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View Full Version : How would you approach someone that OBVIOUSLY needs help?


MiguelTX
07-20-2009, 05:06 AM
I watched one of my neighbors down a few houses from me struggle with his lawn a couple of days ago. He was using a regular push mower but was acting like he was pushing a car or something. Well, I drove by yesterday and took a quick peek at the front lawn and noticed he left it 3/4 undone. He didn't edge, trim, or blow, he just mowed. By the looks of it, he go so tired pushing his mower he just gave up. And his cut looks pretty bad too, parts of the turf are scalped and he didn't' follow any kind of lines.

I want to introduce myself but I'm not sure if I should just make up a flyer for him and/or talk to him (I don't see them outside much). I was thinking of just making a quick flyer that says something like, "Hi neighbor! Would you like to take a break from mowing your lawn? Wouldn't you rather sit in the cool A/C and beat this crazy heat? I'd be more than happy to service your lawn! I can finish your lawn for only $__. You can enjoy your lawn without all the headaches like mower, gas, trimmer string tangles, etc. Your custom quote for bi-weekly service is only $__ (cash, check, or credit cards accepted). I'd love to hear from you! Give me a call @ 123-555-1212 or email me at ___ @ ____ .com. Have a GREAT day!"

What do you think? Too wordy??

93Chevy
07-20-2009, 08:21 AM
That sounds okay to me, I guess, but...

That happens a lot around here. Homeowners that never line trim or blow. My dad does not know how to cut grass. He farmer mows our entire yard with his little rider, scalps the lawn, and leaves clumps. He always torches grass with his little line trimmer, and forget about blowing off.

I guess my point is...

A lot of people have a negative attitude about LCO's because they see a lot of hacks and employees that don't care. And money, too. My dad will make little comments like "how do landscapers get away with making so much money?" Thanks dad, I'm still at home for another year until I graduate....

But if you approach it with a good attitude, it may work, but don't expect anything. I've given up mowing out lawn because dad doesn't like how I cut it. :laugh:

MiguelTX
07-20-2009, 08:46 AM
Funny you should say that about people that don't trim or blow! My next door neighbor's son decided he would start mowing the lawn and... you guessed it. I don't think it's been edged for over 3 months now! When I trim around the base of my fence (on the street side of my property), I keep going and trim around 8-10 feet of their property. 2 houses down on the other side, the man doesn't edge! He has those St. Augustine runners all over his sidewalk and running over the curb! ;)

This other neighbor I was talking about is a different situation. I don't ever remember seeing their lawn look that bad. They've only lived there for about 6 months, the previous owners had an LCO keep it really nice. The new couple that lives there now may be getting burned out with continual, never-ending mowing. :laugh: Plus, I watched for about a minute or two and his mower died on him twice, sounded like it was running out of gas.

bohiaa
07-20-2009, 09:05 AM
you may be JUST what he's looking for, But he doesnt know how to ask

hackitdown
07-20-2009, 09:10 AM
I know I will catch crap for this, but this is one case where I may just pull up at the end of the day and offer help to a neighbor for free. I would say that it is clear that the mower he is using isn't up to the task, so I will give it a quick cut, at no charge. Maybe offer to help look at the mower to see what is wrong. I would tell him how much I normally charge, and tell him to give me a call in the future if he wants to pay for service. A little good will goes a long way.

LushGreenLawn
07-20-2009, 10:02 AM
I know I will catch crap for this, but this is one case where I may just pull up at the end of the day and offer help to a neighbor for free. I would say that it is clear that the mower he is using isn't up to the task, so I will give it a quick cut, at no charge. Maybe offer to help look at the mower to see what is wrong. I would tell him how much I normally charge, and tell him to give me a call in the future if he wants to pay for service. A little good will goes a long way.

I'm uaually the one preaching against giving away free services. I don't think that a bad idea. Its marketing really. I have done little things for free for neighbors, hauling away a small debris pile, blowing off their sidewalk when seeing them struggle with their homeowner blower, ect. It is always followed up by handing them a card and asking for future business.

Its when people are asking for charity work that I caution against. The little old lady who wants her lawn cut for free ever week. Guys cave in and do it because they think they are doing a bad thing by saying no. Its nice to help people out, but we are not charities. Don't get me wrong, to each his own, but thats my opinion on the matter.

JDiepstra
07-20-2009, 10:08 AM
I have to ask, are you a lawn care professional or a nice neighbor wanting to help, cause my answer would depend on your "status".

