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You Get The Clients You Deserve

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crocster
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#1

Hi All,

 

Walking around behind the mower is the easy bit - if you don't get the quoting and business parameters right you're not going to be a happy camper and you're not going to make what you're worth.

 

I post this because I'm in that situation and I reckon it's a major hurdle for anyone without sales and/or small business experience wanting to establish a viable business.

 

So I've let some clients haggle me down on quotes that I shouldn't have and I've let others dictate cut frequency too much - the area where I live has been part of a wave of migration over the last 15 years from cultures that don't place a high value on a nice lawn and garden and won't pay a fair price for such services (just my observations - admins delete this post if you need to)

 

So it reached crunch point over the last week or so once summer growth hit Brisbane and I'm flogging myself through overgrown lawns for not enough $$$

 

so I changed my advertising to explicitly say "regular clients only - mowed every 2-3 weeks - booked in advance" - I was at the point where I didn't give a f@ck whether the phone rang or not - and I dropped many many old clients who wouldn't come on board.

 

And - surprise - surprise - I've already got 3 new lawns this week under the new terms - good quotes - 2-3 weekly cuts - you just have to set the ground rules - feels good.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Posted 07 December 2017 - 07:15 PM

zippy one
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#2

good idea -great work.


Posted 07 December 2017 - 07:45 PM

Ply313
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#3

"cultures that don't place a high value on a nice lawn and garden and won't pay a fair price for such services"
This has been my experience in my two years of business, nice people they just aren't accustomed to having any sort of grass or garden generally. Will usualy only call when its a jungle or just before inspection time. Usually they get the message when you refuse to catch it and just slash it down, thats how its gonna be if you let it get that bad.
Personaly I don't schedule any of my 50 or so regulars and just leave it to them to msg me.
Why? Because I can see it interfering with large one offs like block slashing etc that I do.
Its a bit winging it but works well for me, always busy.
Posted 07 December 2017 - 10:11 PM

plucka
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#4

Personaly I don't schedule any of my 50 or so regulars and just leave it to them to msg me.
 

Wow, I would find that impossible to deal with, also it encourages people to let it get overgrown.

 

100% agree with you Crocster.  It's just not worth it to be dealing with lawns/customers you don't like.  I've probably dropped 10 customers in the last 2 months, easily picked up 10 new ones to replace them.  Ones that are too far away, under priced, keep changing the agreed schedule, late payers and lawns that are just a pain to mow for various reasons have been dropped.  

 

All new quotes I do now I stipulate very clearly it's a set fortnightly schedule year round apart from 4 weekly in winter.  

 

I think this is the key to being happy in this business long term, once you are at full capacity for every new good customer you take on you can drop one of your pain in ass customers.  After a few years of doing this you should have a full book of good, high worth customers and you are on easy street.  That's my plan anyway.


Posted 08 December 2017 - 06:12 AM

crocster
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#5

Yep, just personal preference Ply - I'm not full time any more and want control over my run - and not have hassles over the value of the quote when they blow it out a week or two - I'm over haggling with professional hagglers.

 

It's working well so far - I wondered about spelling it out in the ad - whether the phone would go completely dead - but it hasn't and the calls I get are ones I want to do.


Posted 08 December 2017 - 06:12 AM

crocster
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#6

Yes I'm less inclined to tolerate dog poo now - I've got several with dogs but all but one are very good about scooping it up before I come - I've sent email to the agent for the other one reminding her to request the tenants clean up - but if it doesn't happen it's for the flick.

 

Talk about a turnaround - I dropped 4 duds last week with another 2 likely but with the new ad wording I've picked up 3 good regulars with another 2 quotes tomorrow morning - I need to print this thread out and read it before I respond to enquiries - I've been my own worst enemy in the past.


Posted 08 December 2017 - 07:28 PM

crocster
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#7

 

 

I think this is the key to being happy in this business long term, once you are at full capacity for every new good customer you take on you can drop one of your pain in ass customers.  After a few years of doing this you should have a full book of good, high worth customers and you are on easy street.  That's my plan anyway.

I think you're spot on Plucka - I last mowed in the early 2000s and exactly what you describe happened - it's a process of refining the run over years - in the end I wasn't advertising and got new ones by word of mouth - when I got too busy I'd raise the price and drop a few off - this is my third season back - bit more challenging this time but I'm heartened by last week.


Posted 08 December 2017 - 07:36 PM

drewebb
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#8

Long term client with tennants a few months ago said Hi drew have negotiated new lease and tennants will do it themselves, till Nov.
Got a text tonight Drew can you quote on house tennants left garden  in crap condition.

Me NO!! but politely  :) ( it is really hot here too. )


Posted 08 December 2017 - 08:04 PM

crocster
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#9

Had something similar this arvo - I keep a seperate contacts folder with the name and number of everyone who I've parted company with - so I know them if they ever contact me again - so I get a text enquiry from Mohammad this arvo - I check the number out - 6 months ago in winter - b!tched about the quote - gave him a discount - first cut was a badly overgrown cut and rake for which I charged him an extra $20 to get the job - cut it once more and he b!tched about something else outside the scope of my quote - then I don't hear from him again - it was sweet to be able to renew the acquaintance and remind him what an @rseh0le he is.


