Competitor Etiquette

zlandman

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Ohio
Years ago around here my uncle worked for a company that did "oops! Cuts"

When running ahead of schedule they would start mowing nearby lawns they knew competitors had. Then they knock on door and say or leave a note that says "oops! We accidentally mowed your lawn. Well if you like our quality here's our price to do it"
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
TP - I think just the opposite as you in terms of what was shady. I don't mind that he said he could do it for half. To me, that tells me (and evidently my customer) that he doesn't really know what he's doing. It's a red flag that he is still in "customer acquisition mode" and is willing to undervalue his own worth, just to get the work. To me, the part that is shady is that he asked, "Who cuts your lawn?" Because he KNOWS it's ME! I do think that him "not keeping track of where he gets his leads from" (if that's what really happened) is simply irresponsible on his part. But, based on our conversation on the phone after the fact, he didn't forget anything.

If someone referred me some work, I certainly wouldn't try to poach that account. I would do the opposite and try to return the favor the next time I had the opportunity. Do unto others, right?
No
Sorry
You’re thinking too much of yourself
You gave him the number months ago to plow this one single drive way.
Now this is just one driveway on his list.
He simply doesn’t remember because he barely knows you from a hole in the wall.

a few short conversations at a gas pump doesn’t make you buddies.
 
OP
D

Derwood

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
SE Wisconsin
No
Sorry
You’re thinking too much of yourself
You gave him the number months ago to plow this one single drive way.
Now this is just one driveway on his list.
He simply doesn’t remember because he barely knows you from a hole in the wall.

a few short conversations at a gas pump doesn’t make you buddies.

TP - Of course I'm thinking of myself. If I don't, who will?

In my opinion, not remembering I referred him a few weeks ago, doesn't really excuse his actions. We make far too many excuses for people these days. I respect your opinion to give this guy a pass because his memory let him down. I am not.

He may not "know me" persay, but he definitely knew that I was asking him about plowing, on behalf of my current lawn customer, because I told him that. And It wasn't months ago, it was maybe a couple of weeks prior to the next snow. I also believe he admitted to my customer that he knew the job came from his lawn guy when he said "it doesn't hurt to ask." He never denied anything.

I'm all for giving my fellow man the benefit of the doubt, when I think he deserves it. There were no indicators that this guy was sorry for attempting to poach it (he didn't say, "Oh man, I totally forgot about the referral, I get so many I can't keep em straight" - nothing). In fact, he was a kind of a dink on the phone when he said it was a free country and he didn't answer to me. Nothing about his response suggests this was an oversight on his part. If you call me a poacher, and I'm not doing that, there very least I'd do is tell you so.

I think he was poaching.

But I'll say this: If you're 100% correct (and I guess you could be :)) then he got an unsolicited lesson on poaching.
 
Last edited:

Andrew H

LawnSite Gold Member
I guess if it’s an issue or even a concern, couldn’t you sign on the property for snow, and use him as a sub contractor? That way you get the income still. have him sign a non-compete, and inform the customer that if they have any questions, concerns, etc. to contact you and not the person servicing the property.
 

kinneberg lawn service

LawnSite Senior Member
I find this interesting. The snow person by all means could provide an estimate for mowing, comes to the client and quality of service in the end.

Looks like you have a well minded loyal client. I would say asking a price by the snow guy was bit of a shady deal may be a low baller, or guy looking to take accounts.

Had he done an estimate and it was cheaper with out knowing current price I wouldnt see an issue we all operate differently. Some of us have the new of the new, others old faithful.
 

DA Quality Lawn & YS

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rochester, MN
I don't refer nobody else, and rarely talk to most other guys in the business in my area. (just one old guy, who has 30 or so accounts). And this is why. I want to be able to seek, bid, and win accounts freely, without having to worry about upsetting someone. No doubt what he did was shady, but the best way to avoid that is to mind your own (literal) business.

I agree this is a business you don't have to interact with competitors 1 iota.
They don't give a crap about me, and likewise.
 

K c m

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Philadelphia, PA
It happens man....i lost 21 accounts 3 years ago to the local kid who under bid me in snow removal. Then mid summer they all came back.
Second....this is the way of it sonetimes. I have been on the recommended snow guy and while bidding the snow the customer asks me about the lawn. Normally I’ll say snow is the business at hand and so and so is a friend. And i try to stay out of the grass end of things and another guys business.
have you though ofdoing snow?
i operate lawns, snow, trees,French drains, electric to cover all the basis Where the customer doesn’t have to go looking for another guy that might steal work.
 

ArTurf

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Ark
While I'm sure there's good guys in this business there's not so good guys.

A few encounters I've had:

Started mowing a biz one morning and cam across a pile of shrub clippings which I moved about 3 feet so I could mow. Guy comes storming around the corner and starts yelling and getting in my face and literally wants to fight like a teenager in a parking lot. I took the high road and calmly let it go. For the record I didn't realize anyone was working there already or I would have never started as it's my policy that the 1st one there has the right of way. Some time later I was working on irrigation at a house and he shows up and starts mowing. Running the mower right by me as I'm kneeling on the ground making repairs. Evidently his policy (doubt he knows how to spell the word) isn't the same as mine. Anyway a real dickwad

Story #2
Saw a guy mowing and was stuck in mud. We all know from experience getting a mower unstuck by yourself can be difficult. Stopped and offered to pull him out while he ran the Z turn. Turns down my offer, not as in "thanks I got it" but simply no. Get's in his truck and is going to drag it out with the trailer attached but the truck won't start, LOL. Offer to jump him off which he takes. Jump start him and ask again if he wants me to pull him out, he says no. That ends our interaction. No "thanks for the help", "appreciate it", nada nothing. Dickwad #2

There's good people in this biz but there's possibly more of these types
 
OP
D

Derwood

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
SE Wisconsin
The responses here have been helpful. Many different opinions and plenty of food for thought. I think in the future, I'll just leave my customers to their own devices in terms of finding their own subs. In the end, it sounds like for a lot of you, this business is a lot more "cut throat" than I have allowed it to be. Perhaps I need to adjust my thinking a little bit. I don't want to be the LCO that everyone in town hates or bad mouths. But perhaps I need to be a little bit more aggressive in terms of acquiring accounts.

It does sound like many feel I have no "right" to that account because I referred the plowing, and with time, I'm seeing what many of you are saying. Looking at it like the glass is half full, I'm going to knock on a couple of his nearby clients' doors and just leave a card. If they want a bid, I'll give them an honest bid. One is adjacent, and another is right across the street. I would not have to load up and go, which for me, makes them more desirable. I think I can give them a decent price, and still make a decent penny. If they are good with keeping this guy, so be it.
 
Last edited:

Top Forums



Top