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RyansLawn
01-07-2013, 11:25 AM
A very new snow customer wrote me an e mail recently. I have copy/pasted that email and my response to him below.

From: Andy Lubets
Sent: ‎January‎ ‎6, ‎2013 ‎7‎:‎38‎ ‎PM
To: ryanslawn@*******
Subject: 128 **** Rd

Hey Ryan

I got the invoice - and will get that out to you this week

We need to discuss how many times you are going to come to plow during a storm - I can't afford to pay out $80 every time it snows 6 inches - I would rather you approach this in the following way.

Please come at the end of the storm to plow - this is how we were working it last year - if its snowing all night and its during the work week I would probably need a push around 6-7am so I can get my car out to go to work - but besides that I would prefer you plow once after the snow has stopped.

If this is an issue please let me know -

Thanks,
Andy



Andy,

Iím sorry for your confusion. When I met with you I did my best to explain my method and schedule as well as give you my contract in which it explains in detail how I and most snow guys operate. The only thing that changed in that contract was the price, in which I reluctantly agreed to match your previous years said price, which is less than half of what I would normally charge for a driveway of that length.

I like to do my best to comply with certain requests from my clients. However, one of the reasons for my contract is to blanket a lot of these requests in order to attempt to make everyone happy. My contract also creates an organized schedule for myself and my driver when snow accumulates.

There are a few reasons as to why I think this may not be the best fit for both of us. First, I don't think itís fair to my current clients to discount my specific rates and alter my schedule. They abide by the terms of my contract, and pay accordingly. I don't think itís fair to them that I give a discounted rate, and different method of schedule to someone, and make them pay the rates described in my contract. I have one customer that has been with me for over three years with a similar driveway in which I charged him $170 for the storm a week or so ago. If he somehow talked to you and heard your situation I would more than likely lose him as a customer. As I continue to service more people, maintain current clients, and grow my business, I don't think itís a good business decision to treat people differently. Itís also not fair to other snow plowing businesses if someone is out there cutting costs and creating an unrealistic perception on pricing.

Also, my prices are fair. If you get estimates from legitimate snow plowing businesses (fully insured, pay taxes), I can assure you their rates are very similar, if not more expensive. There are usually 3 different ways snow guys do a contract. 1. The contract I have provided with 3Ē pushes. 2. Contract for the year in which you pay a certain amount (roughly $1500 for residential) where all your snow removal and de-icing is taken care of. 3. Wait until cession of snowfall and charge by total inches (rare). The reason many guys hate the third option is because it is a huge pain for storms five inches plus. City crews plow in the driveway, and pushing snow that's more than 3Ē is a huge strain on your plow and truck.

Costs: A lot of people only see you show up for 10 minutes, leave and make $40-$85 and think itís that simple. Unfortunately perception is not reality in this business. I have insurance, taxes, another driver, gas, materials, maintenance etc. These plows are 5k minimum and constantly requiring maintenance. Not to mention the wear and tear they do on expensive trucks is just another issue we deal with. All these costs are considered when we come up with our pricing to offset these costs and make a profit. Most importantly, this is my business, my livelihood and the way I provide for my wife and daughter.


Finally, I don't know who did your driveway last year but it might be best for you to contact him if you can, that is an insanely good deal and you should take advantage of it. I understand what you are asking for and unfortunately just canít comply with your requests. If you would like I can take care of you until you contact him should it snow. I apologize for the way this transpired but I need to make consistent and sound business decisions moving forward.

Thanks for your understanding,

Ryanís Lawn
The grass is always greener on our side
Acton, MA
978-808-****

Sent from Windows Mail

CHEESE2009
01-07-2013, 12:14 PM
I enjoyed reading that, what's his response?

bruces
01-07-2013, 12:36 PM
I liked reading that as well ,but personally wouldnt of gone into that much detail ,a simple thanks but no thanks is all he would of got from me .I would also like to add,that I wouldnt of ever even started with this guy ,I give my price ,if they dont like it,I generally walk ,and theres no way I would cut my price in half .I dont have any issues filling a spot with another customer willing to pay for my services .

RyansLawn
01-07-2013, 01:17 PM
I liked reading that as well ,but personally wouldnt of gone into that much detail ,a simple thanks but no thanks is all he would of got from me .I would also like to add,that I wouldnt of ever even started with this guy ,I give my price ,if they dont like it,I generally walk ,and theres no way I would cut my price in half .I dont have any issues filling a spot with another customer willing to pay for my services .

Agree it was a bit detailed but the guy was just too much. Questioned my prices and how I do things on a couple of occasions. Also, Acton is a small town (20k) and just wanted to avoid any ill feelings in case he comes across others in town that I might work for.

Also agree I should have NEVER started with this guy. The only reason I agreed was he's about 4 blocks away from me. The tipping point for me was questioning pushes that are CLEARLY stated in my contract.

Chaz
01-07-2013, 01:21 PM
Well written!

RyansLawn
01-07-2013, 01:21 PM
I enjoyed reading that, what's his response?

will post his response when he gets back to me. It feels so good telling PITA (pain in the a **) customers no. When I first started my business I couldn't wait for the day I could be indifferent and tell someone no. This is my first no btw :D

bruces
01-07-2013, 01:36 PM
NO is the most under-used word in many new business's ,congrats on your first,and hopefully you will have many more in the future .

Steve
01-07-2013, 01:55 PM
This is an interesting situation. How big of a driveway does this customer have?

RyansLawn
01-07-2013, 02:55 PM
a huge u shaped drive a little more than 300ft. Estimates on that have to be $75 min/push. Claims guy he had last year did it for $40.

stevef1201
01-07-2013, 04:05 PM
NO is the most under-used word in many new business's ,congrats on your first,and hopefully you will have many more in the future .

