your image?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jordanHXC, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. jordanHXC

    jordanHXC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    i'm fairly new to the site, having a great time learing from all of you. here is my question. this is my first season in business, i have a genetics degree and spent my years after college touring with my band. over the course of a few tours i ended up with about 40 tattoos. one full sleeve is my main concern. i'm putting in an order for shirts soon. not sure if i should suck it up and go long sleeved all summer, or get short sleeved and save myself some hassle. with short sleeves i look like a 240 pound, juiced up, tattooed, skinhead....with long sleeves i look fairly normal. i am new to lawn service and was wondering. is image important when you get new acounts? do any of you have the same problem? is it worth wearing long sleeves during the summer to hide who/what i really am? as of now i plan on going long sleeved. it is a choice i made and a consequence i will probably pay for for thr rest of my life....what do you all think? will anyone care?
    tony j
     
  2. moneyman

    moneyman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    I tell you what if a guy with a sleeve came to my house and knocked on my door. I would be hesitant to answer it.
    I am not trying to be mean.But that is how the world is.
    Im sure your a nice guy and all.

    Order a few of each...See how customers respond to your tatoos.If they dont seem to like your prescence.wear long sleeves.

    good Luck,

    PS why are you not working in the field with your degree?
     
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Yes, some people will definitely care. Like it or not, many people will judge you based on your appearance. That's reality. But the good news is you can do some things to help look more professional.

    First, realize that it's the initial impression that matters the most. Get yourself a nice T-shirt with your company name on it. Then also get yourself a lightweight jacket to go over it. Company name also on that. When you give the estimate, regardless of heat, try to keep the lightweight jacket on. I also recommend a matching company hat. Having professional estimate sheets and business cards and a lettered up truck will help a great deal too. Then you will look very professional.

    Meanwhile, ACT professional. Never swear in front of a customer - even if they do. Never smoke in front of a customer - even if they do. Small talk is good but don't take it too far. Small talk for a minute or two then get back to discussing business. That's professional.

    After you land the job, I don't think I'd worry about wearing the long sleeves all summer. Most people are at work while you're mowing anyway. And that good first impression will go a long ways. People may find out later about the tats but they'll remember what a nice gentleman you were at that first meeting and it won't matter as much.

    Continue to wear the company uniform (T-Shirt and hat) and that will help too.

    I think these tactics will greatly minimize any negative effects that people may have got otherwise.

    Finally, if while you're working someone seems to be staring or gawking at the tats, then go ahead and mention it. Say something that diffuses the situation and makes them more at ease. If they seem a little uneasy, they probably just need some re-assurance that you're a good guy. Personally, I'd say something like, "Oh yah....the tatoos.....Well, what can I say? I was young and having fun. But don't let them fool you. They aren't from prison or anything. I've never been in trouble like that. I was just in a rock and roll band for several years. But now I run a very professional business and I'm a decent, honest, hard working guy." Something like that.
     
  4. jordanHXC

    jordanHXC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    i hate lab work, and to be quite honest...when i got out of school my highest paying offer was making biological weapons for the government. i don't think i could sleep at night if i did that. look at joseph pulitzer...i never realized when i was in school that my biggest oppertunity to make money was by figuring out a better way to kill people. i decided that i had better go into something else. believe it or not, my conscience is keeping me from a very highly paid position. nad thank you for your comments, as you hinted to...i'm a huge teddy bear, and into art...i understand that the art i love can turn people away from me. i think you are right about testing the waters, you never know. i got my fisrt job teaching anatomy at iowa state and they didn't care about my tats, wierd to think that someone would let me teach college students but wouldn't let me mow their lawn....
    tony j
     
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Not all that weird. It's just that most people are conditioned by their previous experiences. And in many circumstances, people who are tatoo'd up are also the same people who are in trouble with the law, are social rebels, get into trouble, etc. Not always, but I think it's a warning sign. People get their guard up because they remember the guy down the block with tats all over and hearing about how he's always getting fired, going to jail, etc. Or they have some other experience. The combination of these experiences causes us to be prejudice to others we see.

    We all have our prejudices. Some of us can try to overlook them and try hard to treat everyone fairly, regardless of their impression or our prejudices. But often times, we're let down again and the prejudice is just reinforced. The trick is to get people to give you that chance and to prove to people that you're not what they assume you might be. I think that's doable. Just means you have to work at it a little harder than the rest of us.
     
  6. skmodmsl

    skmodmsl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 74

    Unfortunately in life people tend to dwell on "stereotypes". I've been guilty of it myself. Some of the best people I've met have long hair, tattoos, and multiple piercings. Personally I've always been leary of people who are overly groomed and wear a tie.

    My general personal appearnace changes with the seasons. In summer my hair is close cropped with a go-tee. In the fall I stop cutting my hair and it grows long until Spring. I always wear long sideburns. In winter I have a full beared. For many years I wore an old Army M-65 field jacket in olive drab green. Most times my clothes have holes as I tend to get dirty in my work.

    My truck isnot the shiniest or newest, nor is my equipment. However they get the job done.

    In WW2 the German army was very sharply dressed. From the foot soldier right on up to the officers. I always admired their uniforms. German soldiers tended to be clean shaven. The American army had dull olive drab uniforms and rarely shaved. In the end the Allied forces won the war.

    Appearance isn't everything. Your demeaner and intention is most important.
    I'm not the neatest appearing LCO. I do however try to convey old fashioned manners. I address my customers as Mr., Ms, or Mrs unless they say it is o.k. to call them on a first name basis. I do quality work. My customers are satisfied. That's what it is all about in the end.
     

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