Monday, June 3, 2013

If it smells like manure...

This week I came across a few startling revelations I would like to share with you.

A young man approached me while I was doing an application and asked if we were hiring.

As I took his information he told me he currently worked for one of the bigger lawn companies and wanted to find employment elsewhere.

There's no need to tell you which one, because some of the things he told me were practiced by my former employers as well and they were much smaller. You are either reputable, or you're far from it if you ask me.

I then asked him what he was looking to make pay-wise and he said he and all his fellow employees worked on commission only.

Commission only!

Ever wonder why your hear of a lawn technician running through the application? Well now you know. The more work the more pay.

In fact he said, "there's a lot of Ghosting going on too."

For those of you who aren't familiar with this term, it's when you find an invoice in your mail box but no application was ever performed.

Does that answer the question about how the technician got over your locked gate to the back yard with a spreader and why your weeds look just as bad?

Come to think of it, the lawn company I used to work for never questioned, not even once, when one of our guys came back to the office daily around 2:00 PM with 40 jobs done.

The young man also informed me on all the products they used- mostly the same as us- yet, the one I found interesting was the spring fertilizer -36-0-5.

WOW! That's a lot of nitrogen to feed the lawn out of the gate, but don't take my word for it.

FERTILIZING: A few of the biggest mistakes made when it comes to using fertilizers is not only using the right mixture, but using the right quantity and applying it at the right time of the year. Often times when spring comes around people feel a need to fertilize their lawns in hopes of seeing a green plush lawn as soon as possible. Too much fertilizer, especially with high levels of soluble nitrogen fertilizer, tends to increase thatch problems and leaves lawns more prone to insect and disease. Or, worse yet, you will literally burn your lawn.

I guess that's when the grub, surface insect and aeration up-sell kicks in?

I asked him with all this going on weren't they worried about their image. I mean there are a ton of sites dedicated to informing potential customers through the reviews of others.

However, when you see several positive reviews followed by some that are not so favourable you have to ask questions. Especially when there are sites like this one:  for Reviews and Reputation Service.

1. Positive reviews increase your business rank by linking important and relevant websites to your website.

2. A constant stream of positive reviews improves your online reputation.

3. Positive reviews drive traffic to your business.

4. Positive reviews restore a tarnished reputation by pushing down negative reviews and links.

5. Helps protect against competitors or anyone else from attempting to run your ranking.

So that's how some companies have been able to improve their reputation in only the past few months on sites like Homestars? They've been paying for it! Some, are getting positive reviews from areas they don't even service.

With the ever changing landscape of the lawn care industry where social media plays an increasing roll in success, or failure, it's no wonder everyone is looking for any trick, or gimmick to gain the upper hand on the competition.

That said, in my opinion, there is no replacement for hard work, honesty and excellent customer service.

Remember it is up to you, the potential customer, to do your homework before choosing a company that fits your needs. Otherwise you might find yourself standing it in the midst of a most unpleasant olfactory sent.

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