View Full Version : Valuable customer
06-14-2009, 02:05 PM
I've had this customer since I started and now they want me to cut the grass every 2 weeks because they are "seniors" and they are getting low on "money" (that's an excuse I think)
This yard I do, takes me 2 hrs with my tractor and another 15 to 20 minutes to trim all his stuff all over the yard.
He complains all the time my bill is too high and stuff.. and things like that
Not sure what to do............
06-14-2009, 03:23 PM
Cutting every other week makes it necessary to raise the price. I suppose it depends on how much you are making on the property but it's always a bad idea to let the customer dictate when you can and can't cut the lawn. It always turns out that they call you when it's 28 inches high, takes 4 hours instead of 2 and then they'll complain when you leave clippings in the lawn.
The only thing worse is sharing the job with the home owner. They'll do it when it's easy and call you when it's 4 feet high.
My friend that's in the business has an interesting technique. When someone complains about his prices he tells them that he can get someone else to come to give them a price. They've never taken him up on the offer yet.
06-14-2009, 06:14 PM
I Was Put In The Same Situation Last Week,a Customer Of Mine Decided They Wanted Their Yard Mowed Every 2 Weeks Now,well I Did Explain To Them About The Clippings Will Be Left On The Lawn And It's Gonna Look Terrible.
And The Homeowner Said They May Be Able To Get Someone Else To Do It. Well Thats Ok By Me, Because It Takes 1 Hr. To Push Mow It,(as Its On A Hillside ,at The Lake) Then The Front Takes Approximately 30 Minutes To Weedeat The Hill In Front Which Is Even Steeper Than The Back. All Of This For $75.00 A Week.i Thought Of A Good Suggestion For Them But Did'nt Say It "call The Guy With The Ad On Craigslist Will Mow Yards For $15.00"
And I Believe Thats Part Of The Problem People "lowballing " The Lawn Care Biz And Homeowners Look For The Cheaper Company To Do The Job.
But You Know How That Goes You Get What You Pay For!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
06-14-2009, 06:31 PM
I think there was another post recently that talked about this and correct me if I'm wrong but I think the one suggestion that stood out was to charge the customer 1.5 X the weekly lawn price to do it bi weekly.
Yea I just found the post, check out the bi-weekly lawn care customer (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=8798) post here.
Let me know if this helps.
06-14-2009, 06:35 PM
I charge this customer 70$ less 10% for seniors discount = 63$ and they still complain it's too much. I don't want to lose this customer. I was talking to him about my ZTR (possibly getting) and he was like, oh yeah that means you can lower your price (Why do old folks think this way ??? ) that when it's done faster, you can charge less ???
I don't know what to do anymore.
06-14-2009, 06:51 PM
It's a tough situation. I believe the answer is to tell him it's time to decide who will be maintaining his lawn. Tell him the price is set & you are trying to make a living. Any discount just means less money you will be bringing home.
Put on the a-hole hat & talk to him like a friend instead of a lawn business owner. It might get through his brain that your price is your price.
It sucks because I sometimes feel guilty, but I suck it up & tell them how it is. They can either hire me, or I'll wish them good luck for the season.
I really hate customers who nag, I'd rather have them cancel my service then to go through a never ending conversation about money.
I wish you the best of luck my friend!
Honestly, I have no real idea on what I'd do. Lowering your price makes the customer less valuable, so I guess we'll see what happens.
*cheers, Canadian Beer*
06-14-2009, 06:53 PM
*cheers, Canadian Beer*
Cheers, and thanks. I will figure out something.
06-14-2009, 11:50 PM
Ok guys, I was reading some quotes by Abraham Lincoln and found these quotes and immediately thought of this thread.
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. -Abraham Lincoln
Important principles may, and must, be inflexible. -Abraham Lincoln
06-15-2009, 12:36 AM
... I was talking to him about my ZTR (possibly getting) and he was like, oh yeah that means you can lower your price (Why do old folks think this way ??? ) that when it's done faster, you can charge less ??? ...
It's that old (and outdated) adage "time is money". I had one customer at my last job that would call the boss because I didn't spend enough time on his lawn. Not that the job wasn't done perfectly, just that I wasn't there long enough. I don't believe that time is money, I believe that quality is money.
So a mower that costs more to buy, costs more to run, costs more to fix and costs more to insure should not generate less money because it's faster. You've got a cheapskate on your hands. Do you have enough other customers that you can afford to cut him loose? I have one that I can't wait to be able to let go. It'll be my first customer firing but I'm planning the day. ;)
06-15-2009, 05:18 AM
I don't know you that well and I certainly do not know your customer so it is difficult to say....do this....
Your rate is low so offering anything lower is out of the picture.
To be owning or running a business is all about building relationships, yes I have had a few that ended in divorse, if someone tries to take advantage of me, my company or staff, things change, I will not be rude with the person but I will stand and stand firm.
I would meet with the client and say look, you have been with my company since day one and I appreciate that very much, you pay on time which is critical to me as I too have bills to pay. Speaking of bills you seem to have a concern over your rate, I currently spend two and a half hours mowing your lawn and trimming, which works out to be $28.00 an hour, it takes me xxx to travel here and to the next site, I have to pay for gas, maintenance, vechicles and insurance (speaking of insurance, isn't that a license to print money), basically I am working for $14.00 an hour mowing your lawn, you see I offer super rates to excellent clients like yourself at a cost, in fact my dad was kind enough to lend me his truck to run my business, if I increased my rates by 50% I might be able to swing one myself, this is how many other companies afford nice vehicles however to keep excellent customers like yourself I do not go this route. I think adding a little humor along with getting the client thinking and thinking from your shoes is excellent, it works for me every time.
If you do not feel I am worth $14.00 an hour I am not sure what to say, I know when the truck or machines in for repair I am charged $65.00 an hour and there isn't much I can say, I would love to find a way to run things cheaper but I am faced with the facts.
How can we resolve this?
Put the ball back in his court, I go at this because I think we have to educate clients, when you lay it out they will understand, I don't think you are airing laundry, I run ly company like my life, it's an open book, want to know something just ask and I will be happy to show you.
I did a quote yesterday, two old guys that have a house on the ocean, simple drain, being seniors I quoted $350.00, its about 6 hours work, 50% less than the normal rate but it's close to my home, one employee can dig it, his first reply was, any discount for cash, reply was No, I do not believe in running a business in an underground economy, if you think about it, the less tax paid to the government means the less money available for programs, especially seniors pension plan payments which I think it critical to people like yourself (wow that stopped him dead in his tracks) response was well we are on a budget and that is expensive, reply expensive is relative, I know my competition would charge $85.00 in transportation to come here, $115.00 an hour, in short $800.00++, it would however make me feel better and perhaps yourself if you were to call them for a quote, in fact I have their numbers in the truck as we have so much business on the go I sometimes have to refer the client elsewhere granted it costs them a lot more, I do this as when a client has a problem like yours, its critical to get it fixed....he handed me the job.
Have a super week, and explain the downside of bi-weekly mowing.
07-22-2009, 04:28 PM
My "customer" is now returning to once a week now that I can do his lawn in less time and a bit less money.
I'm confused now :confused:
07-27-2009, 04:55 PM
What are you doing now with that customer?
07-27-2009, 05:27 PM
What are you doing now with that customer?
Same as before. I was cutting the grass every week. I am also doing it for a lower price than usual.
I did his lawn on friday, and i got a call on saturday complaining i missed a few spots on his lawn.
I am starting to get tired of him complaining
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