How would you approach someone that OBVIOUSLY needs help?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by MiguelTX, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. MiguelTX

    MiguelTX LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    I watched one of my neighbors down a few houses from me struggle with his lawn a couple of days ago. He was using a regular push mower but was acting like he was pushing a car or something. Well, I drove by yesterday and took a quick peek at the front lawn and noticed he left it 3/4 undone. He didn't edge, trim, or blow, he just mowed. By the looks of it, he go so tired pushing his mower he just gave up. And his cut looks pretty bad too, parts of the turf are scalped and he didn't' follow any kind of lines.

    I want to introduce myself but I'm not sure if I should just make up a flyer for him and/or talk to him (I don't see them outside much). I was thinking of just making a quick flyer that says something like, "Hi neighbor! Would you like to take a break from mowing your lawn? Wouldn't you rather sit in the cool A/C and beat this crazy heat? I'd be more than happy to service your lawn! I can finish your lawn for only $__. You can enjoy your lawn without all the headaches like mower, gas, trimmer string tangles, etc. Your custom quote for bi-weekly service is only $__ (cash, check, or credit cards accepted). I'd love to hear from you! Give me a call @ 123-555-1212 or email me at ___ @ ____ .com. Have a GREAT day!"

    What do you think? Too wordy??
  2. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 37,805

    That sounds okay to me, I guess, but...

    That happens a lot around here. Homeowners that never line trim or blow. My dad does not know how to cut grass. He farmer mows our entire yard with his little rider, scalps the lawn, and leaves clumps. He always torches grass with his little line trimmer, and forget about blowing off.

    I guess my point is...

    A lot of people have a negative attitude about LCO's because they see a lot of hacks and employees that don't care. And money, too. My dad will make little comments like "how do landscapers get away with making so much money?" Thanks dad, I'm still at home for another year until I graduate....

    But if you approach it with a good attitude, it may work, but don't expect anything. I've given up mowing out lawn because dad doesn't like how I cut it. :laugh:
  3. MiguelTX

    MiguelTX LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Funny you should say that about people that don't trim or blow! My next door neighbor's son decided he would start mowing the lawn and... you guessed it. I don't think it's been edged for over 3 months now! When I trim around the base of my fence (on the street side of my property), I keep going and trim around 8-10 feet of their property. 2 houses down on the other side, the man doesn't edge! He has those St. Augustine runners all over his sidewalk and running over the curb! ;)

    This other neighbor I was talking about is a different situation. I don't ever remember seeing their lawn look that bad. They've only lived there for about 6 months, the previous owners had an LCO keep it really nice. The new couple that lives there now may be getting burned out with continual, never-ending mowing. :laugh: Plus, I watched for about a minute or two and his mower died on him twice, sounded like it was running out of gas.
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    you may be JUST what he's looking for, But he doesnt know how to ask
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,505

    I know I will catch crap for this, but this is one case where I may just pull up at the end of the day and offer help to a neighbor for free. I would say that it is clear that the mower he is using isn't up to the task, so I will give it a quick cut, at no charge. Maybe offer to help look at the mower to see what is wrong. I would tell him how much I normally charge, and tell him to give me a call in the future if he wants to pay for service. A little good will goes a long way.
  6. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,121

    I'm uaually the one preaching against giving away free services. I don't think that a bad idea. Its marketing really. I have done little things for free for neighbors, hauling away a small debris pile, blowing off their sidewalk when seeing them struggle with their homeowner blower, ect. It is always followed up by handing them a card and asking for future business.

    Its when people are asking for charity work that I caution against. The little old lady who wants her lawn cut for free ever week. Guys cave in and do it because they think they are doing a bad thing by saying no. Its nice to help people out, but we are not charities. Don't get me wrong, to each his own, but thats my opinion on the matter.
  7. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    I have to ask, are you a lawn care professional or a nice neighbor wanting to help, cause my answer would depend on your "status".

    Walk up to the man and shake his hand as you introduce yourself and then point to your house and tell him that's where you live. Talk to him about b.s. like the weather. Then just say "hey you missed a spot in your lawn" in a joking manner and let him take it from there. If he says he's really struggling, offer to take a look at his mower. By chatting him up and offering to help you will earn his trust. Then just tell him hey I do some mowing for some side $ if you want help. This way he will understand it is not free for you to mow. He will probably ask how much, and then it's up to you.

    I wouldn't go with the flyer.
  8. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    As far as the charity thing goes, I pretty much agree. There comes a point in life where if someone can not do a job themself, they need to pay to have it done. If you can't pay to have your lawn mowed, move into an apartment.
  9. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,924

    Everything he said is what you should do, this is Texas.........I did the same to my neighbor when I first started out, he had 4 other people he knew that needed some kind of service done...
  10. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    just go over their when you see him, introduce yourself tell him your next door and run a lco ask if he is intrested chat for a few and leave

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