Originally Posted by Steve
What kinds of experiences have you run into that were like this and how did you handle them? Was there a breaking point you reached where you decided you needed to take a stand against customers like these?
Steve, I've run into so many situations of loss that I've lost count. These clients don't sound at all like cheapskates or losers looking to get over on anything. 4k a year on a single account (unseen/unknown) is something to hang onto, at least for now?
My point is to advise the client that circumstances between original bid and services provided have been altered to the service provider's detriment. Folks paying what they are sound like reasonable people who would understand basic economics. My job is more now intricate and time consuming / my job now costs more. Added expense is likely low / reasonable. Let it ride, say nothing and what's next?
You have to speak up. You must explain the circumstances of how you make your living and how their personal choices might affect it. Next week you might find a homeowner-grade paver walkway that needs to be cut with a trimmer instead of your mower. There's another 10 minutes lost that could be cash somewhere else. And you already lost a 30 minute cut from the list?
It might sound petty but there are only so many working hours available on any given week. Most of my clients get alot for free. That's on me, my choice. I grow much from bulb, corm, and seed. I grow and share perennials. Again, on me. But in this instance, where a provider spends significant time over their bidded price due to unforseen modification?
Speak up. It can be done politely and with tact. No need to ask for reimbursment or an immediate rate hike. Simply mentioning to the client that you might need to thin your losses is effective...They're curious to know what your losses might be... They have friends who tell them how great our industry is.... They're clueless to the reality of waking up to grass stained wet boots and grinding blades while they suck down a latte and adjust their tie. I don't work for anyone that's ever done what I do. Doubt I ever will.
Reasonable people respond well to such tactics. You're not selling new, very gently informing them that they'll soon swim again in the shark infested waters they swam before finding YOU if they choose to let you go. Intelligent people want to stick with a proven winner. That makes doing business easy. If your client is satisfied, you're in. Good business isn't only about a satisfied customer, if you're losing they're going to lose too. They're going to lose YOU.
If you let folks walk on you, they'll likely run and stomp at the same time. You HAVE to have boundries "or you'll get what we have right here... a failure to communicate". Communication is (almost) everything. If they like you and what you bring, they'll pay for it as long as it's not out of line...