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View Full Version : someone is trying to steal your customers


1MajorTom
11-26-2006, 01:37 PM
You get a call from Mrs. Corky, "hi matt and jodi, just wanted to let you know that someone knocked at my door and asked if they could cut my grass." Mrs Corky is a little eccentric, so that phone call didn't put us on alert.
A few days later, Mr. Simpson calls, "hey guys, i think you should know there's a guy looking to get your work." i asked him to explain, and he said, "well the guy said, "i see you have your grass cut, if you tell me what you are paying, I will do it cheaper for you by a few dollars." Mr. Simpson asked him to leave. I said, "can you tell me who it is?" he described the guy to me, but I didn't recognize the description, and Mr. Simpson saw no truck.
I thanked Mr. Simpson and hung up. A few weeks later, Matt was at an account when Mrs. Applebaum came out to talk to him, and told him a similar story about a guy knocking at her door, etc, etc. etc.

hhhhhhmmmmm, so what do you do? ignore it because you are pretty sure your customers are happy with you, and if you lose a few price shoppers no big deal? send out a letter to all your customers notifiying them that you think someone is stalking your accounts and to not be alarmed if someone knocks at their door..... or just wait and hope to catch the guy in the act? what can you really do???

just thought it would be interesting to see what others say, and i'll tell you what we did later.

topsites
11-26-2006, 01:46 PM
It helps you weed out your customer base while he gets stuck with some real weiners?
Maybe not 100%, but it can't be good for him in the end.

I've never had too much of an issue with this, but I've also never had someone single me out, as in EVERY customer...

But for the few that this has happened to me on.
What goes around comes around.
In more than a few cases I later found out the lowballer did me a favor, but this took time.

So let it be, hard as that might be to do.

Precision
11-26-2006, 01:48 PM
You get a call from Mrs. Corky, "hi matt and jodi, just wanted to let you know that someone knocked at my door and asked if they could cut my grass." Mrs Corky is a little eccentric, so that phone call didn't put us on alert.
A few days later, Mr. Simpson calls, "hey guys, i think you should know there's a guy looking to get your work." i asked him to explain, and he said, "well the guy said, "i see you have your grass cut, if you tell me what you are paying, I will do it cheaper for you by a few dollars." Mr. Simpson asked him to leave. I said, "can you tell me who it is?" he described the guy to me, but I didn't recognize the description, and Mr. Simpson saw no truck.
I thanked Mr. Simpson and hung up. A few weeks later, Matt was at an account when Mrs. Applebaum came out to talk to him, and told him a similar story about a guy knocking at her door, etc, etc. etc.

hhhhhhmmmmm, so what do you do? ignore it because you are pretty sure your customers are happy with you, and if you lose a few price shoppers no big deal? send out a letter to all your customers notifiying them that you think someone is stalking your accounts and to not be alarmed if someone knocks at their door..... or just wait and hope to catch the guy in the act? what can you really do???

just thought it would be interesting to see what others say, and i'll tell you what we did later.


I am gonna go with "so you lose a few price shoppers, no big deal." I might still investigate if it is someone who seems to be specifically targeting my clients. Perhaps a former employee or something. But there really is little that can be done.

paponte
11-26-2006, 01:51 PM
Take the guy for a ride? Put him in the bottom of a container? hehe, honestly if your customers value you that much they will continue your service. On the other hand, if someone leaves you for $5.00 per cut you didn't need them anyway. Loyalty goes a long way in my book. Believe it or not it happens more than you think. Now if I knew someone was targeting my company in particular, I would have to persue it further. :)

DUSTYCEDAR
11-26-2006, 01:52 PM
did he have a mullet???????? and a shovel????????:weightlifter:

grass_cuttin_fool
11-26-2006, 01:54 PM
I would send them a note, tell them you are still in buisness and plan on servicing their accounts next year. Assure them that quality work will continue at a fair price (he he). And that if someone ask about cutting their grass to be sure and compare services or maybe not mention that.....kinda at a loss for words.... just butter it up real good

wayne

paponte
11-26-2006, 01:57 PM
did he have a mullet???????? and a shovel????????:weightlifter:

