     
  5. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,345

    That's more less what advice I'm giving. Explain it beforehand so it won't be an issue later down the line.

    Not a problem in general just a few.
     
  6. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    I had trouble translating the small one truck lawn business to a 3 truck one. The change from being on site all the time to mitigating other crews workmanship etc. I used to let people slide a week if they forgot and always squared up next because I was there. I knew everyone's name. Big change as you grow, as that does not scale well. The "doing stuff for free" or letting bills stack up really got to me and was tough to deal with.
     
  7. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,345

    Bigger is not always better. Used to think I wanted to be "Big" never did it, looking back, boy am I glad I never did it. In my case I'm happy being a small fish
     
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