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Toy2
06-01-2005, 09:16 PM
I am in the process of getting my flier in the local newspaper, my target area is about 12000 people.......my thoughts are offering a $21.99 mowing to all, first off the idea of not dropping my gate for less than $30.00 are not working.....the other big LCO's are charging the same as I am, if not more....I figure I go the Wal-Mart way, drop the prices and see who bites.....I have even thought of labeling the truck with the price....while at HD today the truck they rent has $19.99 all over it....this is the first thing you notice, then you see the rest of the vehicle....if I keep my routes tight, it should work....I have no overhead to worry about, I just got a helper for the summer....any thoughts???

Green Pastures
06-01-2005, 09:20 PM
In my opinion.......

Every single idea you mentioned in your post is a bad idea.

BAD.

;)


Offer a 10% discount with flier or a $10 off coupon *with a minimun of $75 of work.......something else other than posting a flat mowing price.

Toy2
06-01-2005, 09:23 PM
Scott, at least your honest....I'm open to anything in order to get some more customers...I've got every teenager in town coming out of the woodwork....schools out for summer....

rick2752
06-01-2005, 09:25 PM
Your hired come mow my 2 acre lawn for 22 bucks , oh dont forget to trim and blow.

Green Pastures
06-01-2005, 09:28 PM
Scott, at least your honest....I'm open to anything in order to get some more customers...I've got every teenager in town coming out of the woodwork....schools out for summer....


Hang in there.

Do high quality work.

Always blow down every blade of grass.

Keep sharp blades.

Do not tear up turf.

Keep your truck clean and waxed.

Keep your clothes clean and free from holes.

Watch your mouth.

Don't smoke on your customers properties.

Go the extra mile for the customers property.

Toy2
06-01-2005, 09:31 PM
I figure the average yard around here is 14,000 to 17,000 sq feet....I am just targeting a certain city.....I know the lay out because I live here....my other flier had "yards starting at $30.00"...not one call from it...figure I would try JustMowIts approach...

tinman
06-01-2005, 11:16 PM
I am in the process of getting my flier in the local newspaper, my target area is about 12000 people.......my thoughts are offering a $21.99 mowing to all, first off the idea of not dropping my gate for less than $30.00 are not working.....the other big LCO's are charging the same as I am, if not more....I figure I go the Wal-Mart way, drop the prices and see who bites.....I have even thought of labeling the truck with the price....while at HD today the truck they rent has $19.99 all over it....this is the first thing you notice, then you see the rest of the vehicle....if I keep my routes tight, it should work....I have no overhead to worry about, I just got a helper for the summer....any thoughts???
What if you can't keep your route tight enough at first and you go under b4 you get enough accounts. Why not add up all money you will lose per lawn by cutting your price and spend that amount on more advertising to see what happens. I'd rather spend more advertising than lose XX amount each time I mow. Just my .02 ,,,,,your area is much different than mine I am sure.

Toy2
06-01-2005, 11:46 PM
Thanks for all the info...it really is helpful...."stick to my guns"...as others have said.... :D

promower
06-02-2005, 12:00 AM
When I got started $30.00 a cut wasnt working for me either, I couldnt bare to lose a possible account so I started dropping prices to $25. I hated doing $25 cuts cause I wasnt making the money I wanted, then when I hired $25 were really starting to hurt me. Stick to your guns, at $30 a piece you only have to do 4 jobs for the same money as doing 5 at $25. Once you get up 100-200 accounts that can really add up to lost money.

DFW Area Landscaper
06-02-2005, 12:17 AM
A Martinez,

I am not a fan of advertising prices. When I started in the business three years ago, the going rate for the average lawn in my area was $25 to $27. Today it is $20 to $22.

The reason for the price decrease is because some of the LCO's advertise price. All it takes is for one LCO with a large advertising budget to single handedly reduce pricing in the market place.

I've had tremendous success with advertisements that have no prices on them. Only after a customer calls do they get a price from me. Honestly, I just don't see the need to advertise price. From what I've seen, it can only lead to bad things.

Get the door hangers out and your schedule should start to fill. The easy pickin' part of the door hanger season is over (March & April). Now you will have to work a lot harder to get someone to call. But if you get the door hangers out, they will call.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Toy2
06-02-2005, 05:59 PM
Thanks DFW.......I have to have patience...I know it will grow.....Thanks..

