Stealing Customers

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

  1. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    I was talking to a friend of mine who is very successful LCO mainly commercial. I've known him since the 3rd grade. He lives on the other side of the city. Anyway I called to tell him that I was looking at a big commercial right around the corner from him and wanted to make sure he wasn't bidding on it. He wasn't and said that since its so far away from me if I don't want it to let him know and he'll bid on it.

    So all is fair, we agreed to never intentionally step on each others toes which is fine by me. He's been a lot help in the past but most important is a true friend.

    I was suprised to learn however that he has a big resturant in my town. All the times we spoke in the past he never mentioned anything about it. Im not pissed or anything because while this guy is a good friend and has helped me with anything I've even ask for and he don't talk to much about his business.

    I will say this though, all is fair in this business. In order to get jobs you have to bid and bid and bid.(which is one of my friends advice)

    I don't have time to check with all the other LCO's I know and like before I bid a job. I only did it this time because it's literally right under my friends nose. The big chain accounts he has I am aware of and I would never approach those companies. I say that realizing I couldn't ever ding his armor.

    Topsite you must be very successful. No offense but to be able to fling customers around at whim must be nice. My hats off to you we should all aspire to be as successful as you. Just to put it into perspective. How many accounts do you manage?
     
  2. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Sam Walton never went to Fred Meijer and said, "Hey guy, you're stealing my customers." If you don't live in a Meijer's area you probably didn't get that one.
    Anyways, the point is that people making shopping choices everyday and we are service providers. If they pro-actively sought out your services, you are no thief. A couple of us landscapers and LCO's in the area get together after the HGS every year to see who switched to who. It's never any drama, more like trading baseball cards I guess. If I lose 5-10 accounts and pick up 25 new ones. I probably just "weeded my garden" so to speak.
     
  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,807

    their is no such thing as stealing customers, customers always retain the right to choose who works on their property.
     
  4. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    I never understood what the big deal about this was. When i was in the mowing business, I didnt even know 90% of my customers.

    I guess it is different if youre an owner operator.

    When the came on, I didnt care where they came from and if they left I didnt care who they went to.

    Its just business.

    I usually shop at home depot. When I get something at Lowes I dont think Home Depot is on a message board crying about me. And Im sure Lowes isnt worried that they "stole" me from home depot. Isnt that the point?
     
  5. grassnazi1

    grassnazi1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 73

    IMO all of this can be put to rest in one word: CHOICE, its a freedom all of us have and what we do everyday, wether it be looking for the best deal on a mower, quality, craftsmanship, I wouldnt think twice about the situation, you didnt steal anything and for the other guy....Call up Brad and tell him to turn off his man-gina and go grab a beer with you and stop acting like a little 5 year old and grow up. Business is business, I wouldnt treat it any other way.
     
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,807

    mangina... thats outrageous almost soiled myself laughing
     
  7. EMJ

    EMJ LawnSite Member
    Posts: 200

    As long as you are not under bidding everyone (LOW BALLING) it is not your problem. The company that is losing the account need to reevaluate themselves.
     
  8. DSLND

    DSLND LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,205

    I had an account who i obtained last year, after she saw me servicing one of her neighbor's properties. I mowed for her a few times, while she was on vacation, and she was very happy with my work. I should have had the account for this year (full-time, them being unable to mow themselves) but the property was low balled and then the company who did it basically made it look bad. It was cut too low every week, and they cut corners when it came to mowing. The property was pretty nice, and healthy, but now its not "as good as it should be" But, what can i do?

    For the original poster, i would not accept the contracts. As you get farther in business, you will learn that if you step on other's tows, it will bite you in the butt! I've developed relationships with a LOT of the landscape/maintenance companies around here, and have actually benefited from it. If they get behind or overbooked, they give me call, knowing i can probably fill their gap.

    -Mitch-
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    First off I won't claim I've never accepted work like this, nor would I say I never again will.
    But I will say I've had my share of problems with this kind of stuff, most of the time.
    You do what you gotta do is my attitude, money is tight, hey I'm not innocent.

    Ok so if you bid it and they accept what can you do?
    But see if I KNOW they have another service, what is the problem?

    The other guy is unreliable?
    Oh I get it, no see maybe it's because his truck has a problem! See some days even I can't get it to turn down a certain road, the truck's steering simply fails to respond, it's not unreliability per se, it's maybe he don't WANT to work for some folks anymore.
    And why is that?

    Oh yeah the other guy wasn't doing a good job...
    Gee that to me goes hand in hand with the truck's steering problem.

    Ladies and gentlemen, disloyalty comes at a price.
    So just be careful, being kinda dumb about it all seems to help.

    Yeah ok, I'm straight with commercial, that's how that works.
    As for the callers, that's fine.
    It's this stuff about coming up to me while I'm working and 'hey hey excuse me' crap I can't stand, more so when they start off with it this late in the season, someone wants 'lawn' service? Come on, gimme a break, why don't you just tell me it's because of the LEAVES?!!!

    Yeah see customers ain't stupid.
    Been a PITA to me all year, well good luck getting ME to do your leaves.
    They know, or maybe they just found out I don't do a 4-inch thick leaf cover for 50-60 bucks...
     
  10. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,490

    Who cares? If a customer asks for a price, give it to him. If the customer agrees to the price, do the work.

    I compete with a very good friend who lives directly across the street from me. We often ask if the other guy was in on the bid...after we close the sale. We compare notes and bust the other guy's ba11$ if he loses. Win some, lose some. 90% of the time it is price, and pricing is highly subjective in this line of work.

    If the other guy gets angry, he can discuss it with his Mom, or his therapist.
     

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