If you own a lawn care company, you know it’s about much more than yard work. In “The Business of Lawn Care” series, we discuss topics related to managing and growing a company in the lawn care industry. 

Our first post discussed the value of communication for lawn care professionals. Setting expectations is a critical aspect of communication. This post will further explore the importance of setting expectations for the homeowners and property managers you serve. We’ll discuss why and how to be clear, honest, and approachable with your customers.

The phrase “expectation management” can have negative connotations, as it often refers to establishing low standards. However, managing expectations can simply be a way to set your customers up for satisfaction. Rather than a vague “underpromise and overdeliver” philosophy, listen to your customers’ needs and priorities to establish a strong relationship.

Expectation management begins with listening. When you onboard a new customer, listen to why they hired your company. Is it because their neighbor hasn’t had dandelions since you started treating their lawn? If so, weed control is a priority. Has yard work become too taxing on them with recent health issues? In that case, ask about their typical lawn care routine. Do they simply want a good green space for their kids and pets to play? Be sure to communicate any safety precautions with your applications. A customer relationship management tool is a good place to note these priorities from the customer.

As you work to set—and meet—expectations, ask yourself what things you can adapt to customer preferences. Can you schedule your crews around homeowners’ schedules? If not, don’t give the impression that you will. But if you can, work to make the service timing as convenient as possible for the customer. 

Listening is the start, but not the end, of managing expectations. You also have an obligation to share information with your customers about how your crews will complete their services. If you can, share the name and contact information of the crew member or leader who will be on the property. Likewise, let them know what day and time to expect service. To go one step further, consider communicating the type of service that will be completed on any given visit. A detailed service schedule will not only prevent customer calls and complaints but also allow you to demonstrate your expertise in the industry.

In the inevitable case of a call-back complaint, let the customer know how soon to expect corrective service. Be honest when setting expectations, and always keep your commitments. These practices go a long way in building trust. Honesty is also important when discussing delicate topics such as pricing. Be sure to remind your customers of upcoming price changes and contract renewals to prevent surprises.

By adapting to and anticipating customer needs, you set your company apart from other lawn care service providers. Homeowners and property managers will appreciate the effort you make to meet their expectations while letting them know what to expect from your crew as well.