How should a landscaper handle property damage?

Have you ever damaged a lawn care customer’s property while you were there mowing it? If you haven’t, it’s just a matter of time before something happens. When an accident occurs, it is how you handle the situation that will effect not only your future interactions with that customer but also your bottom line. As we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business, there is a right way to handle things and a wrong way. Let’s look into this further and find the best way to handle it before it happens, so in the future, you can move forwards quickly and professionally.

One lawn care business owner wrote “the other day I had a small mulch project (about 4 yards) at a customer’’s house. I had my 4 yards of mulch delivered through a local guy who I have used in the past. He came and dumped the mulch however he scraped the rim of the basketball hoop in the customer’’s driveway, slightly bending the hoop.

The customer came home soon after the dump truck driver left, only looking at the minimal damage to the hoop. The customer told me that he wanted the hoop replaced so I called my mulch guy and explained that the customer wanted the hoop fixed. He called the customer and explained that he had the same hoop at his house and he would come by and replace the bent one. However the customer later called me and said he wanted a new hoop not a used one (even though his hoop was used). Am I responsible for this or should I tell this customer to take it up with the dump truck driver?”

A second lawn care business responded “I’d dump the customer after this is done if they are going to be like this. I could see if they want to see the used one first to see if it is in good shape but to say it most be new, forget it. I’d get rid of them.”

A third shared “I don’t understand how the customer is the bad guy in this scenario at all. He had something damaged on his property. His request is not unreasonable nor petty.

The contractor should pay for the new hoop, install it with apologies. Then the contractor either eats the cost, or goes after the sub contractor for half or full reimbursement. The homeowner’s role in this scenario is already a bigger part than it should be.

I had a mowing customer once who called me the day I mowed his lawn, and said that I broke one of his gates. (I didn’t think so), but he said he was sure it was OK the night before. So I went to the local hardware store and got the piece to fix the gate, fixed it. It cost me $4 for the part and 1 hour running around getting the part and fixing the damn gate. I have made over $3,000 dollars from this customer!!!!!! A good hour and $4. I would have lost this guy if I had argued over the gate. Also he has given me about $9,000 in referrals.

Never argue with a customer, say ‘gee I am sorry, I will have if fixed TODAY! then go fix it. A few bucks and a little time will make you a fortune.

We are talking about a client’s PROPERTY. Whether it’s a $1 solar light, a $20 basketball hoop or the ‘grandmother’s ashes’ it’s the PROPERTY of someone that PAYS YOU MONEY to take care of THEIR stuff.

A client pays us to take care of their property. If we damage said property, it is now OUR responsibility to let the client know as soon as possible of the damage. It is not up to us to degrade the customer on being picky, petty or a pain in the ***.

Integrity is calling the homeowner immediately letting them know what happened and to get back to you on THEIR time to come to a resolution. It’s not taking care of it how you want to and then telling them how you handled the situation because it’s good for you.

A problem customer is someone that wants you to do more than what the contract states. A problem customer is someone that agrees to the contract and then whines that you don’t pick weeds out of their bed. A PITA customer is someone that doesn’t pay on time, wants to talk for 2 hours before and after you cut the lawn. A customer that gets property damaged because of the contractor’s actions is none of those. He is a customer that wants his stuff fixed because it is the contractor’s fault. It’s really quite simple. It may be just a basketball hoop to you, but to him it may 2 hours at the end of the day with his son…..it’s 10 days of shooting with his son that is on leave from Iraq….. Don’t assume that something insignificant to you is insignificant to others, especially if that other is a client that pays you money to do a job correctly without mistakes.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.”

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