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View Full Version : Thanks for not calling me!


Gene $immons
10-25-2003, 11:52 AM
We arrive at a long time customers house yesterday to do the lawn. Lawn has been aerated, new trees and landscaping have been done.

These people know that we offer all of these services.

Should I ask them about it, or shrug it off?

I have had a "good" relationship with them in the past.

It just kind of ticked me off.

Runner
10-25-2003, 12:03 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just keep going on about your business. This has happened to me before, regarding the landscape installation. Sometimes, people just go on a referal, and don't even think twice about it. When I approached a customers backyard, and there was this brand new berm sitting there, I said "Wow". However, it did look good, was well done, and I was rather busy at the time, and know that I probably couldn't have got that whole thing installed in such a short time, anyway. I just asked who did it, and complimented the customers on it, reassuring them that it was functional, and looked great. If you come across confrontational to the customer, and ask them why they didn't call you, you are just putting them on the spot, and they will just simply say something like. "We didn't know you were able to do that" or "We thought you were too busy", or something like. "It was a friend of a friend that did it."
Never give the appearance that you are hurting or begging for work. Just play it as "Oh well!"

mtdman
10-25-2003, 12:06 PM
Had the same thing happen to me with aerations this year. Ticks me off as well. I never said anything about it, I tried to shrug it off.

Gene $immons
10-25-2003, 12:11 PM
Thanks Runner.

I always like your advice.

Evan528
10-25-2003, 01:04 PM
For some reason I get very offended when that happens to me. A couple of months ago I pulled up to an account I had been servicing for 6 months and another landscaping was currently installing new mulch, river jack and shrubs. I assume they gave such a cheap price the homeowners didnt even want to ask me judging by there quality of work, truck etc. When I took on the account in the spring i made it very clear that I am a full service landscape company. The ladys reaction was well we cant really afford to do much right now with all the money we just spent on this new ep henrey raised patio. Mind you they also live in a 600,000 dollar home and drive luxury vehicles of course.:angry:

Runner
10-25-2003, 02:01 PM
I guess another way to look at it, is take it as a compliment - in a different department. They are price shopping, and/or take it into consideration ahead of time that you are rather high priced - but yet,..................they still keep you on for the mowing and other services.

crazygator
10-25-2003, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by Runner
They are price shopping

I agree totally!

And another thing, some feel that if they give you all the work you will somehow take advantage of them thinking they are eating out of your hand. So they spread it around to keep everyone happy, and hungry! :D

Just learn how to go on and not make a problem.

Remember, they still have you take care of something which could always turn into a whole lot more. Earn their trust and you will have a good customer for life!

summergrove
10-25-2003, 05:21 PM
Had this happen too, but a little worse. Customer asked us to do something with a problem area I spent an hour designing. She gave us the go ahead then called back and cancled. TWo weeks later showed up to cut the grass and there was my plan all installed.What can you do but suck it up or lose the account?

kickin sum grass
10-25-2003, 05:25 PM
Yep, it happens all the time. We sent out notices a while back about aerating to everyone, yet still had a couple of people have someone else do it without even getting a price from us. When we showed up to mow one of the places the guy came out and said "I guess you see we already had it aerated. Someone came knocking on my door a couple days ago and said they could do it right now. Hope your not mad." I said nope not mad. Just realize when you use other people for things that you know we do we can not give you any discounts on other services. When you use us as a full service we can provide great service at a reasonable price. Like a one stop shop. He ended up paying more then I would have quoted and they missed large sections.

locutus
10-25-2003, 07:27 PM
It will eat at you until you get it off of your chest. Confront them, but tactfully.

NCSULandscaper
10-26-2003, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by summergrove
Had this happen too, but a little worse. Customer asked us to do something with a problem area I spent an hour designing. She gave us the go ahead then called back and cancled. TWo weeks later showed up to cut the grass and there was my plan all installed.What can you do but suck it up or lose the account?


You send them a bill for your designs and explain if they dont pay its called theft. Had that happen a few times and each time i send them a bill.

geogunn
10-26-2003, 01:53 AM
gene--based on what you have described, I believe that you thought you were their LCO.

IMHO...based on that thought...you have the right to ask them "what happened?" when it comes to the new work.

remind them (with a smile) that you do that work also.

GEO

Rustic Goat
10-26-2003, 02:34 AM
Those saying Gene's customer was price shopping, did I miss something, didn't think he said anything about bidding the work that was done?
In a 'nice' way, I'd have to find out what went on that they didn't even call you for a quote.
There can be a lot more (or less) to the entire story of others working on 'your' lawn.

