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Turning Down Work - How Do You Do it?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by OakNut, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I've gotten to where I don't NEED to accept work and to where I'm being much more "choosy" about what jobs I will take on.

    I've turned down a LOT of work this season for one reason or another. Too big, too small, too crappy, whatever.
    I've gotten rid of several biweekly cuts and moved some of them to weekly cuts. Things are shaping up.
    I bid what I want for the job. Sometimes I get it and sometimes they decline. Fine by me.

    My schedule is nearly full, but I still go and look - it could be a better paying job that can replace a not-so-good-paying job.
    This is where my question comes into play.

    I know that there are people much, much more "choosy" than me and many wouldn't even dream of taking a job that could not be cut without a ZTR. So how do you do it? How do you turn them down?

    This may vary by location, but around here there are hills on nearly every property and many areas are NOT well suited for mowing with a ZTR, but those properties obviously still need to be mowed and those people are going to be calling. THEY don't know that you "won't drop your gate for less that $65", and THEY don't know that you are only willing to mow lawns with a 60" ZTR, so they call...

    How do you handle all of these calls from people you are either unable to help, or unwilling to?
  2. clcare2

    clcare2 LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 224

    Find someone you "like" that doesnt care or needs the work and refer them. Also, I over bid the crap out of yards when i don't care. That way it is worth it.
  3. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I guess what I'm asking is what do you "say" to these people? Overbidding doesn't help if it's not a lawn you WANT, or CAN cut.

    I went to look at a property today (and have done the same several times in the last week) and it turned out to be a crap property that I simply don't want to be associated with. My name is on the back of my truck and I'm not interested in being associated with sub-par work. There's only so much you can do with a "weed-yard" and a gravel drive that is more green than gravel.
    The yard would need to be push mowed and I'm limiting myself to lawns that can be cut with my walk behind, OR small, but nice lawns that people are willing to PAY WELL to have cut weekly. This lawn was neither. It was obvious that they needed a crack addict who would do it for $20.

    I can't exactly say "Your lawn is sh!t and I don't want it."
  4. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    You can always sub the work to another LCO you are friendly with. Any easy couple dollars in your pocket for simply doing nothing.
  5. blk90s13

    blk90s13 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,453

    I always go look at a property before my appointment from the truck just a drive by for a quick assessment, then you can decide if you want to take on the crappy lawn or not.
  6. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    Respectfully decline and tell them its not the right fit for your company right now. Anybody that asks why just wants to argue. It comes down to people skills. Look at the persons body language when you are speaking to them. I will say this. I do turn work down myself. However, those crappy lawns this year have been nice. I have been able to mow them wet till my plush lawns dried. They've kept me workin and kept money in my staffs pocket too..
  7. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867

    You could also base your explanation on equipment and costs. If you think it's a push mow, tell them your costs rise as the time involved rises. Basically, you can politely price yourself out of the job. There are a hundred ways to price yourself out, while not insulting the customer. If, for some crazy reason, they say "Great, let's do it!", that's when you either take the gig or roll out your 6 month pre-pay policy...
  8. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,518

    What's wrong with saying your yard is crap and I don't won't to be associated with it. I recommend what I think should be done to spruce the place up including weed control (in the yard and flower beds). If they do not agree I decline and move on. Some have called me back after interviewing other LCOs and discussing it with their other half. You don't have to be rude to get the message across that you are proud of your business and that you wish to keep it that way. It is a strange business we're in.
  9. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    For the most part this is what I do.
    If it's a small, uneven, tree root-filled, nightmare with all sorts of obstacles, I explain that the lawn isn't a good match for the equipment I use. The only problem with that is when I go look at one of those when I just have my truck and a push mower with me. :D

    I have enough crappy lawns as it is. I'm finally at the point where I can start replacing the crappiest of them when more desirable lawns present themselves.

    I dunno. I just wonder sometimes how you guys who only mow "perfect" (flat/easy) lawns deal with all the calls for quotes on jobs you won't even consider. There has to be a thousand lawns you WON'T take for every one you WILL take on. The endless calls for those you won't mow have got to be annoying. Perhaps you just rule out ANY job from a specific area, because you know the odds are it's not going to work for you?

    Maybe I think too much. ;)
  10. birddseedd

    birddseedd LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,111

    If your getting too much work raise prices.

    or do the smart thing and hire someone so you can make more money and have a more reliable service (break downs n such give you more manpower to get over)

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