It can be really difficult to keep your lawn care customers signed up with you for service all year long, especially when the season slows down. If you lose contact with them during the slow months, it can be tough to get in touch with them to sign up and start again in the Spring. One business owner shared with us his frustrations when he wrote us on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He said “I am trying to get my customers to sign up for annual service and pay a discounted flat rate all year long but it seems next to impossible to convey this concept to them. Should I be using some kind of letter to explain that lawn service is a year round service? I live in a southern state and it never really gets very cold. Winter months are in the 50’s and then it warms up. I have heard from others in the field I should be setting up my billing so I am getting paid all year round from my customers. They would be paying me a little less each month for 12 months but it would still work out to be the same total if they paid me for only 9 months.
When I ask my customers if they want a yearly service, they say YES. I tell them this will be for 12 months and they say yes. But then some cancel on me when winter comes. I try to stress to them, I have to make a living to just like you. Don’t you get a paycheck in the winter months? Do you pay bills? They say YES I DO, i say I DO TO. After they drop me I call and ask didnt you agree to have a yearly service, they say YES. I ask them what’s wrong. They say the grass isn’t growing in the winter months and that’s why they stopped paying. They don’t seem to understand they got a discounted price earlier in the year when they agreed to pay me over 12 months instead of 9!
I am thinking about getting them to sign the contracts now. They will have a copy and I will have a copy. Then each and every time I come out to do the service they get a invoice. I sign it and they sign it. If the bill is not paid after 10 days then late charges will apply!
I have some accounts that have not paid in 3 months, and some that haven’t paid in 27 days. It’s maddening! I am thinking about sending them a certified letter from a lawyer.”
Another lawn care business owner shared “it’s amazing how so much of this comes down to a simple lack of communication. One of the ways to overcome this ‘cold weather reluctance’ on the part of your customers is to stay in touch with them during these colder months.
Even though you’re not providing service as often as the summertime, by communicating with them frequently through either an e-mail newsletter, a hard copy newsletter (the BEST way), or just by calling once a month, you have the opportunity to educate them on your services.
Plus, this gives you an opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate their business. Studies have shown that 62% of customers cancel or don’t patronize a business again simply because they feel under-appreciated.
Make them feel appreciated and a lot of your ‘cancelation’ or late-pay problems will go away.”