Seems I lost my largest account...

landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
I am a little more than upset at the moment. I have talked about my large industrial account in some other threads and comments lately. After Covid, they have been a nightmare to deal with. I have been servicing this account for about 15 years. I even dropped them once as I sold out and thought I would be smart and find another job...Yeah that worked out great, as apparently I have been my own boss too long. But they wanted me back after a year or so, as the guy that took over wasn't doing good work. I thought about it and talked to my wife, and because of this account, I ended up back in business again full time.

Since taking back over this account in 2017, they have built a new facility, and to say the new grounds has been hell is an understatement. The contractor just did a rough grade and I have been cutting the freaking washboard ever since. It was such an easy account before the new facility was built. All flat and not bumpy. Now it takes twice as long to mow, super bumpy, and the string trimming time basically tripled, partially due to a big hill that has to be trimmed with a string trimmer. I have not said a word to them as I didn't want to seem like I was a complainer. I could tell they didn't really like the new price, but then it was more than fair for the work load. Not to even mention they hired so many more employees and cars are everywhere, and don't get me started on the trash. I guess they figured with their expansion, they would be making more money so the price wouldn't be a huge deal.

Not to make a long story out of this, Covid crap has hurt them too I guess, and they have had a new CEO, and I can't even remember how many times they have changed plant managers since I have been servicing. So, I was getting a purchase order for the entire year, with some extra added in in case we do extra over the year. Suddenly in May, when my last PO ran out, the started going month to month. I was told they were taking new bids and wanted to get prices on mowing every other week instead of mowing weekly in summer as I have been doing. This place is almost impossible to cut every 2 weeks in summer with the amount of Bahia grass.

So, for May, June, and July, I could not service until a PO was generated, causing me to get into the middle of the month before I serviced any each month. We worked through it all, and I didn't complain as they were still paying me for the entire month as if I was still coming weekly. But, I had a taste of what it would be like mowing it every 2 weeks. Menawhile I get no communication from these people. If they want something, they don't mind communicating, but when they send confusing generic e-mails and I ask for clarification, I get no response. So, we have been playing these games for a few months now. I finally got mad near the end of July with no communication and the new terms and messaged my contact. I explained that I have not received any info but I had some concerns regarding the new terms. I also stated that I realized I had priced it every other week as the new plant manger asked, but after waiting on POs and going 15-17 days between cuts, I realize that it takes us way longer than I thought to mow every other week. He responded with, you are keeping the account, and I am trying hard to get it pushed through for you to still service weekly for 7-8 months out of the year. I responded, with, oh that really won't be saving you any money. I am sure there were a couple of months we could cut out weekly to save a little, but we can talk about it when I am there next time. We thanked each other and life went on.

Well, the next time I was there was the last visit for July. I didn't run into my contact so I didn't get a chance to speak to him. He is always busy and hard to track down inside the plant. I figured he said I was keeping the account, so no big deal, I would wait for a new PO and go from there. So, a family member of mine calls tonight and says I see you mowed the plant recently, so you must have gotten the PO. I was like Ummmm nope wasn't me...

So that's how it ends??? 15 years ends up with zero communication, no go to hell, no well we are sorry but someone else is getting it. This is 35% of my income. Now I will have to lay my employee off at the end of September or first of October. Luckily they owe me one more big check at the end of this month for some extra we did, so it will take me until some time in October to feel the impact. I will never do any work for a big industry/corporate again. They will do us the same as they do employees and throw you away like a piece of garbage and go to bed and sleep fine at night. And it all started with the new CEO saying "we pay too much for lawn service" Yeah well, I am sure you make too much too Mr. CEO, but I don't have to do your job just like you don't have to do mine. You have no idea what it takes. Sorry for the long rant, but I needed to vent..I debated on texting my contact. My wife said I should. I'm like, no they are the ones not communicating, I guess they made their choice. I am not going to appear to be begging.
 

jetson

LawnSite Senior Member
Sucks man. Been there done that. Large companies will cut you in a minute if they can say 20 dollars a week.. every new manager swings the bat with ill cut cost.. hire me but at the highest salary imaginable .. sounds like U worked ur tail off for them too.. we are at the bottom my friend. Which is strange because when u pull in the gates it only looks as good as it does because we take care of it better than the employees, managers, CEO ever could and these are the peeps who throw trash everywhere, park beyond the parking lot and then accuse of us breaking windows when we haven’t even been there yet during the week! Good luck
 

grass4gas

LawnSite Bronze Member
Your biggest mistake was to have 1/3 of your business wrapped around one account. That is way too much as you are now finding out and you’re employee unfortunately is also.

Learn from this and hopefully you can pick up more, but smaller accounts to make up for some or all of the lost income.

Your story is the main reason I don’t service any large commercial accounts and I just do applications.

Good luck.

Oh, and BTW, there is this thing called KARMA...Hopefully it comes back to bite em on their ass.
 
OP
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landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
Your biggest mistake was to have 1/3 of your business wrapped around one account. That is way too much as you are now finding out and you’re employee unfortunately is also.

Learn from this and hopefully you can pick up more, but smaller accounts to make up for some or all of the lost income.

Your story is the main reason I don’t service any large commercial accounts and I just do applications.

Good luck.

Oh, and BTW, there is this thing called KARMA...Hopefully it comes back to bite em on their ass.
I agree in hindsight lol...But then they had much smaller grounds when I first started there. It was perfect in my opinion and easy. I think it was more like 15% give or take of my business during my peak and before they built the new facility. I believe in karma too my friend. The thing is, most of the local employees, plant managers, and my official contact have always been good to me. Never given me any problems. This all started at the corporate level in some other state. But then, I do blame them locally for not properly communicating. One would thank that an e-mail or text stating I am sorry but its out of my hands, or something like that, would be the proper thing to do. I was sitting here thinking my PO would come through any day, and someone else has cut it??

I like when karma bites people though. People these days don't really care however. I hate the way the world is getting. There are some good people left, but in general it is a slippery slope and the world as a whole is sliding down it. No one cares. Maybe this will be a lesson to the new kids. Unless you are one of those people that like to work for a dollar tea from Mcdonalds, don't do corporations and don't do HOAs. Jut don't do it kids. lol
 
OP
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landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
Vent away, we all know how you feel. At least I do.

One good example of why not to deal with large companies.

I would text your contact just to get a few words in.
I think I will. I am going to ride by there today and look for myself. Maybe my dad was mistaken ROFL...But we all know that bahia grass would be knee deep by now. My wife said last night, you don't think an employee cut it since they were waiting too long on a PO? I am like no dear I don't think so. lol..
I know me though. I will have a difficult time not coming across as an ass if I contact the guy. I tend to have a difficult time hiding my true feelings these days.
 

Mark Oomkes

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
We work for a French owned company and they were way behind on paying. We didn't touch it until June 12. In the mean time, must have been an employee cut it. Their A/P is so screwed up they could be double paying or paying for nothing, but that's not how I do business, I have to sleep at night.

Another long term customer is having some Covid issues as well...and the CEO wants to save the world. Lots of turnover of upper management and we had to start dealing with a new purchasing agent and someone from the accounting department, neither of whom have a clue regarding snow, ice and landscape management. We started spring cleanups in March and within an hour, one of them was on the phone asking what we were doing and if it was an extra charge. Had a meeting with them and the accounting chick basically said she didn't give a crap about the landscape and thought we were all crooks. We have a 3 year contract with them, but I can see the writing on the wall.

The "Senior Purchasing Agent" of 3 months tenure was canned during the Covid thing. She had zero prior experience in purchasing. Or life it seemed. Can't wait for this winter.
 

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