Walk up to the man and shake his hand as you introduce yourself and then point to your house and tell him that's where you live. Talk to him about b.s. like the weather. Then just say "hey you missed a spot in your lawn" in a joking manner and let him take it from there. If he says he's really struggling, offer to take a look at his mower. By chatting him up and offering to help you will earn his trust. Then just tell him hey I do some mowing for some side $ if you want help. This way he will understand it is not free for you to mow. He will probably ask how much, and then it's up to you.

I wouldn't go with the flyer.

JDiepstra
07-20-2009, 10:09 AM
I'm uaually the one preaching against giving away free services. I don't think that a bad idea. Its marketing really. I have done little things for free for neighbors, hauling away a small debris pile, blowing off their sidewalk when seeing them struggle with their homeowner blower, ect. It is always followed up by handing them a card and asking for future business.

Its when people are asking for charity work that I caution against. The little old lady who wants her lawn cut for free ever week. Guys cave in and do it because they think they are doing a bad thing by saying no. Its nice to help people out, but we are not charities. Don't get me wrong, to each his own, but thats my opinion on the matter.

As far as the charity thing goes, I pretty much agree. There comes a point in life where if someone can not do a job themself, they need to pay to have it done. If you can't pay to have your lawn mowed, move into an apartment.

Toy2
07-20-2009, 03:20 PM
I have to ask, are you a lawn care professional or a nice neighbor wanting to help, cause my answer would depend on your "status".

Walk up to the man and shake his hand as you introduce yourself and then point to your house and tell him that's where you live. Talk to him about b.s. like the weather. Then just say "hey you missed a spot in your lawn" in a joking manner and let him take it from there. If he says he's really struggling, offer to take a look at his mower. By chatting him up and offering to help you will earn his trust. Then just tell him hey I do some mowing for some side $ if you want help. This way he will understand it is not free for you to mow. He will probably ask how much, and then it's up to you.

I wouldn't go with the flyer. Everything he said is what you should do, this is Texas.........I did the same to my neighbor when I first started out, he had 4 other people he knew that needed some kind of service done...

Stillwater
07-20-2009, 04:16 PM
just go over their when you see him, introduce yourself tell him your next door and run a lco ask if he is intrested chat for a few and leave

MiguelTX
07-20-2009, 05:42 PM
you may be JUST what he's looking for, But he doesnt know how to ask
Hahaha... I know exactly what you mean! I can be struggling with a box, trying to get it out of the SUV. My neighbor comes over and asks, "do you need a hand? Nah, I got it" is usually my reply! :laugh:

I know I will catch crap for this, but this is one case where I may just pull up at the end of the day and offer help to a neighbor for free. I would say that it is clear that the mower he is using isn't up to the task, so I will give it a quick cut, at no charge. Maybe offer to help look at the mower to see what is wrong. I would tell him how much I normally charge, and tell him to give me a call in the future if he wants to pay for service. A little good will goes a long way.
Every time McDonald's "gives" away free french fries in a promotional campaign, they make a killing! :dizzy: That gives me an idea: offer free edging at random homes. The homeowner will more than likely say, "aren't you going to mow the lawn too?" Sure, I typically charge $xx (say something $5 higher than your regular price) for your lawn but since I'm here right now I can knock it down to $xx (your regular price).

I have to ask, are you a lawn care professional or a nice neighbor wanting to help, cause my answer would depend on your "status".

Walk up to the man and shake his hand as you introduce yourself and then point to your house and tell him that's where you live. Talk to him about b.s. like the weather. Then just say "hey you missed a spot in your lawn" in a joking manner and let him take it from there. If he says he's really struggling, offer to take a look at his mower. By chatting him up and offering to help you will earn his trust. Then just tell him hey I do some mowing for some side $ if you want help. This way he will understand it is not free for you to mow. He will probably ask how much, and then it's up to you.

I wouldn't go with the flyer.
Let me try to explain my situation in one sentence. I was doing part-time lawn care about 3 years ago (33" w/b, trailer, biz cards, etc), got out of it because of my full-time job schedule changed weekly (scheduling was difficult), now I want to get back into it slowly. I really appreciate your advice on how to handle this deal but the only problem is I hardly see them. I work overnights, wake up and have a couple of hours before the kids come home, then they get all the attention. I'm trying to capitalize on the 2 to 2/12 hours I have to earn some much needed $$$. Not to mention I'm somewhat of an introvert and I find it hard to talk with people I don't know when in the back of my mind I know I'm trying to "sell" them something. No matter how hard I try it seems that I come off as a salesman, and a bad one at that. ;)

