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View Full Version : One big account or keeping good paying small accounts


picframer
05-02-2010, 06:31 AM
At the moment we are at our limit for mowing accounts, to add more would mean another vehicle, have an extra trailer, and a mowing setup.

Had a call from a very long time friend, lawyer, lot's of cash, bought a place on the Ocean really close to our largest accounts, asked for a lawn care quote last year, gave him one, we were higher than the current provider although he wasn't happy with the quality, we left it at that, the area is 7 acres and easy mowing, mainly wide open areas.

Anyhow he calls to say he has had it with the current provider and needs his summer home done right away, we were swamped yesterday like most days but I said we would do it today as I have two more guys starting however it is honestly not something I could do every week unless we drop a few small lawn accounts which isn't really fair as they are all good payer's yet from a bottom line stand point my profit would jump as staff would not have to travel to 6 places (I figure it would take dumping 6 for this one)

Really torn over what to do with this although my gut tells me to dump a few accounts and take on his property, there is about $20 grand in work to be done, trees, chipping, turf dressing, rock wall, better drain along the side of a private road etc.

Then how in the heck do I tell good customers we are no longer able to service their lot?

stew6371
05-02-2010, 07:26 AM
Man, tough decision. I would have a hard time not adding that account. But I wouldnt want to drop any either. I guess I would have to add your friends account & find some way to keep the others. I know that is not much help, but you are a smart businessman and I have confidence you will get it figuered out.

swstout
05-02-2010, 08:20 AM
Assuming a 32 week season you would need ~ $105.00 per week per customer to equal the $20,000.00 income for this job. Are you exceeding this now? How much would adding another vehicle, an extra trailer, and a mowing setup cost you? You say you’re at the limit for mowing accounts now. Could getting the extra setup allow you to extend the limit, make a profit and keep the six customers and the Lawyer’s job too?

Loosing customers is bad and loosing good customers is worse.

Tough decision!

Steve

The Cleaning Doctor
05-02-2010, 09:07 AM
Personally I would add the truck and fill it up, using this one as a launchpad.

Steve
05-02-2010, 12:22 PM
Really torn over what to do with this although my gut tells me to dump a few accounts and take on his property, there is about $20 grand in work to be done, trees, chipping, turf dressing, rock wall, better drain along the side of a private road etc.

I can see why you are thinking to go this route but like you said, how do you tell good customers that you can no longer service them.

It makes you wonder if you should keep the mowing side going or turn that over to maybe your son and have him let that grow? There has to be an option here that has yet to be explored.

picframer
05-02-2010, 07:44 PM
I can see why you are thinking to go this route but like you said, how do you tell good customers that you can no longer service them.

It makes you wonder if you should keep the mowing side going or turn that over to maybe your son and have him let that grow? There has to be an option here that has yet to be explored.

My son is am amazing excavator and loader operator with an eye for detail but put him on a tractor mowing and his strips are a mess.....

We did the place today, it took three of us 2 hours, charged $350 as he is a friend and has done a lot of free legal stuff for me. I talked to him after we finished, he was very impressed especially with the four wheel drive all wheel steer, we used two of them and one guy on a trimmer, need two guys on trimmers, if I figure out how to get the images off my blackberry I will post them, this spot is friggin amazing, he flew in professional landscape design people, OMG i have never seen anything like it.

As I mentioned last fall I am after the private communities on Island Point Road, we now have four, he is only 5 min away so what we agreed on is I can leave equipment there locked up which would mean all I need to add is a WAM, we have a use for one anyhow as we do have a number of very large wide open areas.

But this has to be it for now, I have to stick to the plan to make the company debt free this year, the truck we need is almost $65,000 and I will do that next year.

picframer
05-02-2010, 10:32 PM
Finally figured out how to get the images from the Blackberry to the laptop..... We are going back Wednesday with the lawn vac's as he has a lot of branches and leaves then he wants an area cleared and a major list of to do things

Steve
05-03-2010, 02:33 AM
The property looks great!

What kind of truck is on your wish list now?

picframer
05-03-2010, 05:10 AM
The property looks great!

What kind of truck is on your wish list now?

We will get either a 350 diesel with a dump or a 350 King Cap Diesel, one of our clients owns a massive demolition company here in the city, he gave me the name of a dealer in the USA he buys his from, I can buy one a year old and save almost ten grand over what I would pay here. I currently pay a guy to move our biggest excavator and it worked well but he is getting busy and I have a feeling it's going to be an issue.

picframer
05-03-2010, 06:02 AM
For large jobs this is how I transport the mowers, the truck has the trimmers and blowers, we generally have fiskers and cut any dead branches if it's just a few, if it's a lot then it's a quote.

I think this new account will work well due to our being able to leave gear there, his neighbour who has 6 acres called last night and wants us to take over his place from another company, we went over what they are not doing that he wants, pretty simple actually, proper trimming and I did notice yesterday his place had an amazing mow but really poor trimming, they do not blow the grass clippings off his road and walk, they blow clippings into his mulch and they do not run mulching blades, I did notice clumps of grass, anyhow I gave him an estimate as I saw his property last year when my lawyer friend was buying the property next to it so I already know it and I saw it again yesterday, he accepted and said to put him on the list. These two places will take two staff a day, this is perfect and now I will go after the other owners on this Lane, all properties at 2 to 4 million.

markty
05-03-2010, 08:34 AM
Hi Andy,

Mark from down in Bridgewater here. You mention that you are getting to your limit with mowing. My friend in Tantallon has a lawn care and property maintenance business such as mine. Great guy with a young family trying to build his business. If you wanted to email me directly I could give you his contact info. He would LOVE to have more mowing jobs, as that is what we are both starting out with doing along with other smaller stuff.

Thanks,
Mark Lowe
Grasshopper's Lawn Care.

picframer
05-03-2010, 03:43 PM
Hi Andy,

Mark from down in Bridgewater here. You mention that you are getting to your limit with mowing. My friend in Tantallon has a lawn care and property maintenance business such as mine. Great guy with a young family trying to build his business. If you wanted to email me directly I could give you his contact info. He would LOVE to have more mowing jobs, as that is what we are both starting out with doing along with other smaller stuff.

Thanks,
Mark Lowe
Grasshopper's Lawn Care.

Thanks Mark, I am sure your friend does great work, the issue for me is the second I refer another provider and things do not go as planned, the customer tries to make it my problem, it has happened three times in the past year.

There is a lot of business where your friend is, close to 80% of our lawn care is in that area and 90%+ of our landscaping and excavation as there are very few providing the quality of work people are demanding. I turned down two in Beechville which is 5 min from him today.