The Blame Game

We’ve been in business for 20 years, and here’s the truth: sometimes accidents happen and things get broken.

In our case damage manifests itself in the form of broken outdoor lighting, blown over Christmas decorations, or a cracked window pane. We’ve even gotten calls from people that aren’t our clients, but they just happened to be driving by when a mower kicked up a rock and decided to add a little extra character to their car’s exterior. It’s all in a day’s work, although our intent is always caution, close attention, and never ever leaving a property worse off than when we arrived. But like I said, accidents happen.

So, how do we handle these types of situations? It’s simple — honestly and quickly. Our crew members know that the first thing to do is report the damage with a call to the office. That way we’re able to contact the customer immediately, explain what happened, and begin the conversation about how to “fix” what we broke. And if it’s something that we can correct ourselves, we arrange for the repairs to be made as soon as possible. If it’s not something that we can handle (that broken window pane, perhaps), then we’re happy to find a company that can do the work and take care of the payments.

The problem that we run into is that there can be a common mind-set amongst some folks that when you come home and notice that something’s broken (or missing) then there is only one logical explanation: the landscapers did it! In the past we’ve been blamed for broken garden hoses, demolished soccer nets, damaged yard art, missing home security signs, and my absolute favorite — two stolen kayaks.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve certainly broken our fair share of stuff over the course of 20 years: invisible dog lines, water mains, fences, a gate or two. But we’re good for it! Our crews call us and let us know, and we make it right because that’s how we would like to be treated if the situation was reversed.

Accidents do happen, but if we ask one of our crew members whether or not Great Aunt Bertha’s birdbath fell victim to some sort of early demise on our watch and the answer is no, more often than not we choose to stand behind our employees. We talk a lot about honesty and integrity, and if we’re not willing to believe the people we’ve got out in the field, then I’m not sure what that says about who we are as business owners.

The moral of this story is that we do our best to treat all of our properties as if they were our own, but every once in a while we make a mistake. When that happens, we hold ourselves accountable and do whatever we can to repair the situation. All we ask is that you consider that there might be another explanation for that broken flower pot (strong winds, rambunctious dogs, rowdy children). And try to remember that just because you have a lawn service and just because you walk outside for the first time in several weeks and notice that something is amiss, please don’t assume that it was the landscapers . . . in the backyard . . . with a blower.

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