How to Deal with Lawn Care Owners Who Try to Steal Your Clients

Published on August 22, 2017

Competition is part of every industry. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the moment you start to have success as a lawn care owner, other lawn care owners will want to take it from you.

Don’t fear the competition. Use it to your advantage.

Instead of letting your competitors poach lawn care clients from you:

  • take the time to sharpen your skills
  • improve your team
  • and strengthen your client relationships.

Not only will you do a better job with the clients you already have, you’ll have a better chance of landing new ones.

Follow these tips:

1. Be Proactive

Just because you don’t see other lawn care owners trying to steal your clients doesn’t mean they aren’t. Never take your clients for granted. Always assume all of your accounts are in jeopardy, and always be thinking about how to keep your clients happy.

What do your clients find valuable about your service? When you focus on bringing that value value every time (instead of simply offering the lowest price), your clients will remain loyal.

2. Know Your Clients

The better you know your clients, the better you can serve them. When your clients have a question about lawn care or landscaping, you should be their go-to resource for answers.

Your value goes beyond the service you provide. To them, you are “the lawn care expert.” They will defer to your knowledge because they respect your authority and they know you respect them.  

Take time to talk to them, listen to them, and know what they need at all times.

3. Know Your Competition

Not only do you need to know your clients, but you also need to be well acquainted with the other lawn care owners who might try to steal them.

Study your competition:

  • Look at their websites and marketing strategies.
  • Drive around and look at the quality of their work.
  • Get to know what kinds of employees they hire, and talk to their clients if you can.

That way, if their clients approach you — or if your clients ask you about them – you’ll know how to respond.

4. Be Better Than Your Competition

Don’t give your clients any reason to look elsewhere. Use the knowledge you’ve received from listening to your clients and studying your competition to step up your game.

Identify problem areas within your business and fix them.

  • Make sure you are always licensed and insured.
  • Hire only documented workers and always do background checks.
  • Train your employees better and replace the ones that need to be replaced.

When you place a premium on quality work and customer service, you set your business up for success. Clients will love you so much, you might even have to raise your prices

5. Reward Your Clients

If you’re like most lawn care owners, you probably offer coupons, discounts, or another special offer to attract new customers.

But are you doing anything to show your long-term clients how much you appreciate them? It can cost significantly more to attract a new client than it does to sell additional services to an existing one.

Take some of the money you’ve been using to market your business to new clients, and create a loyalty program for the clients who keep their business with you and refer new clients.

Perhaps you can give them a free mow or a discount on their monthly bill for each year they stuck with you. Maybe you can throw in an additional service for free or at a reduced rate.

Leverage the relationships you’ve built with your clients to find out what they would most appreciate, and find a way to offer it to them.

6. Be Prepared for Attack

Other lawn care owners can try to poach your clients at any time, so be ready.

If they can’t beat the quality of your service — which you should never, ever let them do — then they will most likely try to lowball you on price. Use these seven techniques  to beat the "low-ballers."

Remind your clients of the benefits of sticking with you, and be prepared to offer them some added value — a free month, additional service, small discount, etc. — to entice them to stay on board.

7. Be Willing to Lose

As frustrating as it might be to admit, there are some clients who aren’t worth keeping.

If all they care about is price, let them hire a cheap company that will do a cheap job on their lawn.

If a client is never happy with anything you do, let them go. You are losing money by continuing to deal with them. You can eliminate 80% of complaints by firing your worst 20% of complainer-clients.

Go for bigger clients, instead. Approach some larger residential accounts. Go after some commercial accounts. Not only will your smaller, shadier competitors have a tough time properly servicing these accounts, they won’t even try.

8. Ask Them to Stop

This last strategy is not for everyone. Some owners will simply be too combative. Others will be too threatened by you.

But I have seen numerous occasions where a simple, polite phone call solved the “client poaching” issues and fixed the bad blood between owners.

How to do it right:

  • Don’t be emotional
  • Try to keep it pleasant and professional
  • Do not make any threats, whatsoever. Seriously!

Threats can land you in legal issues.

Even if you have a plan for “if they say no,” why would you tell them? There’s no sense in giving these guys more information to hold over your business.

You Can Rise Above the Fray

When lawn care owners steal clients from each other, it gets messy.

These 8 tips will help you to greatly improve your reputation - and most importantly, they will help you keep your best clients around.

...meanwhile, the other lawn companies will go crazy when they can only “steal” problem clients and non-payers.

Related: Jonathan's 11 Best Marketing Tips

Bill Colrus

Bill Colrus serves as a marketing writer and social media editor for Service Autopilot. Bill got his start as a reporter for his hometown newspaper while still in high school, and has spent more than two decades creating content and content strategies for publications, companies, and clients. He takes pride in providing service business owners with practical information and inspiration that will help them achieve their goals.


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