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When You Get Fired?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, May 28, 2011.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,780

    Lots of posts on here mentioning losing accounts. I've noticed several who say they will do something like send a letter to the customer telling them if the situation ever changes, etc, feel free to contact us, and that sometimes, you end up getting the account again.

    The guy I bought out last year had been doing this as a living for around 20 years. He told me once that he had a simple policy. If someone dropped his service for any reason, whether it be price, letting Little Johnny mow, neighbor is going to do it for a while, whatever, he would never work for them again. His theory was, if they drop you once, they will drop again, so why mess with them?

    I'm just curious which way most of you think?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't go quite as far as never saying never like I used to but I basically agree there exist few exceptions to that rule,
    there also exist many more examples like if a customer steals or scams you, if they did it once they will do it again,
    so if you were to implement a rule that says once and never again you probably wouldn't go but so wrong.

    Personally I started giving second chances in my later years, but more because I wanted to make sure that
    it wasn't me who made the mistake, to help eliminate that doubt, but I am usually right and they usually revert
    to the same behavior (but no, not 100% always).
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  3. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,432

    For me it depends on the customer and the reason. I had a customer that was a good dependable account hire me and then the next year said they didn't need me. Come to find out the guy had shoulder surgery and only needed me for that one season. Sent a nice email to him and thanked him for his business and said I understood and if he needed anything to let me know.

    Calls me a few months later to do his fert and squirt. Good money making account and pays on time.

    Had another who had his wife lose her job. Good paying account and always on time. Good neighborhood with upper middle class people. Canceled service and was doing it themselves. Didn't hear from them for almost a year and then suddenly get a call to start service again. No problem, pine straw mulch trim bushes and regular maintenance on top of that.

    For me it depends on the reason and the customer. If its a scum bag then no. I don't take on scumbag accounts anymore and I just about weeded them all out but not yet. I don't market to scumbags or low income people anymore because of the up and downs with them. Full route then cancels full and cancels like a roller coaster ride. Screws up my schedule and my money flow.

    Id rather grow slowly with good customers than the ones that want little johnny or the cheapest price. Let the newbies have those, just like I had to take on those when I started. I want good full service accounts that care about their property and don't have the time to mess with it. They want reliable service and a quality service. That is my target market.

    Good customers pay what the job is worth and they care about their property and who is on it.

    Like I said, will I take a customer back, yeah if its a good customer, but will I take a scumbag back? No. I don't get that many anymore because I scare the hell out of them. How? Being professional and knowledgeable and showing up in a uniform and a professional image with professional documents for them to sign and a professional proposal.

    Scumbags see that and say wow, this guy is a serious business and I can't screw him around. Weeds them out in a hurry and then you don't have to worry about non payment and being jerked around later with skip cuts and I thought that was included, or you said this or that.

    Its all in the paperwork baby and your not going to lie or cheat me out of anything. The good customers have no problems with that.

    The scumbags run the other way and find little Johnny or the new guy to jerk around.

    Been there done that. Sign on the dotted line or no dice.

  4. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,432

    I'll add a little more... Red Flags. If I see the red flags I don't bother with them. I won't go into the red flags because I have done that in the past on here and only to be told I was wrong by most. So be it.

    Phone calls get scrutinized so that I don't waste my time. I used to jump at a phone call and run out to give an estimate but found out its better to start the screening with the initial phone call.

    I don't want every customer, just the good ones. You will also find out that the cancellations are fewer and so are the headaches.

  5. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,916

    That would be rather short-sighted as well as stupid, IMO.

    I am working for half a dozen customers that canceled in the past that realized it was a mistake and returned to me for work.
  6. Buck_wheat

    Buck_wheat LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 585

    Dang right... We take it a step further, we check the public record for liens & foreclosures. Too many experiences with these deadbeats, pay the first month, skip the second, promise it'll be there next week & then start the cycle with the next sucker.

    There's some business you just don't want, like the guy that'll call you 8 PM Easter Sunday to whine about the ornamental's not being perfect the way he wants them. Or won't mail you a check, you have to come ask him and then he spends 30 minutes "walking the property" with you holding you responsible for the dry patch, or cinch bug or nutsedge... nuts to those people, let the newbies have them or jack your price to make the BS worthwhile.
  7. PLS-Tx

    PLS-Tx LawnSite Silver Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 2,384

    Sounds like a good policy to me.

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