How to spot a bad Lawn Care Customer Early: 11 Red Flags
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Spot bad customers before they waste your time.
If you’ve been in the lawn mowing business for any length of time, you know that not all customers are created equal. Some are great to work with and others, well, not so much. In this blog post, we’ll give you seven red flags to watch out for when a potential customer
inquires about your lawn mowing services. By learning to spot these red flags, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
Information is king
The other day I was talking to a lawn mowing contractor who told me his quotes were going nowhere.
He was getting out and doing lots of quotes, and the customers were looking for a regular cut and dropping off after one or two mows.
After I had worked out that it had nothing to do with the standard of his work, I started to look at his method of dealing with quotes. I discovered that he was not asking questions with his incoming calls. This lack of data meant he had no idea of the kind of lawn jobs he was quoting on until he got there.
Talk to the customers when they accept the quote and tell them how you operate. Make sure they agree.
Most of the mistakes made when bringing on a new customer happen in that initial conversation.
Let’s look at the incoming call.
Of course, you ask for the address, name, and number but the first question that you should ask is, “Were you looking for a price on a one-off or regular visit?”
I used to ask if they wanted a quote on a regular mow, but some people misunderstood my question and thought a regular mow was like regular fries. I had the occasional one-off job slip through. Everyone understands the word “visit.”
If the caller tells you that they want a one-off job, then you have an opportunity to tell them about your minimum price for that kind of work. (if you have one).
Red Flag #1: They’re Vague About Their Needs
When a customer contacts you about lawn mowing services, they should have a pretty good idea of what they need from you. If they’re vague about their needs or keep changing their mind about what they want, that’s a red flag.
Chances are, they’re going to be just as hard to work with once you start the job. It’s best to move on to another potential customer who knows exactly what they want.
Red Flag #2: They Change What They Want.
They may say they want a regular mow if they want someone quickly before a property inspection. (chances are they don’t)
If you do the quote, be aware that the regular mow could turn into a nothing burger and price it accordingly.
Red Flag #3: The Customer Is Overly Needy.
The customer contacts you many times about the job during the quoting process. If a customer contacts you a few times before you arrive It could be an early warning of someone who could become a very high-maintenance customer.
Red Flag #4: The Customer Needs To Be There.
The customer has to be there when you call in. It is easier to call in when you are passing, so we usually ask, “do you need to be there when we quote.”
If they say, they have a locked gate and need to be there to unlock it.
We then ask, “Can you leave the gate unlocked tomorrow?”
If the customer cannot leave the gate unlocked, we ask what they plan to do with the regular cut. Will they be sorting out a key?
If they say no, then we will pass on that one.
Having a customer who has to be home when you visit will lead to issues later.
Red Flag #5: The Customer Needs The Job To Be Done At A Specific Time
The job needs to be done before or after a particular time. They work the night shift or something similar.
You might be able to work with this, but only if the window of time is before or after lunch and
- It suits your schedule.
- It doesn’t change ( alternating shifts can cause this)
- The window of time doesn’t get any smaller.
Red Flag #6: The Customer Rubbishes The Last Lawn Mowing Guy
The caller talks in great detail about how bad their last lawn-mowing guy was. A passing comment is ok, but going into detail like this could be a signal to a customer that you will struggle to keep happy.
Red Flag #7: Can I Call You When I Need You?
The caller asks, can I call you when I need you?
The answer is yes, but it gets charged as a one-off job each time. We will not give a regular cut price.
Red Flag #8: They Expect You to Work for Free
No self-respecting lawn mower would agree to work for free. If a potential customer asks you to do a quote without getting paid for it, that’s a red flag. They’re likely just trying to get free services from you and have no intention of actually hiring you. Save yourself the trouble and move on.
Red Flag #9: They’re Haggling Over Price From the Start
Lawn mowing is a competitive business and it’s normal for customers to try to haggle over price a bit. However, if a potential customer is constantly haggling over price from the start, that’s a red flag. They’re likely never going to be satisfied with your quote no matter how low you go. Again, it’s best to move on and find another potential customer who is more reasonable.
Red Flag #10: They’re Impatient and demanding
A little patience goes a long way when it comes to dealing with customers. If a potential customer is constantly demanding your attention and rushing you through the process, that’s a red flag. They’re likely going to be just as demanding once you start working for them. It’s best to politely bow out now rather than deal with their demands later on.
Red Flag #11: They Have Unreasonable Expectations
Lawn mowing takes time and effort to do right. If a potential customer has unreasonable expectations about what you can do or how quickly you can do it, that’s a red flag. Chances are, they’re never going to be happy with your services no matter how hard you try. Move on and find another potential customer who is more reasonable.
Those are a few of the major ones I try to pick up on the phone.
Here is a link to a Forbs article that you may find helpful 10 Tips For Dealing With Customer Complaints
Summary: How to spot a bad Lawn Care Customer Early:
Looking for good customers can be tough, but it’s worth taking the time to find ones that will appreciate your services. By learning to spot the red flags, you can save yourself time, headache, and heartache in the long run.
In the lawn care industry, it is best to know how to identify clients from the beginning. Some signs to watch out for include clients with ever-changing needs, dependent behavior a demand for the customer’s presence during service, strict time limitations, extensive criticism of previous service providers’ requests for immediate contact expectations of free work constant negotiation, over prices, impatience, and having unrealistic demands.
You need good communication during the quoting process as a means to avoid misunderstandings. By recognizing these warning signs professionals can save time and prevent complications when dealing with difficult customers.
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