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Other People's Customers (OPC!)

2461 Views 27 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  redbull
Here's the dealie-o. At the beginning of the season I got a call for a dethatching job for a woman who lived across from one of my established customers. I went to do the estimate, and discovered while talking to her she had another LCO mowing her yard. She told me she asked him first, but he doesn't do any extras, just plain old mowing. He doesn't even do her leaves, just mows them over! I asked her if it was going to cause her problems with the other LCO if I did the dethatching, and she claimed he was okay with it. So I did it, and seeded the heck outta the thing and she's practically got a new lawn.

I see the other LCO every now and then, he'll wave at me but he's not overly friendly. He's an older dude and always looks angry.

My question is, is it wrong for me to try to sell other extra services to her? She is the other LCO's customer, is it wrong for me to send her fliers for aeration, fall clean up, etc? I'm not looking to steal her as a mowing client from him, but if he's not doing the extras, should I sell my services to her? And if she asks for a mowing estimate, is it wrong for me to give it to her?


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If it was me i would sell her on everything except the mowing, which is the only thing the other guy does. That way you are not hurting him and you are helping yourself.
now this is me, but I would sell the mowing as well. If she wants you to do this additional work, and he can't do it, just sell the mowing as well.
Well...look at it this way

I like McDonald's Fries
And The Burgers at bk

but Wendy's has pretty good fries AND good burgers.

Price is not really an issue, just what is practical. Why go to two restaurants to be satisfied when I can go to one.

I say go for the full package with her. A business thrives when customers demands are meet them! The competition cant (or wont) so step up to the plate...I'm hungry now...
I'll also add the guy does a crappy job mowing. Always leaves clippings and clumps on the lawn. And the last time I saw him, I watched him mow. Doesn't blow anything, uses his mower to clear off the walks and driveway.

OPP, Other peoples properties...
IMO, if you know the guy then I wouldn't step on his turf & invade his territory.

A, You do the extra work, let him do the mowing & avoid a possible conflict.
B, You do the extra work & possibly pick up a new yr. round customer. Yet step on the other guys feet & he gets upset.
C, Talk to the guy who mows & work out some kind of agreement where you could provide all the "extras" (where the $ is at). Yet have a mutual agreement where you don't step on his feet for mowing & he don't step on yours for the "extras"...

Sounds like you need to find out where this guy takes his lunch breaks & start up a friendly convo, check out his personality & see where it may lead.
Regardless of how crappy a job he does, IMO I would go and sell the other services. If you don't, there is always the chance someone else will.
These are tough calls, my question is this;
Is this guy really a LCO or a guy out mowing for beer money. If he is legit (taxes, licenses, charging correctly) then you got to give him room. If he is not operating as a business then I would consider selling extras.
To me it sounds as if the guy is not a LCO but some guy that just mows lawn. Its still your call, you have to live and work there. Good Luck.
Sell the entire package

You operate a business or not??
I would sell the entire package. I find that most of my customers want to only deal with one company.
I have a similar situation.... did a spring cleanup..... (pushed off by snow last november) for a customer I had never met..... they are not home much.... I did the cleanup on a Sunday..... Blew the leaves then Vac'd with the Lazer... Looked Awesome!
Customer sent a letter with the payment that they were ecstatic about how good it looked!

I had previously discussed mowing with this customer, but they have a friend (I don't know how legit the biz is) who has been doing it for years. I have seen the lawn, he does a good job.
I gave the customer a quote for mowing and told them I totally understand that they are happy with the indiv. doing it now, so, no, I don't expect them to change, but I would like to provide service if they would like me to.

I know that any extras will only be done by me...... these people love my work, and keep telling me so (trimmed shrubs a couple weeks back). And I know that when this friend of theirs gets out of the biz..... I'm told he's been talkin of retitring..... I'll be hired for the mowing......
I'll be happy to let him mow for now, I'll take the extras, everyone's happy, including the customer, which is really whats important.
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Just curious;If he does a really bad job why does she keep him? It seems like if she wants the extras she must be aiming for a nicer yard.Maybe there is some other reason why she stays with this guy.I'd try to find out why as subtle as possible and don't bash his work since you're not sure his situation;otherwise sell away.If you want to go the extra mile introduce yourslf to this guy and offer him a finders fee for additional work.Make him comfortable with the fact you aren't going to tread on him.He could get you other work as well.I do a lot of fertilization for a couple of guys that aren't licensed and get lots of landscape work from them since all the do are lawns.
God, what are we talking about here? Don't give a bid for the mowing cause it might upset the other guy? Are you nuts?!!?! If this clown is " blowing" off everything with his mower, that definitly sounds like a "will work for beer" situation. Wow, can't imagine what that would have been like for other businesses, Joe car dealer, " Ill just go corner Sam at his place for dinner and see what kind of guy he is before I offer one of his customers a cheaper new car", whaaaaa???! Maybe the lady is afraid to fire the guy if he is as scary looking as you describe, afraid he may torch her house or something if he sees you mowing, ha. Give the bid and push your services if the money is right. Later.
Business is business. The dude was alright with it. I would even advertise mowing. If they decide to go with you, it was for a reason.
Maybe I'm missing something here but this is a SERVICE industry and it is a BUSINESS.I don't like to step on anyones toes but if you are not giving the customer what they want then you should either add additional services or expect the competition to take customers away.Emotion does not count in business good business practice does.If all you want to do is mow then you should expect a limited clientel.Every business competes. If another lco takes work from me I am going to figure out why.
Not whine about it.

That's fine
Hey extra work is just that, extra work. We have run through similar situations and eventualy turned them into our full service customers
Just sell all the other services....You wont step on his toes. After you do a few of the extras for the tennants, they will come around and let you just take care of it all.

You didnt have anything to do with them dropping this guy...

Originally posted by GLAN
Sell the entire package

You operate a business or not??
I just did it today..a lady called me up and asked me to come and do an estimate for her shrubs because the other LCO hasn't done them in a long time. I got there and they looked horrible. I gave her a price for them and she agreed. Also while I was standing there I told her that the lawn is being cut too short and that she should ask them to raise the height a little. So she said, "Well, what would you charge me for it?" I gave her a price and I got it.

Originally posted by GLAN
Sell the entire package

You operate a business or not??

That is exactly what i did ;)
I had the same thing, got a call in the spring, asked about a price for a clean up. Talked to the guy, is regular LCO did not do any clean ups. I gave him a price, then he asked about a price for mowing also. My price was $10 more per cut than who he was using. He went with us, and is also extremely pleased. His old LCO still cuts his neighbors yard, and this guy can't even wave or anything. I look at it this way, I did not solicit this customer, he solicited me. He must not have been very happy with the other guy, because my price was higher, and he didn't even bat an eye about the price.

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