losing my largest account....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fga, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    About to lose my biggest account. I get $800 a month for weekly service. I am partly to blame, cuz the machines I leave at the account always seem to break at the wrong time. I'm also embarrassed cuz its my church. I wouldn't feel comfortable going there anymore. We all lose accounts, but this one hurts more. Any advice?
  2. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 308

    What do you mean "Machines you leave at the account"? Do you drop off workers and equipment, the equipment breaks and then the job doesn't get finished or what. If you have an account that is very important to you my advice is to be on site from start to finish. If you lost the job due to bidding we all can understand that but to loose an account over equipment failure sounds like something that must be happening on a regular basis. Give us more details.
  3. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    well, as anyone who has seen any of my posts, lawnboys are our primary mowers, very common here with tiny houses. My church on the other hand is tremendous. There are different sections done with different machines. The top arounfd the rectory, has to be kept nice with fertilizer, thatching, etc. that gets lawnboy striped. It takes me and one guy about 2 hours with all the extras.

    then there's the next section, seperated by a parking lot. It's basically a soccer field, with extra room around it, really large area. Then there is slope connected to that, that goes down to flat section that is roughly 2 more soccer fields. These section just need to be cut, no fertilizer, or bagging at all.

    $200 is a low ball bid, unknown at the time. It was getting done previously, voluntarily by parishoners, which means it never got done at all. I was close to my priest and didn't think anything of it.

    The church itself has a huge trailer body they store equipment in. They had a 48" craftsman tractor (kohler engine), and a DR field and brush mower. I was going to buy a commercial WB when i got this account, but wound up witha ride on tractor from Lowes, for a few reasons.

    This land where i would be using these bigger machines is not only rugged land, but alittle dangerous. There are foundations sticking slightly out of the ground along with pipes, and other obstacles. Talking with the priest, he said he would ride the tractor, and be able to the raise the blade instantly when need be on the lawntractor. I needed something i could do that with, but I wanted my own rather then damaging thiers.

    I'll continue on next post...............
  4. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    Being that my tractor had a crappy cut, and was worthless to me on any nice area of my whole route, they allowed me to leave it there at the church, which is a huge convience. But I should have known better cuz there tractor wasn't running from day 1, that will be going on 4 years now. I have access to that, mine and thier Field and brush mower. I believe they were to be responsible for the cost of upkeeping thier machines, and I was basically charging labor to do the work.

    This terrain has really taken a toll on all the machines used there. 2 weeks ago, my tractor went down in the middle, and this week, the brush mower blew a belt, and the cable that engages the blade snapped on the way back the trailer, when it wasn't even engaged? Bad weeks.

    so here's where i stand..... 3 machines down, top cut nice, fields really high.

    I wish i would have went with a commercial WB, but might have destroyed 2 - 3 blades a week. But i bet it'd still be running.
    My machine I leave there, will be moved by someone sometimes and have flat tire(s). which is a huge set back when i have to run and get fix a flat. I was averaging 3 repairs a month on all the machines combined, not minor thing either, belts, cables, carbs.

    On paper, I'm not making too mch money, after payroll and gas. so even though I might be looking at $800 a month less, it's probably more like $400 - $500
  5. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 308

    Okay here is what you have to do. Drop the church but do not allow this to become a reason that stops you from going there. Everyone involved should be mature enough to just get over whatever has happened including yourself. Now, with all the time you were spending mowing at the church go out and find you some residential yards where your profit per hour will be much higher. Three things you must follow, unless you are ready to buy a larger commercial mower do not take on anything bigger than your Lawnboys can handle. You will loose money if you do. Second, price your work so that you are making money and not just mowing for free, and third save a portion of your earnings to go towards larger commercial equipment if growth is your goal.
  6. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    With all due respect and believe me when I say I am not trying to rub salt in the wound,I don't believe you were or are equipped for this type of job.
    As well,you are not doing your reputation any justice by continuing with this type of activity.
    We all do things from time to time for many reasons that only we can justify,but we also learn from our experiences.
    I truly wish you the best,but it does sound like you will be better off in the long run without this account unless a larger comercial mower is in your near future.I wouldn't buy one just for this account though,unless you can grab other work to keep it busy.
    Good luck and I hope it works out for you..................
  7. statman

    statman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    You should NEVER feel uncomfortable to go to church. Jesus forgave ALL of us, your church-friends, if they are true Christians, will forgive you.
  8. grassmanvt

    grassmanvt LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    Sounds like they did you a favor. If you aren't making money, why do it, church or not. This might sound harsh but oh well.We all do jobs too cheap at times for friends, as a favor or suposed non-profits but, in most instances it is not appreciated. I'm all for charity but try donating money instead, in the long run it wil be cheaper.On a different note, how can anyone use lawnboys? I could never get used to them.

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