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Lost my first customer..... I think....


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Old 05-04-2010, 09:40 PM
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Default Lost my first customer..... I think....

So Ive been debating how to write this up and maybe Im over thinking it cause I wanted to go as long as possible with zero turnover rate but 5 months into it I may have got my first one.

So here is the deal lady calls me about month half ago for an estimate. First multi million dollar house bid had well above average amount of trees to maintain. So I bid alittle high I thought thinking I dont want to lose money on this well I was only little more than then most the other bids. Had the lady sold on myself(solo for now) and the company. Said she would call after she talked with he husband. Week went by(usually I call 2 business days later), but figure I may have been a little to honest saying this house has the most to maintain that I have done before. Finally got the never to call a week later, she say her husband thinks he can do it but if he cnt they would be calling me(litle faith in her husband). I told her my new price for her reduced it a little cause I felt more confortable with the price where I changed it to.

So week 3 rolls around get a call from her tells me to call her husband has a few questions for me. Called him had 1 question n that was about it didnt really know what was going on at that point. Wife calls hr or 2 later ask did you speak with him(do you talk to ur husband?), Set up a time for first service go do the job ask if we can pay per cut till beginning of month(thats fine) only pays the grass price was over grown for sitting atleast 3 weeks... ok w/e this is a money customer so ill let is slide im here every week anyways from here on out.

Second week take care of some bamboo leaves that the clean up from before my quote fell from trees. Still paying the grass price... ask about it, reply "I dont know if my husband whats to pay for the tree part..(again do you talk to your husband this is week 2)"

Anyways so this last week get a call an hour before im due to show up and she says service no longer required(thanks for the notice...... not). Go talk to her basically says that this yard is to big for me to handle by myself for the quality they want. Im like you didnt give me a chance to get your yard to were it supposed to be, you let it sit for 3 weeks before you handed it to me. I told her I should have charged her a clean up(overgrown, weeds, ie) She's like you have to see it from my end we just payed 450$ for a clean up(the one i mentioned before). So there was already another company there while im talking to her and she looks like she doesnt want to talk anymore so I told her have a nice day and walked away.

I keep telling myself its not my fault but in the intrest of avoiding this mistake again. Do you guys charge a clean up for all new customers unless it really really doesnt need it(but if thats the case why are they switching)? Im just really ticked cause I knew I couldnt even ask for a clean up with this customer if their lives depended on it. Didnt give me a chance, or even talk to to me quite frankly to resolve the problem.

Sigh I do great work and yet this happens....

anyways any imput would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 05-04-2010, 09:42 PM
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Oh and the I think part is: is 2 weeks even long enough to consider them a cleint lol plus never met the husband. lol im trying to hard to get around losing them.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:15 PM
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Hi Mountainview:

First off, don't fret too much about this. Customers are flakey sometimes and this type of thing happens ocassionally.

If I can point out anything from your write-up, it's that you weren't confident enough in the first price you gave your customer. Your eagerness to drop your price is admirable. However, in this situation, it may have opened the door for your customer to take advantage of you.

Confidence in your own pricing is paramount. If your customers know you are flexible in your pricing, they will work you down on every price you give and subsequently demand more work from you.

Experience will help you build confidence. Don't let this one customer cause you to lose confidence in your pricing and your abilities.

Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:01 AM
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I have been running into the same problem. My prices are low already and people have been calling, however, when you get there it's a mess and they want you to clean it up for free. I use contracts and monthly billing and have used that to my advantage. I tell them there will be a clean up fee for the yard and tell the what the amount will be. However, I let them split the clean up fee into two payments and include it on there monthly bill. This way there not paying a huge amount up front. Most of them seem to like it.
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Old 05-05-2010, 12:27 AM
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Some people change LCO's like they change underwear. I run into a customer like this about once per year. Im getting good at sniffing them out, but I was taken last week by one. He hired me on the spot and fired me the next day. Trust me, it had NOTHING to do with the job I did. I'm still trying to figure it out?
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Old 05-05-2010, 01:26 AM
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Quote:
If I can point out anything from your write-up, it's that you weren't confident enough in the first price you gave your customer. Your eagerness to drop your price is admirable. However, in this situation, it may have opened the door for your customer to take advantage of you.
This is great insight.

Mountainview, as you look back and reflect on this bid and job, how do you feel all of this played into losing the client?

What do you feel can be learned from this experience?
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
This is great insight.

Mountainview, as you look back and reflect on this bid and job, how do you feel all of this played into losing the client?

What do you feel can be learned from this experience?
We now have quite a few of these multi million dollar homes/properties and private communities.

I agree you should have gone in with one price and stuck to it, I would have hired a helper or two when I showed up, if only for show. I never tell clients this is the biggest we have done, come across as if it's not an issue to do their work, confidence is critical.

I am fortunate in that I have 20 years of experience dealing with the very rich, they are a class of their own, I know how to talk, dress, expectations and the list goes on, i will send a lot more staff and equipment required for a job because I have it, they like to show off what they own, I play the game and do the same.

In your case chalk it up as a learning experience and move on, there are a lot of fish in the sea and more will come along but when they do remember what went wrong this time and move forward.

What I see in our business we are picking up rich area jobs left right and centre, it seems we are in with the in crowd as they like to think of themselves, last night I went by a new client (lawyer friend that we took on) he now wants 120 trees planted (no problem for a tractor with a 12" auger), Flagstone fire pit and pad (never did one but he will never know that) two weeks of tree trimming (excellent and sold him on our using the mulch) a 1/2 mile path in the woods as a walking trail and the list goes on, in short I will have people there and all sorts of gear all summer. After our conversation he insisted I go out on his $500,000 boat, I had zero interest and other jobs to attend to but I went anyhow, praising what he has etc. all BS but it's how they like to be dealt with, we cooked a few lobster when we returned and I headed home, since it's raining this morning, I will attend to the customers I didn't get to last night.

I will insist they wear company golf shirts, no T shirts allowed on certain sites, it might sound Corny but I raise the bar way higher than others in the area at all costs, these contracts pay very big bucks and they pay on time and it's a target market.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainViewGreenskeeper View Post
Oh and the I think part is: is 2 weeks even long enough to consider them a cleint lol plus never met the husband. lol im trying to hard to get around losing them.
I go through this with my brother quite a bit. If they want it done right and you want to get paid for your work then charge for the the cleanup. You can cut a little break sure to get a customer. But if your getting paid for 1 hr on a three hour job, then they say sorry ill do it now, then your screwed. Plus i feel if you know your doing stuff FREE you tend to rush through it. All customers want value for their $$$. But good customers understand why their paying more. If they don't then explain why the extra cost. Some just want you to come clean their yard up like your and $8 an hour yard boy even though your using your equipment. If thats the case they can look for a 12 YO down the road, if hes not to busy playing PS3 LOL.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picframer View Post
In your case chalk it up as a learning experience and move on, there are a lot of fish in the sea and more will come along but when they do remember what went wrong this time and move forward.
Ya I think thats all I can do at this point.

But I dont think it was the price change per say. As I stated I may have been too honest with my comments on the yard being the biggest Ive done before. But I could be wrong and had everything to do with the price. Anyways you live and you learn thanks for the imput guys.
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