Oscapes
06-02-2005, 06:14 PM
What about your over head cost? Plus labor cost? Do you figure that into the price? If not are really making more money? Things to think about.

Shadygrove
06-02-2005, 06:21 PM
Probably be easier just to mail everyone in town five dollars, you'd lose about the same amount of money but work a whole lot less.

olderthandirt
06-02-2005, 06:35 PM
I am in the process of getting my flier in the local newspaper, my target area is about 12000 people.......my thoughts are offering a $21.99 mowing to all, first off the idea of not dropping my gate for less than $30.00 are not working.....the other big LCO's are charging the same as I am, if not more....I figure I go the Wal-Mart way, drop the prices and see who bites.....I have even thought of labeling the truck with the price....while at HD today the truck they rent has $19.99 all over it....this is the first thing you notice, then you see the rest of the vehicle....if I keep my routes tight, it should work....I have no overhead to worry about, I just got a helper for the summer....any thoughts???
Are you making a profit after all your cost if you mow at $21.99? If you can answer yes and the profit is large enough to satify you then you should try anything you want and will work for you. I would only mow at the reduced rate if the customer would buy additional services at an inflated cost to even things out. Upsell the other sevices, theres usually more profit in them anyways over mowing.

DFW Area Landscaper
06-02-2005, 06:37 PM
A Martinez,

As for advertising $22 cuts, I certainly wouldn't do it if the market rate in Waco is still $25. I just don't think you will get a rush of new customers because of price. I know undercutting the going rate has worked very well for justmowit the past few years, but I think the reason they were able to get so many clients is because they happened to place a lawn mowing door hanger on the door just as the home owner was considering hiring a service. I don't think it had much to do with the low price. I think it was more of a timing issue.

I think if you advertise $22 cuts and the going rate is $25 all that will happen is your competitors will see your price and then they will start advertising lower prices too. Next thing you know, in order to undercut prices again, you will have to advertise $16 cuts. That is what is happening in my market right now.

The secret to success in this business is advertising. The more people that see you mow lawns, the more people will call. You don't have to advertise a price to get them to call.

Get the door hangers out and they will call.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

jbell113
06-02-2005, 06:48 PM
Why dont you try your flier approach with that price and target one neighborhood at a time and see what turns up.

Toy2
06-02-2005, 07:34 PM
The hangers won't work in the area I'm trying to target.....banned area per city police??? I might do the flier...the newspaper wil target just that area.....if I can get 12 more customers, I will be happy....I picked up one about 8 miles away.....It's ok...just out of the way...I am trying to get the guy I network with to trade one of his for mine...

Howard Roark
06-02-2005, 10:37 PM
I figure the average yard around here is 14,000 to 17,000 sq feet....I am just targeting a certain city.....I know the lay out because I live here....my other flier had "yards starting at $30.00"...not one call from it...figure I would try JustMowIts approach...


14,000 to 17,000 is not the justmowit approach. If i'm not mistaken they charge 1.5 times their rates for the square footage you're mentioning.

greeneakers04
06-02-2005, 11:06 PM
14,000 to 17,000 is not the justmowit approach. If i'm not mistaken they charge 1.5 times their rates for the square footage you're mentioning.

They pay their employees 1.5X the rate that they make on the lawns under 12K when they mow the larger lots.

Example:

Under 12K...
$26 cutting price, crew makes $10ish.

12-17K...
$31 cutting price, crew makes $15ish.

The business itself makes the same profit on any lawn size. That is why they push the Bi-weekly's and One Timers. I believe that is where they make up a ton of profit.

tinman
06-02-2005, 11:16 PM
Just the sheer amount of advertising JustMowit does has more to do with his success than the low prices IMHO. Of course low prices get noticed, but most people do not have time to really price shop except the 10% of PITA clients you do not want anyway. Between work, running kids to & from school, kids sports, cleaning the house, homework, ETC... most people who truly want a dependable service will go for the first reasonable price they get. JUSTMOWIT makes it EASY to pick him because his name is known, does over the phone pricing, etc.

I know everyone says "they all just want a cheap price". Again, that is true for about 10% of the people. It just seems like more because the bad sticks out in our minds.... example - just try & remember your best day at work & then try to remember the worst. It is much easier to remember the worst.

lawnworker
06-02-2005, 11:42 PM
The retail and service industries are entirely different. Walmart relies on high volume movement of cheap over seas goods to make money. We sell skilled labor, knowledge and machinery usage, not the latest blue light special. Charge what you need ,or move on to something else that will make $$$$.

