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Persistant People

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I am a solo operator, and I have a limit to how much regular, weekly work I can take. When I get booked up, I usually leave a message on my voicemail indicating I cannot take any more customers, and that I'm booked up. Right now I have a message that states I am booked for snow clearing for the winter, for instance.

    Invariably, I will get people who call for estimates that say "I know you said you are booked up, but I was wondering if you would be willing to take another customer". Or something similar. And there are also people who will just ignore that and ask for an estimate anyway. When it gets to the point that I leave that message, usually I am seriously booked up and in no way can I take more work. In fact, I took on more work than I could handle last year because I got greedy, and busted my butt off just to try to handle the load. I always feel bad about turning aside work, but there is only so much I can handle.

    Personally, I just ignore the calls. I don't really have time to call everyone back that calls, I'd be on the phone all the time and not working. And I don't like to give an estimate for work I can't do, again it's a waste of productivity. I try to make it clear in the message that I can't take more mowing work, and indicate what kind of estimates I am giving, what kind of work I have availability for. I always try to be exact in my messages, to eliminate a lot of unnecessary call backs and to provide info for people as easily as possible.

    Sometimes when they ignore the message about being booked, I get so mad. I get mad because they didn't listen, I get mad because I can't take the work, and I get mad because I feel guilty about not being able to help them. Argh!

    My question is, what would you do when people call and ask for estimates even though the message says I cannot take more work? Would you return the call, give an estimate, or ignore them?

    (Also, I know that if I were to expand and hire people to help, I could take more work. That's a whole different topic, and I don't want to get into that. That's not the question, please save those kind of comments. I am asking what is the best way to handle calls for work when you cannot take any more work. That is all.)
  2. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 608

    Always call back and tell them you are booked. If you decide to expand you have some leads to call. If you ignore, they will never call again.
  3. Sure you're message says you're too busy to take on more work.

    What the person hears is this person is so good, so successful and reasonably priced that he's swamped!

    It all goes back to the old adage;
    If you want something done, ask a busy man.

    You could refer work to someone else, raise your prices or change your message to sound like you're desperate for work.

    In any case your life don't sound too bad. Are you complaining because your plate is too full?

  4. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Your lucky the problem is your toooooooo busy, Some people have it the other way.
    So count your blessings.
  5. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I suppose I shouldn't complain. I just don't get why people ask anyway, even with the message.

    I have tried to refer to a couple of local people, but it hasn't been very successful. To be honest, there aren't a whole lot of local lcos that I would refer people to.
  6. allstar

    allstar LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    The last thing I would do is get pissed or angry about being TOO busy.It would be hard for me not to take advantage of that situation...in some way.Regardless,it's a nice problem to have.
  7. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    When you're booked for 6 days a week, and it rains 3 of those, and you're almost 2 weeks behind on some of your lawns and you're going crazy because you've got more work than you could possibly handle, believe me, you don't have time to entertain thoughts of taking more work.
  8. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 458

    How bout subbing out ?

    GLAWNLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    ALWAYS call back. Have you thought about sub-coontracting the extra work out?

  10. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I think this is a great idea...do you know someone that is starting out that you can trust....trust his quality and dependability that is. Have you considered taking on new account and dropping a less profitable one?

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