How to avoid having new jobs being cancelled by the customer.

Oh the games that people play. Have you ever run into a situation where you go to a potential lawn care customer’s home and give them an estimate on their property for mowing or another project only to return later to find someone else performed the job? Or maybe the customer calls you the day you are supposed to perform the job, only to tell you they found someone to perform the job for cheaper? How should you handle this and more importantly, what should you be doing to avoid this from happening? This discussion was brought up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and here is what we learned from it.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I was called to make a bid on a landscaping job this week. I went to the location and checked it out. They wanted us to do a leaf clean up that would take at least 4 loads of my 5×8 trailer full of leaves, at a minimum. There were also limbs and other debris that needed to be cleaned up on a .25 acre lot. I had to cut down 3 small trees ( less than 6′ tall), and perform some flower bed prep. There would be about 2 1/2 hours of work in the beds. No mulch, no mowing, and about 15 minutes work trimming their shrubs.

We bid the job as a one-time job at $40 per hour. They greatfuly accepted and wanted us to start the next morning at 8 am. At 7:30 the next morning, they call and say, ‘never mind. We found a guy an hour after you left that will do the entire job for $100 total”.

This customer should have called that night to cancel. Well, we rode by yesterday and looked the job that was done, and it looks like a 10 year old kid begrudgingly did it because his dad MADE him do it. The trees that were supposed to be cut down were still there, minus the one that was cut down and fell into the sheds roof. You get what you pay for”

A second lawn care business owner shared “Ive had that happen to me many times as well. With the most recent situation, I was called by a guy the morning I was suppose to start a job. He canceled and told me he found a cheaper offer.

I told him he could call me to repair the problems this other guy was likely to cause and I wasn’t surprised when he did. The company he hired cut almost every drip line in the front yard. I made that customer pay me extra for wasting my time. $65/hr for irrigation repairs. Not an unusual fee but it was well above my normal rate.

Since that experience I have changed the way I word my estimates. I now explain to the customer we require at least 24 hrs notice if they decide to cancel. This puts them on notice and then I have them sign the estimate agreeing to allow us to perform the job at the given price. Doing this has cut out the problems I have run into with customers who have little respect and integrity. No longer do I allow them to treat me like dirt and waste my time. They now know, they have signed and agreed to treat me in a professional manner and if they don’t I will have legal recourse against them.”

Learn to improve your bidding with these lawn care and snow plow estimators for your Android phone.

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