Seems I lost my largest account...

rippinryno

LawnSite Gold Member
I've got one like this, total washboard, mostly dirt, weeds, with a bit of grass mixed in. While it's not 1/3 of my business income, it's a good chunk nevertheless. These accounts come and go and I'm learning that you have to be the one to pick and choose rather than rely on them. Put 20 bids out next year on similar properties and maybe you'll land one. That's the best you can do moving forward. I also agree that you made a good run with this location @ 15 years of service, well done.
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.

While I agree it's not a good thing to wrap up most of your income in one customer, I do not agree with the fact that a LCO should not service large commercial areas, those are the money makers, at least in my area.
 

Caledwen

LawnSite Senior Member
I've got one like this, total washboard, mostly dirt, weeds, with a bit of grass mixed in. While it's not 1/3 of my business income, it's a good chunk nevertheless. These accounts come and go and I'm learning that you have to be the one to pick and choose rather than rely on them. Put 20 bids out next year on similar properties and maybe you'll land one. That's the best you can do moving forward. I also agree that you made a good run with this location @ 15 years of service, well done.


While I agree it's not a good thing to wrap up most of your income in one customer, I do not agree with the fact that a LCO should not service large commercial areas, those are the money makers, at least in my area.
Your position makes me feel a little better. At this point, I am not in the commercial mowing game. I have been thinking about it but reading this thread initially started to make me question doing that.
 
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landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
I agree with Mathews.
Also a 15 yr run is pretty good, a guy's got to be thankful for that.

Very true. It is unusual to keep a corporate account that long. I am very thankful. I think I am just more upset at how it was handled more than anything. I have had the same contact for the entire 15 years, have known the guy most of my life. He could have handled it a little more professional since it is a corporation. Not like I did anything wrong. If I did I have not heard a word about it. I feel like Milton from Office Space. I think I still have a job but I keep asking about my pay check..in this case my PO. Haha.. It is so annoying to keep planning each week not knowing when a PO is coming through, making room for an account that I may or may not service that week. It's not like I can go cut the place in an hour or anything. Everything happens for a reason. We may not know what it is at the current time. I hope it will work out. I am upset but at the same time I feel a weight is off my shoulders.

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.

It's ridiculous isn't it? People can't think outside the scope of their job. Very few care about landscaping service. You know, I once worked in management for a grocery store. I always complained that the employees that had the most interaction with the customers were the ones that were paid the least and treated the worst. It's like they were non-skilled labor, so they got treated like it. And guess what, it showed. Most of the customer complaints was about employees on the front end not paying them proper attention, not being friendly etc. I always said if you invest in those employees like you invest in the department managers it would be a much smoother operation. Corporate can't think that way.

I think it is the same with lawn service. It's lower skilled, and I get it. But what is the first thing any customer, upper management, and anyone driving by notices about your corporate facility when they drive up? Why is the least important then? We have a business just like a plumber, HVAC, or anyone else that has a trade business. The mentality is well anyone can do it, so we will pay as little as possible. We still expect it to look nice but we expect to get the same results by using a company that may or may not show up, may or may not care about quality, etc...Just because we are lower skilled does not mean our expenses are any less than a plumber. People need to change their mentality.

Luckily I never had a huge problem with payment with this company. You do learn quick though that they are in charge of the corporate/contractor relationship. If they are late, we can either deal with if we want to keep the account. If we are late, they won't deal with it. We have to bend over backwards for them and then they can do what they want when they want. I have learned my lesson from this one.

On another note, I just texted my contact about an hour ago. I wasn't going to, but he owes me an explanation. I doubt he will text back. People show their true colors don't they? lol..It's not a huge deal. All he had to do is say I fought hard to keep you, but they decided to go with a cheaper bid. Instead you allow someone else to cut and don't even tell me I am out. I thought at first someone from the plant may have done it. But it doesn't appear that way. I figured if that was the case they would have just done the road front and front of building. It's all done. I doubt anyone working there would bring their own mower to mow all day. Again, communication is the key here. I give up on most people.
 
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AlohaMowing

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Hilo, HI
Sorry about that. I can appreciate your pain when such a large chunk of your business is tied up in a single account. However . . .
I even dropped them once as I sold out and thought I would be smart and find another job.
You dropped them once, now it appears they may have dropped you. Face it, this is business. It is about money, and not friendship. There are some moral obligations of one human to another, but between businesses the obligations are defined by contracts.
 
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landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
Sorry about that. I can appreciate your pain when such a large chunk of your business is tied up in a single account. However . . .

You dropped them once, now it appears they may have dropped you. Face it, this is business. It is about money, and not friendship. There are some moral obligations of one human to another, but between businesses the obligations are defined by contracts.
Well I got out business full time once. I didn't just not show up. I sold most of my business. I did hear from my contact. He had told me I had the job, but then some underhanded crap has been going on with the new guy and someone in the office it seems. So there you have it. My contact even had no idea until the guy just showed up to cut yesterday. He could be lying, but I have known him forever.

Look, I understand it is a business contract, but a) I was never even notified that I no longer have the job and b) I was told I was the cheapest and that they were going to stay with me. Its called being a decent person no matter if its a business contract or not. Even if you make up lies, you send a formal letter stating that you have decided to go with a cheaper bid or something. I only expect to be treated the same as others expect to be treated. I don't think it's too much to ask. I want to e-mail the lady and tell her what I think, but I am going to be the bigger person I suppose. Not sure why it matters any more. Everyone plays games these days.
 

hort101

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
S.E. New England
decided to go with a cheaper bid or something. I only expect to be treated the same as others expect to be treated. I don't think it's too much to ask. I want to e-mail the lady and tell her what I think, but I am going to be the bigger person I suppose. Not sure why it matters any more. Everyone plays games these days.
Just my opinion I think your right to stay professional.

You never know this new guy maybe doing really cheap or gratispayup

Great until his mower breaks down...
 

Wolfgang

LawnSite Member
Location
Ireland
Its a tough thing to happen and can cause you to question why you do the job, its a bummer but it happens all the time and your contact may have had no say in what happened, just remember that. We used to do a contract like that which went on for many many years, the company changed hands and these new whiz kid cost cutters were running the show like someone else said with no knowledge or idea what grounds maintenance was, when the contract came up for renewal they suggested the price they wanted to pay for the service, we just laughed at them and ended the meeting, from time to time I drive past that site and it is a disgrace. They go through 2 to 3 contractors in a season and are now finding it hard to get anyone to take them seriously.
 

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