Losing a job

I have lost a couple of regular maintenance jobs in the last month and that brings the total to 3 in the 5 years I have been doing this job. One didn't give a reason but the other two said that they were not happy with the work.  I know that logically I have hundreds of very happy customers over the years and can easily replace the lost jobs but just having one person say they are not happy bugs me for a few weeks.

How often do people loose a regular maintenance contract? Do you ever try and argue your case or just move on?

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  • PRO
    I've lost a few over the years but always down to price increases. The ones I've lost have not been happy with a price increase I've put on them. But that In all but one case was an increase to (I hate to say it) move them on to someone else as I was following the price increase thread and they were at the bottom with new ones waiting.
    Try not to let it bother you.
    If you have been mega busy and know in your heart things have slipped a bit (I know I've done it) then it's a wake up call to refocus yourself and no take too much on.
    Keep smiling loads of work out there!
  • PRO

    Feels like we're gaining and loosing (gaining far more however) mowing jobs all of the time. All manner of reasons, normally made up - I take all that I hear with a pinch of salt. Eg...

    'We can't afford it'

    Well you can afford the two holidays per year... 

    'We're not happy with the job'

    As per the above, the real reason is that they've had a change of heart 99% of the time. 

    The turnover of the less established jobs are far higher than those that we've got for the second year. It's just how it is. It's vital to part of good terms to avoid negative reviews / word of mouth. With time I've learnt to brush it off far better.  

  • PRO

    Lost one last week on cost. 

    £40 lawn cut, roller mowered on circular shaped lawns, looks great when cut. Client wants it at £20 or thereabouts, £350k house!

    Lost one last year with the comment 'anyone can cut the grass', really annoyed me for weeks, I'm over it now.

    Didn't argue with either - I wanted to but I think once the seed it set on both sides it is a sure thing the working relationship will end at some point, might as well put my energy elsewhere.

    • PRO

      scott I find it really interesting that you should judge the value of your service based on the value of your customer's property. Explain that one for me please

      • PRO
        Ian that wasn't the point.

        The value of the cut was based on the size of the lawn, and the significant amount of edging. Takes me about 1 hr 40 minutes from stop engine to start engine and off again. It's about the going rate where I live.

        The point about the value of the house is that really to look its best the lawn needs care and cutting well, and this client wanted the service but didn't value it at the going rate. Their comment really berated the service I was giving and after we parted company ex client did a cut themselves which looked rather awful.

        Since them I've heard they have employed a £10 per hour gardener.

        Thinking about your comment, value of service based on value of client property, perhaps there is something in that, does a client of a higher value property expect to pay a certain rate?

        Perhaps they do.
        • PRO

          The value/image of a property certainly does impact how you "cost" to provide a service. It needs to reflect the requirements, effort/skill/expertise, utilising the right equipment and the perceived value of that service to that homeowner,

          Too many undervalue their services.....

          • PRO
            There is video link somewhere on LJN about pricIng to the perceived value of the client. I found it thought provoking and useful in my own business.
            • PRO

              If the client has mown recently themselves rather than using someone else I often ask how long it takes them. I then say something along the lines of, 'what about the cost of your mower, servicing, fuel etc'. Ask them if they want someone who is insured so that if there is an issue - stone hitting car etc that's all sorted. Then I ask about the costs of running a business, where they saw my advert etc. Then I hit them with the, 'so how much 'do you have in mind to mow, edge, blow etc'. This usually get them thinking and, lets face it, we can mow quicker than most!

              • PRO
                Yup, turbo mowers and all that!

                Have you had them saying 'well I don't really need the edges trimming so does that make it cheaper?'.
  • PRO

    Did you ask the ex customer for feedback ? Why they were unhappy with the work ?  Did they pay you ?

    Often you will find some customers are hard to please , They have unrealistic expectations . 

    I have gone to survey gardens where the potential customer has informed me about the short comings of previous gardeners they have employed but i am reading between the lines and thinking this potential customer is not selling themselves to me and you soon detect a pattern emerging . 

    Often they may be justified but in your case Simon by the very fact you come on here with this post speaks volumes you obviously care and by the fact you have a high percentage of satisfied customers should confirm your work is consistently good , focus on the positive's don't allow one random negative comment to erode your self confidence .

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