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Lost long time customer

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

  1. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    No matter how much we like to think differently, when its all boiled down, we're just the lawn guy. Many customers could care less as long as the grass is cut. When we get rid of a customer, somebody else will take our place. The lawn/property may not look as nice, but somebody else will always take the job. When we're driving to a new lawn, we're crossing paths of the guy who used to cut it and vice versa.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. ncknaklawns

    ncknaklawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 379

    I would only drop someone if because of their needs I wasn't being farely compensated. So if by her not wanting you for a time, and you come back and do more work because it piled up she better pay for the additional work. I have some neighbors of my customers who pay me $6 to professionally trim their lawn, they cut it with a push mower-ederly, as long as I'm not behind schedule I'll do it. Basically-Bought me lunch for 6-8 minute job.
  3. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    OP, how many new customers did you turn down to keep this lady?

    Living in fantasy land is expecting all customers will be full service and let us call the shots as when to soil test, feed, seed, lime, mow, aerate, prune, trim, color plantings, clean up as we see fit and not bother us with getting prior approval.

    I am happy to get a customer regardless of the amount of business they want. As long as I get paid my price. For every job I do my gross increases.

    I have a few customers that I would like to drop. The pay my price and on time. I'll keep them until there is no more room in my schedule and I need to cut them loose when I need to add a better customer. Until then I see no reason to fire them and lose their payments to me.

    My intent is not to belittle you. Though when you say you were counting on making that $50 from her.

    That statement says you are not running the financial end of your business well if $50 one week is going to put you into a bind.

    When the PGA comes into a course to play the Masters. They do not want to hear about how much lime must be put down.

    The PGA wants a perfect lawn and expect the person in charge to get the work done without him getting ok's.

    George Steinbrenner I am sure did not make his Grounds Keeper get approval before he did work on the field.

    These two examples are of a customer that not only can afford but want the best service that they can buy for turf care.

    Many home owners want a perfect lawn.

    Some can afford to have a perfect lawn but refuse to spend the money for a perfect lawn.

    Some can afford to and will spend to have one.

    It is their decision to make as to how much money they spend.

    Would you go to a restaurant that says we do not want your business because you do not spend enough money when you get there.


    Who wants ex customers telling everyone they got dropped by their LCO because they will not spend enough money.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  4. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Good Points there. To be honest, i don't get resistance from any other customers, but this lady is a different story. I just felt we were in a power struggle, and she was working against me. The point of the 50 is that it can go a long way, and she didn't give me notice. She cancelled the night before. I felt this was the right decision for me. I also feel that she will end up paying more, one way or another. I've been lenient with going up in price, because she was regular, and an original. She will find that out. If she pays $10 more per cut during the summer, the annual total will be more than keeping me. I don't think any of the big dogs will let her dictate when to show up. On the other hand, she could go cheap, and have a crappy yard, and unreliable service. We've had our conflicts over the years, and i just had enough. She's not the only game in town, but if you have the opinion of taking everything, no matter what, that's your right.
  5. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    Hearing about the past of you two, and cancelling the night before, perhaps she knew how you'd react and possibly wanted you to get rid of her. Might have somebody else lined up. Somebody else may have even done the clean-up.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  6. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    She wants to do it herself until summer. When she sees the amount of leaves, straw, etc. she has to deal with, it will hit her.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    My long time clients have also changed... In fact the generational changes in some cases is completely turned around from what is was in the past... If you can't roll with the punches from long time friends/clients when they need to make a change, then you're not very business minded at all...

    This is not the same scenario as a spastic minded PITA... :)
  8. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Well, that's your opinion, but i think i'm being very business minded by replacing a half year account (when she wants me) with a year-round account. Also, she was on the outer band of my radius. It can really boil this down to a question. Do you let a customer dictate when you work, or do you set the terms? I want to be the exclusive yardman, and i feel comfortable with that decision.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is a business decision that makes sense... The "angry" part is what we want to avoid...

    Sometimes we have to politely tell a customer that we just don't have time for them anymore... nothing personal, that's just the way it is... :)
  10. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    yeah, i worded it something like "i have to move on"

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