Lawn care customer mad that I removed too much in clean up.

When a lawn care customer calls you to remove overgrowth from an area that has been ignored for a while, you may want to consider finding out exactly what they want removed before you begin. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we see how a bad situation can arise when there are two conflicting opinions on what should be removed. Learning how to avoid such situations in the first place is better than trying to make things right after an error has occurred.

One lawn care business owner wrote “so this to me seems like a rookie mistake on levels, but then again a misunderstanding as well.

I was at a job site cutting brush and saplings out earlier today. In the midst of cleaning off a VERY neglected area, I cut out a pine tree that was bordered out by some old timbers that were all either dead or in bad shape.

The owner and I had talked and to my understanding, it was to come out. I got an email a while later from the daughter, her mother is the owner and apparently out of town, and was rather surprised that the pine was gone. She informed me it had been planted there years before and was uncertain if we made the right move by cutting it out.

There is no contract or agreement as to what stays and what goes, it’s part of her regular maintenance that we clean up some of the eye sores on her property. We had talked about doing a lot of things and honestly I’m convinced in my mind it was meant to go, if not I wouldn’t have cut it out.

My main issue is should I offer to replace the tree, or should I come up with a design idea to liven the whole place up, making the tree a necessity to go? It may not be an issue, but for some reason I got that feeling this is about to become a major issue.

I decided to call them back and left a message, since there was no answer, and apologized. I assured the customer that we want to provide a solution, whether it be replacing the tree, or coming up with something ultimately better than what she has. They claim it was expensive but you all know, that what’s expensive to them, is an everyday price to us. I’ve not heard back from the customer yet, but I’ll let it ride a day or two more before I call again.

She is not scheduled for regular maintenance for another week. That gives me time to get my plan of attack on the new landscape design together. I think it will smooth over well.  I hope anyway. If she can’t look past a mistake, then future business wouldn’t work anyway. My goal is to expand to where I can have crews working for me, I don’t want to be in the field forever.”

A second lawn care business owner said “this is what I do in such situations as I have run into this exact same problem in the past as well. I give the lawn care customer some marker ribbon and say ‘here, tie this ribbon on anything that you do NOT want to be removed. It allows me to get the job done to their specifications and sleep better at night.

When a spot isn’t maintained, it’s hard to pick and choose what comes out. At least she can have a fresh start now, and be grateful.”

A third added “what’s done is done, I hate it when I do something like that. If it becomes an issue, offering to replace it would be the right thing to do. I’m sure you will learn from this mishap, I know I have from similar situations.

I think though you should consider paying  her a visit before you show up for your next mowing.”

A fourth said “you are in lawn maintenance, she requested for you to clean up an area. You did what you could to help a client out. If she didn’t want the plant removed, she should have walked you through the spot and show you what to do.

I think you have every right to say something like ‘if only you had the time to walk me through it I would have known.’ Or just say ‘the area looked bad and I wanted to make your yard beautiful. When I get the grass growing, in this area, we can see if you still want something planting there or if the grass alone will look better. I want your yard to look better than your neighbors, and so far we’re off to a good start!’

Saying something like that should get the lawn care customer to see the area in a different light. Instead of thinking you took away too much, they will see you made the area look better.”

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