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bobbygedd
10-04-2005, 01:47 PM
tell me, when you give an estimate, and you DON'T get the job, what is the main reason? is it too high of a price, is it that the client asks questions that your lack of experience can't answer (no shame in that, just proceed, to the back of the bus please), or maybe it's because you are limited in the different services you provide. in any event, i know, i know, most of you are going to say you get 90% of the estimates you give, well then just tell me, about the 10% you don't get. what is the main reason you don't land them?

Thirdpete
10-04-2005, 01:50 PM
price. . .

hole in one lco
10-04-2005, 01:52 PM
the one phrase i hear a lot is
WOW i didn't think it would be that much

sheshovel
10-04-2005, 01:52 PM
Over customers budget for what they want.They want all this material and labor for these wonderfull landscape features and don't realize how much that stuff really costs.
So when they see it they go"Whoa! mabey we will wait awhile or do it a little at a time."

Nosmo
10-04-2005, 02:09 PM
One part of the sales pitch a lot of folks overlook is after the presentation the final question is overlooked.

Try this on some of them after you have presented what you will do and what it will cost. Before the guy has a chance to put you off -- this is the bottom line. Mr. Smith
we can begin on your yard this afternoon (or first thing in the morning) will this be a good time for you ?

Nosmo

Sharp Services
10-04-2005, 02:33 PM
One part of the sales pitch a lot of folks overlook is after the presentation the final question is overlooked.

Try this on some of them after you have presented what you will do and what it will cost. Before the guy has a chance to put you off -- this is the bottom line. Mr. Smith
we can begin on your yard this afternoon (or first thing in the morning) will this be a good time for you ?

Nosmo

That is how I asked them ... was a salesman for a fortune 500 company in my other life. But I say "Mr. %$#^&, We can start your lawn care program this week or would next week be better". They usually start it this week.

Works like a charm!!

AL Inc
10-04-2005, 02:48 PM
I would have to say price is usually the issue. I would say 9 times out of 10, my price is higher than other contractors. There have been times where I was trying to sell a job that was too big for me, figuring I could sub parts out to friends who can handle it, and somehow I think people can sense that. I know one of my weaknesses is that I am not the best salesman. It is something I'm always trying to improve on.

jimmbo407
10-04-2005, 02:48 PM
I am new to the business and just started with larger landscape bids. I would say the major reason I loose residential accounts is price and not having the experience to sell my price. ( I learn something new every time I win or loose a bid) I have bid on a half dozen commercial accounts and never landed them, for the most part I think I lack all the services they want. I do not do snow removal or plant flowers. I also lack some equipment such as a core aerator and bedscaper just to name a couple of machines. I rent them and pass the rental fees on to the customer which I think makes my prices higher. So to answer your question Bobby it's a combo of things not just one reason I loose bids. But again I learn every time I do them, so I guess I gain something. And as far a knowledge of the business, I'll come sit in the back of the bus with ya.

Ol'time Lawncare
10-04-2005, 03:13 PM
I loss when someone calls with BIG dreams and no money to back those dreams up!!!

neversatisfiedj
10-04-2005, 03:15 PM
How do you all price commercial cuts ? Acreage ? man hours ?

olderthandirt
10-04-2005, 03:25 PM
Persanalities! They have a bad "vibe" or don't like the way we look. but I think its more of a feeling than anything else. Same as buying a car if the prices are close you buy from the salesperson your most comfatable with. SALES #1 goal

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 03:44 PM
Selling 101--PRICE is a four letter word. Never say it --Never use it.
BIDS DON"T SELL WORK -- SALES PEOPLE SELL WORK
The reason , and the only reason you did not get the job is because the prospect believes that the value of what is in his pocket is greater than the value of the service you offered.
To many people spend time asking about what color mowers are best and nobody asks what sales training is best. To be a good business you have to be a good salesperson.
You have to build the value of your service up to the point that the prospect has no doubt that the cost of not using you is greater than doing so.
If your getting 90% of your BIDS you are pricing way to low.
If you are just throwing bids you will get about 10% if you are priced right.
If you SELL the job you will get about 50% at the same price.
If you raise your rates AND you sell them right you will get about 30% of the work but that work will be the best client and will never question rates again and always approve enhancements and add ons without hesitation.
That is when business is great!!

