Should you tear down competitors lawn care flyers?

There will always be competitors in the field no matter where you go or what services you offer. The way you treat your competition can help you build allies in the industry or enemies. As we will see from this discussion in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you stand to gain a lot more than lose by playing fair.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I saw an ad for another lawn maintenance company the other day and threw it in the trash. I was saying goodbye to a friend at a bus stop when I saw the ad taped to the bus shelter.

Just before I tossed it, I made sure to take the number down so I could do a reverse search on it. The advertisement had no name on it, just a list of offered lawn care services. Unfortunately, I was unable to figure out where this guy is working from or who he is.

Considering the ad was pure crap and posted in a bus shelter, I figure that it’s probably some kid starting out, who is not far from where I actually live.

When I left that bus stop, I checked all the other near by bus shelters as well and found no other advertisements have been put up.

Later that night as I was reflecting on the day, I started to wonder if it was wrong for me to take down someone else’s ad? One side of me says, of course it is and I should feel bad for it while the other side says that’s just too damn bad for them.

Anyway, the number on the flyer was from a cell phone number for sure. If he had any online ads I would have found them by now. So I assume this is just the beginning of a new wave of competitors to come and I am not looking forwards to that.”

A second lawn care business owner said “one thing you gotta keep in mind there is that their is plenty of grass for all of us. My father had told me something a long time ago and it still resonates with me to this day. He said

‘you can’t climb your own ladder, if you are too busy knocking someone else off of theirs’.’

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t defend your customers from competitors. If you find a lawn care flyer at one of your customer’s homes or business, you should by all means dispose of it. But you shouldn’t be going out of your way to rip down a competitor’s advertisement, especially one posted in a public place!

Human nature seems to tell us to take the competitors sign or flyer down, however I don’t think it’s right. I actually had my own run in with this a few years back when I caught a competitor doing it to me. I had placed a few lawn signs out around town at different busy intersections and as I was driving by one of them, I saw a competitor taking my sign down and replacing it with his own! I wanted to stop my truck and get out there and beat him, but I kept on driving. As mad as I was, I didn’t want to make this situation worse.

It doesn’t matter to me if the competition were to place their ad by mine however I would not take their’s down unless it was on a clients property. Besides that one character, who no longer is in business, we have a pretty good group of guys around. We treat each other pretty civilly. In fact, last year we even had coffee with some of our competition to talk about some war stories etc. I tend to think we can all benefit from knowing our competitors and helping them when we can and asking for help where we need it.

This is very important point to remmeber if you are a one man operation. With just one employee, you, having friends in the business is like an extra layer of insurance. What if you get sick or you have an equipment break down? How long do you think your customers will wait around for you? Wouldn’t it be better to have a friend in the business help you in time of need versus having an enemy looking to snag your accounts as soon as you tripped up?

So you may want to consider this the next time you are thinking about pulling down a competitor’s flyer or lawn sign.”

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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