When I read this discussion I really thought it covered a pretty big issue that I think the lawn care business owner just didn’t see. Then it got me thinking, we all might be doing things that we may just not realize we could be doing differently and getting better results. In this situation a lawn care business owner was out giving a mowing estimate when a neighbor called the cops on him and he was shocked this happened but let’s look into it and figure out what went wrong.
In the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum he wrote “I had a very strange situation happen to me the other day. Myself and my two business partners were out estimating a lawn care job when a neighbor called the cops on us! The house we were estimating is up for sale and we are quoting the price to the realtor who is then going to pass on the information to the seller.
We thought nothing of what we were doing, and as we were leaving the neighborhood, two cop cars surrounded us.
My question is: do I tell the client/realtor this happened? It was incredibly embarrassing! We were doing absolutely nothing wrong. We think that the woman was obnoxious. She never apologized and said that she was just looking out for the neighborhood. She did say that she was part of the Neighborhood Watch. If the Neighborhood Watch catches wind, will we still not be trusted in that cul-de-sac?
Any advice? I don’t want the realtor to hear about it from someone else, but I also feel embarrassed and like we did nothing wrong in the first place. Has this ever happened to anyone else? It seems like it could since lawn care professionals sometimes arrive when no one else is home.”
One lawn care business owner wrote “It is annoying when neighbors of your customers are obnoxious.
I have had many more lawn care customer neighbors yell at me over the years than customers themselves. One busy body literally cussed me out because the lawn I was cutting had been allowed to grow too tall. It was my first time ever servicing that client. The guy was a jerk and I just told him to mind his own business.
When things like this happen, you just have to find the positive aspects of it. Think of it this way; the nosy neighbor who called the cops on you probably knows everyone in the neighborhood. Turn this situation around and make her realize you are not a criminal. Instead you are just trying to grow your business. Get her to like you and she may become your best word-of-mouth advertiser telling everyone she knows about your great work.
It is difficult to look for the bright side when you’ve been wronged but when you’re in business for yourself, it behooves you to look for the silver lining.”
He responded by saying “it helps a lot to hear such a positive response. We decided to let that job go. We just didn’t feel comfortable dealing with that neighborhood. The woman was just a little too viscious and truly used one too many curse words to make us feel comfortable. I had tried to reason with her in such a calm and cool manner and she was not responsive. We are still feeling great about our business and know that as many times that we will have to deal with hard situations there will always be a better situation right around the corner. We are actually too busy right now to take on that job, which is a good feeling considering we’ve only been in business three months!
So, thanks again for helping me look at the bright side, because there always is one. And in the future I will definitely take your advice as far as making the neighbor change her mind about us. I am a charmer!”
So far what has been discussed is good. It’s great advice to always try to deflate such situations. But you have to ask yourself what precipitated this situation? Are you wearing a company uniform? Do you have signs on your truck that is parked out front? If you don’t and the home owner isn’t on location with you, what choice are you giving the neighbors who are keeping an eye out on the area? If they see a bunch of guys walking around a property and they seem to have no reason being there, most neighbors will call the police.
On the flip side. If you show up in a work truck with your phone number, web site and business name on your truck. If you have a uniform. If you have a clip board. A neighbor can monitor you, write down your contact information but probably feel pretty secure that you are not up to anything shady.
Give people a good feeling about seeing you. Make them feel comfortable with your presence. Create a positive image and use it. Get a uniform. Get a sign on your truck. Look professional and turn those nosy neighbors into customers. Don’t scare them into thinking you are about to burglarize the neighbor’s home.