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CNYScapes
09-18-2005, 07:16 PM
Do you guys let customers buy less apps than your standard program, or do you stick to your guns and make them purchase your standard program or see ya later? Im gonna expand my spray division and in the past I have always recommended 7 applications (every 4 weeks) to my customers, but I have let them buy less if they wanted. If I am gonna hire a new guy to expand the spray biz then I want him busy all the time. What do you guys do?

NattyLawn
09-18-2005, 10:04 PM
In my short stint at Naturalawn, they wanted customers to take all 7 apps or they didn't want them. I thought this was flawed, and still do. Not all customers can afford the full program, but still want some form of service. Do you want them to go to someone who will do less apps?
The downside is a lot of times the customers with less apps do complain more, and you have to be very honest with them up front that the lawn might not look as nice as Mr Jones down the street on full program. Also, too many service calls will dip into profits.
I would take on the customers, and if service calls roll in, you can always upsell in the future.

Soupy
09-18-2005, 10:50 PM
In my short stint at Naturalawn, they wanted customers to take all 7 apps or they didn't want them. I thought this was flawed, and still do. Not all customers can afford the full program, but still want some form of service. Do you want them to go to someone who will do less apps?
The downside is a lot of times the customers with less apps do complain more, and you have to be very honest with them up front that the lawn might not look as nice as Mr Jones down the street on full program. Also, too many service calls will dip into profits.
I would take on the customers, and if service calls roll in, you can always upsell in the future.

Do you charge them the same price? The reason most companies don't want a one time apps is because some apps cost more then others, but mostly have a flat app fee for all apps. This keeps mrs. cheapskate from calling and getting pre-emergent, and maybe a broadleaf control, but no straight ferts.

By the way, Mrs. Cheapskate doesn't do upsells?

LonniesLawns
09-18-2005, 11:16 PM
I do not know how I could manage a lawn if I was doing only certain applications. I devise a plan for each lawn that gives it the nutrients it needs. These nutrients are spread through out the year based on when it is most appropriate for the lawn. I canot share this responsibility for the lawn care with a homeowner.

Although my program is usually 4 applications, I do not do one time applications. I only have customers on my full schedule.

MrBarefoot
09-19-2005, 07:52 AM
This year, I compared the margin I was making on full programs to the margin I made from partial programs, and the number of service calls requested by both groups. When I look at the numbers with cold business sense, it is very tempting to cut off the partial program customers.

We also send out postcards in the middle of the year asking our customers to grade our performance, and ask for feedback to make improvements. Our partial program customers (as a group) where less satisfied.

My natural urge is to sell applications to people, even if they don't want a full program, but the data makes a good argument (in my case) for my company to end that practice.

If you can find a way to look at the same data in your company, it may help you make a decision.

GREENITUP
09-19-2005, 08:19 AM
I do not like to give partial programs because each one (of my applications) is timed to build off the previous one. If you let them pick one or two - true you will get some money for it. But when the neighbors see sporadic results on the Smiths lawn because you skipped three ferts and one pre-emergent, they will think "Didn't I see ("your company") out there a while back?" If the yard looks like crap - do you think they will call for your service??? Hard to build a good rep on mediocre lawns.

Pilgrims' Pride
09-19-2005, 08:24 AM
I do not like to give partial programs because each one (of my applications) is timed to build off the previous one. If you let them pick one or two - true you will get some money for it. But when the neighbors see sporadic results on the Smiths lawn because you skipped three ferts and one pre-emergent, they will think "Didn't I see ("your company") out there a while back?" If the yard looks like crap - do you think they will call for your service??? Hard to build a good rep on mediocre lawns.

Absolutely!

While there are some who say they'll sell just a few apps and then try to upsell.
I have an "all or nothing" approach for those same reasons.

GreenUtah
09-19-2005, 02:29 PM
This boils back to what you are selling, results or labor/chems. Results come from a program. Residentials already have a high marketing load, then when you shave off your "money apps", toss in service calls because they are not on a regular program, they begin to suck away resources(partial programs). As far as being expensive/unaffordable, a 5 program per season(on a 28-32 week growing season) still puts you there plenty of times to stay on top of a lawn, gives you the chance to upsell a "winterizer" if you need to and allows a tech on the property every 5-6 weeks. This also allows 1 tech to handle a larger customer base than a 4 week schedule. Do the 1-2-3 app commercials and charge them on actual costs, leave the less than full program resis on the roadside.

lawnservice
09-19-2005, 06:05 PM
we will do less than our full program.

we stipulate that less than 5 apps we can not guarantee -*no free service calls*
and a 10% increase in our price.