LMAO!!!!!:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

jameson
11-26-2006, 02:11 PM
You get a call from Mrs. Corky, "hi matt and jodi, just wanted to let you know that someone knocked at my door and asked if they could cut my grass." Mrs Corky is a little eccentric, so that phone call didn't put us on alert.
A few days later, Mr. Simpson calls, "hey guys, i think you should know there's a guy looking to get your work." i asked him to explain, and he said, "well the guy said, "i see you have your grass cut, if you tell me what you are paying, I will do it cheaper for you by a few dollars." Mr. Simpson asked him to leave. I said, "can you tell me who it is?" he described the guy to me, but I didn't recognize the description, and Mr. Simpson saw no truck.
I thanked Mr. Simpson and hung up. A few weeks later, Matt was at an account when Mrs. Applebaum came out to talk to him, and told him a similar story about a guy knocking at her door, etc, etc. etc.

hhhhhhmmmmm, so what do you do? ignore it because you are pretty sure your customers are happy with you, and if you lose a few price shoppers no big deal? send out a letter to all your customers notifiying them that you think someone is stalking your accounts and to not be alarmed if someone knocks at their door..... or just wait and hope to catch the guy in the act? what can you really do???

just thought it would be interesting to see what others say, and i'll tell you what we did later.

Sounds like much ado about nothing - Corky - Simpson and Applebaum - seem to have handled the situation with aplomb. If they are representative of your customer base - 'where's the fire?'.

I would imagine that the perp is simply canvasing whole neighborhoods with little regard for who is maintaining particular lawns.

If you have a few price-shoppers - let buddy cull the herd - auf Wiedersehen and good luck to 'em.

John Gamba
11-26-2006, 02:27 PM
did he have a mullet???????? and a shovel????????:weightlifter:


And driving a hot dog cart:)

Jpocket
11-26-2006, 03:11 PM
You get a call from Mrs. Corky, "hi matt and jodi, just wanted to let you know that someone knocked at my door and asked if they could cut my grass." Mrs Corky is a little eccentric, so that phone call didn't put us on alert.
A few days later, Mr. Simpson calls, "hey guys, i think you should know there's a guy looking to get your work." i asked him to explain, and he said, "well the guy said, "i see you have your grass cut, if you tell me what you are paying, I will do it cheaper for you by a few dollars." Mr. Simpson asked him to leave. I said, "can you tell me who it is?" he described the guy to me, but I didn't recognize the description, and Mr. Simpson saw no truck.
I thanked Mr. Simpson and hung up. A few weeks later, Matt was at an account when Mrs. Applebaum came out to talk to him, and told him a similar story about a guy knocking at her door, etc, etc. etc.

hhhhhhmmmmm, so what do you do? ignore it because you are pretty sure your customers are happy with you, and if you lose a few price shoppers no big deal? send out a letter to all your customers notifiying them that you think someone is stalking your accounts and to not be alarmed if someone knocks at their door..... or just wait and hope to catch the guy in the act? what can you really do???

just thought it would be interesting to see what others say, and i'll tell you what we did later.


I'd wait...and try to find who it is and where they live, then I would make it hurt alittle.

Fantasy Lawns
11-26-2006, 03:28 PM
Personally I hate front door solicitation ....n tell em to pack sand ..... they are like telemarketers

As far as my customers go ..... not to worry .... they luv my guys

mojob
11-26-2006, 04:14 PM
If it were me, I'd sit back and hope for the best. As for the other guy, as much as we hate him, he has every right to do what he's doing. We can only hope that some scumbag comes along behind him and gives him a taste of his own medicine. Let's hope that only the real PITAs jump ship.

cantoo
11-26-2006, 04:46 PM
If I could find out who it is I would spend some time making sure they have their business in order. Taxes, insurance, proper licences etc. Maybe follow them home to make sure they are operating within the law. Maybe put an ad in the local shop and save news. Any size lawn $10 with their phone number on the ad.

