Should I steal customers from other lawn care businesses?

Is it a good idea to steal lawn care customers from other lawn care companies? If you are looking to gain customers mid-season and it seems like every homeowner already has a service provider, should you go out of your way to undercut and underbid the current lawn care provider? That is the question asked by a member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. It brought up quite a few interesting responses as well.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am wanting advise on how I can take customers from other lawn care providers in my area. There are a few professional looking companies and then an abundance of start up guys with beat up trucks. I have even seen one guy with a broke down looking push mower, in the trunk of a Cadillac. The problem is, the local homeowners seem to be loyal to these guys. Some do a good job while some don’t.

It seems as if almost all of the people that use lawn care services in my area, already have a provider. I think that some of them are probably unhappy. I have watched the area and have noticed that the star up type guys, do not seem to service their customers on a regular schedule. The quality of their service tends to not be all that good, in my opinion. I have been putting out some of the ‘make the switch’ lawn care flyers in hopes of getting some new customers that are no longer satisfied with their current lawn care provider. I have also done some direct mailing to several hundered people but I have yet to receive a single response from any of this lawn care marketing. I was thinking that it was because it is so late in the season and they did not want to go thorough the hassel of switching.

I have decent equipment and I have a nice little truck setup. I have it all lettered up nicely so I can look like a pro and hopefully gain the respect and trust of people. But what else should I be doing?”

Another lawn care business owner said “I used to work for another lawn care business and I am still alright friends with the owner. My other friend, who was the co-owner, was really upset when I left his company, and has been quiet about his thoughts on my new lawn service business. The funny thing is, that he once told me there are plenty of lawns for everyone.

As I look back on that I think he’s right. His workers told me that he is worried of me stealing his current customers. It’s sad when we used to work together every day 7-3, you build a good friendship. The fact is, I wish his business no harm & I’d rather promote his services to customers I don’t need or want, or to customers who need services he offers that I don’t.

Now if he wasn’t my friend, I still wouldn’t go out of my way to try and take his customers. For some reason I feel that it would haunt me. My advice is to get the customers you can but don’t go out of your way to steal customers from others. Offer the best service you can and market your quality. As you stand out more for your quality, customers will make the switch in time to you.”

A third lawn care business owner said “I’m friends with ALL of the relevant lawn care companies in town. I do things for the other companies and they do things for me. Some of them give me jobs that they can’t accept.

You don’t want to take food out of another families mouth, that’s what starts big problems. However, if someone is already wanting to drop their current lawn service then it is fine to make a bid on the job. I just have a problem with going around and offering to undercut a bid. When you do this, you end up not only hurting the other lawn care company, but you hurt yourself as well because you are shaving your profit margin to next to nothing.

For those customers that are unhappy with their current lawn care provider and call me, you would be amazed at the stories I hear from home owners that cause them to want to make a switch. All too often a customer will hire a lawn care business based on price only. A short time later the customer will find the business owner is no longer showing up. It happens ALL THE TIME. Or they do a terrible job for the price or are unprofessional etc.

I got a new customer the other day who told me this story about their sliding glass door being broken when a lawn care business owner was cutting the grass and it shot a rock through it. The business owner told the homeowner he wasn’t paying for it cause he was broke!

When you have these types of situations that go on, as a customer you could see why they would welcome a flyer that says ‘Unhappy with your current lawn care provider, make a switch to a competent and reliable lawn care business.’

If a customer is happy, they won’t switch but I bet there are a lot of unhappy customers out there who just don’t know who to call next or just haven’t put enough energy into finding someone new.

I never know if someone I am marketing to has a current lawn care provider. When a new potential customer calls me, I always ask who their current service provider is. If it’s one of my friends I call the friend and ask why the customer is calling. If someone came around trying to undercut me, they’d have problems so I try to keep it the same way in return.”

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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