Editor’s Note: This article was written by Justine Burns
Landscaping and lawn care service providers are no strangers to rainy days that can cause work delays and impact revenue. However, bad weather doesn’t necessarily have to cause headaches or damage client relationships. The key is to not leave your clients in the dark.
By following three simple steps, service providers can make sure they have a plan in place for those rainy days to better keep clients satisfied, workers busy, and, ultimately, their businesses running smoothly.
1. Share your rainy day policy early on
By sharing a rainy day policy upfront, your clients know that you won’t be coming in the event of bad weather, long before the rainy day actually comes. The key here will be to ensure this policy is added to all quotes, client agreements, and appointment reminders. This way, clients agree to it from the beginning of your relationship, which will help you manage any frustration they have about a delay when the time comes.
If you use lawn care software, that policy can be easily added to your quote template where it will automatically show up on every quote you send. Here’s an example of what your rainy day policy could look like:
“Our goal is to keep your lawn tidy, our employees safe, and our equipment in good condition. In the event of rain, we reserve the right to adjust service times or delay appointments as needed, however, you will only be billed for our time once that service has been provided. We appreciate your understanding and your business!”
This policy should be re-shared with all your clients at the start of the rainy season, and be sure to include it in your appointment confirmation or reminder messages. Additionally, make sure to build flexibility into your schedule during the rainy season. This could include offering a two-day service window or having workers agree beforehand to work longer hours or weekends after it stops raining.
2. Make sure clients are notified of rain delays
Sharing notices of rain delays is crucial to keeping clients informed and happy, not impatiently wondering if you’re going to show up. As soon as you know that weather conditions will keep you from working that day, send an email or text message to tell the client you’re rescheduling. There are a few ways to do this:
Send a single message to your list of clients with visits scheduled for that day. If you’re using lawn care software, this can often be done with Mailchimp and Zapier. Here’s how to do it:
Design an email template in Mailchimp with your rain delay notice, your rainy-day policy, and a link to your client hub so the client can see their new appointment time.Your client list should be up to date in Mailchimp if you’re using the integration features provided by lawn care software. If you’re using it separately, though, export your client data and import it into Mailchimp.You can either manually select that day’s clients, or set tags for clients based on the day you provide service (or other criteria) so you’re only emailing that group.Send your rainy day email!
Social media announcement
Encourage your clients to follow you on social media for service updates. Posting a rainy day message will allow many of your clients to see it across multiple platforms.
Be sure to also notify upcoming clients that their scheduled work might be affected, too—even if they aren’t booked for the rainy day. You know that rain can throw off your schedule by several days, but your clients don’t, and they might not understand that you’re still getting caught up, especially if it is sunny on the day they expect to be serviced.
3. Don’t let a rainy day go to waste—use it productively
While a rainy day means there isn’t work being done on a client’s property, there’s still much that can be done back at the office. Once clients have been notified about the delay, a rainy day can be the perfect time to check off everything on your to-do list that you normally don’t have time for. This can include:
Tackle the administration needs: This is the perfect time to complete the paperwork that brings in business—sending out quotes, bidding on new jobs, and following up on invoices.
Complete the needed maintenance: Don’t wait for equipment to break down until it’s fixed—use rainy days to sharpen and clean tools, service vehicles, or change the oil in your mowers. You can also tidy the shop, do inventory, and run any leftover job debris over to the dump. This is a good way to keep your crews busy and paid—and still helping your business.
Use this time to restock: Go on a hardware store run for more soil, fertilizer, gloves, spare parts, and whatever other tools or supplies you need to keep your business running.
Enhance your marketing: Update your website and social media with new promotions, project photos, or testimonials. You can also use this time to think about new marketing ideas for your business.
Offer employee training: Now is the time to train your employees on a new tool or procedure. You might have to deal with some limitations because of the weather, but use your imagination—your team will be much more likely to remember what they learned as a result.
Continue providing stellar client service: Customer service matters every day, not just on rainy days. Check-in with your clients to see how you’re doing. There’s no better time to get their honest feedback and send thank-you notes.
We can’t always predict when it’s going to rain, but in lawn care and landscaping, rainy days are going to happen—it’s not a matter of if, but when. By following the best practices outlined above, you can have a plan in place to ensure that your business is kept running, your employees remain busy, and, ultimately, that you turn a rainy day into a client relations win.
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