Do you find yourself overwhelmed at times when dealing with your lawn care customers? Are they each pulling and pushing you in different directions? Are you having a hard time keeping it all together and finding a way to grow? If so, consider these suggestions from an entrepreneur who’s family has been in business since the 1960’s, as shared to us through the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.
He wrote “I have been a part of my family owned and operated business since we opened our doors in 1966. At first we started out as a small mom & pop operation but we have definitely grown from there. Being in business for these many decades has taught us quite a bit that I would like to share with some of the newer start up business owners.
Here are two important keys to success:
#1 - Customer Service, Customer Service, and Customer Service! This can not be stressed enough or over done. We strive to be the best we can be when it comes to customer service and believe it extends beyond the point of purchase. Basically, we don’t try and make a quick buck. Instead we try to always do what is right for our customer, not necessarily what makes us the most money. When customers come to us for an estimate, we find out what they want done, what their larger vision is, and put together a plan to reach that goal together. We don’t ‘push’ unneeded upsells onto our customers just for the sake of upsells. Instead, we offer the customer suggestions on services or products only if it would add value to the finished project. You NEVER want to put a bad taste in the customer’s mouth during a sales presentation by being pushy.
#2 - Put money back into the company. For entrepreneurs and business owners, especially start ups or new ones, to grow you have to put money back into the company. So if you are having a great year, don’t give yourself a huge raise or bonus and deplete that money. Put it back into the business for equipment, sales, advertising, etc. Whatever you think will get you more business, jobs, and INCOME. Then down the line you can start giving yourself the raises and bonuses.
Many new businesses start up having the view they are going to focus on the customer. They figure, that is how they will shine. But I think what tends to happen is they get worn down and ground down over time and kinda let this ideal float away. The customers start becoming a pain. The complaints pile up and you just kinda get this mentality it’s you vs. them.
To combat this, you need to keep this customer service ideal fresh in your mind so you don’t get bored and lose interest in it and NEVER develop this mentality. If a lawn care customer is willing to hire you and pay you money, you need to remember to make them happy for this is how you grow! If you start going down a negative path, it will snowball in a hurry and you don’t want that!
The success of a lawn care and landscape business largely rests on it’s ability to gain new customers through word of mouth. So if you have multiple clients on one block and there are a lot of complaints, neighbors will talk and boom..you can lose an entire street in a short amount of time and not just 1 customer!
If you find yourself hearing complaints, the first thing you should do is put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself honestly if they are valid complaints or if they are trying to get one over on you. If they are valid, you need to make it right for the customer. Then you need to FIX the problem in your business operations so it doesn’t happen again. If you think the customer is trying to get one over on you or there is nothing you can do to satisfy them, you just have to let them go. Possibly suggest another company and thank them for the business they gave you and move on. It’s not worth the your time and money to battle over an issues you both can’t agree upon or continue in a situation where one of you is unhappy. With that said, always end it on the best terms possible.
You can’t make everyone happy. I have been in business for a long enough time to know that, but you have to try your best to keep the customers you want, happy. There will be some you will never make happy no matter what you do. Those you can not waste your time and money on.
When conflict arises, always try to put yourself in your lawn care customer’s shoes and handle it the best way you can. Don’t get frustrated, don’t get overwhelmed. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a breather and clear your head before taking that next step.”
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