Smoking and lawn care employees.

Your lawn care employee’s personal habits can have an effect on your bottom line. You may let some things slide if you feel they do good work, but should you? In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who wants to know if he should allow his employees to smoke while working? Other owners share their experiences and really make him think about his employee policies.

One lawn care business owner asked “how many of you do or allow smoking while working on a lawn care job site? I do not smoke, never have and do not plan to. But I have an employee who does. I will not allow smoking in my truck so I find him smoking while mowing customers lawns. If I give him a smoke break I will have down time, but what he is doing now I feel is unprofessional.

The employee that I am talking about is flat out awesome with his work. I have not had any of my customers comment about him smoking so that is why I was asking. I am not a smoker, but I do not judge those who are. Some properties are vacation homes and there is no one at home. But I do have high end homes and apartments where people are present. Thanks again you have given me things to think about. I guess the worst that could happen is he quits, or will stop to smoking cutting down on efficiency.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “if you’re smoking while working for a client you look like a hack. I don’t care what you think, or how many thousands of dollars you have in equipment - you look bad.

Sorry. The world has changed. You’d better adjust.

My neighbor’s lawn guys smoke while mowing. They look like criminals, do crappy work, and blow grass onto the street. This douche actually gave me a ‘thumbs up’ as he drove by after leaving my neighborhood looking worse than before he cut.

That’s the image that goes along with smoking on the job. Don’t be a butt head.

Keep in mind that even though you may not be aware of it, someone is always watching.

Everyone should work as though you are being watched.

I picked up several clients because the previous mowing crew was overheard cursing and just generally having a bad attitude. The owner wasn’t home, but her neighbor was. Word got back to her and then the neighbor asked for my info to pass along. In the, I got that job and then three other neighbors who had also used said crew of potty mouths.

I found out all of this after the fact, but yeah… someone is always watching you work.”

A third shared “I absolutely agree, you always have to think about who is watching.

Say you have one customer that smokes, so you think, it’s ok to smoke around him/her. Three other neighbors see you smoking on that neighbor’s lot. That deters them from hiring you.

Sure, you do a great job, sure every line is straight, sure ever edge is straight, sure everything looks like a MLB park…everything is always perfect…………except, smoking…………… ‘Hey I have a customer that doesn’t care if I smoke all day at his property.’ You just lost 1-3 customers that do not want that no matter how the end result is.

Some don’t mind, some do….., but there are always people who will not hire you if you smoke, no matter what type of work you do…………but no one will NOT hire you because you do NOT smoke.

It may suck, it may not…but the bottom line is always this………..the customer is paying you money to perform a service they can do themselves or hire someone else to do. Why hurt your chances over a freakin stupid thing like a freakin cigarette?

The customer is not always right, but they are right if they don’t want a smoker on their property. It is their property after all.”

A fourth added “I think the overall presentation you put out to customers, should always, first and foremost, come off as professional. For instance, if you dress in a uniform, wear a company shirt and shorts/pants, but you smoke while on a property or are cussing or anything of that nature, it would come off as non-professional, even if you do outstanding work. People want the whole package. Polite, courteous, well mannered, hard workers that look like they know what they’re doing will get more jobs.

If Bob, has an old riding mower in his truck bed with a new sign that says Bob’s Mowing, and is driving down the road smoking as he goes, not in a uniform, while Tim, has a trailer, a walk behind, a ZTR, Trimmer Racks and Blowers on it, plus has a uniform and isn’t smoking, who do you think looks more professional?

Now Bob may do an amazing job, but just from the looks of it, and without seeing the lawns either have done, I would chose Tim because he looks more professional, he looks like he’s more legit. He may cost more but his presentation is by far better than Bob’s. You have to accept that people watch you at every part of the day you are out and about. If you make yourself look professional and act it, your more likely to get jobs from anyone looking for lawn care. Bob may only get jobs from people who don’t mind smoking and who don’t mind the lack in professionalism. It just how life is.”

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.ā€¯

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