Help For The New Guy

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by acamp53472, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. acamp53472

    acamp53472 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I've recently started a lawn business to do part time in addition to my full time job. I say recent but it's actually been 2 years. I've had as many as 20 accounts last summer but here in Central Florida and I guess everywhere it's very competitive. Now I may have 8 accounts only a couple for over a year. I'm having problems with keeping accounts. I've had some complaints and some compliments from customers. Is this common?
  2. golfnpreacher

    golfnpreacher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    I would say this is typical. I use a "Service Report" form that is on the back of each invoice I leave. The report list different services I offer, but one section includes what I did for each client. On it I also include recommendations on things I see that need attention.

    These provide constant feedback and interaction with the client, even when they are not home at the time of service. And it is that development of interaction that prevents an unexpected switch by the customer. It shows them you are interested in their business, not just their money.

    From my previous business experience I firmly believe that if you establish a relationship with the customer the price of your service is rarely an issue. But too many LCO simply want to "mow and blow" and get paid. Then they complain about "low ballers" when the client switches. Treat your customers well, not like someone that is simply paying for services.

    Think about it. Think about people you do repeat business with and compare that to people you could do repeat business with but don't. Why do you repeat with someone? Is it ONLY because they have the best price? Or are their other factors? Do they work with you, do they know your name, do they make recommendations? Or do they simply want to separate you and your money as quickly as possible?

    Treat your "repeat" clients the way you get treated at the businesses you repeat business with.
  3. acamp53472

    acamp53472 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    What do you do about a guy that's complaining about his spinkler heads being damaged by my lawn mower? I'm not sure I've done any damage but he states that he's had to replace several heads.

    I've offered to add mulch to one of his beds in the front yard to hopefully diffuse the situation. I've had this account for over a year and really don't want to loose it.
  4. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

  5. ALLPro Landscaping

    ALLPro Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    Its not some thing you can help or avoid, I just lost a customer, I picked them up at the beginning of this year, their grass was about two foot high, I new they were not going to spend big bucks, well I have been cutting them on a weekly basis, they have been easy customers till last week, I'm their mowing the lawn, when this guy ask me to come to the front walk way, never saw this guy, don't know if this is the husband , since all I deal with is the wife, anyway he begins to tell me I broke his lights, "you broke my lights", I see the lights in the walk, just the posts and one head, they are little led walk way lights they probably got off tv, anyway I told him I didn't brake them, so while trying to tell him to let me talk with my guys and see if they broke one. he goes " DOG you broke my lights" that's when I said good by I just ended your contract, dont call me dog, Any way I spoke with my guys and one of them did brake one light, I saw this light sitting on the top step for two weeks, I didn't even think we broke them, I don't know what happened to the other 4 out of six, since the lights were gone. Anyway they are probably people who got a cheaper price or what ever reason and were looking to get out of my contract. Dont take it personal its going to happen. only replace what you know you broke, if you broke any, which I cant see you braking any while mowing, unless their up, ask him for receipts for the heads that he had to replace, Ill bet you he doesn't, he is probably just a miserable human being who want to make your life hell. Just keep going and you will find thoes customers who will stick with you for years, it takes a while buy you will get their

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    If you do good work and take responsibility for your actions you will not loose customers. But what you think is good work and what your customer thinks is good work can be two totally different things. You just have to constantly be communicating with your customers and always asking "what can I do to do a better job". Just show some initiative and they can tell you care.
  7. J-Man

    J-Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    The most common problem is broken heads. If our mowers hit a head it is because it is set at an improper height. It's a hard sale to the customer, but offer to fix it for $?? and let them know if we hit it again, we'll replace it at no charge. The trick is to set it at the height it should have originally been set at. If you do that, you'll never have any more issues with that head.
  8. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I have a statement on my new service agreements regarding sprinkler heads. Basically it says that sprinkler heads do break, especially if they are several years old or older. The plastic weathers, ages and becomes brittle. If just by rolling over a head, should it break, it is not my reponsibilty. Some people seem to think the ONLY way a head can be broken is by the LCO. I know where the heads are, and never turn on them. If rolling over a head with my Quick 32, which carries no more that 150 pounds on the back wheels with a loaded bagger can crack a head by rolling over it.... that was an old head, and even a person stepping on it could break it more easilly.

    I know, as a solo, if I broke a head or not. If I did, I'll fix it, even if I failed to notice a faulty head that failed to retract. That is what my statement says.... if I broke it, I'll fix it, and I will determine if I was the one who broke it. Period. If my word aint good enough.... go find someone else, and I did in fact fire a customer over this issue this season. I'm not going to pay for an irrigation system overhaul because some clueless home owner finally had an irrigation guy come in for the first time in years and blame me for all the work needed to fix it. Fired her ass after she demanded 120 bucks. I walked away from her and her 150 dollar unpaid tab.

    Funny, the other 3 adjoining houses have been sooooo nice and sweet to me since then....:laugh:

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