I have to agree that NO is an important word. I have always used it. The first year Iused more than yes. People seem to think that when you are starting out they can get anything for nothing. I have a small clientle, but they pay for what they get

SECTLANDSCAPING
01-07-2013, 04:14 PM
I liked the letter it was to many details but it really explained the situation to the customer.

LawnBoy0311
01-07-2013, 06:01 PM
I thought it was good! I know Acton is a small town too. It seems like he was pushing you for a while, hence the long explanation.

Congrats on saying "NO!"

It reminds me of that Jim Carey movie, when he can only say "Yes". I think Yes Man?

brian'slawncare
01-07-2013, 10:12 PM
well written I must say! Way to stand your ground and give him a no. Although, I'm not sure I would have given this long of a response to a rather superficial problem. If this persisted, then I would feel it would have been justified. But, since it was already put out there, GOOD JOB on the wording. Those can get tricky...

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
01-08-2013, 07:25 AM
I thought your response was professional on your part....Even though it is hard to give up a customer, there comes a time that you have to stand your ground and just say NO !!! I am really interested in his reply;)

Cashin H&P
01-08-2013, 08:21 AM
Good job. Id like to see his reply as well

RyansLawn
01-08-2013, 09:25 AM
It seems the jury is out on this one... Both forum members and the (former) customer feel it was a bit detailed. ha. Still find it hard to believe his former and now current plow guy does a 300+ ft driveway for $40. :confused:



Ryan,


Thanks so much for the email, and for the detailed explanation. I appreciate you are running a business and I apologize for my misunderstanding of your statement of work. At this time I am going to continue with my current plow guy I used last year - I have sent you a check for the work you did last week. If you have any other questions please let me know.

Best,
Andy

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
01-08-2013, 09:31 AM
:rolleyes::rolleyes: Whatever :rolleyes: LMAO...

I'm sure your glad too be rid of him....:D

Steve
01-08-2013, 01:07 PM
We need to discuss how many times you are going to come to plow during a storm - I can't afford to pay out $80 every time it snows 6 inches - I would rather you approach this in the following way.

Ryan, were there storms that this client was billed $160 or more per storm? I am wondering what had initially set him off.

shibby53022
01-08-2013, 05:15 PM
I have been in business for well over a decade and good for you, I think you handled that awesome. After so many years I have came to a conclusion for this business and business in general(since I own other ones in different fields) and that is everyone is full of it and will try to get something for free. I especially like it when all my clients are under contract and the residential will quick go out to hand shovel to save money and wonder why they have a bill for that date. :)

shibby53022
01-09-2013, 11:53 AM
As I am new to this forum I am not new to this field with decades under my belt. I like when Steve the adminstator says on a couple of his videos(at least I think it is Steve) that you have these lowballers come into Commerical Properties and telling them they will do the work for half the price. Are they making money, most likely not and they will go out of business.

One story that sticks out in my mind is that about five years ago, I had these guys from Mexico come to the Midwest is where I am from. They opened a shop by me and popped up everywhere within a year they appeared bigger then I was. I seen there dump trucks everywhere and pick up trucks. They went from one truck to about a dozen in a year. By chance one day a customer of mine called me and said the neighbor was trying to get a hold of me. I called the neighbor and met with him, he told me he wanted his lawn done. He told me these Men from Mexico were charging him $28.00 a cut for an acre and a half, cut trim the whole nine! On top of this they didn't have a contract so they cut when the customer called and was only once every two months. At this point the grass would be to my waste or higher. I was so stumped on how they were making profit. They had nice equipment, it was used and beat up but nevertheless it was Scag riders. They tried to steal my customers also, I didn't lose any to them because as one customer told me, it was so low he knew the quality would be poor or they would go out of business soon and he would have to swallow his pride and call me back.

Well Long story short, I am still here and they have not been seen in three years, and the old customer that was getting his property cut for $28.00 lost his house to a forecloser. So moral of the story you should always be prepared to lose customers to low ballers but these customers are not worth having in the first place trust me!

Chaz
01-09-2013, 12:00 PM
As I am new to this forum I am not new to this field with decades under my belt. I like when Steve the adminstator says on a couple of his videos(at least I think it is Steve) that you have these lowballers come into Commerical Properties and telling them they will do the work for half the price. Are they making money, most likely not and they will go out of business.

One story that sticks out in my mind is that about five years ago, I had these guys from Mexico come to the Midwest is where I am from. They opened a shop by me and popped up everywhere within a year they appeared bigger then I was. I seen there dump trucks everywhere and pick up trucks. They went from one truck to about a dozen in a year. By chance one day a customer of mine called me and said the neighbor was trying to get a hold of me. I called the neighbor and met with him, he told me he wanted his lawn done. He told me these Men from Mexico were charging him $28.00 a cut for an acre and a half, cut trim the whole nine! On top of this they didn't have a contract so they cut when the customer called and was only once every two months. At this point the grass would be to my waste or higher. I was so stumped on how they were making profit. They had nice equipment, it was used and beat up but nevertheless it was Scag riders. They tried to steal my customers also, I didn't lose any to them because as one customer told me, it was so low he knew the quality would be poor or they would go out of business soon and he would have to swallow his pride and call me back.

Well Long story short, I am still here and they have not been seen in three years, and the old customer that was getting his property cut for $28.00 lost his house to a forecloser. So moral of the story you should always be prepared to lose customers to low ballers but these customers are not worth having in the first place trust me!

it was a good story, $28 really doesn't cover much. Also it's great that you have intelligent & loyal customers like that!