Envy Lawn Service
10-26-2003, 03:56 AM
Originally posted by Rustic Goat
Those saying Gene's customer was price shopping, did I miss something, didn't think he said anything about bidding the work that was done?
In a 'nice' way, I'd have to find out what went on that they didn't even call you for a quote.
There can be a lot more (or less) to the entire story of others working on 'your' lawn.

Yes sir, I would have to ask....right then or next time I saw the customer.

As you all know, I had this happen on a commercial account. I had to ask, I couldn't help myself. I did ask nicely and recieved a sensible answer....corporate contracted it out. I was good about it but very quick to point out the poor quality for future reference.

I also had this happen on a residential once. Again I had to ask. Turned out they did it themselves. They enjoyed the occasional outdoor gardening work and that they could handle. But not the lawn stuff. They always took care of the landscaping and I always did the lawn.

David Haggerty
10-26-2003, 05:55 AM
Originally posted by kickin sum grass
Just realize when you use other people for things that you know we do we can not give you any discounts on other services. When you use us as a full service we can provide great service at a reasonable price. Like a one stop shop.

Lots of good advice in this thread. Thanks to everyone who posted. I have a lot of problem with others working on "my" properties. So I have room for an attitude adjustment. So thanks for your perspectives on this subject.
I think the one that would help me most would be kickin's remark. If I can calmly deliver that message to customers I would be better off. Like Runner says, non-confrontational.

I just have a lot of trouble with thieves masquerading as LCO's coming onto a landscape I've spent years on. Then pulling some BS stunt and disappearing with a third of the landscape budget before I'm back to mow the next time.
I had this happen a few years ago. This guy sells my customer close to $3,000 worth of mulch. For 8 beds! Couldn't have been more than 5 yards of mulch! And I believe he used Hyvar so he wouldn't have to come back later to touch up with Roundup or pull weeds.
This year the trees in those beds all died. All 8 of them. It was a wet year! Those trees should be thriving. All that rain did was to drive the soil sterilant down to the root zone of the trees and bam! Dead dead dead! I wish I could prove it! I may be wrong. But I'll always suspect he killed those trees.
I feel so guilty because I turned them down for the mulch job. I'll never tell a customer "no" again. I'd even take a job to paint stripes in the parking lot. I may have to sub it out, but at least it would be someone of my choosing, and not some fly by night outfit.

Sorry for ranting but like I said, I do have a problem with this.

Dave

maple city
10-26-2003, 01:49 PM
Personally, I'd start looking for another customer to take their place in my schedule. These are the kind of people who will dump you if someone cheaper comes along. I hate customers with no loyalty.

CoachLinz
10-27-2003, 11:00 AM
Start off with "That looks nice, did you do it yourself?". Either you'll find out they did it, or they'll say "No, so-and-so did it" and you can take it from there. At the very least, stick a brochure of yours in their doorway that shows all the landscaping services you offer as a gentle, friendly reminder that you could have done it. Maybe they'll take the hint, maybe not

jlewis
10-27-2003, 12:30 PM
This happened to me w/ a basement finish for a coworker. I designed and calculated the whole thing - down to how many outlets, studs, etc. Drew up the plans w/ a material estimate and what I would charge and gave her a copy. Time was not an issue until she found out a couple days later that I had to go to Dayton, OH for 3 weeks for work. All of a sudden it had to be completed in a matter of weeks. She gave my plans etc. to a friend and he did the basement for $700. She knew my work and I had the job blah blah. I do not think she ever intended for me to do it. I have known her for over 12 years. Wished her well w/ the basement and learned my lesson.

Joe

NickN
10-27-2003, 12:34 PM
I have something similar going on a pretty regular basis.Customer had me trim quite a few their shrubs.Paid and commented on how great it looked.(That helps for you future lawn service customers out there)
She stated that she wanted to wait on the hedges.
Came back for a weekly mowing and the hedges were done.She was on call and bored so decided to them herself along with a shrub in back.The poor girl has the hedges looking like an ocean wave.Up and down,up and down...
I didn't even notice the shrub in back.I was mowing and she stopped me to show me what she had done.Nothing but twigs except for the few leaves on top.She said,"I thought I could do it".I pointed out to her that the leaves don't grow very far back on a dwarf japanese holly and to take it slowly next time she decides to that.She asked me to see if I can fix it.The scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart came to mind immediately.Where his daughter's petals fall off from her flower and she asks him to "paste it".LOL