Rich client takes cheapest package

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Can I Mow Your Lawn?, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Can I Mow Your Lawn?

    Can I Mow Your Lawn? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    Just wondering what other LawnSiter's would do here:

    We are pushing into a new subdivision with minimum home values of $275K. Some are $600K.

    A home owner in this neighborhood calls to order service. She wants bi-weekly mowing and a ONE TIME chemical treatment.

    I TRIED my VERY hardest to get this lady to take WEEKLY mowing with REGULAR chemical service.

    85% of my cancellations over the last year have come from MOW-ONLY clients who refused our chemical plan. It's like, if they're in a good mood when they call us to order service and they take the chemical plan, we probably have a long term client. If they just hire us for mow and go, they'll probably be cancelling within a year. With mow-only, we're competing against anyone who owns a lawn mower.

    The real decision maker is her husband. She tells me her husband will be mowing the lawn in the off weeks and he has given her permission to order a one time chemical treatment.

    Either way, we only agree to bi-weekly service if the client promises us they won't fertilize during the peak growing season: Apr 1 thru Sept 1. If we spend too much mowing because they fertilized, we charge them an hourly rate to mow it.

    My question is this: I am VERY tempted to call this lady back and tell her we are declining her service request because it WILL eventually be a cancellation (experience has taught us that) and this is NOT the right package of services for this neighborhood. The neighborhood has a very strict HOA.

    Would you take the revenue and be seen as the company that mows the ***** lawn OR would you politely call her back and decline the revenue if she insists on taking the wrong package for this neighborhood?

    In 5 years, I have never turned down a revenue opportunity but I am absolutely sick and tired of the mow-only clients constantly cancelling service.

    Thanks for help in this matter,
    Can I Mow Your Lawn?
  2. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    Gotta go with your gut feeling. Your the experienced business person, you've seen it in the past, doesn't necessarily mean it will happen always, but I'd still go with my gut.
    I guess if I didn't have another job to do at that same time every OTHER week, I'd take it for fill in money, but not rely on it. I would probably have to turn it away. I've only been doing this for one year, but I've already called my bi-weekly customers from last year and converted them to weekly customers. They all have agreed, thank god, b/c I would have dropped them if they didn't. It really screwed up my schedule last year.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It's entirely up to you, I hear what you are saying but I can not tell you what to do, except this is a decent example of the type of customer to whom I might send this letter (the reason for the letter is if I call, sometimes things get argumentative and next thing I know they done talked me into it again, like when they start with that somewhat insistent 'but whyyyyyyyy' but anyway:

    1234 myroad name
    mycity, st 12345

    1234 Their Road
    theircity, ST 12345


    I'm sorry, but having considered the work and the requirements involved, I'm afraid I can not help you at this time.

    Thank you for the opportunity.

    Poof, almost instant relief, and yes I see it coming too, this one I would've turned down on the spot but like yourself I don't always see it until later... You may wish to watch your called ID and remember their phone number, some will call you after they read it heh, most won't leave a message but I've answered a few by mistake and it's usually a downhill conversation, why I'm saying.
    If you're man enough to handle it with a phonecall, well then by all means, but it doesn't always turn out positive for me.
  4. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,396

    how do you think rich people get rich? they certainly dont spend their money if they don't have to...its up to you...if you will be in the neihborhood take the extra cash...if not leave it
  5. Can I Mow Your Lawn?

    Can I Mow Your Lawn? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    We are in the neighborhood and desperately need the work on this expansion crew. It's just that, I've already been through this like a thousand times...when they hire me to mow AND do the chemical treatments, the number one reason for cancellation is moving and job loss. They just don't cancel because they want to do it themselves or they're going to let a friend do it.

    When they hire us to just mow and nothing else, they seldom stay with us more than a year. CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL I get so F'ing sick and tired of that ****. It's like a non-stop game of advertise, talk on the phone all day and only half of them sign up. And of the ones who do sign up, if they don't bite on chemical treatments, I have basically no shot at keeping them long term. Either way, I have to send a welcome letter out, set them up in QB, get them on the immediate schedule, get them on the regular schedule, add them to the customer count's a lot of work trying to replace CONSTANT churn.

    But if the cheap azz client would have just spent an extra $39 every other month, they'd be referring other clients to us and I don't have to play this silly game of competing with the unemployed and do-it-yourself.

    Can I Mow Your Lawn?
  6. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,522

    I have a few mow and go's but, I'm dealing them out as I add full service clients to take their place.
  7. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Who knows how the husband will be mowing the lawn every other week. He might be scalping it to the ground, then when you show it up on your week, it might not even need it. If it were us, we wouldn't even bother with that account.
  8. Can I Mow Your Lawn?

    Can I Mow Your Lawn? LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I am just about to the point that I would turn down a client in this kind of neighborhood if they were in one of my areas where we have a pretty full schedule. This crew is an expansion crew and we NEED work.

    Still tempted to politely tell her we aren't interested. Going into this, I know it's only temporary. She'll be cancelling in due time because she's ordering the wrong service.

    We do have bi-weekly clients all over town who just have us mow and they stay with us long term. Just not in $300K neighborhoods.

    Can I Mow Your Lawn?
  9. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 450

    How about just including the fert as part of your minimum package. For only about 5 bucks a week, most won't complain and then you don't have to worry about someone not signing up for it. It's just part of your work. If someone argues about it, just tell them that it's part of your professional lawn care service and that it is necessary to properly maintain their lawn.

    However, since you say you "desperately" need the work for your new crew, you might not have a choice but to take it for now and see how it goes.
  10. fastpitcher

    fastpitcher LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 91

    Never ever agree to cutting every-other week. If the lawn does not need cutting then don't cut it. If you allow the customer to make you do it every-other week or whenever they think it necessary; it will take you twice as long to clean up and then to double cut. Are you charging for all the extra time you will need to protect your reputation? Your truck with your name will be parked out front; Don't set yourself up to look bad.

    We have a rule if we cut a lawn every week and the price is $30.00 it is $65.00 ever-other week.

    Taking on bad business will put your company up for sale!


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