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 03:50 PM
How do you all price commercial cuts ? Acreage ? man hours ?
Same as residential- Know your costs, develop your rates- know the time it takes.
Rate X's time = job cost

Precision
10-04-2005, 04:07 PM
Bobby,

Those that I do not get are a combination of my price being too high and/or their expectations for their lawn being too low.
Billybob the Redneck that just wants an occasional hacking down of the lawn, politely listens to my pitch but has already decided I am too expensive for what he wants. And he is right, especially after I add the 30% surcharge for being a dirt patch yard.

Price shoppers, cheapskates, and the like don't like me as soon as I show up and am in control of the process. I give them a quick, high price and move on.

Those that are serious and want to improve their lawn and do the extras, get lots of time and attention and I only talk enough to keep them talking about what they want / see their yard becoming. These people usually sign up before they know price because we have established the beginnings of a relationship and the beginnings of trust. That is what business should be based on. Not price.

well, either that or fear of the shovel

Brianslawn
10-04-2005, 04:24 PM
what if we are limited on the services we offer? maybe we dont do enough of that other work to justify the extra equipment. maybe we dont have the time for those other services, cause we follow the same lco in the same situation as us from house to house... neighborhood to neighborhood all day every day. its like the two of you got the exact same schedule, only next door neighbors house on all the stops. at least gas is cheap, otherwise an educated person might consider that wasteful.

maybe some day someone will come up with an idea to share resources, reduce costs, increase productivity, and be able to expand into all the spectrums of the green industry... all at the same time. maybe it just takes a bid meeting at an enourmous commercial property that everyone wants, but nobody can handle by themselves.

maybe someday.......

GrazerZ
10-04-2005, 04:25 PM
If we don't get a job its almost always due to price. I think that if you are getting a very high pecentage of your bids, its an indication that your prices are too low. The other possible resons for not getting a job are: unreasonable time frame, the I have to have it tomarrow mindset. Also a project may be just too large for us to handle at this time.

Jason Rose
10-04-2005, 05:06 PM
For Commercial accounts, I had 2 I bid on this spring and my price was right on I was told. Catch is that I don't have a snow plow and they both wanted a contractor that could do both. Yeah I could have taken the job and subbed it out but they simply went with the contractor that had submitted a bid for both.

Who shows up first. Being on the ball and having the time to run to bid a new lawn within an hour or so of the call will usually land the job. Myself being SOLO and having a pretty tight schedule I can't always do that and thus am a day late and a dollar short...

Price. I run into that once in a while, but I don't really bid many that I wasn't already recommended for so price for them isn't the issue, it's whos doing it.

WHO YOU KNOW. I think this is just about number one around here. Smaller town, everybody knows everyone else in a round about way. If you have your name in good with a couple landscape firms they will tell so 'n so to call you and they do. Boom. you have a new client. Even just getting to be buddies with a large lco can get a small guy business. The lawns they can't handle, either small, or just a lone one on the route they may sluff off onto you. If you are desperate you can flat out take all the trash they don't want to deal with even.

Wells
10-04-2005, 06:05 PM
So it sounds like a good number of you that are loosing jobs can accredit this right back to your pricing structure and bidding process. Knowing that pricing is the main reason you're losing potential clients perhaps it's time to look at new bidding approach.

Something that I've started doing with my residential clients is to take a good look at the property and come up with a price in my mind. Then, instead of telling the customer what the cost is I give the customer the opportunity to tell me what price they have in mind.

This approach works well for two reason. First, you would be surprised how many clients have a price in mind that is higher that the price I was going to quote the job at. (Lets say I was thinking $25 and the client says $30....There is extra money there that would otherwise be left on the table) Usually when a client is higher then my original cost I meet them somewhere in between, that way i'm making more then I originally planned and the client feels their getting a good deal.

