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Got a call today for an est. what would you do?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Trinity Lawn Care LLC, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    We received a call today for an estimate that was a referral from a current customer. It is the next door neighbor of two current customers.

    Here is the situation. The person that called is currently a customer of a friend of mine who is another local lco here in the area. I would not want to do something that is going to seem shady to a friend, but I must do the estimate since it is a referral. We do not want our current customer to feel that we are not reliable. Plus, if they are calling us they are unhappy with him anyway and if it isn't us it will be someone else. Should I call my friend and let him know about the situation? What we you folks do? The problem that I have with it is this. If I didn't know whether or not the person was his customer and they called that would be one thing, because we do have a couple of people that were his customers that are ours now. However, we did not know that they were his customers when we did the estimates and did not find out until much later. This person I have actually cut before for him, because he couldn't get to it and my customer is right next door. Any input would be great!
  2. Oxmow

    Oxmow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I have had this situation before as well. I called my friend and told him what was up and one of two things have happened.

    1. He went to his customer and told them that he had heard that they were searching out other options and what could he do to make the problem disappear.

    2. We talked and i got his price for their service and estimated way more than he charges.

    Either way i didn't lose a friend in the biz.
  3. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    I'd do the same thing... call up the friend and let him know that this specific customer is looking around for somebody else. Go from there.

    I've done this in the past and 3 things have happened...

    1) friend kept the account without any troubles
    2) friend kept account for maybe a few months and was then terminated.
    3) I got a new account with friend's blessing.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Call the friend BEFORE you do the estimate. Let him know that you ill ask what the concern is with their existing service. See how he feels about it, and he may just advise you to go ahead and take it. You can mae more money there than he can, anyway.
    I went round and round about this with a friend of mine. I always told him that if the situation ever came up that I found out one of his clients ever contacted me, I would have to tell them sorry, that I cannot service the property due to a conflict of interest. This guy is my mentor for chem., and I worked my internship under him (his company). Well, finally he just jumped in my case a little and told me like this. He said. "Look. It' going to happen sooner or later in this business, as you OR I can NOT serve hundreds of customers growing into the thousands and not have the same people call us at one point or another. If you DO get a call from someone who is a client of mine, then you need to take it, because if they are calling, if they don't get you, they are likely to get someone else. So, on that basis, if they are going to get someone else, it might as well be one of US making the money. I wouldn't want you to turn an account down for any reason like that."
    Now, on that basis, maybe you can tell your friend thatyou can and will give him the next mowing call that comes to you - especially if it is in a bettr geographical location for him than what this one is.
    We network and trade off work all the time with other associate lco's. We also sub each other for different things to get more work done. Not only does this work with mowing, as it is not that uncommon to go cut a lawn for someone else now and again and vice-versa, but we also do it with snow removal and ice management - where time is of the essence. I remember when my dad was in the hospital just before he passed. I HAD to be there, but there were customers that had to be done, too. I had friends calling to help out, and they were pulling together and going and taking care of some of my customers for me. I can't even describe just how touched I was by the show of love, friendship, and support that everyone put out for me. There were even guys here on Lawnsite (and another forum) who were offering their help and assistance. Thank you again. It greatly reminded me of the stories you hear of the farmers that pull together to get someones crops out of the fields when they are unable to. I can only HOPE for the day that I can give back in any way to some of these guys.

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