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When to drop a customer?


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  #11  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:04 PM
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Usually the customers weeded themselves out since they always shop price and competition was great. Anyone with a vehicle and push mower is your enemy. Homeowner associations and commercial accounts always go out for bids, and there's always somebody who knows somebody who can do it cheaper. I can usually tell from the attitude and body language right from the start if this will be a long term contract. The ones who jump at the month to month offer rather than annual are a forewarning.

Every one of my contracts had an 'at-will' clause that protected us and the customer. Meaning either one of the parties can cancel the contract for no reason. All our terms were explained in detail up front. Doing things this way actually calmed down the pricing negotiations because the customers had the feeling of an escape clause up front.
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  #12  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:17 PM
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Oh very interesting!

Quite often we will see lawn care business owners on here who look to land condo or home owner associations. Do you feel it is better to steer clear of such jobs?
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:11 PM
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....the best way to land those is work thru the contractor while they are being built. This is how to become the defacto incumbent when the property is turned over to the homeowners. You can also go thru the property management companies but seldom can unseat the current contractor. I lost a townhouse development after the homeowners took over and went out to bid. My crew was replaced by an old man on a 10 year old rider.
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:26 PM
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That is a very good lesson to be learned!


We have talked in the past on the forum that some business owners feel that that 10% of your customers will take up 90% of your time. Do you feel this is the case? Is it worthwhile getting rid of those 10% and finding others that won't be so problematic?
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:25 PM
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I never thought they were problems while I was getting paid by the hour. This is a prime example of how to grow your revenues. Hire someone to do those customers while you grow your business.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:10 PM
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I appreciate you sharing with us your insight in this. I do feel there are things that some businesses do, which propel them to a higher level than the vast majority of other businesses could ever reach.

This sounds like it could be one of them.
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:28 AM
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i do a 36 unit strata condo complex and the reason i get called back is because of the ability to be flexable and do the extra things that the others dont. Like ill do the walk about to check the sprinklers once in a wile and leave a note on the next invoice that the irrigation has been checked. For a fee of cource but the costomer has the reliefe of knowing that the sprinklers are good. Just stuff that they dont think of that you can take care of for them.
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  #18  
Old 05-24-2008, 10:28 AM
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We do a lot of strata and condo complexes and I find they're often my best customers. Since it's usually a representative from the strata board or a resident who is working on behalf of the management company, they don't really care about price etc. The cheques always come in on time and they usually tend to not care a whole lot, since it's not their own personal property. That allows me to be more flexible with scheduling.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:42 AM
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What is a strata?
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  #20  
Old 05-24-2008, 11:17 PM
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Hey,

Thanks for all the feedback about my problem customer. Here is what I figured I would do.
First off he is a good paying customer always on time.
Second he only has me cut his front yard. His back yard is very small.
Also this is an area which I would like to try to get more customers. So I figured since I only have 15 customers I would put him as my last stop. Keep him this year and see how many more I get next year. Then next year I will raise my price and I'll see if he stays around. I know if I had 150 customers my attitude would be different, right now I have to make due with what I have. Yeah his lawn slows me down but I need the revenue and I cannot hope I get something else to replace him for right now.
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