Lost long time customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by pseudosun, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Well, that's why i asked. I wanted to know if you think customers should do yard work, or leave it to you. I'm solo, and i want to fill slots with year-rounders; people who want to leave the yard to me. She wants to change the game after we were established. I'll have to fill her slot with someone who wants only me to handle their yard. I really think she's in for a surprise when spring gets here. She will either have horrible, unreliable service, or will pay more for a contract/year-round service. I've seen this many times. I'm not claiming to be right, i'm just saying i choose not to do business with her if she does "my" work. I'm trying to come up with an analogy. Imagine a scheduled pool service. How do you think they'd feel, if you broke up their schedule, and told them that you treated the pool, and to wait? That's all i'm saying. I know some see it differently, but i'm at a point where i want to know what's coming in, and not worry about getting laid off for 6 months out of the blue.
  2. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 748

    I know what you're saying. And you have to do what's best for YOU. I just wasn't good about saying that it's not worth getting upset over.

    The only question you have to ask yourself is, if an identical customer called you next spring and told you up front that he only wanted you to take care of their lawn during the spring and summer months....would you take the business?
  3. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,115

    You have a right to vent about her, but to fire her at the end of the year without a replacement lined up may have not been the best choice. The $50 you lost now could be a lot more if you don't replace her.

    By the way, what do you think she is saying to the ladies at the hair salon about the way you handled the situation.
  4. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Yeah, i already have a few of those. For this woman, the yard will be horrible in spring, and we were established for years. Also, i think i took it personally, because of this time of year. I just mailed my mortgage payment. One year (before i set her straight), she called me to clean up. I filled my truck with tarps of debris, and she tried to only pay me $20 extra. Done with her. I don't like surprises. Also, after she agreed to let me handle it, she kept pulling the crap every fall. There are year-round customers out there, and i'll find another one.

    Ztman, i know that i got hot, and was blinded about the aftermath. She's not connected to any other of my customers; that would be tricky. Just received a text from her and she said that i was good to her and her mother over the years. It doesn't change things though. We've had our disagreements too many times for me to stay interested. I have five months to replace her; i'll be okay.
  5. B-2 Lawncare

    B-2 Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 263

    You couldn't be more wrong,and here is why.
    The way I see it is don't hire me and ask for some services and then decide you are going to do it. I loose out on the money twice once from not doing the work in your yard and second I have lost out on scheduling some one else who wants the services that I could have done in the allotted time that I had for you.
  6. TwoGuyswithMowers

    TwoGuyswithMowers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    What's wrong with letting them tell you to wait, but if that causes more work for you next time they call then charge them accordingly. It's pay now or pay later as far as I can see.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    That brings up the original question: Do you feel that you are in charge of maintaining the property, or do you feel that they are in charge of maintaining the property? We had an agreement for 15 years. I know what the yard needs. I'm not going backwards; just my opinion. I like to write my week out on the calendar, and do my work. I will drive off if there is nothing to do, but i have to be the yardman; not the customer when they feel like it. I'm not excited about a customer doing my work, and putting me off. No thank you.
  8. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    Yes but, here's the problem...

    When one of us "fires" or otherwise teaches a customer a lesson...
    All we're really doing is cutting ourselves in the foot, hoping they bleed.

    Like cutting off my nose because I am mad at my face, there, that will teach the face.

    I mean, I just don't see the win in that...

    There has to be a better way...
  9. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    There is, replace her. I mean, hanging on, no matter what, is not always the smartest thing to do. Another perspective is to look at it as a thorn in your side. It feels much better when removed. No interest in six months of service with the first part of it getting the yard back to where it was. I think i may have convinced myself that i made the right decision. Sometimes these customers can create cobwebs in your head, and it's good to clear them out. I'm actually excited to fill her slot. It was a good run, but it's done.
  10. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    two ways of looking at it. First is that what I figured out pretty quick is that if you're constantly hammering away at your business model to make it custom fit each customer, it's not going to work. You'll make yourself nuts and still not satisfy the customer. So do you have an actual business model/policy that you can refer back to? Or is it just "not what this lady wants"?

    Second, money's money, and you've had a long-term relationship. Would there have been an opportunity to say "I've refined my business plan and if you want to continue working together this is how it has to be"? Most people who've never run a service business don't understand how badly a last minute cancellation jacks with your schedule (and revenue). I do a little maintenance for a select few clients and I've told them that if I put them on the schedule, I need 72 hours cancellation or they're still on the hook for a four hour minimum plus a rescheduling fee.

Share This Page