John Gamba
11-26-2006, 05:07 PM
If I could find out who it is I would spend some time making sure they have their business in order. Taxes, insurance, proper licences etc. Maybe follow them home to make sure they are operating within the law. Maybe put an ad in the local shop and save news. Any size lawn $10 with their phone number on the ad.


Bingo :weightlifter:

Big Bad Bob
11-26-2006, 05:24 PM
did he have a mullet???????? and a shovel????????:weightlifter:


Love it! Love it! Looooo-oooo-oooove..... it! :clapping:

craigs lawncare
11-26-2006, 05:59 PM
You get a call from Mrs. Corky, "hi matt and jodi, just wanted to let you know that someone knocked at my door and asked if they could cut my grass." Mrs Corky is a little eccentric, so that phone call didn't put us on alert.
A few days later, Mr. Simpson calls, "hey guys, i think you should know there's a guy looking to get your work." i asked him to explain, and he said, "well the guy said, "i see you have your grass cut, if you tell me what you are paying, I will do it cheaper for you by a few dollars." Mr. Simpson asked him to leave. I said, "can you tell me who it is?" he described the guy to me, but I didn't recognize the description, and Mr. Simpson saw no truck.
I thanked Mr. Simpson and hung up. A few weeks later, Matt was at an account when Mrs. Applebaum came out to talk to him, and told him a similar story about a guy knocking at her door, etc, etc. etc.

hhhhhhmmmmm, so what do you do? ignore it because you are pretty sure your customers are happy with you, and if you lose a few price shoppers no big deal? send out a letter to all your customers notifiying them that you think someone is stalking your accounts and to not be alarmed if someone knocks at their door..... or just wait and hope to catch the guy in the act? what can you really do???

just thought it would be interesting to see what others say, and i'll tell you what we did later.


Well, right now, it is a consumers market out there. Customers have the edge because low-ballers are coming out of the woodwork.
I lost a fairly good client a week ago. She said the neighbor across the street lost his job and is starting a sort of handy man business. He told her he would cut her lawn for $50. I was charging $80. How can you compete with that?? With out getting into details, the lawn was very tough to mow. There was quite a bit of weed wiping and push mowing involved. Usually took between 1hr and 15 to 1hr and 20 minutes by my self. She was my customer for 8 years. During that time, I raised her $5 one time. The funny thing was, I was considering giving her another increase.
I was a bit bummed for about half of the day because I am small. Only 8 lawns. Now seven. :D
But, I also realize this is all part of the game.

If they want to test the waters... let em. Soon you will be picking up another account to replace them.

Craig

Turfdude
11-26-2006, 06:32 PM
And driving a hot dog cart:)
I thought he was selling tomatoes this year?!!??

befnme
11-26-2006, 07:01 PM
whatcha gonna do really !? it aint nothin but a lowballer anyway. i got em doin it here. not every costomer but a few of them. i take it to heart when i lose a customer but if they wanna be priceshoppers then so be it.......

YardPro
11-26-2006, 07:02 PM
we had an ex emploeyy do this to us this past year.

no one switched, and one threatened him with physical violence... Most of my residential customers have been with me for almost 10 years, and are good friends of my family ( my father is pretty well known in our small town)

YardPro
11-26-2006, 07:03 PM
did he have a mullet???????? and a shovel????????:weightlifter:


i doubt it was him, he has his hands full over at another landscape site....
he has not had a very receptive audience there....

sheshovel
11-26-2006, 07:07 PM
Free enterprise, free country, not a whole lot you can do really without resorting to confronting the guy face to face and scaring him off.