2k1yzfr1
06-03-2005, 12:13 AM
If you are trying to get yards in Hewitt I would try to move somewhere else. It seems to me it is oversaturated with lawn companies. Labeling your truck for $21 lawn cutting is going to get you all the tight asses that want their yard mowed every 3-4 weeks if it needs it or not. I haven't spent a dime on advertising this year and have picked up probably 10-15 yards and I am the highest priced residential cutter in Waco. Probably 75% of my yards I drop the tailgate and mow 2-5 yards at the same time. If you do quality work you should be able to get some of the yards around the yard you are doing.

nriddle77
06-03-2005, 12:47 AM
....I have no overhead to worry about, I just got a helper for the summer....any thoughts???


How is it that you have no overhead? Even if you're not making payments on your truck and equipment, you still have overhead.

gogetter
06-03-2005, 01:54 AM
.I have no overhead to worry about,

REALLY!?!?!? Please share with all of us how you can run a legal, legitimate lawn business wiht NO overhead! :confused: :rolleyes:

dog245
06-03-2005, 02:17 AM
Before I start I know I'm going to piss someone off, so don't beat me up too bad. I started 4 years ago with 8 accounts. I have never advertised and now have 50 accounts. My prices are probably near the top. I have decided to stay a sole proprietor with only family help. I'm weeding out the troublesome accounts and am being very selective in the ones I accept. What I am trying to get across is that quality work breeds new accounts. Don't cut yourself short on the $'s. Do exemplary work and the clients you have will breed more. The best advertisement is word of mouth.

Texas Mower Parts
06-03-2005, 08:43 AM
I think you should start wearing hot pink shirts. :p

dishboy
06-03-2005, 09:05 AM
People do notice PRICE. People do not like surprises or hassles, put the price on your flier. My best paying yards are under 3 K of turf side by side to another just like it that I do with a 21. You can get XX dollars for a small 2K yard but try getting double that for a 4K yard. Target new small yarded homes in yuppieville.

greeneakers04
06-03-2005, 09:48 AM
Just the sheer amount of advertising JustMowit does has more to do with his success than the low prices IMHO. Of course low prices get noticed, but most people do not have time to really price shop except the 10% of PITA clients you do not want anyway. Between work, running kids to & from school, kids sports, cleaning the house, homework, ETC... most people who truly want a dependable service will go for the first reasonable price they get. JUSTMOWIT makes it EASY to pick him because his name is known, does over the phone pricing, etc.

I know everyone says "they all just want a cheap price". Again, that is true for about 10% of the people. It just seems like more because the bad sticks out in our minds.... example - just try & remember your best day at work & then try to remember the worst. It is much easier to remember the worst.

I agree with all of your post except I think it is more than 10% that are trying to find the best price. After the spring rush, I think that as long as the service is par or above, more like 25% will shop for the best price. Just my opinion though. But, the vast majority of people are unlikely to stop service with their company (assuming the work is par or above) if I better rate comes along. I would say that March-May, the best price backed with a decent reputation will win. Everything after that is leftovers from homeowners who are sick of doing it, buying or selling of homes, and under par/lazy LCO's. March-May, I think that percentage is more like 65% will price shop.

Runner
06-03-2005, 11:22 AM
People will shop VALUE more than they will shop price. You make them believe they are getting MORE for the money they ARE paying. Most times, they are willing to pay a little more if they believe they're getting their dollar's worth. Great work does help does this. There are way too many sales techniques to even ellaborate on that explain this and how to do this.

MowingGuru
06-03-2005, 11:54 AM
Undercutting is a bad idea. Not only will it cost you money, it will drive the price down; which is bad for everyone. Also, what are you going to do next year when someone starts up with $19.99 cuts? It's bad. Mind you, we've all done it, learn from our mistakes and don't be a busy fool.

People don't realize all the things that go into 'cutting the lawn'. Remind them that you are going to cut, trim, remove the clippings, blow the clippings off the driveways and walkways, etc. Make the customer feel they are getting more for their money. Create a repuation. If you do quality work and are dependable, you will get/retain accounts and people will gladly pay for it.

