Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Turf 101, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Turf 101

    Turf 101 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I have picked up a few accounts lately where the home owner had fired "their guy". Some have told me why and some have not. What do you guys think is the overwhelming reason a homeowner cancels their current lawn care services and goes with someone else?
  2. ETM

    ETM LawnSite Bronze Member
    from GEORGIA
    Messages: 1,880

    They call in having weeds and no one from the current company comes out and takes care of the problem. When we get a complant we are on that property within 24hrs. We hardly have anyone that cancels. That’s what I hear most.
  3. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,418

    Several reasons are possible.
    Old guy was not consistent with his schedule.
    Old guy did poor job
    Customer thinks they were paying too much.
    Customer wants to try to save money.
    Customer gets a new guy every year because they don't pay well.
  4. Trees Too

    Trees Too LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,920

    Poor service results; (i.e. weeds, poor color, etc).
    Got a cheaper price from a competitor.
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,370

    Warm friendly personality that wants to be helpful--is so much better than a "can't be bothered" attitude that insists everything is the customer's fault. I am not so good at this. Do your best. Be sure the person who answers the phone is well-trained with a smiling voice and helpful professional customer service. Read a book on how to do this in a professional way. Don't make mistakes on the grass. Don't make mistakes dealing with customers. Costs you big money either way.
    Quick attention to complaints goes a long way. Stay in touch with your calls. Try to return calls within 4 hours. Try to attend to resprays and problems within 24 hours. Everyone loves quick service.
    You can do this. Turgren cannot.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  6. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 5,792

    If I'm taking on a new customer I always ask them why they are changing or what their thoughts are. Good time to explain all the what ifs and why's of lawn care.
    walkinonwater27, tlg and ETM like this.
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,246

    So the number one reason?

    “Their guy” quotes a price that is too low
    “Their guy” doesn’t put the agreement in writing
    Over time the customer becomes more demanding and expectant.
    Over time “Their guy” gets other accounts that are easier and pay more (comparatively) and “Their guy” becomes resentful.

    The separating of ways is usually mutual
    Typically when getting a new contact that has fired their last guy, be wary it’s a sign the customer may be difficult or unreasonable, this is especially true if they’ve been through multiple contractors.

    Usually a difficult customer is manufactured by contractors that don’t know what the fudge their doing.
    They give away things like weeding the beds, getting the ladies paper, thatching and/or aerating, lime and fert as “part” of spring clean up for no extra charge.
    Just to “get the work” or “add extra value”

    Then the customer “learns” they can have these things for free.
    Then the customer learns friends, neighbors or family have their service done for cheaper:
    “My spring clean up is $125”
    They think to themselves “I pay $175”
    Except there’s no mention they get free lime/fert and aeration as part of their service while the other property doesn’t.
    Not apples to apples.

    Then the customer wants the service “they always got before” for the price of ala carte spring clean up.
    They get sideways with the first guy who gave them everything under the sun for $175 (who now realizes that was too cheap) by demanding a Lower price to match their friend or neighbor.
    They end up contracting someone new and ONLY ask for “spring clean up”
    They get their price of $125 and then complain when they didn’t get the “aeration and fertilizer”
    The company says “you asked for spring clean up”
    The customer thinks they’ve been cheated ; fires that company and now they call you.

    The viscous circle is created by the first company trying to do everything “better” than everyone else by giving away cookies and cup cakes as he skips through his life savings to begin his dream of being self employed.
    Three years later, why don’t I have any money?
    He’s now soured with his customers and “punishes them” with extreme price increases for “cheating him” over the last three years.

    The lesson here?
    Taught to me decades ago by ed laflamme as I’ve mentioned before.
    Ruth Chris steak house
    If you order a steak that’s what you get a steak
    The veggies and potatoes are extra
    If you want a “package” price you can have that too but you don’t call the package “steak”
    Everything is defined
    With a price

    If you want to give the customer something like a free aeration
    You invoice the aeration ($75) and then give a credit ($75) as a “courtesy aeration”

    This teaches the customer there IS a value to the service, you just didn’t charge for it ... this time.
    If they ever approach you with “but this guys mowing price is cheaper”
    You open their account and look

    Hmmm does he give you $400 value in courtesy services every year?
    If some guy is going to low ball your account from you, make sure he gets saddled with your extra aeration (or whatever extra you were doing) too
    That way he’ll go out of business twice as fast, and you’ll get your customer back faster.
    And the customer will appreciate what you do give them (if you do) because they see it every month in an invoice where it’s dicumented at it’s true value.
    walkinonwater27, bmc1025, tlg and 4 others like this.
  8. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,273

    most likely it's the customer. i had one that fired me one time. that's the only time i've ever been fired in 8 years. so do you think i was the problem? nope

    it had rained a lot and the ground was soft and i made a divot in the ditch near the road with the mower. he says that makes water flow off the road into the ditch. :laugh: he doesn't know that that happens even if the grass is a foot tall in the ditch. the water is coming down either way.

    anyways here it is 5 years later and the guy hires me again. he doesn't even remember me i don't guess. he's some old man in his 80s so his memory is bad. he seems to be more easy going now. i guess he finally got tired of hiring and firing people over and over all these years.
  9. Exmark fan

    Exmark fan LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I had a client of mine tell me this morning that retirement was boring and because of that they have decided to mow the lawn themselves.
  10. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,246

    so the excitement in their life is 30 minutes once a week huh?
    ETM likes this.

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