Picky Customer or Bad Landscaper?

Carolina Cuttin' Company

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Swansea, SC
So, I'm about to pick up a 1.5-1.75 hr job in the middle of the season. It's a nice yard, and the owner is the friend of an existing customer. She's an older lady and she's switching b/c she had complaints about the previous landscaper. The yard itself was fine, her concerns were more relating to reliability and initiative. (Saying he'd do something and not doing it, omitting basic courtesies like picking up a small fallen branch, etc.) Her concerns seemed legitimate, assuming her statement of the situation was accurate, and not skewed by her irritation.

My question is: How often do you pick up a customer switching from another landscaper mid-season and find that the customer is unreasonable or picky, or how often do you find that it's the previous landscaper that was the problem?
 

JMK26

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Missouri
How often do you pick up a customer switching from another landscaper mid-season and find that the customer is unreasonable or picky, or how often do you find that it's the previous landscaper that was the problem?
Not mid season, maybe a couple but I have clients that switched to me because of last guy being a no show, missing spots....but i've also picked up clients that were picky.

(Saying he'd do something and not doing it, omitting basic courtesies like picking up a small fallen branch, etc.)
She's going to be picky. It's not the lawn care guy omitting basic courtesies...he probably charged for them and she omitted them and thinks these basic courtesies should be free so she's going to the next lawn guy hoping to get those things for free by playing you against the current guy. A business may offer basic courtesies but there isn't an industry standard that things are a courtesy. He'd say he'd do something and not do it sounds more like he would weed the beds, gave her a price, she said it should be free so he didn't do it because he's not doing it for free.

in my experience it's about 50/50 where the client is picky and the other lawn care guy just isn't doing his job properly, but a client giving an example of someone not picking up a stick and using the term basic courtesies (plural as well) will be a pita client.
 

hal

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Georgia
Just picked one up because previous lco was having different people each week with different ideas of what work needed to be done. Living room size lawn, very small, so I charged her more and all year around and they said yes. So...
 

tdipaul

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
NJ
Maybe take a stroll past the house to see whats up?

There could be ruts all over the yard, 2 foot tall weeds at the curb, trees unwacked, grass left in the street, etc .

Or it could be the nicest looking property ever

If its the latter, she's "picky" and trying to keep it nice on the cheap.
 

Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Bronze Member
You need to be able to read people quickly during the initial walk through. After 30 years in the industry, I can tell you if I'm going to want to work someone before I ever get out of the truck just by the way they keep their yard. I picked up a customer mid-season this year that was unhappy with their current LCO because they weren't trimming. The customers were absentee and selling the house. Nothing had been trimmed yet this year. The first time I mowed it 2 guys in a truck with a craftsmen riding lawnmower sat on the road and gave me the stink eye for poaching their account. Ironically, the neighbor has a LCO too and if I mow late afternoon he is drinking beer in front of his garage. Anyways, if I get the feeling someone might be a picky customer, I will put them on a per time contract that is non-binding. I point out that either party can end the contract at any time.
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
Basic courtesy’s
Fallen branch
You’re there once a week
You mow
Branch falls , that’s your responsibility?
Did they guy run it over with the mower? Did he mow around it?
Or did the customer see if after he’d been there recently?
Missed a spot.
Nope - never had an employee miss a spot... how could that happen?

Anyone who switches a service over that stuff is picky.

SOME customers have stellar lawns and pay premium prices and are going to demand the most attentive services.
Sure
But that’s not the average customer who just needs “maintenance”
For the $40 competitive weekly service , to be fair, you’re not going to get much.

The person didn’t do irrevocable damage, they didn’t “accidentally” let your dog out every damn week; they don’t mow Wednesday , Friday, Thursday , Monday and you never know when they’re coming....
Those are reasons to get rid of a service.

He missed a spot and doesn’t patrol my yard even when he’s not here? The customer is searching for attention.
Run.
 

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