Waiting lists?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by AndyL, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. AndyL

    AndyL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Hey guys,

    Ok, I've had it!:cry: I'm UNPLUGGING THE PHONE!

    Can you believe I have 32 requests for estimates that have come so far today?!

    I'm pretty much maxed out for work this year, unless I find some new experienced staff (haha, thats funny) or get lots of cancelations (unlikely one of the plants shutdown for repairs in a couple weeks... Big hours!)

    So out of curiosity, how do you guys handle waiting lists? Strictly in first come first serve? Do you estimate them anyway? Estimate then adjust the list to fit the ones you want? Adjust by territory (move to the front those that are right nearby your existing customers)?

  2. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :blob3: hey andy, check out my thread last week "some people crack me up" you'll get a kick out of it. any wayi let the people know in advance we i call them back just how far away i could be in getting to them, usually they want to be done by weeks end :), and they are eliminated, some you'll find are having other work done and dont mind the wait, either way be upfront this way you dont make any promises you may not be able to keep andthe that customer does'nt call twice a week asking when your gonna gewt there. tony
  3. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Andy... what's the problem? We should all have your problem.

    Bid 'em all and bid 'em high!

    How much staff do you have? If you can't find more people then adjust to a tighter and higher paying route.

    Bid HIGH!
  4. AndyL

    AndyL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Tom, under normal circumstances I'd agree :)

    I've got me myself and I... And a small crew (run by another andy, and larry) I work PT right now (day job has benefits... hard to give up benefits...) But that might have to change... Getting staff in this town is impossible, un-employment is below 1%, most companies have to advertise out of town, offering moving bonuses and everything to get employees. As you can imagine, my labour rates would be through the roof (Except I pay commission)

    Right now the area that I'm growing fastest in, is my 'cheap' cuts. Aimed at the working stiff (most of whom work 12on 3 off, or 10 on 2 off) its a absolute basic cut, basically a scrub cut, with insurance I guess you could call it... Its aimed at (and limited to) the modular home developments (50% of the population here live in them) Where so far, I have found a 943sq ft yard :) Thats the BIGGEST I've found!!! Most are in the 6-800sq ft range.

    Putting it mildly, I've hit the niche in that area, the other LCOs wont touch the area (hard to get a truck/trailer in and out) And quite frankly, they charge too much for the size of yards... I'm sorry, 40$ to drive up to a house w/ less than 1000 sq ft is pretty crazy, especially when there's 20 neighbours who'll also want to be cut!

    My quality cuts on the other hand, I do bid high, very high! I get told regularly that SoAndSo (bigger LCOs) wanted 40$, why do you want 55$? I pull out my portfolio, then we talk :D

    I'm putting my full time crew into the modular, nah, screw it... Trailer park... I know the other andy's work isn't great, he needs a lot of practice trimming. But he'll give 110% all day every day, I like that kind of employee.

    Just recorded a message on the answering machine, telling everyone we're booked up solid, unless we get more staff, so if they know any experienced landscapers, they should have them get in touch with me.

  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    We just give them away, or trade them. Many of us lco's in this area sort of network together and trade jobs, making it more lucrative for us, while providing better service for the customers. For instance, I just gave 15 fert. accounts away tonight to a friend that goes down to an area about 30 miles south of here. He, in term, has given me work in the past, including some on a golf course that about 10 miles north of here. It works out well, because we both use the same program. Actually, it's HIS program, and he's just sharing it with me to help me out in the service. The guy is an ex golf course superintendent, so who better to learn under, than him. What he says, goes. This guy is the best there is in the whole tri-county area, and NO one grows turf like he does. There are several other companies around that do a decent job, but nothing like what his are like. Well, I'm now finding out that my customers properties are beginning to look the same way. Anyway, what I was getting at, is that it pays to know others, and be able to network a little bit. It's so cool when some of our lco's converge onto a restaurant for lunch. It's neat seeing all these companies as friends get together. ;)
  6. AndyL

    AndyL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Runner: that works, in some instances...

    We've all got more work than we want (they've all been booked up for months now) Most of the LCOs around here prefer to go for the big commercial stuff, and battle to get the big accounts... They underbid eachother to the point where they can't do a decent job for what they're charging, so the quality is the pits!

    So I'll let them do their thing, and I'll do mine, tho I better start kissing some serious toosh soon... I'm not licensed to do fert/pesticide applications so I'm not going to be doing those services.

  7. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Andy, I would keep bidding them a little higher, as you get a new customers at the higher price. Start raising prises on the lower priced customers by the time your done. The cheap skates will be eliminated. If they all agree to pay the higher prices then you have no choice but to expand in some way. More staff, more efficient equipment.

    Also, I don't think your answering mashine message is going to work out to well, Because if they know of an experienced Landscaper, They most likely wouldn't be calling you in the first place. I think your going to end up with evryone wanting you to hire their kids. I could be wrong, It wouldn't be the first time :) .

    Good Luck,
  8. keifer

    keifer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    I take all i can handle then give the rest to other lco's.
  9. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899


    I'm always in your shoes!:D

    Each year I add a few accounts. Fortunately my retention rate is over 95%. Of the remaining 5%, 1/2 of them I cancel on others pass away or move. A few are lost for other reasons (can't please 'em all). Anyhow, I started last season w/180 accounts and this season w/ 210. I turned away over 300 last year and about 50 this year. I return all of the calls as a courteousy, and explain to them that if they're serious (referrals and neighbors of clients especially) to call in January and I'll make a spot fo them on my list. You'd be surprised how many do call. Just constantly weed out the lesser accounts. Also, keep a few names and numbers for those who will be willing to change mid-season just in case. If only I could find 2 more good laborers......

  10. little green guy

    little green guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 955

    It's crazy, I've got landscape jobs schedualed for the next two months on top of cutting grass. All of the suddend people are calling wanting work done yesturday. The way i schedule it is first come- first serve exept sometimes we'll use smaller jobs to fill in spots between jobs.

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