Everyone who runs a business has customers. Sometimes those customers are a delight to work with while other times they can be nightmares. Everyone seems to do alright handling the happy customers but it can be a serious challenge to handle a difficult customer. Depending on the choices you make, such situations can be turned around or they can go from bad to worse. A lawn care business owner shared with us a situation he finds himself in every once in a while with difficult customers. He also tells us, on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, the best way he has found to resolve the it.
“For me, the worst customer is the one that constantly reminds me about what great service they had gotten from their previous lawn care provider. Then they tell me they only paid for lawn maintenance & the guy would trim their hedges & clean their garden for free.”
How do you advise such situations be handled?
“The question you have to ask yourself when you are in this situation is, why isn’t that lawn care business servicing them anymore? From my point of view, it’s one of a few reasons why:
a) They did too many additional services for free & it caused them to lose their business.
b) The customer was actually supposed to pay for the hedge trimming etc, but didn’t, & considered the job to be free after the guy discontinued service to them.
c) The lawn care business owner did the job for free once. But he was then expected to do it again in the future along with other jobs for free and because he found himself in a bad spot and couldn’t say no, he ultimately discontinued servicing the customer.
In the past I might have been more willing to do extra side jobs but now I have to think to myself. Is it something simple like taking a small pile of debris? If so, I just throw it in the truck no problem. It also depends on what the customer is like. If I find the customer to be a pain in the butt and they tend to be late on paying their bill, even for small jobs I say ‘I would have to charge you for that, would you like an estimate?’
For bigger time consuming jobs like hedge trimming and garden cleaning here is how I handle it.
Customer: The guy I used to have cut my lawn did my hedges and once in a while he’d clean out my garden for me for free, can you do that?
Me: I can absolutely help you with those additional services, but I will have to charge for them. Expenses like gas, wear & tear on my equipment, insurance, and my time can really catch up to me as a small business owner. Because I plan on being here for the long haul to serve you, I need to make sure I have those expenses covered.
You would be amazed at what people ask me to do. Through my¬†advertising, I had two potential customers call me and ask for me to mow their lawn once for free, to see if it was worth it for them to hire me. I laughed so hard & told them it doesn’t work that way, sorry.
Don’t be a push over. Always remember time is money and you need to make a profit.”
The worst lawn care customer - GopherHaul 57 Lawn Care Marketing Podcast
The worst lawn care customer - GopherHaul 57 Lawn Care Marketing Show