Thinking of passing on a great customer

landscaper22

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
South Carolina
I am thinking of passing on of one my best customers. The property owners are great. Nice people who pay their bill on time every time. Over 14 years of servicing their property, never a call or complain. They never ask "how much to do this and that".

The problem is on me. My pricing weekly cutting is not right. The place took me today 3 plus hours to mow and trim. And there is a lot of trimming and lots of sections which are very tedious.

I am charging them $150 per mow service.
Well $150 divided by 3.5 hours is $43/ per hour. Not great.

What gets me is I mow a small lawn that day which takes 20 minutes tops and I get $50. Other lawns that same day I can mow in lest than 30 min and get $50+

I really hate to give up on these people, we have built a relationship over the years.
But I hope I don't have to explain to them their lawn service price should be like $200 a week.
I might have to.

Again, perfect customers but way under the price for my service. That is on me.

Years ago i would hear $60 per hour to mow. It might be even higher now..
Yes, I seem to have the same issue with a couple. It was difficult to realize at first that I wasn't coming out good. Time is time, and the thing is the really small yards seem to profit more as someone else stated, if you can the routes tight and in tight clusters. I have 2 properties that are an acre give or take on one. One is about like what you are describing though. Not a ton of grass, but the house sits way back in the woods and has a long driveway. By the time you cut all the coves it is a solid hour of mowing. Trim work is minimal. but the long driveway eats up my time.
At least give the customer a chance. Tell them the situation and with rising costs you have having to evaluate all of your pricing for every property. Tell them you could be off base (even if you are not) They may get other quotes that are higher than yours is my whole point, or about the same as yours. So, give them a chance. I'm sure if you get the man hour rate where you want it, you will keep it. I have two customers to talk to, but I am so busy I have not approached them at the right moment. At least you understand that you are not where you want to be. That's a great start, instead of some of these companies that just throw out a cheap rate and never ask for an increase etc, because they don't understand how to operate a business. Maybe you can work it out.

But I have one that takes 2 of us an hour and I get $75. Then I have one street that we have 3 really small yards all together and I get $105 for all 3 for about 40 minutes of work. It's a no brainer. It is ridiculous to keep servicing and not coming out. Thing is, I can probably squeeze more out of the $75 account, but I don't think I will get them to the $110-120 range where they need to be. I didn't realize I had priced it so bad at first. These customers didn't live here full time, so I did a lot of other upkeep and shrubs almost every time I serviced. Now they live here and do a lot of extras themselves. I just mow, string trim, blow and go, and I don't have the extras to bill them for to cover up my bad pricing of the basic service.
 

OakNut

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Had a customer raise his own rate this year

I had 5 do that this year. 4 of them by five bucks each.

One by ten bucks. (she REALLY hates mowing her own lawn)
Last season when I gave her a quote, I told her $35 and she paid me $40 instead.
This season, she says "I forget - was it $55?"
I told her, "No, I told you $35 and you were paying me $40".

"OK, here you go." ($50 - who am I to argue. It's a stupid-simple job that takes 25 minutes with a 21" mower)
 

MikeyVedia

LawnSite Member
Location
Magnolia Tx
I am thinking of passing on of one my best customers. The property owners are great. Nice people who pay their bill on time every time. Over 14 years of servicing their property, never a call or complain. They never ask "how much to do this and that".

The problem is on me. My pricing weekly cutting is not right. The place took me today 3 plus hours to mow and trim. And there is a lot of trimming and lots of sections which are very tedious.

I am charging them $150 per mow service.
Well $150 divided by 3.5 hours is $43/ per hour. Not great.

What gets me is I mow a small lawn that day which takes 20 minutes tops and I get $50. Other lawns that same day I can mow in lest than 30 min and get $50+

I really hate to give up on these people, we have built a relationship over the years.
But I hope I don't have to explain to them their lawn service price should be like $200 a week.
I might have to.

Again, perfect customers but way under the price for my service. That is on me.

Years ago i would hear $60 per hour to mow. It might be even higher now..
50 an hour is good money in SE Tx and I thought you were foolish to let that job go so out of curiosity I had to see what part of the country you live at and when I saw Rhode Island I understood! It's a whole different world up there trust me, but I don't know if I could leave customers after 14 years especially when they've been great to you and I'm sure you thought this through but it's obvious you're looking for some kind of direction before you actually go through with this and all I can say is, I would stay . 14 yrs. is rare and in my parts a close bond with good people is worth taking a small cut in pay as long as your still making a small profit. I think in the long run the less regrets you have when it's all said and done has to be better than the other alternative.
 

Valk

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
KS
50 an hour is good money in SE Tx and I thought you were foolish to let that job go so out of curiosity I had to see what part of the country you live at and when I saw Rhode Island I understood! It's a whole different world up there trust me, but I don't know if I could leave customers after 14 years especially when they've been great to you and I'm sure you thought this through but it's obvious you're looking for some kind of direction before you actually go through with this and all I can say is, I would stay . 14 yrs. is rare and in my parts a close bond with good people is worth taking a small cut in pay as long as your still making a small profit. I think in the long run the less regrets you have when it's all said and done has to be better than the other alternative.
^^^ I won't argue w/ any of that...well said. Maybe having a chat w/ this customer will find some kind of a happy medium-ish solution?
 

-Debbie-

LawnSite Member
Location
Maryland
So you reward the nice and loyal customer by dropping them instead of being upfront with them and letting them know you will have to increase their price? That's some thanks for them being loyal. I'd explain (not in comparison to other customers - but in comparison to your costs) why you will have to increase their rate, and tell them where you need to be and by when. Work with them to make a plan to get there. They probably will not be surprised, and will be agreeable. If they were looking for the cheapest guy, they would have left you long ago because we all know there is at least one guy out there who will do it cheaper than we do. I'd rather have a handful of good customers who pay regularly, on-time and maybe pay a little less, than customers I have to hound and chase and bend over backwards to please to pay more.
 

Derwood

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
SE Wisconsin
Debbie makes a lot of sense, in my opinion. Especially if it's like you said, and you've developed a good relationship with her. If she's on a super tight budget, then this might be where you two part ways. But if she's not, a few more bucks out of her pocket to keep you might be just fine, with her.

Like Debbie, I would suggest you two have a conversation. Thinking of the customers who have stayed with me since day one (I've been in it 8 years) if I needed to cut one loose due to the need for a price hike, I'd set up a time to sit down in person, and explain. Texts, emails or a "by the way" type of conversation as you're loading your equipment after a cut, is not how I PERSONALLY would handle it.

At the end of the day, if you can't hit your marks with this account anymore, then it's time to raise the price. She either agrees, or she doesn't. Her reasons really don't matter. If you choose to stay at the same price, where you make less, and you want to chalk it up as charity, I see nothing wrong with that! I have one of those myself! We do NOT make much, if anything, on one that is 34 minutes away! But... he was my son's coach in the Spring, Summer and Fall.... donated a ton of his time to him. Started cutting him when he found out he had Stage 4 throat cancer, and couldn't get it done - So we do it, don't make much money on it, and are happy to!

To each his own, I say.
 

Top Forums



Top