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Customer Relations...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sandman23, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. sandman23

    sandman23 LawnSite Member
    from GA
    Posts: 212

    How often do you interact with the customer?

    Do you check on the customer and see if their needs are being met or do you just give an occasional wave?

    What do you about talkative customers? "Time is Money"

    Does anyone call ahead to let their customers know that they are being serviced on that day?

    If billing monthly, do you leave weekly "Service Statements or Bulletins" to let them you know that you serviced on that day?

    Do you make suggestions as to the layout of some lawns in order to make the lawn more mower friendly?

    How often do you try and up-sell (pinestraw/mulch, installs, annuals etc...)?

    BOWHUNTER12 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Good questions sand man. I'm interested is seeing a response. I have a few questions as well.....

    - Do you guys ever offer a special deal like $10 off any lawn service or $20 off any spring clean up?

    - Do you ever offer a special deal such as a "subdivision discounts"

    Some what like a coupon?????
  3. lawnpro724

    lawnpro724 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,201

    I don't give deals that sends the wrong message to people. I will however talk with them and joke around a little or if I see something thats wrong but not part of the lawn service we will do it if time is not an issue. We do things like fixing a light fixture that the wind has blown off by picking it up and putting it back on or if a branch has broke on a tree we will cut it off on the spot for free as long as its not very big. There are lots of little things we do that I don't charge for and it comes back to me by having a loyal customer base.
  4. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    In the past I have not interacted all that much. This year I am changing that. So far I have had a much better response. I am really sticking myself out there to make sure they know I care. I know time is money though so I try not to chat too long though. I don't call ahead and I do not leave weekly statements or bulletins. Every month or two I will make notes on the property and then give the client some suggestions for how we could work together to improve the place. I am starting to receive more work now that I am wording it differently and calling the extra work "improvements" to the property. I don't really give any discounts. If I see something small that could be done without much work on my part and it won't put me behind in any way, I will cut a hanging branch or pull a couple weeds. My clients seem to notice this extra stuff I do so they normally do not haggle on my price for extra work that they ask for.
  5. justanotherlawnguy

    justanotherlawnguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,251

    As little as possible. I have picked up customers over the phone and not met them for 6 months.

    Nope, they will let you know if they need something.

    Not usually an issue since most people aren't home when we are there. If they are, we just smile and wave and cannot hear them anyway with the headphones on and equipment running. that tends to keep them away. If they need something, they will wave you over.

    What a waste of time.

    Absolutely not, if they cannot tell by how beautiful the yard looks on the day we were there, then something is wrong.

    Rarely, if it isnt mower friendly from the get go, then we dont want to do it.

    Most of the time, if we dont do it, then someone else will. Believe that.
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I believe it will depend on the type of service you are selling. For the mow and blow crowd you cant afford to do any of the things you have mentioned.

    If you are servicing upper end residential accounts then a big portion of what you are selling is a relationship. They want to be confident in the fact that you know what you are doing. That you have long term plans for the maturity of their property and you understand their tastes so you can better serve them.

    I let the client guide me, some are high maintenance and I talk with them almost weekly. Others are busy too and like the fact that they don't have to ask for things. They know that we will just take care of it, what ever it is. I am not on the truck servicing the account so when I go it is a special trip. I try and get to each home at least once a month. Some I do and some I don't but I am always just a phone call away.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    As I pull up, I start my stopwatch sometime between stopping and getting out of the truck.
    I don't want to start the timer too soon, but I also don't want to get caught with it not running...

    The timer keeps running the whole time until I am loaded back up, and ready to go.
    Now if a customer wants to chit chat, it's their dime.

    I find it interesting customers now don't waste time nearly as much as before, almost as if they sensed the scheme...
    I suspect the complete lack of frustration from my end is what does it, but I honestly couldn't tell you.
    So the timer runs the entire time, and I feel no guilt.

    I will subtract down time and other odd scenarios, but these are usually exceptions.

    Never, unless the upsell is a win-win situation where spending only a little more makes a big difference.
    Otherwise, I leave the 'would you like french fries with that' to large corporations.
  8. supercuts

    supercuts LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,785

    i used to talk to some when i was starting, now years later when i show up with 2 other guys they want to sit and talk while im paying 2 guys to sit in the truck and listen to the radio. on the other hand, the ones i used to talk to dont question or complain much.

    they only time i call and check and see if they are happy is a courtesy call after first mow, i dont think ill be getting any neg feedback but do it to build a positive relationship.
  9. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    To answer just a few questions, I/we interact with our customers, it could vary from 5 minutes to 20 minutes if time permits, I like talking to people especially about lawn care and landscaping. We do try and up-sell services but we dont over sell things that they dont need. We do offer discounts to customer's. Over-all you want a good relationship with all of your customer's, at least I do, and I want them to feel they can trust me when I say this or that about any of their lawn care needs. Lets face it, landscaping a property is no cheap date so I dont want to be second guessed by our customer's.
  10. sandman23

    sandman23 LawnSite Member
    from GA
    Posts: 212

    Thanks for the replies. Keep them coming. It is interesting to see the different viewpoints. I definitely see the difference between the Mow and Blow guys and the full service guys. I tend to be more on the full service side myself.

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