How would you feel

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Toad, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. Toad

    Toad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Got a phone call yesterday from a customer, one that I have serviced for 6 years now. She tells me some lame excuse about why she has found another LCO to do here lawn this year. The excuse , (mowing has allways been great but the fall clean up was not completely done last year and we had to pick up some of the leaves ). Not true. I even bought a new track vac pull behind unit for lawns like this one last year , and was at the property several times last fall with it.
    The kicker is , I live in a small town, and have allways respected other lco's buisness.Known this guy for as long as i can remember.He just started cutting lawns a few years back .I would never think of walking on someone in this manner. This guy did a few trees for her last year , and some how swindeled in on my account.To the tune of $4000.00 . Accounts like these are far and few between where I live. Should I be p&%%ed at this LCO, the customer or what , because I am and will probrobly confront him eventually about it. Is it open season on everybodys buisness or not. I hate to do buisness like this , its not good in small towns. What are the unwriten laws out there ,how do other LCO's deal with this. How would tou feel.
  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    I'm not sure I understand. If the customer approached that other LCO and asked for a bid for lawncare, because she was unhappy with her current LCO in the fall, should the guy have said, "sorry, i can't give you a bid, someone else I know does this lawn?"
    I mean, we do not target intentionally ANY LCO's accounts in our area, BUT if a person calls us asking for a bid, of course we will give one if the account is one we would like to have.
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    I shoulden't be PO'ed at's a free market out there and only the strong survive.You need to concider this a lesson learned and communicate with your clients a little better..I mean if she was unhappy with your Fall clean-up you could have found out that info long before this happened by simply asking her if she was happy with it when you were done.Then corrected any problems she may have had with it then.My guess is the other guy gave her a cheaper price.So just forget about it and move on.I always ask my clients if they are happy with the results of my work..if there are any problems at all ..I address them immediatly.I want to keep them happy and you have to communicate to do that.
  4. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    With a one time job such a landscaping, retaining walls, paver work etc, ok maybe, to make sure they are happy. But with mowing and cleanups? NO WAY. "knock, knock....hey there mrs smith, are you happy with your mowing on 4-18-06?." "knock, knock.....hey mrs smith, i've cleaned your leaves, are you happy?" all that does it open a HUGE CAN OF WORMS where it gives the opportunity for the customer to nit pick your work apart.
    What probably happened is this: customer had that guy on her property doing tree work, and while he was there, she asked him for a bid. he gave it, it was cheaper than Toads, so she accepted the bid, and then gave Toad a flimsy excuse that in the fall a few leaves weren't picked up.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Few other things come to mind...

    I lose customers all the time, I don't even want to figure the percentages anymore, to me it's easy come, easy go...
    But yes, from time to time it bothers.

    Now if a customer left me for another Lco because they felt the new Lco was a better choice (for whatever reason, price, quality, I don't care), then I can live with this because I am not perfect. No problem, thank you for being with me however long and best of luck.

    If another Lco 'stole' my customer, I am not worried about it because what goes around must come around. The reason this works is because the Universe is a perfectly balanced system, among which good and bad must also balance out. When somebody does something bad, they take a risk something bad will happen to them (but you have to let it happen, you can not make it happen or help make it happen, it doesn't work like that because two wrongs don't make it right). And so, the more they do something bad, the higher the risk becomes - If someone does one bad thing and that's all they do, it should be ok. But more than that, I wouldn't chance it but maybe once every 2-5 years and it better be an accidental thing you didn't mean to do it, because if it comes back on you, ho boy.

    At the same rate, someone does something bad that affects you, it is possible the system then allows something good to happen to you, but you and I, we never really know what really happened anyway, it just does and its a bit like magic but if you really watch closely, sometimes you can see it and it can be quite amusing, pleasant, shocking, or sometimes even frightening.

    So, I live in harmony knowing the universal system of balances takes care of these things all by itself. Whether the Lco really stole the account we do not know, but if he did, then it will take care of itself somehow.

    Revenge may be sweet, but what you're doing in effect is taking the natural selection of choices and things that would happen as they should happen into your own hands, and when you do so you now take a part in playing with the balance yourself and this is something I have learned it is best to let this balance take care of itself because it just isn't meant for mortals to fool with.

    Oh and it works in mysterious ways, but it really does work.
  6. Toad

    Toad LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Well you guys have calmed me down a couple notches.
    The thing is, is I have refered people to this guy on several occations in the past, and have always kept what I felt a good relations with him. So mabey a phone call from him asking whats up would have been nice.I have done this before .
    I know he gave her a better price than I did , he does crappy work as far as I am concerned and I warned her of this . Ya know what she said after that. Well if I dont like it would you come back.:hammerhead:
  7. Bustus

    Bustus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 181

    The nerve of her. If she does call you back, and you do decide to take her back, I would charge her more. She realizes that she is getting worse quality so she shouldn't be upset if she gets it. I would talk to the other guy. Nothing confrontational, just, like you said, ask him whats going on. Good Luck
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Well, my response is going to do nothing but stir you back up I guess.
    But I also guess my response is also the one closest to reason and truth.

    After reading your post twice, I am pretty certain what happened here is that this other guy used this opportunity to probe the customer for information, undermine you and ultimately lowball you. He has offered to do her lawn for less than you and she is too smug to admit it. So rather than do that, she has to come up with some lame excuse to give you in hopes you feel responsible for the loss.

    This way she doesn't have to face you as cheap and disloyal.
    That's how these things go... I've diffused enough of them to know by now.

    When I go through a customer loss I am pretty persistant about it because honestly, I want to know 'what really happened' and usually being persistant provides those answers. Between years of experience and having an old friend who was an attorney, I have almost gotten good enough that I know what they are going to say before I ask them questions. But after asking enough of the right questions, they will either trip up and let the cat out of the bag without meaning to, or they will get frustrated and just tell you the straight of things.
  9. bondman35a

    bondman35a LawnSite Member
    Posts: 82

    Where in WNY are you?
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    First I have to say topites explanation of the balance of the universe is so true. When I am asked to bid a job that I know the contractor, and I know many of them, I take the appointment and I ask the homeowner what his issues with the current contractor are. I will usually give a courtesy call to the other contractor to let them know I am bidding the job. If they ask I will volunteer the clients issues. Some times they don't return my call and other times they do and correct the mistakes.

    Just yesterday I picked up a 2-K per month residential account. I knew the contractor that was previously servicing the account because about 10 years ago I met him. We did homes side by side, he was new and I was wanting out of this neighborhood. I told him I would give him my three accounts, about 750 per month back then if I saw he consistently showed up for a month and did a good job at the house he had in the area. My foreman comes back at the end of the day and said the guy offered him a dollar per hour raise and 100 for each account he brought with him.

    The Karma works.

    I would call the other LCO and ask what gives, let him know you can't refer tree work to him if he is going to take accounts from you, and in the future if he is asked to bid one of your accounts you would appreciate a heads up to what the problems are.

    The only reason I accept loosing an account is if we are too expensive. That I can deal with but that is the only reason.

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