Gardening in the Winter

At this time of year does anyone else feel our customers employ us as a bit of a favour? Are our services really necessary this time of year? I guess it depends on how much the customer values what we do but I always have this feeling they can take us or leave us. On the flip side I have to admit and I cannot help I sometimes can become a tiny bit arrogant as my services become in high demand in the height of Summer. No sarcastic remarks please!! :)

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  • PRO
    I don’t know as I try my best to stay at home:)
    On your flip side comment I can see why because it’s so easy to take too much on in growing season that you can really think they need you more than you need them, when in reality it’s about even I think
  • PRO

    I so think it depends on the client base, what services you are providing and ones ability to engage with the client.

    The industry can look down on itself and not realise the benefits it can provide and thus we end up on the back foot.

    Maintaining a ‘professional’ stance, explaining the benefits rather than the features is something we need to get better at.

    Dropping difficult clients is something I enjoy when you’re able to pick and chose as the new season starts.

    Finding a niche or clients that value your services 12 months a year is a great starting place......We are often busier during the winter than summer.

    A bit off topic and just my views / experiences :)

  • PRO
    I do certainly feel that with some residential customers, particularly gardens that don't have a lot going on but with a bit of imagination there is usually something to do that would never have time for in summer and I explain when I take on a new customer that we will come once a month from December to February if there isn't much to do then they are paying to retain my valuable time slot which I could sell to someone else. Yes quite a few of the gardens probably wouldn't hurt if we didn't come for a couple of months but I wouldn't stay in business if I had no work for that long. Alternatively I could just charge those customers more in the summer and leave it in winter but I don't think they'd take that option.
    • PRO
      I do option 2 simply because 90% plus of my work is grass cutting and there isn’t much of that in winter normally.
  • PRO
    On the winter work front. Who else like me that does very little over winter is struggling to get used to doing nothing?
    • I don’t know how you manage Richard! But I would love to be in your position- I was rodding drains today in cold wet weather and could not wait for the day to finish but I do have a days wage in my pocket, I could however adapt to doing nothing quite easily!
      • PRO

        Richard - not there yet as I'm surrounded by my price increase letters. Have blog and facebook posts scheduled for over Christmas, email shots for late Dec and Jan. VAT registration to get done - letters all to be addressed. Letters for prospects / old customers / back lists etc. 

        Finger op on Tuesday. Plan on getting the above chalked off then I'm going to disappear and attempt to have a two week long holiday! Might even watch a film.   

        • Jack, you’ve gone on to another topic, you say you’re going to register to collect vat? If you are presently unregistered how do you propose to break this to your existing customers?
          • PRO
            Hi Alin,

            It's all down in black and white for them. I trust we will retain 95%+ and the 5% we lose aren't the right customers for us. I doubt it'll be as high as that.

            Any grumbles and they have the option to prepay in Jan (VAT 1st Feb) or go to direct debit for a 2.5% discount. Can't do any more for them and l trust my business is strong enough.

            They'll get their letters the first few days of Jan and I'll give each a follow up call the back end of the month if I've not heard from them. Come Feb I'll be able to let you know the average % price increase and how many we lost on 2017's customer base.
        • PRO
          Your young and keen the opposite of me.........
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