We've fired some customers!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mrs. H, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    And we are feeling pretty good about it.

    Our contract provides a way out for both parties. We can get out by giving notice of service interuption and the early termination fees are waved.

    They can get out, but they have to pay the early termination fee.

    So, far everyone has been good with this agreement, except...

    One motel won't pay up and he's selling out. We're going to go try to get a lien. So, bye, bye...good luck trying to sell with knee high grass.

    And the other we are firing today. She talked David into a discounted price because her husband is in Iraq...and then she's complained all summer long. (Now, David knows he was suckered into the 'charity' thing. But, over the past 2 months I think we are getting that cured.)

    Next year we are going to go ahead and drop those bottom 10% and raise prices and work from there.

    BTW...David's got a 2nd truck up and going. We're cooking with fire now!
  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    Hate to hear you have to do that, but you and I both know you will be better off without them. It is always difficult for me to let someone go, even when they are a PITA, but I feel so much better after I do. And usually pick up a much better customer to replace them.
  3. HenryB

    HenryB LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,844

    People often don't drop their worst customers out of fear. We make up all kinds of excuses but it's a big mistake to keep these bloodsuckers on board. I drop about five or ten bad apples a year. :clapping:
  4. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    I know what you mean. :eek: We, David and I both hate dropping people and there's this fear. :eek: Where does that come from? :confused: Are we afraid they'll hurt our business somehow by NOT being our LATE-PAYING $15 per cut customer?

    Sense tells us that we are hurting ourselves by letting them weigh down our routes. It's weird...and kind of annoying... that our emotions get anywhere close to how we deal with our customers.

    Most of our contracts are up in March so I guess I am going to be busy this winter working up the numbers.
  5. causalitist

    causalitist LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 610

    why not just raise prices on the ones u dont like? ... i suppose they were that bad ... plus i guess u can tell when a customer is such a pita they wont go for a price raise.

    but in general i raise prices and let the customer fire themselves.
  6. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    One of these customers won't pay at all. We have a contract that will stand up in court. 'Nough said there.

    The other, David can't stand. There's a price on the contract and he dosn't want to wait until the contract expires to raise the price. It's THAT BAD. Otherwise we would let them fire themselve and be subject to the early termination fee. That's not worth it to us either. It's a bad account.
  7. lawnspecialties

    lawnspecialties LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,524

    Unless they absolutely won't pay, I at least try not to fire customers until March. If you have a year-round maintenance contract, the winter time is easy money. Fire them when it gets busier and they have to scramble to get their lawn mowed. Heck, throw some high-nitrogen fertilizer on it a week or two before you leave them. More knee-high grass for you to laugh at.
  8. wannabamower

    wannabamower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 82

    I hate non paying customers. But dropping a few customers a year won't hurt and usually you can pick up more to replace your no paying customers.

    I'm glad that I'm not the only one that has customers that try to get a discount price and then complain about you service. I have found that these customers are not worth the negative feedback that give you.

    On your contracts do you have any customers that you breakdown and pay 12 months or pay monthly?


  9. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    What is the new truck? Any pics or another thread you've posted it in?
  10. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    Pics will come along this weekend, I'm sure. He's been busy.

    Ooh, he just snuck up behind me...

    It's a 1991 Ford F-150, 5.0, new tires, ugly paint, no rust...yet. Perfect interior, except he said the seat leans a little...and you actually have to hand-crank the windows :). The body needs a little attention on one side, but for the most part its good. David spent the day cleaning it up and scrubbing.

    I just promised him I would start a new thread about just the truck.

    As for the contracts, they all pay a year round price. And for the most part we can deal with all of them pretty much. If there is a problem, its usually fixed pretty quickly and everyone's saticfied. But, we are not going to continue to waste time on these two accounts.

    Actually, I think the residential account we are booting ends in July, so that's a little too long to stick it out. The motel ends in March.

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