References help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by greenguy08, May 27, 2008.

  1. greenguy08

    greenguy08 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 99

    had a customer ask me for references before I do a medium sized install for them. I have a couple clients that I know would be happy to do this, but others are highly professional people that I would not consider bothering to ask them to do this. I'm going to put together a website, but not during the peak season. What would you do?
  2. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    Have em call me, I'll vouch for you. :)

    Last year, my first year, I already had my webiste up and I had a little guestbook set up for customers to go to and brag about how good my service was. It worked pretty well. I had one unruly customer that didnt like being dropped and decided to give a few choice (bad) words on the guestbook, but you can get one that has settings where posts have to be approved. Thats how I had mine set up.

    I'm not gonna lie and say I didn't go to my guest book twice and enter in a few good comments to get things rolling though ;)

    I don't see why you wouldn't want a website up in the peak of the season, unless you mean you just dont have time.

    Seems like the best solution is to call up some of your more casual customers, maybe two of them, and ask them if they would please be kind enough to act as references. Maybe give them 25% off per mow or something, a little incentive if they seem weary?
  3. greenguy08

    greenguy08 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 99

    I definitely meant that I don't have the time to put a site together during the summer.
  4. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Be carefull about referances.....

    We had a large appartment complex after us, it was like 75000.00 a yrae with a 8,000.00 sgin on Bonus.... YUP all's I had to do was sgin and they were to put 8 G in my hand.... I turned them down, Simply because they wanted at least 50% of my customer list, as referances.

    NO WAY... Remember when you ask someone to be used as a refance GET IT IN WRITTING...... you could wind up being sued......
  5. KGR landscapeing

    KGR landscapeing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,544

    You need refrences? Did i ask you for a deposit? NOOOOOO If you dont trust me i am not trusting you. End of that story though i have a whole file of thank yous and refrence letters from clients. But if you dont trust me straight up then somethings not right. Just me and my personality though
  6. greenguy08

    greenguy08 LawnSite Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 99

    Thanks, KGR. That's kinda what my instincts were telling me too. Anyone else?
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It's up to you, for myself it really depends thou I've been around now my 7th year it gets to a point I get THAT question it might be time to run... They're not usually bad customers, I just dislike the tone this sets as I feel it kind of puts me in the lawn boy position. But I've had somewhere between a few and several ask, some are still my customers today... This is one thing I wouldn't outright judge a customer on, I can honestly say there's no telling.

    References can be friends also, thou I would use customers first.
    And if you don't have enough customers, prior employers also.
    Also I would contact those customers and ask them, even if you know for sure.
    It's the polite way of doing things (plus it gives them a heads up, less surprise).

    In a few cases maybe even a teacher from back in school, just as an example I mean someone in a professional position that would have no reason to tell a lie... Not saying friends would, but they would be my last choice for this, no offense.

    So I would use customers, prior employers / professional relations, friends, pretty much in that order.
    As for how many, three references appears to be an acceptable number, two at the least but three is better.

    With a commercial property I would agree, had you done that you would've very likely sold out your customers.
    I would never give out such information to a business, no way.

    So for residential thou, it's all right, if that's the only thing that's stopping me from getting another account I usually don't have too much of a problem with it.

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