Groomer
11-26-2006, 08:29 PM
Ya know, we all started somewhere, right? I never tried to step on toes or lowball on purpose. But looking back, I did pick up accounts here and there, from other LCO's. Not overtly intentional, but it happens. Now all these years later, I'm watching MY back, as the market shrinks and everyone has a truck and trailer! I will hold my own I'm sure, but I expect a turnover here and there as well. Nature of the business, boys!

DUSTYCEDAR
11-27-2006, 10:08 PM
we all love a good mullet

Uranus
11-27-2006, 10:10 PM
So what did you do?

DUSTYCEDAR
11-27-2006, 10:17 PM
SHE SMACKED BOBBY ON THE BUT AND SENT HIM PACKING BACK TO JERSEY

mdvaden
11-27-2006, 10:55 PM
You get a call from Mrs. Corky, "hi matt and jodi, just wanted to let you know that someone knocked at my door and asked if they could cut my grass." Mrs Corky is a little eccentric, so that phone call didn't put us on alert.
A few days later, Mr. Simpson calls, "hey guys, i think you should know there's a guy looking to get your work." i asked him to explain, and he said, "well the guy said, "i see you have your grass cut, if you tell me what you are paying, I will do it cheaper for you by a few dollars." Mr. Simpson asked him to leave. I said, "can you tell me who it is?" he described the guy to me, but I didn't recognize the description, and Mr. Simpson saw no truck.
I thanked Mr. Simpson and hung up. A few weeks later, Matt was at an account when Mrs. Applebaum came out to talk to him, and told him a similar story about a guy knocking at her door, etc, etc. etc.

hhhhhhmmmmm, so what do you do? ignore it because you are pretty sure your customers are happy with you, and if you lose a few price shoppers no big deal? send out a letter to all your customers notifiying them that you think someone is stalking your accounts and to not be alarmed if someone knocks at their door..... or just wait and hope to catch the guy in the act? what can you really do???

just thought it would be interesting to see what others say, and i'll tell you what we did later.


Careful, your putting ideas in the head of some of these people here. :rolleyes:

This brings up a whole different aspect of this nature.

In the City of Medford, the staff got irritated where I went to fill applications to qualify to work for the city.

The application had a sheet with room to fill out 30 or more projects I had worked on, as well as what the contract total was.

I only listed one. Really bugged the office lady.

Amazingly, some manager approved me. (But I didn't want to work for them anyway - never persued it).

But I realized that anybody with loose lips in that office can share business information with a competitor whom they know. Like one who also contracts with the city, or whom they know personally.

My business details never leave the office. That's why I never itemize on bids either. Just the work desciption, but no breakdown of costs.

Elite Lawn Care
11-28-2006, 04:42 PM
"My business details never leave the office. That's why I never itemize on bids either. Just the work desciption, but no breakdown of costs."


exactly, nothing like a former client giving your itemized bill to a low-baller. I knew a women who would get bid info from her office and pass it on to her husband. Information I give is limited to local people. I ran into a group of guys this year out hunting in my area, they owned an LCO and wanted to know how the buisness was in my area, friendly chat for a bit and no info given... I find out they are looking at moving into a comunity I service.

To answer the post, don't worry about it, I had a guy hit all my customers (I know he followed me) and was doing the cut an acre for 20 bux. I lost no clients and if I did it would have been thier loss.

1MajorTom
11-30-2006, 10:31 PM
So what did you do?
We ended up not doing anything, and as far as we know, we haven't lost customers over it.. UNLESS someone calls the beginning of the season to cancel and switch to the other guy. We really didn't think there was anything we could do, just decided to wait and see.
thanks for all the responses.

1MajorTom
11-30-2006, 10:33 PM
we had an ex emploeyy do this to us this past year.


was he already an ex employee, or did you make him an ex once you caught on to what he was doing?

John Gamba
12-01-2006, 06:39 AM
We ended up not doing anything, and as far as we know, we haven't lost customers over it.. UNLESS someone calls the beginning of the season to cancel and switch to the other guy. We really didn't think there was anything we could do, just decided to wait and see.
thanks for all the responses.


You should do it to him till hes gone