Lawn Care Customers come in all shapes, personalities and ages on the residential side of the market, as well as commercially, where the local factory, retail mall, apartment complex or the school board are in need of someone to provide them with lawn care services.
They may come to you from your golfing buddy or someone that you meet at a birthday party you just never know where these customers are going to come from but who really is your ideal Lawn Care Customer?
Do you always attract the bad ones or are you lucky enough to be blessed with all the good ones? Maybe it’s a little of both.
By figuring out who your ideal Lawn Care Customers are you may be more likely to hold on to and attract more of these types of customers. Conversely, identifying what comprises a poor/bad lawn care customer would also be beneficial to aid in eliminating or reducing the number of these types of clients.
Your lawn care business won’t make you any money without customers. When a business is just starting out it wants all the clients it can get to sales (income) flowing in to start covering expenses. As the business grows through advertising and word of mouth referrals the number of different clients (client base) expands as well.
Eventually, by offering good dependable service at a profitable price you will have enough lawn care customers to begin to think about not taking on many new customers and concentrate more on offering expanded services to your already established client base thus reducing your advertising costs and increasing your return on investment (getting more sales out of existing lawn care customers).
It is at this point where you want to keep the good existing customers and weed out the troublesome clients that cost you undue time, money or stress. So what exactly is a good customer anyhow? To each lawn care business owner there may be differing qualifications.
The following are some general qualities that all good Lawn Care Customers should have; prompt payment history, no history of unwarranted complaints, refers your services to others and accepts price increases without complaint when accompanied with a valid explanation.
Let’s begin with what’s most important to any business, prompt payment. For most of us in our daily lives if we buy something like fuel or food payment is on the spot, before we leave the store or gas station. This may not be the case in your lawn care business, unless it’s at the end of a one time job such as, building a retaining wall (where there is a lot of upfront material cost) it is too time consuming and costly to collect payment each time you complete a repetitive service for a customer.
As a result billing on a monthly basis becomes a much better means of collecting your fees from your Lawn Care Customers. When sending out your billing be sure to include all return mailing information on your invoice such as mailing address, postal/zip code, business name that the check is to be written to as well as your contact phone number.
Providing this information will help speed up payments by your clients. Also include on your invoices that all payments are due by the 15th of the month. By doing this you are increasing the amount of cash flow back into the lawn care business earlier in the month which will allow you to pay your debts and expenses sooner as well. A good customer always pays each invoice in full by the end of each month (the best ones pay before the 15th).
A good lawn care customer is one that you never here from, except to say, you are doing a wonderful job, keep up the good work or to get a quote on additional services. Don’t get me wrong if you make a mistake on their property or are not on your normal pre-arranged schedule for the customer due to unexpected circumstances, contact from them is to be expected and properly dealt with.
By giving all your Lawn Care Customers great dependable service your good clients will be referring you to all their friends. This is one of the greatest rewards for doing the best you can each and every day out there when providing your Lawn Care services.
Customer referrals is one of the best ways to get pre-sold similar minded customers, there is little time spent selling and no additional advertising costs associated in attaining these new customers. Hurray for those good customers.
Lastly, what separates the really good clients from the average ones is their acceptance of necessary price increases resulting from increased gas or insurance costs. These customers realize that you are operating a business and that your relationship with them is more than just a friendly arrangement between two people. You have to keep you profit margin the same and if outside costs go up then so must the fees for your lawn care services.
If each of your clients meets these minimum criteria then you are truly blessed. For the rest of us there are always a few “bad apples” in our bunch of customers, so do we need to keep them? Well that all depends on how many customers you already have, how terrible are the “bad apples”, how much income do these clients provide and how much extra time has to be devoted to satisfying them?
Again it all starts with late payments ; the bad apples are always at least into 30 days overdue to before payment is made. You always have to phone them to ask if they have sent payment. These are the first ones to go.
Depending on whether or not this is the first time a customer has done this to you or not should dictate what the next step is. There are sometimes valid reasons, such as a customer dying and their finances become subject to an estate. It may take a few months to receive full payment once contact with the lawyer handling the estate has been notified.
As for the rest of the late paying clients, if they are late more than twice suspend your services until full payment has been collected. If this customer goes longer than 30 days overdue without any contact suspend your services until an explanation has been given.
If you have only a few of these types of customers and their sales are a small portion of your total sales then you may not notice them right away. If they are a substantial part of your total monthly sales then you must recognize and solve this problem quickly.
Always keep your accounting practices up to date in order to be able to catch any of these late payments as soon as possible. Late paying customers decrease your cash flow and cost you undue time and stress and should be eliminated from your customer base.
Our next type of “bad apple” is the client is the chronic complainer who can never be satisfied.They pay the bills on time but always find fault in your work (even though you are doing proper job) and are unwilling to fire you. This type of is the kind of customer that I give three strikes then they’re out.
They are not worth the extra stress and time involved in trying to make them happy. If they bad mouth you because you quit on them don’t be concerned, they are the type that complain about everything in their lives. Anyone who listens to them rant will figure out what kind of people they are and disregard them.
Another “bad apple” customer is the person who calls you at 12pm on Monday wondering why you haven’t been at their property already to mow their lawn because you where there last week at 11am last Monday. This customer gets three strikes and you out. Unless you have promised them an exact schedule for their services (which I try to stay away from) they should not be calling you.
Ask yourself and them whether or not they trust you to provide the services promised. If they answer yes, they trust you ask them why they called you then. If they answer no they don’t trust you then end the relationship right there.
Once your lawn care business grows large enough you will not be able to afford the time cost effort to be able to keep these types of “bad apples” in your client base. Pruning “bad apples” will allow more time to produce good Lawn Care Customers and increase your bottom line.
“Keep It Simple to Succeed” lets get out there and make our lawns healthy and green!