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  • #31
    Scott,

    You have done a lot of experimenting with many of your business elements.

    One of those elements you experimented with was the free fall cleanup.

    As you prepare for next year, what's your view now on what you will do differently with the fall leaf cleanups or any other element to improve the results you get and to position your business more where you want it to be?
    I'm going to begin charging for fall cleanups again. This way I'm not going out of my way, stirring up my clients with more than high expectations.

    I thought I would still have time this year to go around getting new clients for fall, but I was booked with all the free ones. Anyway, it was worth a shot and something to try in order to learn the consequences.

    I already don't do much spring work, everything is usually wet and I don't want to get wiped out before the lawn maintenance season begins, fall isn't sizzling or as messy give or take, so I will continue to provide the service for paying clients.

    Doing free work wasn't as discouraging as I had thought, but it certainly was aggravating. I had some properties that if a client were willing to pay, I wouldn't even touch - but they had to get done this time.

    ****************

    In short, making deals for your customer isn't beneficial to you, even if the plan is to have all the homeowners hire you at once, in hopes to retain them for later seasons once you raise your prices.

    Customers = Terrorists

    We do not negotiate!

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    • #32
      ... Customers = Terrorists

      We do not negotiate!
      Agree! I stopped even giving senior citizen discounts and made it policy to treat those that ask for this discount with suspicion.
      Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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      • #33
        treat those that ask for this discount with suspicion.
        WELL SAID!

        They are always the worst, and usually the clients I let go, hahaha!

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        • #34
          Scott,

          Would it work out better if the fall cleanups were a part of an annual lawn care agreement where the customer paid you every month to maintain their property? Or do you feel it would still end up with the customer calling multiple times for multiple fall cleanups?
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          • #35
            Scott,

            Would it work out better if the fall cleanups were a part of an annual lawn care agreement where the customer paid you every month to maintain their property? Or do you feel it would still end up with the customer calling multiple times for multiple fall cleanups?

            It would be nice, but my advertised price would probably scare a few people out of hiring me.

            Not to mention I would have to return the money to clients who fire me, or the ones I let go prior to the Fall. Tricky Tricky.

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            • #36
              Could there be a basic annual lawn care price and then upsell add ons for things such as fall leaf cleanup etc?

              Maybe you could even promote the cheapest service price and maybe that service wouldn't even include trimming or blowing? Just mowing? Everything else could be an upsell?
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              • #37
                Lesson Learned...

                I had this problem once about 3 years ago and it made me re-evaluate when I do my clean-up for certain customers...If you do a clean-up in early November, odds are, yes, more leaves will either fall or will be clown by wind/storms onto the property...this is a fact of life. Some customers can handle that, other can't as in your situation. Your customer obviously wanted a clean lawn going into winter and you have to respect that.

                The lesson is that maybe in the future, this customer gets a late clean-up in late November versus early November so that all the leaves are off the trees....you do it once, make it look great, and you're done. I don't know how long it took you to do the clean up in the first place, but my opinion is you need to go back and do it FREE of charge and just deal with it. A happy customer is profitable for you regardless of the pain in the a** it is for you to get your equipment back out. It shows your loyalty and that you'll stick by your word which WILL pay dividends in the long run. If you notice this customer start doing the same things during the winter with snow removal than I would respectfully lose her as a client because it is not someone you want to work for in the first place.

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                • #38
                  ... Your customer obviously wanted a clean lawn going into winter and you have to respect that.
                  I have a rule that covers that: "You aren't allowed to complain about free stuff". Of course I don't ask for free stuff and no longer offer it so it's not an issue for me.
                  Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                  • #39
                    I have one rule that covers it also. If you offer something as pricy as a fall cleanup for free then you should go back and make it right. You also might think about putting a disclaimer with your advertising or being pro-active. We run into this during cleanups where we tell the customer it is an ongoing process and give them the option of how many fall visits they want. Pro-active vs. re-active always works to your advantage!!!!
                    I got a call from an Angie's list referral last night for a cleanup. My equipment is winterized as well, but I love money so much guess where I am going today for $ 40.00 per man hour plus equipment costs.
                    When you advertise, watch your wording and don't forget any disclaimers!!!
                    Jim

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                    • #40
                      Perhaps some wine and crackers with your Cheese?

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                      • #41
                        When you advertise, watch your wording and don't forget any disclaimers!!!
                        Jim
                        I had my "*certain conditions apply" within the ad.

                        Regardless, it wasn't a choice of what is right vs what is wrong. In short, I guess I just wasn't interested in going out of my way a second time, once again free of charge. The first time was enough. I didn't have a lot of time prior to storing the equipment, so cleanups started early until late November, there was no way to book them all for late November.

                        As I grow my business more and more, I will always still understand the importance of being reliable, but no longer will I allow my customers to use it against me for work which has not been paid for, or work that I had already completed.

                        Many would go out of their way for their clients, but I think I've run out of fuse. There is no 'real' return for going the extra mile in my case, so it's time to cut back. If I go out of my way for a client, usually the client will become someone I dread.

                        ********-

                        Anyway, topic closed. Thanks for the responses guys!

                        oh, and wine and crackers would be fabulous with my cheese. lol

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                        • #42
                          Scott, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I bet it really has helped others reading it and in similar situations.
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                          • #43
                            Scott, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, I bet it really has helped others reading it and in similar situations.
                            We can only hope!

                            For me, this scenario has been extremely difficult. Especially when you're right in it, and it's always different than what outsiders are limited to reading on a post. The more I can offer, the better.

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