Am I Becoming Jaded?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I was thinking about something this evening while I was in the grocery store shopping for dinner. This guy in a nice suit walked in and was close to me. He noticed my uniform. Chances are good he noticed my truck outside. Most people around here recognize our company pretty well. And I kind of tried to walk away without seeming rude, just to avoid conversation. I did this without thinking. Just a natural response these days, I guess.

    I guess what I was thinking was, "Here's some guy in a suit thinks he's Mr. Vice President of Widgets, Inc. and is all full of himself and is probably considering asking me about landscaping or some project he wants a bid on. He'll probably start talking to me any minute if I don't get away. And he'll probably think he's doing me a big favor by considering using our company because he's Mister big shot and I'm Mister landscaper. And the last thing I really need right now is to have to act fake like I am excited to meet him when in reality he probably can't afford us and isn't really doing me any favors like he thinks he is. I better run...."

    And as I walked away, I had to pause and consider what I have become. What happened to the days when I used to be so excited to meet new customers - any time, any where. I used to get excited about people I'd meet in public who approached me about business. Now, I just see them as a possible annoyance and someone who probably can't afford what we charge and someone who is probably just a waste of my time.

    How did I get so jaded? Especially in a year like this when we really do need all the business we can get. What am I doing shunning people off like that? I mean, what I was thinking was probably true. We are a little too expensive for 75% of the people I meet with. And we have a pretty well established business. Almost 200 year-round maintenance accounts and another $750,000 worth of landscape construction business each year. It's not like I'm really desperate for work like I used to be when meeting people like that excited me. But should that matter? Why have I lost my zeal? How do I know that guy didn't have a million dollar property and was really looking for a company like ours? Shouldn't I still be just as excited as ever to meet a potential new customer?

    I've been doing this 12 years now and I dunno. I still enjoy giving bids and signing up new customers for big jobs. But I have definitely lost some of the zeal I had back when I started.

    Do I just need an attitude adjustment? Am I becoming snobby? (God forbid) Anyone else ever feel like this?

    Just thinking out loud here. I'd love to hear from others who have been at this a long time.
  2. Sweet Tater

    Sweet Tater LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,123

    Sounds to me instead of Mr Vice President of Widgets being full of himself some one else needs a reality check. My business is nowhere near the size of yours but it seems when some one starts doing so well they tend to get full of themselves.
    Adjust that attitude and check on reality, we are in a service industry and no matter how you look at it or business relies on people , we need them. JMHO
  3. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 623

    I know the feeling all too well. My wife tries to keep me from being too crass, but I get sick of people thinking I'm available 7 days a week to discuss their needs. If they call during business hours, I'm on my game and enjoy meeting and closing the deal. I even enjoy just giving advice if I know they can't afford to have us do the work. Once I'm done for the day, mentally the light is off, I don't mean to be rude to people, but they are not going to get my best attention at that time.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Yah, maybe that's all it is. Like you, I am on top of my game all day long. But at night or on the weekend, I just wanna watch a baseball game or listen to the pastor or whatever. I guess it didn't used to bother me so much back when we were totally desperate for any work we could get. But now that I am not that desperate it just seems like an annoyance when someone talks to me about work outside of my usual workday.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    You may be right. I definitely know a lot of business owners who are very full of themselves. And that's really not my personality. I am pretty humble most all of the time. I try very hard to be.

    I don't think it's as much a matter of me being full of myself or thinking I'm better than someone else. It's just that I've seen and met with those types of people hundreds and thousands of times. There are a lot of people around here who think they're rich and can afford what we do. They always seem excited for us to get together and then I get to this nice house that's still half empty because they have nothing left after the house payment. Then I tell them how much it's going to cost for a sprinkler system or a new landscape or whatever and then all of a sudden it hits them, "Oh crap! This guy ain't playin. I had no idea a sprinkler system cost that much!" .... "Um....thanks. We'll call you back." And I never hear from them and just wasted my time again. That's like 75% of the people I meet these days.

    I just see so many people like that every week that I think I start to just pre-judge people before I even know for sure if this person is like that or not.
  6. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    I would have to agree. Maybe he just noticed that you were dirty and wondered why someone would go to the store before taking a shower. With that said, I do tend to ignore some people who stop when we are working hoping they will just go away. I think you reach a point where you need them less and less.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    But could it be...
    The long line of folks who came before, and I mean the long line of them...
    Let me cut this short, we know who and what I'm talking about.

    Couldn't be any of that, years of this, could it?

    Ah yes, the anger...
    It got me bad, real bad...
    It just wouldn't stop, seems like no matter what I did here came another...
    One day I got so tired of it, I had tried everything and nothing worked.
    So I decided to get even, in more ways than one.
    I did that until it stopped, in my case a few years.
    I just couldn't take it anymore.

    They don't bother me no more, I mean hardly any of them ever even try it anymore.

    And when it stopped, once I seen that it had stopped and cold, my own attitude changed.
    I don't act like this anymore, not at all, but they know somehow, isn't that something?
    A few still call or come around, but they 'get' it in some sort of order,
    like they're reading my mind... Strange, don't ask me...

    Some of it has to do with how I am set up now, how I do things, that
    tends to prevent most of it pretty much automatically, but it took
    going through that nonsense, for me to get to where I am now.

    The only part I wonder about is, if there's a better way than going for the throat...
    I never found it.
  8. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    For me, I guess the way I see things is, that if you don't give everybody a shot, you may not know what you are or aren't missing. That guy could've been your new favorite customer. Or he coulda been another pain. I'm new to this biz, but I give everyone a shot.
  9. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    I don't think you need an attitude adjustment or are full of yourself or you wouldn't have even written this thread. I think you just took a moment out and questioned why you were being the way you were...and its simply because this is what you have become.

    Its up to you to change....if you see something wrong with it. Maybe you are just bored. Like you said...your not hurting for the work...and therefore the drive is gone. Sounds like you make good money and you are now to the point where a lot of people get when they get what they want (ie. Money)...they say to themselves, "Now what?"

    Money very seldom makes people happy....those who don't believe that...have never had any. Maybe instead of looking having a goal of only getting the biggest might change it to simply having the best customer relations.

    Doesnt' sound like those big accounts have done it for you.

    But then again....I really dislike people so ignore everything that I just said.
  10. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    I'm right with you, man. I've been dealing with so much drama these days with crap equipment and bad weather, that I can't hardly seem to keep my head above water.

    If I see my phone ring and I don't recognize the # - instead of hoping for a new client, I find myself hoping they DON'T leave a message!

    And I used to answer my phone all the time - whereas now I don't even take it out of the truck. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm not in the truck, then our doors are closed for the day...

    This work isn't nearly as fun as it used to be...

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