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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
heres the scene: my wife is not totally useless, she is on the d.a.r.e commitee in our community. shes very involved in things in the township. so, the "office on aging" contacts me today, and asks if i would be interested in providing services at a discounted rate for the old folks. they seem to think it would be worth my while because there are tons of seniors who need work, and they would arange it all as far as contacting them, giving them a price list, etc, they think i would be able to make up the discounted service by doing volume, in groups, etc. well, what do u guys/girls think about this? i just dont know, i have very little tolerance for b.s., and seniors usually give u lots of it. plus, if they are late on thier payments, my midnight collection tactics may give one of them heart failure. i just dont know. my wife wants me to do it, cus it would be "a nice thing for the seniors" . i just dont know if i can be nice. opinions please
 

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Well, I wouldn't do it. I would be concerned about my other "senior" customers finding out about the discounts and then they will also want the discount. just my .02
 

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Let me get this straight:

if you don't make any money off them you will make it up in volume. Is that what you are trying to say? Are old peoples lawns easier to cut?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
no man, is there something wrong with the air in idaho? what she is saying is, for example, i may give a 15% discount, but make it up in volume because they( the folks at the office for aging) would be the middle man, and i wouldnt be losing time running around doing estimates etc. plus they would call me with like 10-15 people, in the same neighborhood.
 

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well you do the math then. Is it costing you 15% to do estimates? What's your breakeven on a job then take it from there. Just subtract the cost of estimating and other overhead costs they will provide then. Basic 5th grade math will get you over this hurdle in your business plan.

I'm just get tired of guys working their butts off so someone else can get a good deal. It hurts the whole local grasscutting economy.
 

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Ok bobby, this is what you do. Find out if and when the 'office on aging' has a fundraiser. Donate 5 one time free mowings, and the seniors can bid on it. You come out smelling like a rose, and at the same time, dont have to cut your prices. If they like you and your work, they can hire you at YOUR rates. Every year I donate a years worth of lawncare service for my churchs silent auction. Good luck.
 

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Originally posted by bobbygedd
i just dont know, i have very little tolerance for b.s., and seniors usually give u lots of it. i just dont know. i just dont know if i can be nice.
That just about sums it up doesn't it?

If your wife is really pushing for it, can you set her up with a mower and let her handle those accounts.

They would probably be scattered all over town wouldn't they?

Seriously, I'm all for giving a helping hand to seniors, what ever shape it may take.
But, Bobby, you're so right, seniors have a knack for dishing it out.
I'd rather figure out a way to do them for free and use those accounts as a write off, then if they complain about anything I can always say "What do ya expect for free?"
 

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Originally posted by bobbygedd
i just dont know. my wife wants me to do it, cus it would be "a nice thing for the seniors" . i just dont know if i can be nice. opinions please
Well Bobby, I think you've already found the answer. If you are worried about whether or not you can "be nice", I wouldn't take the job. On the other hand, working for the Church, I already have Seniors that I work for. Actually, I've found them no different than normal customers. Some are a PITA, while others overpay "just because".........Some day the shoe will be on the other foot. So, starting with you, it might be nice to know that "somewhere somehow", they'll be someone out there willing to "Battle and help the old Geezers", when it's your turn to be old.
 

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I would say that my prices are already as low as I can go. If you want to spend your days working too cheap, go for it. I do like the idea of Lawns and Mower, to donate something. If you're not careful, you will have no one but seniors, wanting discounts, and no time left over to overcharge young people to make up for the discounted rates.
The office on aging is gonna be the middleman? Someone else gonna set your rates? Are they gonna do the collection of payments? Are they gonna stand there and listen to the stories of how things used to be? Are they gonna get the phone calls, "Are you coming to mow today? I forgot, is today our day? We won't need mowing today, I'll call when you can come over..."
I worked for a cabinet shop, when asked about senior discounts, he would always reply "That would be discrimination to give different prices depending on age."
Crawdad
 

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I think the most important aspect here that everyone is overlooking. Mama wants you to do it. And we all know if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. lol
I think if you set down your ground rules and explain your policies to the senior center, and make them understand in a nice way that you will put up with no bs, that you will do it.
I would say if you reserve the right to cancel any of the services do to said bs you should be ok. Mama would be happy and you may get a rep for being a nice guy. lol
But only do them to the extent that it does not interfere with your profitable accts.
 

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I would try and find a way to help the senior citizens out but this does not seem to be the best way. If they can find you say 3-4 clients all on the same street then that might work out by saving you driving time. The key would be not just being nice to them but wanting to help. If you don't want to do this then it is set up for failure.


Gravely_Man
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
some very good advice. though it was presented to me only yesterday, my little mind is in a tiff about it. we have many seniors in town, i know i could get the work bunched together, cut out travelin time, and make up some of the dough lost by giving the discount. im very good at making my visits worth while. mow, and put down an app, mow and trim a few small shrubs at the same time, etc. and im thinking since they are old, and unable to do anything physical, there will be lots of add on services. and i plan on doing snow removal this winter, i think it would be a perfect start to get lots of clients . also in mind is, these seniors have kids, nephews, etc, and if we do good work, it could really snow ball . my biggest concern is what crawdad said. the abuse seniors give , the constant phone calls, the forgetting of the day, the "can u cut it shorter", etc. i have a zero tolerance policy. i just cant deal with stuff like that. and, if i piss one or two of them off,the office may just dump me all together. great advice guys, ive got some serious thinking to do. if i start, and then dump them all, my personal reputation in town will suffer, as well as my business name. ill keep u posted
 

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Bobby


This may be long, but important.