Posted 08 December 2017 - 08:50 PM

Ply313
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#10

Wow, I would find that impossible to deal with, also it encourages people to let it get overgrown.
 

Yeah I hear ya, does happen however as I said I don't want scheduled stuff interfering with big $ one offs that can come anytime.
Posted 08 December 2017 - 08:54 PM

Steve35
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#11

Good on ya Croc, I like happy stories.

 

We don't work for ourselves to be told what to do :)


Posted 08 December 2017 - 09:15 PM

plucka
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#12

Talk about a turnaround - I dropped 4 duds last week with another 2 likely but with the new ad wording I've picked up 3 good regulars with another 2 quotes tomorrow morning - I need to print this thread out and read it before I respond to enquiries - I've been my own worst enemy in the past.

Nice one Crocster, with all the rain we are getting lately this is the perfect time to be picky about our customers.  What ad are you using- local paper, gumtree/internet?   I actually can't take any more work on at the moment, the last couple of weeks have been pretty exhausting as this is my first full time summer.   I've found the hard way that being fully booked is great in theory but as soon as you have a day off due to rain or whatever it becomes a nightmare trying to catch up and I have to start working weekends which I don't want to do.  I need to have some slack in my schedule to allow for this.  

 

Starting to think the best time to advertise will be in Autumn,  I think it was you who mentioned "loading up" in Autumn to get you through winter, then in the spring/summer when too busy pick the cream of your customers.  Sounds like a plan.


Posted 09 December 2017 - 07:15 AM

crocster
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#13

I use Gumtree only now Plucka - I know there have been comments on here about Gumtree attracting bottom feeders so maybe that's been part of my problem - I registered a business name and domain a month ago but haven't got around to setting it up yet - something for the christmas period I think - the other thing that worked well for me last year was the Southern Star community newspaper - get more oldies who don't use the web - but they're all regulars.

 

Yes summer is a juggle - I'm thankful christmas this year gives us a full week to get through everyone - although 2 days of showers could make it messy - someone here (Macka?) posted that he schedules his week around 4 big days to allow for rain and any casuals.


Posted 09 December 2017 - 09:14 AM

Monty
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#14

Great topic....funny how you start sacking clients who aren't in tune with your business and you feel relieved...and they are replaced with those who are in tune.
Posted 09 December 2017 - 04:59 PM

Lucky
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#15

Its just learning to say no I think.

 

I was asked to do a quote last week. It was to get a large garden up to scratch, get lawns under control (lawns were large but not to bad) and then a separate quote to maintain gardens on a monthly bases. I was the only person asked to quote.

 

I had a look and its just not the kind of job I want to do. Sent a nice email saying thankyou for the opportunity but its just to much for me at the moment. Didn't even bother with a $ figure.

 

On another note I had a regular give me a pay rise last month. She was $70 for a few years and told me she would now be paying $80. Got to love that.


Posted 10 December 2017 - 04:47 PM

crocster
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#16

Nice when that happens - my 92 year old has started giving me an extra $5 - won't take change - a pensioner in a housing commission home - I had decided she wouldn't be affected by my shakeup and she goes and does it for me  :)

 

I'm timing my jobs again - raised the price on two today - dropped one yesterday - it was a good quote but the place is a dump and I didn't enjoy doing it - I'm enjoying this.


Posted 12 December 2017 - 09:38 PM

Lucky
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#17

Nice when that happens - my 92 year old has started giving me an extra $5 - won't take change - a pensioner in a housing commission home - I had decided she wouldn't be affected by my shakeup and she goes and does it for me  :)

 

I'm timing my jobs again - raised the price on two today - dropped one yesterday - it was a good quote but the place is a dump and I didn't enjoy doing it - I'm enjoying this.

Don't be scared to hand a few cards to your good regulars (especially the active pensioners) and mention that if they know of anyone who may require your service to please pass on your card. (and always make sure your card has a magnet on the back. It doesn't get lost if its on the fridge)

 

Glad you appear over slump you had yourself in. 


Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:28 AM

drewebb
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#18

Had to get rid of one this week, they forgot i was coming!!, dog poo and toys, bones etc i was putting up with (small yard ) but then came the additional fencing for the 8 or so pups.  ;)


Posted 13 December 2017 - 11:47 AM

crocster
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You Get The Clients You Deserve
#19

 

 

Glad you appear over slump you had yourself in. 

Thanks Lucky, and I like the idea about handing a few flyers out to regulars - you sent a link to the mob you buy precut adhesive magnets from ages ago - do you still have it? - they're pretty expensive from the places I've found.

 

I've started dropping leaflets up and down the street around existing jobs again - got my first hit this morning:-

 

Attached File  20171213_1132401.jpg   200.56KB   7 downloads

 

Attached File  20171213_1132011.jpg   232.99KB   3 downloads

 

the photos don't do it justice - 2 foot high in the front and worse round the back - just not interested - walk away

 

Lesson from the latest round of inquiries - people who ask how much you charge in the first text  inquiry generally fall into the dud category IMHO - I'm now going to respond with a ballpark $60+ and double that if it's overgrown and  see how many progress to a visit to quote - save a bit of time and fuel.


Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:17 PM

spongy buffalo
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#20

If they’ve had a tradie or pet groomer or have a bit of business in them they won’t #### themselves at $65-$70 an hour.
Posted 13 December 2017 - 07:31 PM




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