Help getting rid of Trugreen!!

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by jonspolaris, Jan 2, 2006.

  1. jonspolaris

    jonspolaris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    My mothers lives in a development that has a board that hires TrueGreen to fertalize the lawns. Most people in the development are older, including board members, and are VERY gullable. I have noticed they have gotten terrible service over the past years. For example, they had Dandelions blossoming last year, the edges and other parts of the lawn had siginficant amount of crabgrass. The board asked the applicator from trugreen why they had so much Crabgrass, and he said it was "normal" and all thier accounts had it. Unfortunally they believed him. Truegreen applys the same mix of fertalizer all year long(I have looked). They put on 30-0-6, spring, summer and fall.
    The board hired them to aeroate the lawns and they skipped every side yard and most of the back yards in the development, and they never came back to fix it when asked. They have had to come back and re-sod sectons of lawn because they droped a lot of fertalizer on it and it died.

    How can I convience these people that Trugreen isnt the best company? The local rep from Trugreen is good at telling them what they want to hear. I think they like a gullable customer. The board member who hires them told me he was very "nice",dispite the lousy service. They spend just over $1500 a year with Trugreen.
    Any help on how to justify switching to another company? Their are several local companys that I know would do a better job.

    Oh, and Trugreen also convienced them that they needed to have all the shrubs and trees "fertalized". I saw him do it and I don think the plants even knew they had been fertalized. He gave them a very quick shot of liquid, which I am sure is mostly water.

    Thanks
     
  2. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Posts: 866

    The easist way to be rid of a substandard service provider is to provide a better service right along side for comparison. In this case, have your mother's property serviced by someone else for the season and it shouldn't take too long for the "lip service" to become apparant.
    Trugreen's techs will happily skip a yard if they are told not to do it. Yes, you will have to pay for someone else to do it, but if you are unwilling to put your own money on the table, then you forfeit your right to complain about it. A season is usually all it takes.
     
  3. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    Excellent Idea,
    My thought was to have a local LCO pull soil samples after TG is finished and get a analyzes to show what is and is not being applied.
    the extension service has a very small fee for sending them to MSU.
    I would think a good LCO would do this for a small fee and 1st consideration of being TGs replacement.
     
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,957

    Give up on trying to compete with TrueGreen on price. The Bean counters in the condo assoc will always go with the cheapest. Especially if they are older residents that are on retirement income. The last thing they want is raised condo dues

    Once in a great while you will find a condo assoc that wants to maintain there property up to par and are willing to pay for it. But human nature is something you can't fight and Servicemaster has made a fortune on marketing to that side of human nature.

    Either match TrueGreens cheap price and quality or more on to residential where individual people are willing to pay for good service. Dealing with committees is a PITA.
     
  5. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Posts: 866

    Want to know how I'd handle that as a Trugreen manager? I'd simply come in and tell you that either a) that is unneccessary in your soil profile, so we are not applying needless product to your turf as part of our enviromentally friendly program. or b) we are giving you the most cost effective program to manage healthy turf right now, keeping your budget in mind. If you'd like to change the program and add in custom mixing, we'll be happy to modify your program to a premium service. We hold numerous patents on turf industry related products, have a complete research facility with an entire staff of agronomists that have allowed us to become the largest turf company in the history of mankind!!! (this is where the nostril flaring and crazy eyes come into play)
    The point is, a soil analysis, especially in the hands of someone who cannot interpret it, presented by someone trying to sell a change, has very little value and can be easily drop kicked by a skilled marketer, of which TGCL has many. A little tougher to stand on a lawn that is thick and plush that took the same costs, while surveying the weak, weedy lawns next to it on the existing program.
     
  6. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    LOL, I know your right....
     
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,957

    Green Utah

    Oh yes the old up sell that the condos won't go for. Stops them dead in their tracks because you know the Budget is set for the year and they won't break the budget without an act of congress.

    Actually I have seen some good techs working for TrueGreen. They are few and far between but there are some. In my area one of the techs has been there for about 4 years now and doesn't do to bad a job. But knowing TrueGreen I am looking for him to pass the test and go in business for himself. I am not knocking you because you worked for TrueGreen. You got a lot of sales and customer complaint experience that is valuable to you now.
     
  8. jonspolaris

    jonspolaris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    Thanks,

    Actually money isnt the issue. They have LOTS of money. They havent but out the fertalizing bid in 6-7 years. The problem is ignorance. They look at the lawn from the driveway and see that it is green so thier happy. The lawns always have a Matted down look to the blades of grass.
    I think if I asked the Board to get a soil analysis, they would give me a "deer in headlights" look. I think the easiest and best way to get rid of Truegreen is to get rid of some of the board members. These are the same people who paid over $700 for a maintance contract for the lawn sprinklers. I dont think the contractor spend more than 30min the entire year here.
    The subdivision has about 2.5-3 acres of irrigated lawn.
     
  9. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    the only what to get good service with TGCL is to keep complaining.....Personally I use TGLC at GU....Why...1500 bucks per app for 14 acres of turf in about 20 different locations....Plus they do it at night for me....I could not do it in house for cheaper...I do all my own fert, Aerate and Overseed. If they miss a spot and I see weeds, I Call....When they see that you are watching them they usually sharpen up.....But If you do get rid of them, plan on caughing up more money.....
     
  10. jonspolaris

    jonspolaris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    How many screw-ups do you give TG before you fire them? after a couple i dont think they are really interested in good service, just good lip service.

    A local sprinkler contractor(not the one that works in her subdivison) told me that he used to have TG, but got rid of them because of poor service. He is a pretty fussy guy about how the lawns look. He said he hired a local guy that does fert. He was only $20 more than TG. and he said the sevice is much better.
     

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