A brief lawn care cleanup guide to the unpleasant reality of canine poo.
Hey Clippers! Dave Tucker here to talk about who’s going to clean up after the dog. More specifically, we will talk about what to do when your customers don’t clean up after the dog.
Nearly forty percent of U.S. households have a dog. And with the exception of a few very spoiled chihuahuas, I’d bet 100% of those pups do their business outside. Unfortunately, your work area and their potty area are one and the same.
In a perfect world, all your customers would clean up after their dogs, and we wouldn’t have to have this conversation. But walk through any park and you’ll find proof that some pet owners simply refuse to do their “doo diligence.” Sadly, some of your customers may be in the same camp.
If you’re feeling resigned to a life of cleaning up after other people’s dogs, let me stop you right there. Owning a lawn care business does not automatically put you on puppy potty patrol. You are a lawn care professional. You have mastered the art of lawn care, and now your role is to provide elite lawn care services. Your customers are paying you to make their lawn look absolutely pristine. Canine cleanup is not your job, and you are within your right to refuse to do it!
So what do you do about customers who continuously fail to clean up after their dog?
Needless to say, your first strategy is to communicate your policy loud and clear. Make sure your customers know from the get-go that dog droppings aren’t your job. Tell them exactly what your crew will do if the evidence hasn’t been cleared. This sets clear expectations, so people can act accordingly.
Mow around it.
Whatever you do, don’t just mow over it.
Tell your crew members to mow a circle around the offending areas. This protects your workers, your equipment, and your customer’s lawn from unpleasant consequences. Not only is it gross, it can prevent your mower from cutting the grass well. Plus, canine excrement is considered an environmental pollutant! It’s bad for the yard, as well as any kids who might play there.
It also makes the yard look a little silly. The neighbors are bound to be curious about a pristine lawn with a few neat, mysterious patches of overgrowth. This can motivate your customers to do better next time.
While the mow-around-it strategy is effective and amusing, it can be inefficient. You may decide you will not make concessions for a customer who doesn’t clean up after their dog. If your crews discover a few offending areas, tell them to skip that yard and move on. Call the customer later and let them know why their lawn wasn’t serviced.
It’s up to you whether or not you still want to charge them for that day. You could charge full price or an “inconvenience fee” of, say, 50% of your usual price.
Everyone has their price. Some lawn care businesses do offer canine lawn care cleanup services—for a hefty additional fee. If you’re willing to deal with a little unpleasantness for extra revenue, power to you.
If you don’t want to do the cleanup, consider teaming up with a doggy cleanup business. They’re out there—and I bet they’d love a referral! You can treat them like a subcontractor. You pay them directly for their services and add their price—plus your contractor fee—to your customer’s bill. The customer gets the convenience, the other guys get the business, and you get a few extra bucks.
When I started my own lawn care business, I never thought I’d write an article like this someday! But just about every business has unpleasant elements, and it’s important to discuss them. Hopefully, this helps you figure out your own strategy.
Until next time, keep clipping! Just go around the gross stuff, okay?