What a crappy day:(

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by farmboy1285, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. farmboy1285

    farmboy1285 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    So I decided to use my dads truck today because I needed to use a ladder for a Gutter Cleaning job. So I hook my trailer like normal and am heading out and get about 50 feet up the street and I hear this crash followed my the sound or steel grinding on concrete. I look back and of course my trailer is dragging behind me. So I pull of to the side of the road and got take a look and the pin that holds the hitch in the receiver had mysteriously vanished:confused:. It took me about 30 minutes to get the trailer back on and fortunately I had an extra pin in the truck. At this point I am a little pissed off but im ok:mad:. So I head over to start the gutter cleaning but the owner was not there so while I was in the neighborhood I figured I would stop by and talk to my old customers and see If they wanted me to mow(I was about 90% sure I would get them back) So I go talk to customer #1 and she says all of 10 words to me, basically that she wanted someone that was better scheduled:cry:. So I head over to check on another customer and I wasnt even going to got to the door because I figured they would be home but the lady was outside so I stopped. Basically the company that cuts the yard next to her under cut my price by at least $5. I tried to talk her into staying with me but It was to late, that one really pissed me off because I had gone out of my way to take care of her dogs as a favor and had always gone out of my way to do an extremely nice job on the lawn:hammerhead::angry:. And just as I am leaving I get a call from another customer in this neighborhood and the lady says she is going to cut the lawn herself:realmad:. At this point I am really mad because these were my top 3 customers highest paying costumers and because they were the lawns that I was always told "looked great". Its like all three of these people decided "hey lets really piss off the lawn guy today:gunsfirin. at this point I just decided to call it a day a go home but after a little venting:cry::sleeping: I figured I better at least do my gutter job. The thing that really sucks with loosing these customers is that I didnt do much advertising because I was pretty happy with my customer base. I think I just to vent of cry myself to sleep...:cry: Im sure Im not the only one to every have this happen to them. I Guess 2008 wont be as good as I thought it would.
  2. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 2,592

  3. farmboy1285

    farmboy1285 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    I know it could be alot worse but I was really counting on those lawns this year. Plus that knocks me down to like 13 customers my goal for 2008 was 25.
  4. IA_James

    IA_James LawnSite Silver Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 2,592

    Then do something about it. Come on here crying like a little girl about losing a few lawns, you realize this is a business don't ya? Do you expect them to be kind? You know that 3 lawns is nothing compared to what some people deal with? SUCK IT UP
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Well, you learned 3 things today.

    1: No customer is a sure bet on returning the next year.
    2: Only on very rare instances do the customers ever think of you as more than the guy who cuts their grass and as such you are replaceable on a moments notice.
    3: 99% of customers never notice when you do a good job or do little extras for free but 95% will notice if you don't do a good job.

    About 8 years ago I started doing a certain little detail for almost all of my customers that I thought made the job look better. This little detail added 5 minutes to each job, no biggie. Not one single customer noticed it or at least none of them said anything. I kept doing it for about 6 years and then suddenly I thought I would stop doing it and see what happened. No one noticed. I still do it on a few jobs but only for my personal satisfaction. I do like to look back at a job and feel pride in what I've done.
  6. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    If I follow your story correctly, you were stopping by these places on April 1 to see if they were going to continue to work with you for the 2008 season. Do I have that right?

    If that is the case, then one more lesson to be learned (taking the three Richard Martin already mentioned). Your sales and customer relations skills need some honing. I don't know exactly when your mowing season begins, but it must be soon. Why weren't you in contact with these folks four weeks ago, six weeks ago? It sounds like you took no steps to make contact early, expressing your interest in having them back as customers. Your approach in the business relationship is too casual, taking too much for granted. Why would they think you care, if you made no contact? Your story sounds like to stopped "because I just happened to be nearby."

    If I have missed really what happened, then I'm off-base with my assessment.
  7. farmboy1285

    farmboy1285 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    Sorry I guess I should have mentioned that I sent all my customers a letter asking them for their business again this year I have heard back on all but four, these three I hadn't herd from. I dont mind losing a customer now and then, its just that now I fear I have missed the boat on advertising and won't have a good year, I sure Im over reacting but I have been mowing lawns for six years and 95% of the customers I have lost is because they have moved.

    IAJames Im sorry if Im crying a little to much for you but 3 lawns is alot for me. I realize that 3 lawns is no where near how many lawns some people have lost.
  8. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    Dont think like that!

    You need to mind losing customers. If 3 lawns is a lot for you then go out and get them back. Do what you have to do.
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,267

    Agreed with all of above. This line of biz seems to be a revolving door. Should always work to find the next person.
  10. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 849

    All of that is not really necessary. The guy was having a bad day. It is business, but this is a place for LCOs to talk about their situations and sometimes even problems. If you are going to vent about a problem, no one really understands like another LCO. I don't have a problem with people venting. It helps to know I am not the only one with bad days.

    Great tips from the other guys. This is a rough business now. Loyalty and acts of kindness mean nothing anymore. (Well it does for some.) You can go out of your way to do extra for customers, work with some difficult requests, etc...And they will still drop you over $5. But it is fun when they call you back because the other guy sucks or doesn't show up after some time. I have had a few do that, and you can't help but laugh when they do. Just stay dependable, do great work, and stand firm on your prices. The rest will fall in place. Although with this economy now we may be cutting for peanuts soon.

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