TheLawnTrooper
07-21-2009, 10:50 PM
just walk up to the guy, introduce yourself, and say "hey, I noticed you've been slaving over your lawn. I live down the street and I own a landscaping company. If you are interested, I'll take care of your lawn for you at 10 bucks of my normal price." then move into bs ing about stuff. if you go up to him and just start bs ing out of the blue, he's going to be thinking, "ok, what does this guy want". And you can charge much less, and not lowball, because he is your neighbor and you A) might need a favor from him in the future and B) don't have a lot of expenses for the job ie. paying an employee to go there with you, and NO windshield time or gas for the truck etc.

soloscaperman
07-21-2009, 11:18 PM
I'm surprised the Low Baller patrol didn't start whinning, guess there still sitting in there bathtub crying.

Stillwater
07-21-2009, 11:57 PM
you need to be capable of selling your service, you may not be any good at it but you for the sake of your life have to be willing to try.

MiguelTX
07-22-2009, 02:22 AM
you need to be capable of selling your service, you may not be any good at it but you for the sake of your life have to be willing to try.
I agree. 3 years ago when I was doing lawns I would hit surrounding houses with my biz card on their door. It actually worked and landed me a couple regulars right across the street from each other! One man was outside watering his garden and it was easy enough to walk up and hand him my card and introduce myself. For some reason though I have a hard time if I make small talk about weather, kids, cars, etc in order to make a sales pitch. I don't know why, maybe it's because I dislike the bait-n-switch scheme or something. I dunno...

One thing that is working against me is my own lawn. We have over a dozen pine trees in our front yard, corner lot. I service my lawn every week and it looks great but with 1 strong breeze there are a TON of pine needles and pine cones all over my driveway and sidewalk! Of course the car runs over the pine cones and busts them up into little pieces. In 24 hours it can go from nice and clean to a complete mess. :cry: So it works against me to say, "hey, I live right over there and I want to service your lawn." He'd probably think how can you service my lawn if you can't even keep your own lawn? :laugh:

Stillwater
07-22-2009, 03:34 AM
I agree. 3 years ago when I was doing lawns I would hit surrounding houses with my biz card on their door. It actually worked and landed me a couple regulars right across the street from each other! One man was outside watering his garden and it was easy enough to walk up and hand him my card and introduce myself. For some reason though I have a hard time if I make small talk about weather, kids, cars, etc in order to make a sales pitch. I don't know why, maybe it's because I dislike the bait-n-switch scheme or something. I dunno...

One thing that is working against me is my own lawn. We have over a dozen pine trees in our front yard, corner lot. I service my lawn every week and it looks great but with 1 strong breeze there are a TON of pine needles and pine cones all over my driveway and sidewalk! Of course the car runs over the pine cones and busts them up into little pieces. In 24 hours it can go from nice and clean to a complete mess. :cry: So it works against me to say, "hey, I live right over there and I want to service your lawn." He'd probably think how can you service my lawn if you can't even keep your own lawn? :laugh:


My landscapeing is my business card I know exactly what you are saying it sucks.....

bigmudder77
07-22-2009, 10:48 AM
ya i would mow it for free for him to help him out but one time thing lol and ya i hate it when people ask for hand outs all the time ya times are tough and people need help but they want every thing for free like a car just read a craigslist add today "i need a car to drive back and forth to work when i get a job, i have 2 kids that there dad walked out on me i have no money for a car and cant pay any thing i need some one to give it to me"

give me a break you cant afford to pay for a car yet you have a computer with internet ya you have 2 kids and i feel bad for you that your what ever he was walked out on you but thats about it not gonna give you a car and i get annoyed with seeing the same adds every day for people wanting hand outs

Yuanding
07-22-2009, 02:22 PM
Don't get into business relationships with neighbours - ever.

When/if things don't work out, it makes life a bit uncomfortable, seeing them every day.

Also, think about the neighbour's motivation for employing you, rather than another lawn company. He wants you rather than someone else chiefly because he thinks you will give him a discount price, he being a neighbour and therefore a special case. Pretty soon you end up with loads of neighbours all wanting a discount price.

MiguelTX
07-22-2009, 04:38 PM
ya i would mow it for free for him to help him out but one time thing lol and ya i hate it when people ask for hand outs all the time ya times are tough and people need help but they want every thing for free like a car just read a craigslist add today "i need a car to drive back and forth to work when i get a job, i have 2 kids that there dad walked out on me i have no money for a car and cant pay any thing i need some one to give it to me"

give me a break you cant afford to pay for a car yet you have a computer with internet ya you have 2 kids and i feel bad for you that your what ever he was walked out on you but thats about it not gonna give you a car and i get annoyed with seeing the same adds every day for people wanting hand outs
Yup, that is SO TRUE!

