Expanding a lawn care or landscape business is best done by offering additional services to clients – be a one-stop shop for all of their outdoor needs. Sometimes, though, small businesses need to cut back on the services they offer to provide the best quality work for the largest revenue drivers. What happens when a client continues to request services your company doesn’t offer? Or what about when they try to hire your own employees to do work off of the clock? See how these members on LawnSite have responded to this dilemma.
Q: I have this very needy customer. Sometimes she complains that the services cost too much, but she always pays. We do her mowing and landscape maintenance and other tasks. With a full schedule during the week, it’s hard when she always wants small extra things done when we’re there mowing. She recently approached my best employee and was trying to get his number to come and do the work on his time off. I was told by my employee and was shocked. How would you guys handle this?
JLSLLC: If you feel like it’s going to be taking money from your business, simply take extra time while there — plan for it — and take care of whatever she wants done. Then bill her. It’s business.
Reedo: We have dealt with this in the past with a few needy customers. The customers needed handyman things done, nothing that pertains to our business. They asked if we would do it so we asked our employees if they wanted to do it on their own time. We have had a couple employees do this over the years and they were happy to make $20/hour and the customers were very grateful to have someone they were comfortable with helping them out. The customers never asked for them to help with anything related to the lawn and landscape though.
duemaswalker85: I would tell him it’s OK, as long as it’s nothing that your business offers. Because if they won’t, she will hire someone else.
knox gsl: I used to have one like this. She always had a list of things to do. She asked if I could do random landscape jobs weekly or if I could get my employees after hours. She would complain that I charged too much and it never looked as good as when her husband did it. I had to let her go as I realized that she would never be happy because she wanted a full-time employee to do her work. I suggested she find a retired guy to work on her yard as her demands were out of line compared to her budget.
MowerGuy: Take good care of your employee. A lot of employees would take the cash on the side and use your equipment to do it. Unless you really needed it, it may be time to consider dropping the account. She’ll probably keep doing it and it could create theft of services issues with employees in the future.
RedSox4Life: I have one customer I allow this to happen with — only because they are almost family. The customer saves a few bucks and my employee makes a couple extra bucks. And I don’t have to deal with the stupid stuff like changing light bulbs. The one rule is that the guys aren’t allowed to do any work related to landscaping. If the customer or employee don’t respect that rule, they are let go.
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