The hits keep on a comin'

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    at the risk of my client reading this , I still will vent-

    After losing a 5k rehang on a residence last week, This week, I had a commercial client let me know via email today that we will not be hanging his 11k rehang this year, and I cannot stress this enough, ON THE DAY WE WERE TO HANG THE JOB. He did not even bother to call me. I began a conversation with him over a month ago, and then he was talking about adding 8k to his design this year. he basically gave me the oral ok to do what we did last year, but asked for me to go ahead and write it up along with the price to add the 8k add-on. not really in the can, but as much as most anyone else.

    I feel sucker punched. Let this be a lesson to me and everyone out there. I gave them many free c-9 runs on thier building, completing a picture last year on a 20k install that was absolutely stunning. I spent the extra money and time to lay down the lite-clip strip, looking for a long term return on my investment. probably 10 outlets and 10 20 amp breakers were installed on what must have been a several acre roof. How many times must this happen to me before I just realize you should never give anything for free? why give people more than they ask for if they then turn around and break your heart the next year?

    I cannot even imagine what you renter guys must go through when you get less than me in the first year and this happens the next.

    The tougher pill for me to swallow is these 2 clients represent about 10 % of my rehang sales. for me, it is like losing 16 clients. It is really nice to pick up the biggies, guys, but it really hurts to lose them. This reminds me of last year when I lost a 14k rehang. when you really dig into the time and actual profit made and the risk you take of losing the client on the rehang end, it is way better to focus on getting lots more $1000 rehang eggs in the basket than 1 or 2 really big eggs.
  2. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    ouch! That's too bad that they led you on like that.

    It's good motivation for you to go out and sell some new jobs!
  3. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    That sucks....

    on commercial work we usually try to get a 3 year written. Since we rent this seems to work for everybody and we dont risk losing our shirts after only having them for one season.

    We do have people cancel after one season...I am a glass 1/2 full guy and I just look at it like material that is paid for to be used somewhere else. But those are usually not the jobs with parapets etc. that is just too painful to think about.

    This is going to be an interesting year to say the least. We have had customers double their job had others cut back. Went on an estimate yesterday and after I told her our pricing structure and averages etc. Wanted to know what she could get for $200.....she ended up telling me she would buy the material and have a handy man put it up for $100... I told her I thought that was a good idea...going to be interesting this year.
  4. hotrod1965

    hotrod1965 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 587

    Welcome to my last year!
  5. M&N Maintenance

    M&N Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Tell me about it. I had that last year and am hoping this year we just contiue with our re-ups this year.
  6. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 510

    David, I've been following your posts for quite some time, both this forum and lighting forum. I've learned a lot from your great posts and from your mistakes. Keep your head up. There's still time to make up for this loss.
  7. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    For me, it is not really a matter of making up the loss, I plan on that. but in order for my company to grow every year, I have to really watch what is going out the back door in terms of cancellations. I have consistantly kept 90-95% of my clients as rehangs each year. but I have never really looked at it from a sales dollar perspective til last year when I lost a 14k rehang for 1 customer.

    Since november is insane, I have really struggled to add much more than 35-40 new customers each year. most of the new customers get hung in the 10 days from thanksgiving day to Dec 7th or so. I squeeze in a few new jobs before Nov. 1, and a few more from Nov 1-25, but mostly 3 crews, 10 days from Nov 25-dec. 7, 30 jobs. 4 crews this year, trying to break into the mid 40's to 50's in new customers.

    keeping the rehang number going up every year is crucial. Any business broker will tell you that your business is worth some multiplier times what your historical guaranteed residual sales or another multiplier times guaranteed gross profits before depreciation and taxes.

    I can count 11 lost properties total off the top of my head including the 2 biggies in the post above, Those 11 are close to 24k in rehangs. That means as of Oct. 7th, as far as % of properties lost, I am only at 11/160, or 6.85%. However, much bigger problem, I have lost 24k/160k in total rehangs, or 15%. I will likely replace those sales, and then some, with rehangs added this year probably in the 40-60k range. my break even as far as the number of customers lost would be 10, probably closer to 15 by Nov. 1. but my break even in terms of rehangs replaced, that is gonna be about 23-30 customers. I think we'd all agree the dollar figure is the more important number.

    Thus why I have to shoot for 50 new customers this year. And quite honestly, really be careful picking up the huge projects that dominate 2 crew members for a week or more. it is way less risky and easier to replace The 5-8 jobs they could be hanging in the same amount of time.

    Another thing that is floating around. I need to figure out how to classify folks that pay me to store their lights but we don't hang them. I don't consider them active customers, but they do send me a check. I think I have 10 of those going this year. I have had 2 from last year that stored that are going up, and added 3 to storage that did it last year. I have several that this is their 2nd or third year for storage.
  8. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    I a stunning turn of events today the 11k rehang called me back and they want to do it. I am absolutely shocked. in my many years of doing this, I am not sure if this has ever happened. I am thrilled to have them back.

    also, 3 appointments tomorrow for new work. I is a referral from a former worker, one saw the new graphics on the box van, and one is an old landscape light customer.
  9. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Being the cynic I am...sounds like they had someone lined up to re-hang for 6k and they fell thru....

    Does not matter, I am sure it still made your day, it would have made mine.

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