The second reason this approach works well is because you know right then and there if the customer thinks your pricing is too high, this allows you the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind your pricing. (Fuel costs, Insurance, Labor, etc.) I'm usually surprised how many clients don't understand the costs associated with running a legitimate business. Usually a will have a change of mind once you have the opportunity to explain your costs to them.

Usually you will also have your answer when you leave their property rather than waiting by the phone wondering what the client thought of your bid.

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 06:12 PM
So it sounds like a good number of you that are loosing jobs can accredit this right back to your pricing structure and bidding process. Knowing that pricing is the main reason you're losing potential clients perhaps it's time to look at new bidding approach.

Something that I've started doing with my residential clients is to take a good look at the property and come up with a price in my mind. Then, instead of telling the customer what the cost is I give the customer the opportunity to tell me what price they have in mind.

This approach works well for two reason. First, you would be surprised how many clients have a price in mind that is higher that the price I was going to quote the job at. (Lets say I was thinking $25 and the client says $30....There is extra money there that would otherwise be left on the table) Usually when a client is higher then my original cost I meet them somewhere in between, that way i'm making more then I originally planned and the client feels their getting a good deal.

The second reason this approach works well is because you know right then and there if the customer thinks your pricing is too high, this allows you the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind your pricing. (Fuel costs, Insurance, Labor, etc.) I'm usually surprised how many clients don't understand the costs associated with running a legitimate business. Usually a will have a change of mind once you have the opportunity to explain your costs to them.

Usually you will also have your answer when you leave their property rather than waiting by the phone wondering what the client thought of your bid.
well said----.

turfman33
10-04-2005, 06:17 PM
"The guy down the street can cut it cheaper'

Steve

GreenUtah
10-04-2005, 06:20 PM
Selling 101--PRICE is a four letter word. Never say it --Never use it.
BIDS DON"T SELL WORK -- SALES PEOPLE SELL WORK
The reason , and the only reason you did not get the job is because the prospect believes that the value of what is in his pocket is greater than the value of the service you offered.
To many people spend time asking about what color mowers are best and nobody asks what sales training is best. To be a good business you have to be a good salesperson.
You have to build the value of your service up to the point that the prospect has no doubt that the cost of not using you is greater than doing so.
If your getting 90% of your BIDS you are pricing way to low.
If you are just throwing bids you will get about 10% if you are priced right.
If you SELL the job you will get about 50% at the same price.
If you raise your rates AND you sell them right you will get about 30% of the work but that work will be the best client and will never question rates again and always approve enhancements and add ons without hesitation.
That is when business is great!!

Exactly. Creating value is #1. whether it's through experience, customer service,equipment, style, whatever. Price is only relevant to perceived value. If price is your only determining factor for win or lose, then you will always be doomed to take the lowest price. A Lexus is an upgraded Toyota, a Cadillac an upgraded Chevy. Are the prices relevant to the actual cost to manufacture over their economy minded cousins? Of course not. Last time I checked, luxury car dealerships seem to be doing fine. I completely agree with PM on this and the two other posts regarding assuming the sale (would starting tomorrow be good for you?) a very powerful and effective technique.

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 06:25 PM
"The guy down the street can cut it cheaper'

Steve
First question to ask is "do you want to just cut grass or are you looking to build the vaule of your property and be rewared every day when you drive into the drive because your property looks great and well manicured. We don't just "cut grass" so if that is what you are looking for we are not your guys, sorry."

laborador
10-04-2005, 06:44 PM
So it sounds like a good number of you that are loosing jobs can accredit this right back to your pricing structure and bidding process. Knowing that pricing is the main reason you're losing potential clients perhaps it's time to look at new bidding approach.

Something that I've started doing with my residential clients is to take a good look at the property and come up with a price in my mind. Then, instead of telling the customer what the cost is I give the customer the opportunity to tell me what price they have in mind.

This approach works well for two reason. First, you would be surprised how many clients have a price in mind that is higher that the price I was going to quote the job at. (Lets say I was thinking $25 and the client says $30....There is extra money there that would otherwise be left on the table) Usually when a client is higher then my original cost I meet them somewhere in between, that way i'm making more then I originally planned and the client feels their getting a good deal.

