Lawn care customer communication breakdowns.

Miscommunication with your lawn care customers can lead to a break down. Break downs in communication can lead to cancellation of mowing services. The steps you take to interact with your customers and keep them in the loop can keep them happy and lead to a long profitable relationship. But what happens when you don’t communicate well with your customers? We will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum how things can get all screwed up real quickly and how such situations can be easily avoided.

One lawn care business owner wrote “today I showed up to cut the grass of a new lawn care customer and what do I see but a different landscaping company already there, mowing the yard. I sat there in my truck, in shock and didn’t know what to do!

Let me rewind here a little to tell you about this customer. They signed a lawn care contract that says that either party can cancel with a 30 day notice with no cancellation fees. Payment is due at the end of the month after the mowing service is completed. This mowing customer is biweekly, starting on the first of the month but due to inclement weather and other issues, I showed up on the 5th. I guess he wanted his grass cut sooner. The customer didn’t even call either phone number I have or try to contact me by email.

This was very unprofessional. I was going to mow it yesterday but I had a flat on my landscape trailer. To make matters worst, I upgraded my mower specifically for this yard!

Well anyway I am not sure if there is anything I can do about it since no money has changed hands and no service had been done yet. I guess I could try billing him for one month but I doubt that I would get anywhere with it. I am thinking I should be getting deposits equivalent to one month at the time the contract is signed. If proper notice is given then the deposit could be refunded. Otherwise the deposit would be applied to the last month of mowing contract.

That’s pretty much where I’m at right now. Going over all of this in my head and rewording the my lawn care contract with some kind of clause or deposit. Applying the deposit to the end of the season seems to be the way to go. That takes away the risk of getting screwed with during the second month.

Well, after much thought I decided to just leave the scene and calm down a bit. Then later I called the homeowner. After talking to him, he said he thought I just blew him off on the first of the month, even though it was raining that day. The following day had light rain with t-storms too.

I told him he should have contacted me immediately and I would have dropped what I was doing if possible. He said he called another lawn care company out of need and I could resume the contract at the beginning of next month. Then I had to explain to him how I schedule my mowings, so there is no further miscommunication in the future.”

A second lawn care business owner said “in my opinion the fault can be place on both of you, but you are the one who stands to lose the most, so it’s your responsibility to be on top of these situations and not let them happen in the first place. From my experiences, bi-weekly lawn care customers like this one are usually looking for the cheapest way to get their lawn done and will go from business to business no matter what happens. To deal with this, I talk to my new customers and explain everything. I include in my contract what will happen when weather doesn’t permit mowing service.

Even with all this, we all know that clients don’t always read contracts. So for the first 2 months I go out of my way to communicate with them. I leave notes, make calls etc. Sure it is a pain but it keeps my clients with me. When they get used to how you work, then they don’t need as much communication for the small stuff. So try reviewing your operating procedures and see where you can improve on your lawn care customer communication so you don’t have to repeat this situation in the future.”

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