How the “Average Customer” will Kill Your Business

Published on April 3, 2018

The average client has 2.5 kids.

What are you supposed to do with half of a kid?

Here’s what this actually means for service business owners:

The average client will not grow your business.


Because nobody is average. All of your clients are different - which makes it impossible to grow if you are focusing on “everyone.”

Here’s where you should start instead:

Chasing Average is a Terrible Idea for Business Owners

After WWII, the second generation of commercial pilots came of age. They started flying commercial aircraft for hours at a time…

...and most of them complained of discomfort in their cockpits.

When that discomfort was linked to an uptick in airplane accidents, the manufacturers had to take action. They polled working pilots and crafted a new cockpit seat for the “average” pilot.

There was just one problem: none of the pilots fit the new seat.


It was designed for a fictional pilot. One who was almost - but not quite - any of them.

This led to the invention of the “adjustable-for-height” seat. The system adapted real-life, rather than forcing order on it.

Don’t chase around “average,” because it doesn’t exist. Don’t look at your existing clients to determine an average.

Identify your ideal clients and tailor your business to them.

How to Adapt Your System to the Mess of Humanity

Be flexible.

Remember that clients are people - not “accounts” or ATMs.

This does not mean that we should fall all over ourselves to make our business work for every person.

You want to work with a certain kind of customer and you need to build a system that adapts to anyone in that group of people.

Start with your imagination:

Who are your best clients?

They are the ones who:

  • pay on time, every time.
  • don’t complain.
  • understand you work hard and want to pay for your expertise.

You want to build your “system” around these people.

  • Where do they live?
  • What’s their salary?
  • Do they have kids?

Look for the commonalities between these customers to build a system that can adapt to any of them. Just like the adjustable pilot seat.

Lawn Care Example:

Let’s say that retirees make up a huge portion of your ideal client-base. They pay right away, they live in the same neighborhood, etc.


They do not like listening to leaf blowers while they have their morning coffee.
How do you deal with this?

You can:

  • Tell ‘em to deal with it.
  • Push them later into your route (throws off your route efficiency)
  • Have employees sweep clipping with a shop broom (less efficient labor)

These clients are important to you.

Consider working a less efficient route (and increasing density by picking up more people in their area) or have crews do something quieter and less efficient. Whatever adjustment you make here, work it into your costs in the future.

This is how you adapt to the client rather than making the ideal client adapt to you.

The Difference Between “Average” and a “Persona”

An average is a conglomerate of every customer you have. Think of them as a Chimera from Greek Mythology.

Just a mish-mash of animals - not useful for anything (other than being terrifying).

An ideal client persona is built around your best customers and what they have in common.

You might end up with a few personas that work great with your business and that you’re willing to build your business around.

Your Client Persona defines the ranges your new pilot seat will move.

You only want pilots between 5’ 8” and 6’ 3”. Outliers affect averages much more than a single, middle of the pack person so an average is no help to you, but a persona helps you define who you want to serve.

Create Your Own Client Persona… For FREE:
Cleaning Client Persona | Lawn Care Client Persona

Define Your Ideal Client and Grow Your Business in a Way that Serves Them

Forget averages and forcing customers to fit into seats that weren’t designed for them.

Adapt your business around your best clients and find ways to attract customers like them.

Look for the places that your rigid practices cause friction with your best clients.

Find a way to make them adjustable to work for those clients. Don’t worry about outliers, focus on making your business work flawlessly for your best clients.

That’s the best way to grow your service business.

Related:How Do You Get More Referrals for Your Cleaning Business?

Cody Owen

Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.


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