With all the costs of this business going up, gas, insurance, equipment, vehicle maintenance, If you can't charge $35-$40 for an average size lawn, it's time to start thinking of a new way to make money.

arkylady
06-03-2005, 12:52 PM
I think if you advertise $22 cuts and the going rate is $25 all that will happen is your competitors will see your price and then they will start advertising lower prices too. Next thing you know, in order to undercut prices again, you will have to advertise $16 cuts. That is what is happening in my market right now.

That could get nasty. The really bad part is that none of these guys lowering their prices are probably working the numbers to really see how much it's hurting their bottom line. Most of them are probably just thinking "Well, if all these guys think $25 is a good price, I'm sure I can make money at $22!". Then the next guy thinks "If he can do it for $22, I'm sure I'll be fine at $20."

Scary :)

pajohn
06-03-2005, 01:58 PM
Just browsing this thread and had to chime in. My son is starting out in the lawn care/ landsacping business. He will be starting college this fall for his LN degree. I keep telling him that for the best customers, quality is more important than price. The only customers that you will get by low balling are those that will complain about every little thing and will move to another provider as soon as they get another flyer. The customers that appreciate your quality will stick with you forever.
Just my $.02 as a consumer.

lawnrangeralaska
06-03-2005, 03:00 PM
Are you making a profit after all your cost if you mow at $21.99? If you can answer yes and the profit is large enough to satify you then you should try anything you want and will work for you. I would only mow at the reduced rate if the customer would buy additional services at an inflated cost to even things out. Upsell the other sevices, theres usually more profit in them anyways over mowing.

hey i don't really like your quote... i am 17 and look at what my equipment list is... i own it all paid for in cash buddy... i make about 2500-3000 a week.. times 20 weeks.. i think i am professional... i turn cheap customers over to other lco's . i carry there cards in my wallet and i hand them out too :) i don't cut costs for one customer.. if i did that everyone would want that then i lose money and go under.. i am a professional lco.. licensed insured and good equipment... i have uniforms for me 2 employees also.

olderthandirt
06-03-2005, 04:53 PM
hey i don't really like your quote... i am 17 and look at what my equipment list is... i own it all paid for in cash buddy... i make about 2500-3000 a week.. times 20 weeks.. i think i am professional... i turn cheap customers over to other lco's . i carry there cards in my wallet and i hand them out too :) i don't cut costs for one customer.. if i did that everyone would want that then i lose money and go under.. i am a professional lco.. licensed insured and good equipment... i have uniforms for me 2 employees also.
You are a MINOR! So look up the laws that say you are NOT a professional anything until your 18

betterlawn
06-03-2005, 05:44 PM
Doesn't this ever get old? A professional by definition is someone who gets paid for their services. It doesn't mean they are good at it or that they can legally own their own business, etc.

A 17 year old can OWN a lawnmower, charge people for services, and get paid. So they are "professional" as opposed to amateur...

Any monkey can mow and blow, even a MINOR monkey. The laws don't say anything about "professionial" LCO's. The only protected professions are ones that are actually registered with the state, i.e. Doctors, nurses, engineers (PE's), etc.

daveyo
06-03-2005, 06:26 PM
I handed out 1000 flyers in march, I added 25 new customers from the flyers. The flyer idea I got was from justmowit. It stated in short, "mow for 19.99 for any average size lot" out of the 40-50 customers that called and the 25 I signed up only one fell into the "average size lot". all my other customers are between $27.00 and $95 weekly. The key is to keep the average size lot under 8100sq'. I can make a 8100sq' lot look sweet in about 12 minutes loaded and gone. I don't low ball, get the going rates, and stick to my word on the flyers. I never ever let the customer dictate my price, I always do a nice job and look professional. My point being don't low ball, you may think your overhead is low but at the end of the day you don't want to bring home $100.00 when it's said and done.

daveyo
06-03-2005, 06:40 PM
oh, I thought I would also add this. As I was handing out my flyers I accidentally handed one out to another lco, "Eds lawn service". I didn't pay much attention, anyway about five days later one of my customers handed me a flyer she received. "Eds lawn service will mow any lawn for $20.00 limited availability first 20 customers" something like that. I couldn't help but feel real bad for the guy, I mean he obviously didn't do any research or anything, he saw my flyer panicked and low balled. that's not how you want to do business, get YOUR price not what some other guy is getting, regardless if it's higher or lower.

O'Donnell Landscaping