15 Things Customers Hate About the Typical Lawn Care Company

Published on April 4, 2017

Remember how you always got along with your parents?

Me neither.

If your upbringing was anything like mine, it felt like your parents made you do EVERYTHING:

"Do the dishes! Clean your room! Mow the lawn!"

Now, imagine you go back to when you were 13 years old.

What if your parents came home... after a long day... and they see that you already did all the chores?

They would be shocked.

Your clients are a lot like your parents. They expect you to be as bad as every other lawn company.

But if you can surprise your clients by being different... they will shower you in dollar bills.

Prove that you are better. Fix these top 15 complaints clients have about the typical lawn care company:

We scoured the negative reviews from hundreds of lawn companies around the United States and Canada.

These are the top 15 complaints we saw that "broke the client's back," and made them leave their lawn care provider:

1. "Help! They left the gate open, and my dog ran away!"

It's not hard, but this complaint comes up all the time.

In order to make certain the gate gets shut, set a reminder for your job. A happy client is a sticky client, and you need all of those you can get.

And to help you even more, Service Autopilot has an app for your phone that does this exact thing! You can create job notes, set reminders and make check lists to ensure this task gets completed.

2. They don't answer the phone.

This might be the number one complaint. People want to be heard. If you are in the field and can't always answer the phone, hire an office assistant.

If you can't hire an office assistant, consider hiring a virtual assistant. We have one that's been working wonders for our members for years.

3. They break things, and don't tell the client.

Accidents happen. The best way to deal with them is to notify them, apologize, and fix it ASAP.

If you're honest with your client, there's a chance they'll reward your honesty with continued service. However, if you lie you've got a 99% chance they're going to leave you out of mistrust.

Even though you'll pay more money upfront, if you keep the client you'll get that money back 10x over.

Helpful side note: Service Autopilot actually has a way to upload pictures of the damage and create accident notes - all within the online app!

4. They are always late.

If you give appointment times, keep them. If you're going to be late, call. Clients appreciate your accountability.

And if your team is late due to irresponsible employees, consider tracking them via GPS. You can do this within Service Autopilot, so you'll know where you team members are at all times.

5. "Weren't they supposed to mow my lawn today... ?"

Stick to your schedule and give notice when it must change. No stay-at-home parent wants to reschedule a play-date because you came a day late to treat their yard.

And if you have to give notice of a schedule change, you can send your clients a notification through our automated two-way texting and emails.

6. "Who the heck is that?"

Try to maintain continuity on your crews. People like to see familiar faces, because they develop relationships with people they see all the time.

If you shift around who does what every week, you miss an opportunity for clients to have that connection with your team.

7. "You missed a spot."

Spotty service comes from overworked, rushed, or poorly-trained employees. Make sure your employees know what they're doing and have an adequate amount of time to get it done.

No one wants to see a filthy pickup truck parked at the end of their driveway. Make sure your vehicles are clean (within reason) and carry your company's logo.

9. They leave behind a mess.

Don't leave clippings on the sidewalk or on the street. Don't blow debris onto window sills. That's the first sign of a cheapskate.

Leave nothing behind, but a job well done.

10. "What am I paying for? This invoice is so confusing!" 

Your invoices should be as simple as you can make them. Dates of service, rates, your name/logo, their name. Don't make it hard for your clients to pay you.

You can have your invoices automatically sent with Service Autopilot's done-for-you invoice templates.

11. Their invoices are unprofessional.

Double-check the spelling and grammar of your invoice descriptions and the text that's on every invoice. Have someone take a look for you. It's a simple step and maintains your image as a high-quality professional.

The best part? As a Service Autopilot user, you only have to personalize your template one. Then, it'll be automatically sent to your clients from infinity and beyond.

12. They are not clear with their prices and service descriptions. 

Your teams need to know what they sell and how to set proper expectations for new customers. Make it clear when something costs extra and explain why (additional labor, product, etc... ).

13. They make clients repeat themselves. 

Nobody wants to explain their problem to three different people, three different times.

Keep notes from calls, so you give consistent information and make the client feel that your company always listens.

You can store these notes online through your Service Autopilot account.

Need a better way to manage your clients, calls, and to-dos?

14. They are rude and condescending on the phone. 

Be polite and courteous on the phone. Make sure your office staff is as well. You want clients to feel heard and valued. If your staff is rude or disrespectful, your clients will run away.

15. They don't deal with complaints. 

Take charge when a client complains. Commit to a solution and tell your client about your plan of action. No news is not good news; it's bad news.

There are some critical questions you should always ask your new clients:

  • What do you wish I would focus on?
  • What did your last lawn care provider do that was great?
  • What did your last lawn provider do that made you angry?

If you hurt a client, you have to carefully nurse the relationship back to health. If you avoid the pain in the first place, you will build a stronger relationship with the client.

The better your relationship, the longer they stick around and the more you can upsell to them.

When in doubt, remember your parents. How would you "wow" them?


Through thick and thin, you need your clients... even when you don't like what they have to say. So some of these complaints might hit a little too close to home.

In order to grow your lawn care business, you have to be willing to listen to your clients' wants, needs and complaints. It's just a part of doing business.

If you want to own a successful lawn care business, you're going to have to be willing to make some changes as common client complaints arise.

You're going to mess up. It's a fact, and pretending otherwise would be a lie. So own up to those mistakes and correct them when you're at fault.

You're human. Your clients are human. They understand you're going to make mistakes. When you own up to those mistakes and make integral changes in your business, you might just be surprised how understanding and loyal your clients are.

Related: 3 Classic Strategies to Sell Lawn and Landscape Services in Person

Originally published April 4, 2017 6:00 AM, updated July 18, 2019 3:16 PM

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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