Lawn care customer upset with final price.

Lawn care customers have expectations. When those expectation meet reality and the reality of the situation is not what they had expected, the situation tends to turn into a conflict. We see this happen in a discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum where one member shared with us how he bid a mowing job to a wife who agreed and after completion, the husband had a problem with the price. What do you do then?

One lawn care business owner wrote “so I start the day thinking how bad the day was going to be because of the rain we had over the past few days. To make a long story short, I bid this lawn care job at $40 to the wife. I mow the yard, takes me about 45 minutes. I thought it was a decent bid, and it didn’t require trimming.

When I knock on the front door the husband answers and looks a little annoyed. I greet him (he is the person I’ve been talking to over the phone) and he says ‘So, it’s forty, huh?.’

I tell him yea, and he then asks me ‘how long did that take you to mow my lawn?’ I tell him, ‘Oh, about 45 min. And then tell him that I can mow it for $20 on a regular basis’, but before I can get that out, he tells me he doesn’t need me to do that.

I ask him if he has a mower, and he mumbles something and says that $40 for 45 min of work is too much.

I try explaining that I have gas fees, maintenance, and other expenses as well. But he doesn’t hear it, and just closes his door. He was civil but, just rude about it.

The thing I don’t understand is if my price was so high, why didn’t the wife just say no? Why is it that it’s ok for any other profession to make money? Carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, etc but it’s not ok when it comes to lawn care professionals?

I think I could have closed the deal if I wanted too. But, I don’t much care to haggle, and they where 10 miles further than my furthest lawn care job anyways, so I figure it’s no loss to me.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I hear this a bit on our excavation and wood clearing job sites but I have invested thousands in equipment to make the job quick. Our wood chippers alone run $21,000. When a lawn care customer wants to give me some sass about price, I simply reply ‘I gave you a quote, time is money, and we operate the best gear available at a significant cost to us.’

Where we really hear complaints over price is in drain excavation work. We actually are 40% less that our competition in price, based on customer feedback, but my operators are super fast and we can get a job done quickly. The work we provide is top drawer. I get $1,500 for an average 150 foot drain. The guys are in and finished, including cleanup, in an average of 6 hours, unless they run into issues at which time we call the client. Most of the time, when we do run into an issue, it is generally and almost always bedrock.

I haven’t had this happen on lawn mowing as of yet, but that might be due to the size of the properties we mow and the equipment we use. We have just under 100 lawns ranging from 2,500 square feet to 2 acres.

An old friend of mine always had a great analogy to use when this came up…… He used to tell his landscaping customers ‘you can dig a hole with a shovel or you can use a backhoe. Either way the price is the same and I use the backhoe.’

They are either going to pay for labor or equipment so the price is the same.”

A third lawn care business owner suggested “maybe the guy was honestly having a bad day. I mean yeah at first It would bug me to no end. I would sit down at night after completing all the daily paperwork stuff when it comes to running a business, and give them a call. Explain to them that you have costs to cover and where you live, and they would most likely understand that you are barely making any profit going all out of your way to mow their lawn.

In this business you have to be fair to you clients but also have to be fair and true to yourself. If they don’t understand, I don’t think I would even bother with them any more. It sounds like to me that they might become a nightmare to deal with through the rest of the season, and god forbid if you put them on monthly billing, you would more than likely never see a check in the mail.

But if you wanted to try and save the lawn care customer I think you could have asked him why he is so upset. Allowed him to tell you why he thinks the price was too high, then explain to him that it takes twice as long to mow longer grass, which it basically like mowing a second yard.

It’s also always good to point out that you put quality over quantity, which is why you bag the lawn clippings and don’t side-shoot them all. He may have still been upset, but sometimes, it’s worthwhile to try and save them depending on the situation.”

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