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Stealing Customers

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by bohiaa, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    hay all:

    well as a few of you know I started a new co. in a new area.
    trying to get to know all the local LCO's I found Great advice and made a few friends,

    Today I get a call from a woman who is seeking a LCO and I show up and get the contract, she tells me that her neabor is seeking some one too, So I go over there and get that one..

    Sure enoulf they belong to one of my new found buddies, I feel sick.
    I havent told him yet, simply because I dont know where he lives or his phone #, he's NOT a real good buddy, Just one of those hi how ya doing type,

    I plan on seeking him out tomorrow and explaning the situwation to him,
    But I was wondering about some or you, how would you feel if you were in his shoes?

    Also earlyer in the year he told me that he's NOT taking on any new customers he was just tooo busy, he's solo and I now have 1 full time employee and some times use another guy.

  2. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,315

    Well i guess the guy will be pissed but there's clearly a reason the customers wanted to switch. Maybe the guy wasn't doing a good job, maybe he wasn't on time, you never know......

    Don't say anything to him IMO. Ask the customers if they've notified him (which I'm sure they have) and don't worry about it. Worst case situation is the customer has to pay the other guy 'till the contract is up then u take over. I wouldn't sweat it too much.
  3. SwihartServices

    SwihartServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    No one's customers belong to them. If there needs aren't full filed they go elsewhere.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I wouldn't know, I don't take on customers this late in the season.
    Ok, maybe someone who just moved in, and that's a BIG maybe.

    Taking another man's work in this business has a nasty habit of coming back on us, I done found that out more than once.
    Them kind of customers can go play that stupid move on someone else, they ought to know better, that's just mean.
    As for someone who does it to me, good riddance to the customer and (secretly) LOL at the new lco.
    I don't gotta do squat, it always comes back around, I know that for a fact.

    Because most of them, what is the problem, why can't they finish out the last month or so with the other guy?
    Yeah ok I don't want to find out and get someone else's headaches, whatever the problem it's almost over anyhow, why now?
    So what I tell every last one of these late bloomers is "Ok then call me next spring!" "Thank You!" click.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Oh by the way, when a customer discontinues / cancels services with me, that's an automatic $5 price raise for WHEN some of them call back later it costs more. You bet, my attitude with the customer is if they think the grass is greener on the other side then go on and have a nice day, wish them the best of luck and all that, but don't come back thinking all is just gonna be honky dory ladeeda should they find out things wasn't really that bad with me.

    And no, I don't feel bad about any of it, not the other Lco, not the customer, not myself, none of it.
    Because disloyalty has its price.

    Works out dandy if you ask me.
  6. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    thanks guys....

    yea I too have been the boat of customers going to some one else and then comming back,

    there main reason is because of his ZTR's in 1/4 acer lots.
    and it's true you can really see the ruts.

    for a 1 man operation I can kind of see using a LArge Z... But with 2 men....

    I mean come on ....I forsee a 30 minute job....with 21" ers...
    and to be honest this is my 1st time having 2 right side by side...

    I would not be upset if a couple of my customers wanted someone else and they picked him..... but you know how some people are....

    and besides, He cant whoop me....... or at least I dont think he can.....

    thanks again
  7. willietd2

    willietd2 LawnSite Member
    from OHIO
    Posts: 210

    I never bid on houses that i know are being done by lcos unless the home owner calls me then its fair game,if they were satisfied with the work being done they would not have called in the first place. if i dont bid it, someone else will so i might as well get it. now, comercial thats different. i bid on stuff every spring. willie
  8. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    You are not going to believe this… I am in the almost the same vote. I have a friend of mine that has been doing this for years but does not advertise. I got a call for a estimate and he just happened to be a referral from another customer of mine. Brad (other company) also gave a estimate the same day and I didn’t know about it. We both gave the same price but I got the job because he was a referral. Now brad isn’t even talking to me.

    I tried to explain to brad, I give discounts for referrals, I didn’t know he was going to be there, and a paying customer should be able to choose who he does business with. Brad and I have been friends for about 2 years and now he wont talk to me. He said I should have given him the job because he was in business longer then me. If I would have then I would have lost the estimate and would have pissed off my customer that gave the referral.

    Now I look at it all in a new way…. I pay for advertising and I do it to put food on my families table. As long as no one is cutting someones throat on purpose then there is no reason for anyone to get mad. Again it is for the customer to decide who mows there lawn not us.
  9. packey

    packey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 556

    If you are being honest in business and a new customer comes to you for a bid, bid it. If you get it then that is awesome. If another lco loses it then they need to look at themselves and figure out why. Maybe it is the customer maybe it is the lco but this is not stealing customers. This is a service business and you are providing a service. It is your customers choice.

    With this being said do not be a jerk and underbid to get a property. If you are purposly underbidding then yes you are in the wrong.

    I have been on both ends of this. It seem lately I am on the end of taking over other accounts. The reason is I provide a higher quality service. Most times I am not cheaper. To be completely honest I am the most expensive. Now this is not on purpose I charge for my work and i do it to the best level possible.

    competition is what pushes lco's to become better at what they do.
  10. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    some customers needs cant ever be fulfilled

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