You are given a golden opportunity on many levels. What has been presented to you is exactly what I tried to organized for 2 years a couple years back.

Let me explain what I was trying to set up and then why.

I was trying to get a trade association together on this pilot project in the township of where I am. My father is active in the Senior Affairs Dept. I had him run this passed the director. A Senior Lawn Program. The premise was that the Dept of Senior Affairs has access to info regarding seniors in private homes on an extremely limited budget. Seniors would put there name on a list during the winter. The Dept can check on their financial situation. Only those seniors that have difficulty with finances would qualify. They create a list of addresses.

Now the Association would spread the word to the industry requesting volunteers to be part of the program. LCO's that registered for the program would get a listing of the seniors in need. At their discression they chose the address that is better for them. Now there might be several LCO's for any one address, fine no worries, provide an alternate. LCO's can take one, or as many as they want. The LCO's would provide basic service for no less than a 20% discount. More was fine, FREE if they wanted to. Extras at a similar discount. Like I said any LCO in the program choses the number of seniors they wanted to handle in that program. The idea was that the work get spread out among the LCO's.

Now I had presented this idea to several of my friends. They all would have gotten involved. Some said they would do one, others said they would do 2 or 3 pending locations and such. Truth of the matter is a couple including myself already do this. This program was hinged on the Dept of Senior Affairs setting it up. Well they dropped the ball.

This winter I am going to push the idea again.

Now here is why I was getting the Association involved with the Town.

As I said the work gets spread out among the LCO's. Also it is a public image booster and marketing win, win situation. I would have made sure that this program gets recognition in the news media. "Landscape Industry gives back to the Community" Truck stickers would have been made to show those who were in the program.

Our industry gets alot of grief because of blowers, pesticides and just about anything else you can think of. All the time in the news it is Landscapers this, Landscapers that.............it's all negative. In many respects our image on a whole is tarnished. So how do we change that? What I proposed was one way. There is not enough good things printed about our industry in the news or seen on the TV news.

Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Talk with your friends in the business. Get others to join you. At least you have the town doing the work. All you need to do is set rules. Don't let them create a general list where any and all seniors can get work done at a good discount. There are seniors with hefty bank accounts that most definitely should not be part of the program. There are plenty that desperately need assistence.
 

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It sounds like they want you to have a price list ready that you have to go by. I don't see how that is even possible for mowing. There are too many factors to consider to have straight pricing.

Personally, I wouldn't do it. You need to make a living, and if your rates are already fair for your area, then stick by them. I would offer the services to the people at your normal rate.

You are 100% correct about some seniors being hard to deal with. Then you have the lonely ones who want to talk every time you mow. May be more trouble than it's worth.
 

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LOL

The problems with seniors some of you experiencing is of your own doing.

Sure lonely seniors want to chat the afternoon with them. Give them a minute or two, then politely excuse yourself and move on. That's so hard?

Sure seniors complain. What esle do they have to worry about? So what? Does anyone not know how to handle it? Is that the problem? Again of your own doing.

If it were not for seniors. NONE of us would be doing the amount of work we do. Besides who has the readily spendable cash?

I love seniors.

In truth. Think about this a second. Of all that you do. What percentage are unbearable to work for? What percentage are sincerely appreciative of your work? And it's not like Seniors are going to do their own shrub trimming, fall cleanups, lawn renovations, and many other things.
 

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20% discount??? Most LCO's don't make anywhere near that in profit. From what I've seen most don't cover expenses at their current rates.

Some people run a business to make money... in fact the IRS says you must or else be declared a hobby.

Open up a not for profit if you are going to do charity work... then you can recieve outside aid to cover expenses. And the rules are different.

One last thing on your handle there glans, have you looked that up in the dictionary? lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
wait a minute, glan man i think u r a genius! wow, just think of the posibilities, i may even get my picture in the paper, and for the first time, not on the "whose been arrested" page. o yea, i think im in. im there. ok, i give a 20% discount. on a $30 cut, thats only $6. now im cuttin for $24. fine, ill find a way to make it profitable. eliminate billing, save on stamps and envelopes. hand write a quick bill once a month. all disposal in thier cans. applications at half the manufacturers recommended rate(they will never know) . i like it. i love the idea of the newspaper thing. ill get a reporter here, LANDSCAPER GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. i love it, ill have work commin outta my rear. so i still make out a little on the senior work, but make out great on the work ill get from the publicity. i may not have to work at the printshop anymore. man...next time u see me, ill be wearin a white tuxedo, smokin a big cigar, talkin all kinds of trash
 

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Parkwest
GLAN is not in the dictionary...................;)

Bobby
You don't have to do it. Am I telling you HAVE TO do it? NO!
Maybe your not in the same circumstances as I am. Perhaps you don't see things as I do. As I do not as you.

What I posted is not for all LCO's and I said that. Surely it's not for a single operator.

I apologize for addressing my post to you personaly. Realisticaly it should have been addressed to the broad spectrum of members.
 
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