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Free advice?...No way

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by HighGrass, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    I have this one account that I have cut for two years. She's pretty tight with a buck and I can never up sell anything.

    This year I offered a regement of fertilizer and weed killer for cheap and she again, said no.

    About three weeks ago when I pick up my check she asks if there is anything she can do for all of her weeds. So I say, I'll be happy to give her an estimate to take care of it. She says she doesn't want to pay me, but to do it herself but would I tell her how. She wanted alot of info.

    This is how I left it. I said to her that if she wanted to do it herself, she should go the garden center and talk to one of the experts there. She asked me why I wouldn't help her and I said that I spend alot of time handing out free advice and in my opinon, it's giving money away that I can't afford.

    She said that she may consider part of my advice as her cost of cutting her lawn. So I said, then the price of cutting your grass is going up.

    She ain't happy to say the least. I did it all as diplomatic as possible but I have feeling I may loose this one. Frankly, I don't think I care.
  2. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Standard response

    Our insurance company will not allow us to give advice as to the use of chemicals or equipment. They feel that giving out advice to an inexperienced homeowner would put them at risk of loss. If we are so inclined to provide the information they will no longer be able to insure us.

    You wouldn't want us to be working at your home and not be covered by liablility insurance, would you?

    Usually end of story.

    If they persue this by saying no one would know. Response is

    But I would, I have an agreement with them, just like I do with you, and that's not the way I do business, and I am sure you can appreciate that mr/mrs customer.

    If those two don't work, response is Cya
  3. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Good one Turf Medic. I like that response although I usually do like HighGrass has, until now that is.
  4. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    Same response works if you have a customer that can't understand why you can't let them help or borrow equipment.

    End result is they either agree with you or have to admit they are just stupid or dishonest.
  5. all degree

    all degree LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 344

    You guys need to lighten up. You cant go around in life being an a hole to every one. Help people out once in a while...
  6. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    I agree and normally I wouldn't mind. But this lady has this huge house, 3 car garage (full I might add) and she's made cause i won't share info with her?
  7. Turf Medic

    Turf Medic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    It's not being an a hole, I would sooner spray someones weeds for free than give them information on how to do it themselves. If you give a person information that is later on found to have caused them harm you can be held liable, even if your information is correct, but was misunderstood. Self preservation on my part but you go ahead and lighten up all you want.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I know common sense and the law don't always jive, but if you're recommending a product that any homeowner can buy at Home Depot or the like, can you still be held liable if they harm themselves? These lawn care products have warning labels for the most part, typically if you use the product you are agreeing to have read and understand the warnings, even if you didn't read them.

    I suppose maybe there's a difference between just recommending a product versus actually step by step advice on mixing pesticides, etc.

    On the flip side, if you were just doing lawn treatments, and the customer wanted to know how to mow their lawn, and you recommended buying a lawn mower, would you be liable if they mowed over their foot? Seems a little silly.
  9. SouthernFried

    SouthernFried LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 273

    I like your response Turf...and I may use that in the future.

    Any charge? :)

    Just kidding.

    I do usually advise my customers on stuff like this. I am doing their yard, and they are customers of mine, I'll help them when I can. No real biggie to me. And if they get those damn weeds taken care of...my life is easier.

    I'll even give the customers options..."If you want me to fertilize your yard, it'll be this much. If you want to do it yourself...here's the type you wanna buy."

    They usually use me anyway...but, if they do it themeselves, I want them putting the right stuff on. Is it cutting my own throat? Ya, mebbe...but, I like my customers, and they seem to not hate me too much either :)

    Of course, there is that occassional customer, mebbe like yours, that Turf's response might come in real handy...
  10. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    just charge her a consulting fee next time

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