Five red flags customers are looking for when researching landscaping companies

Updated Jan 15, 2020
Photo: Public Domain PicturesPhoto: Public Domain Pictures

Selling jobs can be difficult sometimes, especially when homeowners have the ability to choose from the many landscaping companies available.

Oftentimes, they are looking for the least expensive option available, but they are also looking for certain red flags to avoid. While if you’re a professional company you are already licensed and insured properly, there may be other practices you are unaware of that could be making potential clients wary of hiring you.

Here are some of the red flags customers are watching for when seeking a landscaping company.

No references or portfolio 

When a homeowner is serious about hiring a landscaping company for a project, they want to know what past customers have to say about you. Just like how an employer would be suspicious of you if you refused to provide references, customers are going to think you’re hiding something if you brush off their requests for references.

Ask your current customers after completing a job if they would be willing to be a reference, that way you always have referrals you can provide. As for your portfolio, this is a huge selling point for your business. If customers are impressed with pictures of your previous work, they’ll be eager to have you work the same magic on their property. No pictures suggest there was nothing worth photographing or an embarrassing end product.

Bad reviews

The only thing worse than no one commenting on your performance is everyone agreeing that you do a terrible job. While one bad review amongst many other good ones isn’t something you should panic about, if you have an overwhelming number of bad reviews that are leaving you with rating below three stars, there is a need for some serious damage control.

First of all, evaluate those individuals making the reviews. As ridiculous as it seems, there are occasions where the reviews are completely bogus. If this is the case, you can leave a response that lets other readers know this account is a counterfeit.

For the genuine complaints, respond to them as soon as possible and do the best you can to remedy the situation. Take ownership of any real mistakes and empathize with the customer. Responding poorly to these criticisms will reflect badly on you and your company. If the bad reviews are a constant issue, you need to evaluate your company and determine how to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place.

No contract/vague contract

You may think that your word or a handshake is sufficient for sealing the deal on a project, but customers want a contract that comes with terms and agreements. This protects both parties. The customer can have confidence that you are being held accountable to finish the job, and you can lay out the specifics of what all is included in the project.

Getting the scope of the work in writing helps prevents arguments as to what all was supposed to be accomplished. Being specific prevents misunderstandings and information from being misconstrued. Contracts should list the amount to be paid, the payment schedule and a complete description of services provided to avoid surprises.

Poor communication

Communication is an essential part of the customer relationship, as the homeowner will be in contact with your company throughout the entire process. If you’re not getting back to potential clients in a timely manner, or at all, it doesn’t really foster that much faith that you’ll be any better at staying in contact if they do choose to hire you.

If you are too small staffed to have someone answering the phones, set aside some part of the day to return calls. Nothing is more discouraging to potential clients than to call and hear that the voicemail box is full. It will lead them to wonder if you don’t get back to new leads, what happens when they try to contact you about a problem?

Low price tag

While homeowners do want to stick to their budget, they’re also going to balk if you offer them a bargain-basement estimate, causing them to question how many corners did you have to cut to reach that price range. There is no reason to lowball just to stay “competitive.” Know what your services are worth and charge appropriately. Your business will suffer if you do not estimate correctly, and you can come across as an inexperience contractor if you underbid.

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