"well, you don't want your clients talking bad about you..."

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    let me ask you pros a question, you guys, with your 6 month waiting lists, and pre qual clientelle...... i have heard it here, one million times: "always leave on a good note, always do the right thing, you don't want your ex customers talking bad about you, bad news travels fast....blah blah blah.....". so let me ask you this HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE AVOIDED? if you have policies, reasonable ones, and you enforce them, you are GARENTEED to p!ss people off, and yes indeed, they will talk trash on you. if you don't enforce your policies, you are a sucker, and doomed. here are 3 scenerios that have happened to me, in the last 2 months alone: put in some plants last year, customer never watered, they were sickly, but made it through the winter. in this years drought, they slowly died. client asked to have them replaced, i said yup, at the usual fee. warrenty has expired, and you never watered. he was a bit disgruntled, but agreed. ok, i replace them at the full price, he doesn't water, and within 4 weeks they are skeletons. he demands to have them replaced, nope, sorry, you don't water, i don't replace. the end result-" bobby doesn't back his product." scene #2- i aerated and seeded 3 neighbors in a row, 2 of them watered, thier lawns are beautiful. one didn't water, she does not have even one piece of grass, none. she wants it re-done. nope, i aint doin it. no water, no grass, period. the outcome:" bobby does shoddy work, and doesn't back his product." scene #3- client was habitually late on his payments. it was a constant volley of cancelling service, waiting for payment, reinstating service, cancelling again, and so on. i finally got paid up to date, and cancelled him. the end result-" bobby is unreasonable, and is constantly demanding money." tell me HOW on god's earth, you can avoid being badmouthed. using these 3 scenes, what would you have done differently?
  2. battags

    battags LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607


    You just need to be more tactfull. My definition of 'Tact' is...

    "The ability to tell someone to go to Hell, in such a manor that they anticipate the trip".

    By reading years of your posts, I sometimes get the feeling that you forget the second part and just tell people to go to hell! Be smooth about it. I have never, as I'd guess to be true of the majority of LS members, had the negative experiences that you report. I don't wish your luck on anybody! Whew!

  3. BryPaulD

    BryPaulD LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 392

    Make sure they know warranty doesn't cover things like non watering. People will talk $hit know matter what. Make sure more good things are said vs. bad. Always remember there are two sides to every story. Ask them if they could live without water.
  4. Nosmo

    Nosmo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,216

    I can't tell you how to keep a customer or former customer from bad mouthing you .

    The customer with the plants must be an idiot if what you say is true about never watering .

    The same goes with the woman who never watered her aerated and seeded lawn. Even a monkey is not an idiot --Monkey See Monkey Do. Her neighbors were watering
    their lawns.

    The one who claims you are always wanting money is another idiot type case. Who thinks someone is going to work on their property and never going to ask to be paid ?

    The ones bad mouthing you verbally if it gets bad enough
    can be sued for slander if you want to pursue it. If any of them puts some of this BS in writing then you have grounds for a libel suit.

    We have free speech in America but there are also limits.

  5. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    The one very simple solution to this is top secret, but maybe I can share it here for my lawnsite friends to learn from:


    If you saw them not watering, you should have stopped and knocked on their door or called and said "sir/ma'am: i noticed that your lawn/plant wasnt being watered as it should, if you would like I could spend some time here and water it, but I would of course have to charge, so you might be better off doing it yourself. If it isnt watered consistently I wont be able to gaurantee that it will survive."

    AND a chance to upsell the plant guy the second time around: Sir, I will add Terra-Sorb Hydrogel Crystals (or similar) to help retain the water so if you miss a watering it won't hurt as much. This will be an extra charge of $XX, but will be worth it. Maybe I should have recommended it the first time around, but it is only needed when watering will be missed... etc..

    As for the guy who didn't pay on time, I seriously doubt he is bashing you to his friends, and if he is, I am sure they see through it, or know that he is bad with money.
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    curious as to why you sold your business in 2003
  7. grassyfras

    grassyfras LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,475

    Ya you should say something. If you know there gonna be PITA.
  8. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,930

    I don't think anyone can avoid that stuff. I have bent over backwards for people (before I had a service contract) and couldn't please everybody. Now, with a contract, at least I can say "it's in your contract." If you're in business long enough with enough customers you will eventually be bad-mouthed by somebody....no matter what.

    TURFLORD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    If an EX customer wants to bad mouth me............here it comes...........................wait for it...................ASK ME IF I CARE :sleeping:
  10. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,296

    "Customer's who complain are our best friends, because they give us an opportunity to improve"-Stew Leonard. Think about this.
    Scene 1-State in contract that waranty it void unless a regular watering regimen is performed.
    Scene 2-Ditto Scene 1
    Scene 3-All accounts must be kept current, if not, immediate termination of service will be instated.

    3 Problems solved.
    If they chose to bad mouth you, it will only happen once, keep adding as problems arise...

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