Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Things Your Landscaper Wishes You Knew:

Here are some intersting tidbits that the average homeowner doesn't realize about us landscapers...
  • Chances are, I love your dog and I’m more than happy to spend a couple minutes scratching his ears when I get there. But I hate pooper-scooping as much as you do. If you want me to do that, it’s going to cost extra, unless you’re my all-time favorite client.
  • The nicer you are to me on a regular basis the better deal you get. If we like you, we’re going to do our best for you and go out of our way to make sure you’re a happy customer. You want that Christmas tree hauled off? No problem. If you’re a terdball to me? Sure, we’ll take it. Next week. And charge you a disposal fee. You want that extra visit to blow your patio off before a party? If you’re nice: I’ll be there. If you’re a jerk: I’ll try to squeeze you in… oh, and next week we’re leaving 20 minutes early.
  • Best ways to earn points towards being the favorite client that gets impeccable service at the best price: 1. don’t treat me like ‘the help’. 2. offer me a cold beverage on a hot day or a hot beverage on a cold day. Or let me use that bathroom off the garage. Don’t: walk by like you don’t see me, laugh and say you wish YOU could work outside, (yeah? Oh, cause you think I’ve got an easy job? Spend a day in my boots and tell me if you still think so), and don’t give me orders that conflict with what your spouse says. I’m either listening to the one who signs the check, or the one who’s the nicest… depends on my mood.
  • Don’t just blow off the girls. Chances are we have a better eye for detail than the dudes who make up most of the landscape industry. And we’re better listeners to your concerns.
  • You get what you pay for. In this industry there’s always a dude in a rusty pickup truck that will charge you less than I will. He’s also probably not insured, doesn’t have proper licenses, and he probably got laid off in another industry and thought “hey, I have a lawnmower, I can do this.” What that means is he’s going to do a crappy job because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. It also means that I’m going to charge extra when you call me back because I’m going to have to fix everything that he messed up. Oh sure he can cut your grass, but he probably doesn’t even know what kind of grass it is. So how can he make sure it’s as green and lush as I kept if he doesn’t know what it needs?
  • We don’t like spiders either.
  • We especially don’t like bees, so give us a heads up if you’ve noticed a hive since the last time we were there.
  • If you pick up the kids’ toys in the yard, we’ll have more time for getting work done. If I have to spend 20 minutes piling toys on the patio so I can mow the grass, that’s 20 minutes I didn’t spend on weeds. But hey, you paid for the time; you decide how I spend it…
  • If you have a dog that doesn’t like strangers or has a bad attitude, please keep him inside during our scheduled visit time. We don’t want to have to knock on the door every week to have you round him up. If you aren’t home and he’s in the back yard I’m not going back there. Mowing your grass isn’t worth being mauled by a dog, thanks anyway. Oh, and please check to make sure we’re gone before you let him out. There’s nothing like being trapped in a back yard with an aggressive dog….
  • There are trade organizations, like MALTA in Atlanta, that I could be a member of. In theory: the more of these that I belong to the better my reputation and the more I’m held accountable by my peers. So I should be a safer bet than someone who doesn’t choose to interact with the industry in this way. But there are exceptions to every rule: I may also try to keep my overhead lower by avoiding membership dues to things like this.
Knowing these facts can help you build a more productive working relationship with the people who tend your landscape.  Think that it's not important?  Do you know that good landscaping can increase the value of your home by 15%?  You spent a lot of money for that landsaping whether it was there when you bought the place or not. Don't you want to know what those folks are doing to protect that investment?  I know if I had people walking around my house, working in my yard once a week, I'd want good communication and no ill will between us. But maybe that's just me...

Jessica Watters, GCLP                      Horticulture Technician, Chattahoochee Technical College

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