We (I) do not judge the customer. For whatever reason they may want less than a full program is ok by us. We do not worry that the lawn may not look so great and the neighbors might remember seeing us there.
If that were the case....we got plenty of lawns on our full program who are not well maintained culturally and dont look so great.
We do not take blame for the actions [or lack of action] taken by the homeowner. And its been my experience that the homeowner whos lawn is on a partial program will be the first to admit to his neighbor that its his fault that we dont do a better job of getting results.

lawnservice
09-19-2005, 06:06 PM
The 'what we're selling' arguement, results or apps, I do not agree with. Fact is we're in business to make $$$. Again, if we were to take that arguement to the homeowner who insist on mowing his lawn to short and doing a daily 5 min. watering, well then the cancellation rate will go quite high.
"sorry mr smith, because you wont follow our instructions we will not get the desired results so we wont work here anymore" ??

GreenUtah
09-19-2005, 06:42 PM
The 'what we're selling' arguement, results or apps, I do not agree with. Fact is we're in business to make $$$. Again, if we were to take that arguement to the homeowner who insist on mowing his lawn to short and doing a daily 5 min. watering, well then the cancellation rate will go quite high.
"sorry mr smith, because you wont follow our instructions we will not get the desired results so we wont work here anymore" ??

No? So you'll service call that lawn two times betwen each app for color and weeds? If that's so, what's the point in even having a program? Just take any application of whatever aytime you can get it.

Green Dreams
09-19-2005, 09:07 PM
I will take fewer as well, but I tell them all they get 35 days with their guarantee. If a problem arises, I'll fix it. If its po' color...sorry.

GREENITUP
09-20-2005, 08:05 AM
We (I) do not judge the customer. For whatever reason they may want less than a full program is ok by us. We do not worry that the lawn may not look so great and the neighbors might remember seeing us there.
.

I don't judge anybody - thats not my job....But my job is to make sure all of my customers lawns stay green and as weed free as possible. If you are making your partial customers fully aware of what they can expect from half a program and they except that - then so be it. However, I can assure you this practice will not net you as many referrals or inquiries as you potentially could receive. In the long run - those $58 applications you make 2 times a year won't add up to the revenue generated from just one or two full program lawns.

KLR
09-20-2005, 01:45 PM
i cant understand why anyone would not sell a partial program? except for maybe because the property is WAY off the beaten path.

on each and every sale it is our job (our...as in all of us in the industry) to set the customer's expectations whether they buy a 'full' program or partial program.
i know some sell a 4 app program, to me that is a partial program. if we have a prospective customer who does not want our 7 app program but will take 3 apps...SOLD, set their expectations and move on to the next sale.

we have sold many partial programs that have been upsold to a full program.

i do not worry about what the neighbors will think of our service, in fact is it better to have a truck in a neighborhood 3 times per year or not at all??

lawnservice
09-20-2005, 01:58 PM
I don't judge anybody - thats not my job....But my job is to make sure all of my customers lawns stay green and as weed free as possible. If you are making your partial customers fully aware of what they can expect from half a program and they except that - then so be it. However, I can assure you this practice will not net you as many referrals or inquiries as you potentially could receive. In the long run - those $58 applications you make 2 times a year won't add up to the revenue generated from just one or two full program lawns.
as i had stated....partial programs are sold at 10% above our regular program rate, so yes, they are profitable.

yes, many partial programs do indeed upsell to a full program.


KLR...been a long time KEn, hows things?

KLR
09-20-2005, 02:06 PM
things are fine here lawnservice....{ahem, no names please}

I agree with your thinking on partial programs.

Everyone is free to run their business as they like.
One of the reasons i rarely visit this site is because of the "my dog is bigger than your dog" or "if you dont do things like me then you're a scrub" attitude some have here.(not just here on lawnsite, but all the message boards i have been on)

lawnservice
09-20-2005, 02:12 PM
things are fine here lawnservice....{ahem, no names please}

I agree with your thinking on partial programs.

Everyone is free to run their business as they like.
One of the reasons i rarely visit this site is because of the "my dog is bigger than your dog" or "if you dont do things like me then you're a scrub" attitude some have here.(not just here on lawnsite, but all the message boards i have been on)
sorry about the name slip, my bad.
I appreciate you getting involved with this thread.
And i like your signature...it says it all. Not many here at lawnsite have that 'dog bigger than yours' attitude, but yeah some might have that attitude.

Hope you come around a little more often, OK?

we'll have to get together for dinner some time this winter

LonniesLawns
09-20-2005, 02:39 PM
A 4 step program is not a partial program if done correctly. By using organics and UF as my primary nitrogen sources and focusing on building s healthy soil for the lawn to grow in I am able to provide the best lawns in town with four visits.

My per aplication cost is quite a bit higher than the competitions however and I have to sell it as an annaul program to the customers so they see the value. Although I ma still always higher than most guys.

I have considered going to five steps -- just for the first year until I get weed under control -- but have opted to instead to usually make a service call to new lawns that have not grown in full and lush yet.