Reflections on the lawn care season.

Every year we are in business is another great opportunity to learn. Hopefully in the following year(s), new guidelines or standard operating procedures can be put into place to make everything run smoother. This past year, a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, learn the importance of choosing his customers wisely and not taking anyone just because they call, or in this case, keep calling and calling.

One lawn care business owner wrote “looking back, it seems my faults this season were all based on not being able to say ‘no’ to certain customers good and bad.

For example, an elderly lady wanted this extra work done that honestly should only take a few hours to actually do. I’ve danced around it for most of the season because basically, I only said yes because I like her as a lawn maintenance customer and didn’t want to feel awkward around her when I go to maintain the lawn. She’s always there. She has to open the locks on the gate for me.

It’s hard not getting stuck in these situations, but now that I’ve done the job, she wants me tweak it a tiny bit more before winter and she is one to call my phone EVERY day, EVERY hour.

I have always answered my phone for her, but I gave up on that the past few weeks because it started to get dreadfully annoying. I hate when people panic, it drives me nuts.

Another situation I had involved a friend of mine who mowed a few of his neighbors lawns but had to go back to school and couldn’t do the work anymore. So, he had all of his lawn care customers call me. One of his customers just really ticked me off.

The other day, he rang my doorbell and couldn’t take, ‘I will come by your place to give you an estimate on leaf removal services this Saturday.’ It was Friday when I said this.

No, he had to talk with me for a full hour on the same subject. He WOULD NOT SHUT UP. It’s like he wanted me to go right away, saying things like, ‘I don’t live far you know. It’s a house similar to your neighbors, bla bla.’ He also gave me a never ending description of his house which went through one of my ears and out the other.

So I make it to his house, hoping he wouldn’t be home. By the time I got out of the truck, I had a price for him. That’s usually all it takes is a quick look around the property - simple. It’s all tractor, nothing special - small property.

Nope, I ring the doorbell to give him a price and he wants me to also clean his gutters. Now, it’s the end of the season and I honestly just want to get it over with - SURE, I give him a price.

An hour and 20 minutes passes. He has me walking with him in circles around his house a few times, talking about how old it is, how nice his neighbors are, how beautiful the trees are - bla bla bla… He then says, ‘I also need you to caulk my shingles - some of them are loose.’

This is where I just say, ‘yayayayaya’ and decide I’m never going to call him again. This is annoying and I wish I charged him for my time giving him an estimate. I tell him the chances of me doing all of this are slim, the rain is on at least once every day now and I have lawns to finish and then fall cleanups. When I finish my lawns, I will call you to let you know my schedule and we’ll take it from there.

THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR HIM.

He says ‘when do you finish your lawns?’ I respond ‘October 16th is my last day.’ ‘So why don’t you come here on October 16th? I will stay home and wait for you.’

Jesus Christ….

Sorry, October 16th is my last day - though this also depends on if I am able to get any work done considering the bad weather we are getting. I might extend my service a full week.

He then goes on to say ‘well, I’ll go buy to caulking now but I’d like to know if you are coming or not.’ I still say ‘I don’t know yet.’ He adds ‘I have a bunch of tools if you need them, they should work.’ Another 20 minutes wasted looking through his crap.

I have all the tools I need to get the job done, thanks anyway.

‘Is it possible you could remove the leaves from my lawn, then my shingles, then gutters?’

I’d rather clear the gutters before I clear the lawn so the mess is picked up in one shot - then I can actually see what I’m doing on your roof when the leafs are gone.

‘My tree is going to take awhile for the rest of the leaves to fall, so you’d just have to come back and clear those too.’

Anyways…. it took a total of THREE (3) hours to get out of there….

Next thing you know, he’s on another one of my customer’s streets far from his home. He sees me out and stops me and repeats what he had told me previously, this time a little quicker. ‘Ya ya, I’ll give you a call when I figure everything out.’ Then I think for a moment and blurt out ‘actually if I don’t call you on the 16th of October - I wont be able to help you.’

NEXT WEEK, same story - on a third customer’s street. This time I feeling sick and I’m barely able to do 1 lawn without gagging. He stops and we talk. I tell him I’m sick and behind - will be going an extra week longer this season.

‘If you were really sick, you’d be at home.’ His actual words!

That was it for me, no service for this douche. I should have just said no after the estimate took over ten minutes. Next year I will be using the word NO more often.”

Order the book “The Lawn Care Business Can Get Dirty, Ugly, And Mean.: Stories Of Survival And Success To Get You Through The Rough Times” today.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success