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Animosity toward customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Caddyshack Lawn Care, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 748

    I'm always surprised by the negative attitude toward customers. I know, it's hot out and it's hard work and we're tired but I still don't get it. I actually like my customers. They're good people and friendly for the most part. I have a few PITAs but I don't let them get to me. If I didn't want their $ I'd have already parted ways.

    And that's another thing. I'm amazed at how quickly some people want to get rid of clients who annoy them at all. I guess I could see it if you have too much business and need to get rid of some anyway, but that can't possibly be such a widespread problem. Granted, there are some people who just aren't worth the hassle but they're such a small number.

    I know there are others here who enjoy going out most days to do the best job possible and will go out of their way to help others out. I just don't read much about that on here and I guess it surprises me.

    I keep my roster around 45 customers so I'm not nearly the size of most of you. But I actually like it when one calls or comes out to tell me they're having people over on a certain day and want it to look good. I'm glad I can help them out. After all, that's why they hired me. And I like being a small part of their special day. And it's more $ too. Most of my clients live within 1/2 mile of me so I know them a little. I saw in Saturday's paper where the N's kid applied for a marriage license. So you know I'm dropping a note in their invoice at the end of the month telling them congratulations and to make sure and let me know when any festivities will be taking place and I'll make sure it looks good.
  2. GlynnC

    GlynnC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 913

    I like this--you said it all. Being more upbeat about work and life in general makes you have a much better outlook on life, and this is coming from an old timer who's been around the block a few times.
  3. Liberty Lawnworks

    Liberty Lawnworks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 135

    I agree. The attitude that some on here exude toward their customers would preclude them from being successful in many other fields of work. Does it slow me down a bit when an old lady (who pays her invoices like clockwork) comes out to ask me how my family's doing? Yes, but it doesn't bother me, because I'm a one-man operation and I believe it is advantageous to interact with other people when you're working by yourself.
  4. Tom-N-Texas

    Tom-N-Texas LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I agree in principle with everything you said. Bu for me it boils down to money, energy-saving snd peace of mind. I. am actually a very friendly and happy person but when an account, for whatever reason no longer works out I'm not afraid to write them a friendly letter that I can no longer continue service. Usually the reason I give them is not the real reason as I am, by nature, non-confrontational and I don't care to get into an argument with them or leave on bad terms. But in reality this is not something that is terribly common with me but I do tend to weed out the dead weight periodically. Streamlining my business is what helps keep my days as easy and profitable and time-saving as possible....also just as a sidebar, the older I get (I'm 45) the more and more I look for ways to make it physically-easier on myself. I've been doing this since high school and I've done it the hard way for many years. Now it's time for me to do it the easy way -- or at least the easier way. I still work 10-12 hour days but I'm not near as tired nowadays because my strategy of streamlining my work allows me to hire an extra person to take my place as a regular employee. So nowadays I make more money while physically working less. I also don't have to deal with toxic customers who are difficult to please anymore, as i purge them if the start expecting too much, complaining too much or are just plain illogical. My route is thus chalk full of cream puff accounts that are all profitable, easy to deal with and centrally-located. This should be everyone's goal, I think...and this can be accomplished while having good work ethic, good morals, good customer service, good integrity and a happy disposition.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  5. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    If someone doesn't have or can't allow to talk to a customer a few then its either not priced correctly or they are in the wrong business. Some of my customer will ask of I can do this or that or just ask about the family. I make hundreds of several customers each year just because stopped to talk to them. Plus if they are asking about you or your family then they most likely they about you and won't get rid of you anytime soon, which when you get a full schedule you won't have to spend more money of advertising just to keep a full schedule come July.
  6. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    I can tell you, as a solo my roster runs north of 60 and just south of 65...
    Those are just my regular lawn customers, doesn't include folks who call me for other stuff.
    It's a LOT of work.

    It certainly takes a lot of skill and patience to be able to transact successfully with everyone we meet.
    I am no master at this, but I think I have gotten better over the years, to a point.
    And wait you, until you have one of those days, then come back here and tell me how it went.

    Granted, a lot of it is beyond our control and when I say that, our customers don't mean us no harm.
    So I have to agree with the gist of the thread, don't take it out on them, but strangers neither.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
  7. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,718

    Good post and a good positive outlook and your points! I try to do the same. And I have a very busy work life. Managing my buisiness is a challenge now a days being borderlined too busy all the time to the point where I am allways about a month or two out on scheduled landscape jobs. I have some very nice customers that treat me very well with alot of respect and I try to do the same for them and more if I can and treat them with good ethics. But I also have maybe a dozen customers that can drive me nuts sometimes or really bring me down in the dumps. Some of these types will be real rude or nasty about the little things. It's allway's the little things that they get so worked about. Or the customers that want things done now and get pissed if your not there yesterday. I just wish some customers would be nice instead of being rude. I had a customer tell me today at the end of the job " Hey you do such a good job for us, you really go above and beyond to make us happy and it show's every time you are here" I was overwhelmed it was real nice to hear a customer that went out of his way to compliment me like that. I allways do the same to people, compliment them and make them feel good and I apologize alot if I'm wrong. People say I'm too nice.
  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,471

    Ive alaways said I have great customers.

    Funny thing, last Friday I stopped to give an estmate. The older lady and her daughter invited me in and said sit down. I knew I was in trouble and didn't want the account, not to mention Im already overbooked. Im positive I could have closed the deal but I smelled a real hassle. So I lucked out and haven't herd back from them.

    Once you get a route built with good customers life is real good. The business becomes automatic, wake up in the morning go do your houses and that's it.

    Its also good business to talk a little with your customers, sometimes you need little break anyway.
  9. JMK26

    JMK26 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Missouri
    Messages: 2,359

    I have always had great customers as well.

    I have had a few idjits, but for the most part, everyone pays, and I usually get a bottle of water or Gatorade. One client is never home, but they put the big bottle of gatorade in a bucket of ice for me on the back deck...so no matter what time i get there it's still cold.

    The ones I have dropped are the ones I took on in my first year because i "had too"...especially being in a drought, couldn't ask for a worse year to start lawn care...........anyhoo....I don't mind taking on a weed infested lawn if they have the mindset and money to improve the lawn....I won't take on a weed infested lawn if they say no to the slightest upsell such as aeration and overseeding in the fall.....
  10. Tylerr83

    Tylerr83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    I agree with the main point being made here...I think a lot of the negativity that some of us exude from time to time comes from the negative way some customers treat us. Politely and professionally handling a grumpy or disgruntled customer from time to time comes with the territory and providing excellent customer service In addition to quality work is how you build a solid reputation. However, some customers and some people in general are just disrespectful, rude or inconsiderate. Those are the people I've gotten rid of....and the ones that seem to think that paying is optional.

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