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customers dont want to sign contracts and only want me on call


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  #1  
Old 05-05-2012, 12:59 PM
veteranslawncaresystems veteranslawncaresystems is offline
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Default customers dont want to sign contracts and only want me on call

I started this business when I got out of the military back in 2010. Reason I started this business Is because no one would hire me because I am a disable vet, or If I did get hired my doctor would call and let them know about my health and I would be terminated from my job. My doctor got fired from his actions. I made this company so when people in my area get out of the military, they can come to me and I can give them some work, till they can find a better job.

When I go on bids I always meet face to face. I get to know the customer, and what they expect from my services. When I go to a bid I expect the job will be a weekly or bI weekly cut. They never want to sign contracts. I have never had a customer sign a contract. When I mention a contract they get a scared look on their face, and they say they donít feel comfortable with contracts. A lot of people I cut for are elderly people. They love my prices. I donít do this job for the money. I do the job because I love to Interact with people and take pride in my work. I donít really need the money. I work a full time job at night, which leaves my days open. I do the job to get out of the house.

My lawn care jobs went from being weekly to bI weekly cuts to we will call you when we need our grass cut. I ask if they are happy with the services and they say they are. They even recommended me to their friends and families.

Calls have stopped coming In. No new customers. I have people call me everyday asking If I have any work and I have to tell them no. We have passed out fliers, business cards, posted ads on craigslist and in news papers, have went door to door.

I am wondering if anyone has had customer go from weekly cuts to we will call you when we need you.

Any recommendations on what I can do.
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2012, 04:46 PM
Liberty Landscaping LLC Liberty Landscaping LLC is offline
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I would say they either can't afford it or they think the grass isn't tall enough. I have one that's an I will call when it needs it and she is my parents neighbor. I see her grass at least twice a week and it grows. She even goes out with hand shears to "cut the really high areas" I said you want me to cut it today? She says I don't get paid till x day and after that do it. She also said cut it lower it grows fast. It's the economy most think its not worth the cost when they can do it themselves.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:18 PM
CHEESE2009 CHEESE2009 is offline
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Make everyone sign a contract, and only provide weekly service, no exceptions. Make money.

If not, you aren't doing yourself a favor and only making things more difficult.

It doesn't matter how nice a client may seem, they will want anything you can offer them for less. People are cheap, and they will use you.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:29 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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NOBODY would work for someone who said "Don't come to work today, or tomorrow this week".

What if that were the case though? So you aren't "needed" on Tuesday or Wednesday, but on Thursday when you go to work, you now have TWO DAYS worth of extra work to do and not only are you not being paid extra, you were SHORTED two days pay. How long would you put up with that crap? Yeah, that's what I thought, yet somehow that's EXACTLY what we are supposed to do when people say "just cut it next week".


I don't know what to tell you. I don't use contracts. Then again, I haven't been burned yet. Where I live there are PLENTY of people looking for lawn care, so you don't need to kiss anyone's butts - if they want to play games, they can find someone else, because I'm not dong this to be a nice guy... I have bills to pay just like they do. Weekly, or biweekly, those are your options. Don't pay, and I won't be back for another cut.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:17 PM
veteranslawncaresystems veteranslawncaresystems is offline
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in my area there is about 15+ small lawn care companys and work is hard to find
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Old 05-06-2012, 05:11 AM
OziGardenGuy OziGardenGuy is offline
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The OP's service, and reasons, sound very genuine and admirable. There are two parts to the answer:

Contracts:
There are quite a few lawn service outfits around this area too, including a few franchise operations.

However, after an initial service, a good proportion of customers want to become clients. Their commitment is to pre-pay a number of months of work in advance. Usually, we only accept up to six months payment in advance, especially from the elderly. We offer a written agreement for the client to endorse, but in most cases, a service schedule of what will be done and the approximate date (weather, etc, prohibiting service on the scheduled date) suffices. Act with honour and integrity on the first meeting for a quote and site inspection, and act the same way on the first service and they will be comfortable. Then, you must act that way for time the client chooses you.

If the initial quote tells them what you'll be doing this time (mow + other services), and then mentions other services which should be included with additional mows, it shows the customer that you have a 'vision' for their property. If, in consultation with the customer, you prepare a plan of action to remediate/improve/etc their site, then they are ever so pleased. Keep the plans for the future of the site simple - allow the client to choose grand designs if that is their desire.

Keep the plan simple. Keep the quote simple, but with apparent detail. If they would like something more detailed and more complex from you - something that will take time doing costings for plantings, etc - then that plan will be available at a price. There is a limit to cost-free assistance and its marketing value.

Phones stopped ringing:
What changed about your work, your marketing, your approach or the output? If there is a sudden change in client response rates,a variable has changed. Locate that variable and amend it.

Best of luck for prosperity - and good on you for helping other returned servicemen.

Cheers - GardenGuy.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:44 AM
Fireman Gus Fireman Gus is offline
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We have everyone sign a "Service Agreement Form" (I quit using the word contract 25 years ago, people shy away from that word). I explain that it is to their benefit to have a signed form so they know exactly what is to happen, how often and at what price. My insurance agent also likes these forms as now we know we have permission to be on the yard and it takes care of some of the liability issues. I carry a copy in my truck at all times in case a question comes up about what I am doing and therefore I can show that they signed up to have the work done.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:07 AM
stevef1201 stevef1201 is offline
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I DO NOT 'SELL' LAWN MOWING!!!!
I do sell Lawn maintenance- Keeping your lawn looking it's best, whether it needs mowing, trimming, edging, fertilizing, sprinkle set up, etc. When you just sell LAWN MOWING, well any idiot including the 12 year old kid down the street can get a mower from WalMart and cut grass. I sell the look, the convience, and free time weekends.

Advertising people will tell you-SELL THE SIZZLE not the steak, everybody cooks steak.

What makes your business stand out?
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:34 PM
veteranslawncaresystems veteranslawncaresystems is offline
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yes well idiot including the 12 year old kid down the street can get a mower from WalMart and cut grass. but i bet thats how must of us started out. i started out that way and then bought commerical equipment. you start small and work your way up. i rather be out 250 dollars then be out 6 grand. yes i know it takes skill and passion to do lawn maintenace.

you ask what makes me stand out.

respect knowledge and talking to the customers.

i called a few lawn maintenace companies in my area and had them give me a bid to do lawn maintenace and some landscaping. 5 companies came out 5 companies were therefor 5 minutes to talk to me. when i go on a bid i will be there for 30 to 45 minutes to a hour. getting to know the customer, learning what they want and what they expect. i take pride in my work. i always address a customer as sir or ma'am. not one of the companies was i called sir. when a customer calls me i answer the phone with my company name, and this is brian speaking how may i help you sir or ma'am. i bet if you call a company you will get hello or just the companies name said. knowledge i am always reading about lawn maintenace. i will not try a product out on a customers lawn unless i have used it on my own yard. the vehicles i drive look brand new and always clean, my trailers and lawn equipment is always clean.
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