Can you be too honest?

Updated Sep 2, 2021

HonestyHonesty is an important trait for business owners to have — but is it possible to be too honest?

The short answer is, “No.” While the truth might not always be what someone wants to hear — or what you want to say — it is always best in the long run.

Here are 3 situations where honesty can be tricky but is a must.

1. Schedules

When a potential client reaches out to you about a project, they want it installed as soon as possible. But, that isn’t always possible. Whether you’re booked out for weeks or months, tell the client that upfront. Give them a realistic start date, and stick to it. It can be tempting to tell them you’ll start earlier than you know you actually can because you’re worried about losing the job. But, that will just lead to an unhappy client who will then tell others about the issues they had with you.

2. Employees

Finding and keeping good employees are some of the hardest things to do in the green industry. There’s no guarantee someone will work out, no matter how good they appear, but one thing that can help is explaining in detail to them the job before they start. Be honest with them about what all will be required of them: hours, tasks and training. If you are upfront and give them all of the information, they at least know what they are getting themselves into. And if that isn’t something they want, they can decline the job — instead of wasting your time and resources, only for them to quit later.

3. Challenges

I’ve heard several landscapers say, “Under promise and over deliver.” While I don’t think it’s necessary to sell yourself short to the client, you also don’t need to spread yourself too thin. Know what you are and aren’t capable of doing. If your client wants a feature you’ve never created before, tell them. You could either work with a subcontractor or teach yourself how to create it. But, just make sure the client knows what they are going to get. You might could even work on the feature for a discounted price since it is your first one.

No matter who you’re talking to, honesty is the best policy. It helps build respect and a good reputation for you and your company throughout the community.

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