Hey there, it's good to be making my debut blog here at green industry pros. I've been reading this site since finding this article about a year ago. I'm going to be talking about some of the things I love about being a landscape contractor, some of the things that stress me out, and how I try to make it all work.
Today I'm going to talk about how my landscaping customers drive me crazy. It happens to all of us, but we have to bite our tongues and be good customer service people. Making customers happy is the name of the game. But I think it's fun to talk about these things once in a while, because I'm sure we can all relate.
One big challenge is the typical homeowner not making up their mind. One minute they like a plan, the next day they want something changed. This requires patience, for sure, and an understanding that you have to put the customer first. This is tiring some days, but it almost always pays off in the long run.
The worst is when the wife says one thing and the husband says another. There's no winning here – you'll end up being the bad guy every time! Have them sort it out until one voice is speaking to you.
The other thing that stresses me out, sometimes want to cry, is when you're close to finishing up a job, getting things looking good, and the kids or dog come running through. I wish the client just waited until I was gone. I want to remember the work pristine, kind of like you want to remember your old girlfriend the way she was at 18, not at 60 or whatever. That could apply to an old boyfriend too. I mean, inner beauty just does not apply to a landscape.
Ever have a client who wants to save a few bucks by "helping you do the job"? I generally tell them I'll have to charge them more if they do, because I'll have to take out extra insurance or whatever. That usually stops them. Truthfully, I probably would have to charge them more because I'd have to go back and fix what they didn't do right (hah).
And what about the customer who wants you to price out a bunch of things, then some more things, then the same things but in a different way, just to "get some ideas"? But then they decide that they want to let their brother in law do it cause he needs the money. Man, I've read about how important it is for contractors to charge for designs. I'd like to figure out how to do that in my small market.
Here's one more: messing with irrigation clocks. They'll end up with a start time for every zone on multiple programs, resulting in the system never turning off. Man, people on well water are gonna run out of water!
But you know what, most of my clients are very capable, admirable, and enjoyable to work with – and appreciate the work we do for them. And even for those who don't, I try to be a good service provider and help them understand more about what I'm doing. It takes a little patience, but it's really well worth it.
So what do you guys think? What do you have to deal with, and how do you deal with it?