Don't get into business relationships with neighbours - ever.

When/if things don't work out, it makes life a bit uncomfortable, seeing them every day.

Also, think about the neighbour's motivation for employing you, rather than another lawn company. He wants you rather than someone else chiefly because he thinks you will give him a discount price, he being a neighbour and therefore a special case. Pretty soon you end up with loads of neighbours all wanting a discount price.
I was thinking about that a couple of days ago and you're absolutely right! Of course, not having to hook up your trailer or move your truck 1 inch does make it easier to give something like a 5% to 10% discount. The $$$ you lose on each sale is made up for because you're not running around your area and burning gas (IMHO).

THC
07-22-2009, 06:57 PM
I wouldn't bother him, likely he knows there are people he can hire to cut his lawn but he's too cheap or he likes the exercise.

tinman
07-22-2009, 09:38 PM
Maybe just chat him up without directly selling to him. give him a card and ask that he pass it to any friends that may need your services in the future.

topsites
07-23-2009, 01:23 AM
There's no two ways about it, as soon as you approach the guy he's going to expect charity,
I don't see it working any other way, how would you feel if you were...
Say on the side of the road with a flat tire and for some reason struggling to change it?
I don't know, maybe the jack isn't working right or your spare is flat, make that any bs reason.

And Mr. Smooth-0 auto mechanic comes up talking and next thing you know he wants $200 for the labor...
Wouldn't you be telling that fool where to stick it? :p

sslopok
07-23-2009, 02:51 PM
Take 2 beers over there, one for you and one for him while he is slaving over the lawn. While you are there introduce yourself, because that's what neighbors do. At the end of the beer tell him you do lawnwork and if he ever needs anything let you know.

Ryall Landscaping
07-23-2009, 03:03 PM
I would simply go up to him, introduce yourself, tell him that you run a lawn care business, and maybe just give him your card.. Simply let him know that you're there. And if you want to make an impression as a NEIGHBOR (not a business owner, IMO), you could offer to look at his mower and see if there's anything wrong with it.

Who knows, he may have 5 friends who need their lawns mowed.. But if you're too pushy he probably wouldn't be interested...Or at least I wouldn't, if I were him.

badaspsvt
07-28-2009, 12:49 AM
sounds like this is a great opportunity to give the lead to another local LCO - of course in return for one back from them. That way you don't have to worry about the neighbors expections of a discount and you can still get a new account out of the situation.

STIHL GUY
07-28-2009, 10:25 PM
some people just dont care what their yard looks like but a flier is a good idea. i have picked up an account after long periods of rain when the neighbors 21'' kept stalling

Lawn Pawn
07-30-2009, 09:30 PM
Everybody reacts differently......

Neighbors on either side of an account I have.... wrote one up an agreement for snow $5.... only about 35 feet. Never got a reply.

Neighbor on other side I wrote him up for lawn one year.... and got his snow the next year. Both older retired.... approached them both the same way. Polite.. to the point and honest with what I can do... gave them a good value for the money. Yes.... the account I did get is a fare market rate for both services.

Go figure..... even for $5 the guy wouldn't go for it.

MiguelTX
07-31-2009, 07:50 AM
Okay, it's been well over a week now and the neighbor has not mowed his lawn since my 1st post. The areas he left are about 7 to 8 inches high and the areas he mowed are about 5 to 6 inches high. In other words, their yard is way overgrown.

I haven't approached him yet but now it's turning out to be a lot more work than just a simple mow, trim, edge, and blow. The lot size is 65' x 110' and the house is about 1900 sq ft.

Any suggestions on what to charge? He lives 2 houses down and across the street so I don't even have to start my car to get there. I would like to maybe cut him a deal if they agree to weekly or bi-weekly services. But as some of you mentioned, he may just be a cheapskate...

Lawn Pawn
07-31-2009, 10:40 AM
What to charge can be like how to hit a moving target with a guy like this........

You need to cover your backside, and be fair to him. People will tell you in great detail what they want when describing a job they need done. When you get started on it.... it's like you never had that conversation.

To be fair.... give him a price per hour, with the option to have you stop any time he wants. I have had great success doing this, and I think it develops trust on both sides.

That's my 2cents....

MiguelTX
08-04-2009, 05:59 PM
Looks like they went out there and did their lawn this past weekend. It's mowed but they mulched and there's dead grass all over their yard. They didn't edge or trim either.