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Customer Asking Lots of Questions

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Aaron's Lawn Care, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Aaron's Lawn Care

    Aaron's Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    We got all of our door hangers out last week and I've been doing quite a few estimates lately. One particular customer called me and had me give him an estimate for some landscaping. He said they would like me to do the work but had quite a few questions.

    Lots of the questions seemed legitimate like:
    How long have you been in the business?
    Do you have any employees?
    Stuff like that...

    Then he started asking me things that I don't think should matter like:
    Do you do this in your free time or do you have another job? (This is my full time job)
    Do your employees speak English? (The way he said it, I think he wanted to know the race of my employees
    He told me that I need to come over because his wife would like to talk to me before I begin the work.

    I feel like he was pushing the questions about my employees and I'm a little worried that race is an issue for him. I feel that it shouldn't matter what color someone is, only the kind of work that they do. What do you guys make out of the questions he was asking? Have you ever had a customer be concerned with yours/your employee's race?

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    Sounds like the guy might have had some less than perfect experiences with other LCOs...like maybe one company was unreliable and another maybe he couldn't talk with the crew if he needed to. I get asked those questions a lot too. Some people even ask if I hire illegal immigrants...
  3. LawnScenes

    LawnScenes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 177

    Not to highjack the thread. But...

    That must be something about NOVA... I've received more "I'd rather you not use immigrant labor on my project" up there than anywhere else. Not that I use immigrant labor at all. But lately it seems lots of people want to know and don't have a problem at all with asking.
  4. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    That's a good thing imo.
  5. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,620

    Often customers ask those types of questions. They want to hire someone they are comfortable with having on their property. They want to know your going to be reliable and not have "your other job get in the way" They want to be able to come out and communicate with someone.A lot of times they want other services performed and someone that doesn't understand and nods their head at them is frustrating to them. Often those questions are a sign that they have had poor service in the past and that's your opportunity to exceed their expectations.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    I don't think it's unacceptable for the guy to ask if he can communicate with the people working at his house. What happens if one of your employees starts doing something this guy doesn't like or the guy wants to add or delete something? What's the guy going to do? Go up and kick the worker or something to get his attention?

    I deal with customers and have friends of all colors and ethnic backgrounds. Every last one of them have the same thing in common and it's the glue that holds this nation together. They all speak English.
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    So many threads on LS complain about unqualified contractors taking away business. Part of those complaints include the notion of "... the customers don't care, ... they just want their lawn mowed, ... they don't care who does the work, ... I am tired of all those residents hiring xxxx contractors."

    The potential customer who was asking the questions seems to be exactly the kind of customer everybody is wanting. He/she is just the kind of potential customer who will weed out the very xxxx contractor that so many LCOs complain about on LS.

    Shouldn't we welcome these kinds of inquiries and questions?
  8. Insometry

    Insometry LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Posts: 43

    My thoughts exactly roger.

    I think that "Do your employees speak English?" is simply a customer making sure he can fully and completely communicate with the people who is digging up his backyard.
  9. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    I don't think asking if an employee speaks english is being racist at all. :usflag:
  10. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    I agree, these are questions that are asked all the time of LCO's. I don't take it that he was asking about the "race" of your employees at all. What he wanted to know was would they be able to understand him in English if he ask them a question or made a comment. A very understandable question. Even the Federal Government on their bid proposals clearly state that at least one foreman/employee on the job site must speak fluent English. It's not a race thing at all, simply a communication thing because so many LCO's now use non-English speaking labor and that is a known fact.

    Being that you are young I also suspect he detected that in your voice and wants to make sure that you can handle the job AND give him the professional results he is clearly looking for.

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