Where did I fail????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tn Lawn Man, May 23, 2005.

  1. Tn Lawn Man

    Tn Lawn Man LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    I feel like Obi Wan Kenobi failing Anakin Skywalker.

    Here is the back story.

    Neigborhood kid (17years old) had a few lawns last year. Kept coming to me for advice. He was nice enough. And, he kept picking my brain.

    I don't fear competition at all. Not that I am going to give away every trade secret, however, he was trying to earn college money so I gave him a few extra tips here and there.

    He surprised me and bought a commercial grade walk behind unit and started going a little more pro.

    No biggie....good for him I thought.

    Then came subtle hints that sent up red flags. He became preoccupied with where my accounts were located. Hmmmmnnnn

    Then I start hearing of him lowballing.....bad!!!

    Then it happened.

    He told me he was following around crews to see where their accounts were. After they left he would approach the customer and tell them he had commercial grade equipment and would mow their yard for $5 less than they were paying the other guys.

    He further stated that he did not have a wife and kids to worry about so he could do that and still have more than enough money for himself.

    I told him to be careful where he tread. Because, some of these crews will get angry. And, if they find out what he did to them they might seek revenge. He said, "Oh, never thought about that. Oh, well it is chance I'll have to take".

    Now, I know when I was giving him tips I always told him about pricing and courtesy.

    He really fell off the deep end. I guess greed got the best of him.

    Where did I go wrong????
  2. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    not you, Question is where did he go wrong? you claim you explained pricing so obviously he wasn't listening, or he had his intentions to do this all along.
  3. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    imo you let him see how much money you were raking in and he figured... hell i can do that!!!
  4. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    experience, reputation, reliability...a proven commodity...never worry about the brand new guy offering his deep discounts. Create the value for your service in the customer's mind and who will care about the new startup. There will always be someone looking to cut your price, but will they have the same experience and professionalism? Anyone with the experience will value their time and not give it away. Make sure you point out the differences beyond equipment and who cares what he's doing. I can get a car for 500 bucks...does that mean I want to send my wife and kids on a long roadtrip in it? Not everything is about cheap.
  5. jpp

    jpp LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    i don't think you did anything wrong. You were trying to help someone in the biz and they are being a jerk and taking advantage of what you have given him. If he does it to any of your customers then I would approach the customer and tell them what is going on. Heck he probably does not have insurance. Tell them 5 bucks cheaper and no insurance is a recipie for disaster.

    By the way if he does take one of your customers tell him it is hard to work with a broken leg. :p
  6. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    I dont honestly think i would worry. I doubt many of my customers would hire a 17 y/o kid anyway, especially when approacked in that way. It did happen to me once, the customer told me about it and I laugh every time I see the loser. And he was in his 30's and in business alot longer than me.
  7. daltonbuck

    daltonbuck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Damn, that's messed up. My advice give the kid a cold shoulder, no more advice and let him know (if he keeps bugging you), that what he did was not cool, eventhough it was genius from his business standpoint. Sounds like an untrustworthy back stabber to me.
  8. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Hey not what you did wrong. It is what his parents did wrong. They forgot to teach him honesty, integrity and basic right from wrong.

    I would wash my hands of this kid.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    where you went wrong, was educating your competition. it's like a great fighter teaching someone else his skills, and training method, then having to face him in the ring, and getting knocked out. you weirdos can't seem to understand, that competition is comming out of the woodwork. we rely greatly on them, trying, struggling, and failing. now, you teach them how not to fail, and you created a monster, a well advised, well trained individual, who is willing to work for minimum wage. you made your bed, now sleep in it
  10. Glenn J

    Glenn J LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    I don't think you did anything wrong. Some people need to learn the hard way.

    If anything, market to your customers the fact that you're insured. As a homeowner, that's usually the first question out of my mouth before I ask how much. We had some trees removed a few years ago and when I set up an estimate time, I asked if they were insured.

    Having someone cut my lawn is hard concept for me to grasp..I'm one of those odd ones who enjoys doing it. However, if someone were to cut my lawn, I'd ask if they have coverage. Sure, it's nice to save $10 a mow, but if Mr. NoInsurance hurts himself, that savings goes out the window with a homeowners claim and a rate increase.

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