The second reason this approach works well is because you know right then and there if the customer thinks your pricing is too high, this allows you the opportunity to explain the reasoning behind your pricing. (Fuel costs, Insurance, Labor, etc.) I'm usually surprised how many clients don't understand the costs associated with running a legitimate business. Usually a will have a change of mind once you have the opportunity to explain your costs to them.

Usually you will also have your answer when you leave their property rather than waiting by the phone wondering what the client thought of your bid.

I think I am going to start doing something similar. I am going to start asking if they had a LCO before and do they have a budget for this. Then I will try to work with them. That way they may have a budget that is higher than what you have in mind. If it is lower you can just say you can not maintain there property.

Wells
10-04-2005, 07:02 PM
Exactly. Creating value is #1. whether it's through experience, customer service,equipment, style, whatever. Price is only relevant to perceived value. If price is your only determining factor for win or lose, then you will always be doomed to take the lowest price. A Lexus is an upgraded Toyota, a Cadillac an upgraded Chevy. Are the prices relevant to the actual cost to manufacture over their economy minded cousins? Of course not. Last time I checked, luxury car dealerships seem to be doing fine. I completely agree with PM on this and the two other posts regarding assuming the sale (would starting tomorrow be good for you?) a very powerful and effective technique.

Green,
You always give really good advice and I agree with what you are saying but unfortunately value is not the first item a customer looks for. A professional marketing rep once told me research shows that of value, quality and price, the first determining factor for the majority of customers purchasing any item is price. Once the item had been purchased the customers mindset quickly switches to quality, shortly followed by value received.

It's unfortunate that clients looks at price over quality but a prime example of this is. Wal-Mart vs Nordstroms: a pair of nice shoes can purchased at both stores but the vast majority of customers are going to buy their shoes at Wal-mart based solely on the price. How well the shoes wear and their quality is a secondary issue.

Now, there will still be those people that prefer the quality and the value of a item purchased from Norstroms but their customer base is a whole lot less than that of Wal-marts.

Now, knowing that price is most customers determining factor following by quality you can use this to your favor. When taking on a new client bid the job at a price that the customer is going to feel comfortable with since they have never seen your work before. Later in the season or during your second season with that client it should be a lot easier to raise their prices to your desired level now that the client has had the opportunity to see the quality of your work and the value you provide.

topsites
10-04-2005, 07:08 PM
At least half the reason is when I'm not going to get a good deal.
They might figure I'm here to try and convince them that I can do a good job, but they are mistaken. They might think I have something to prove to them, they might think I have to make the sale, they might think I need the work, but again they are all mistaken.

It's not just the customer has to say yes, *I* have to say yes too, and first (before they say it!) Once I hear myself saying yes, THEN we get to where I may see about getting them to agree.

Any of the usual comedy throws a red flag, I'm on my way out... I may let them know not to cross the line, most of them do it again anyhow and I'm gone sure as schitt, other than I just might throw them a ridiculous price on my way out.

I'm sorry, but it steams me around 9 out of 10 folks out there *I* don't want to work for. It's got nothing to do with THEM agreeing, it's all about me seeing the crap coming for miles. The whole bunch wants something for nothing, dime a dozen folks I call them... I guess you could say they didn't 'think' it was going to be that expensive, but by then I've already wasted more time than I care to, so I prefer to head out as soon as I see it coming, and waste no time giving a price when I already know the answer.

Money flaunters, hint-throwers, cry-babies, you name it, they all have some cute little trick up their sleeve. Once I see them trying to pull one, I figure they'll 'get' me sooner or later, so it is best I leave (and let natural selection work its course on someone less experienced). Nobody is perfect, I can deal with the bs here and there, but with most folk it's neverending. Every once in a while I find someone straight, somebody honest, they don't WANT to mess me around - That's usually the person I want to work for.

Once THAT hurdle is crossed, usually price is not a big issue.
Because you see, I can give a nice price to someone I know won't throw any wrenches into my gears as I'm working.

yrdandgardenhandyman
10-04-2005, 07:25 PM
tell me, when you give an estimate, and you DON'T get the job, what is the main reason? is it too high of a price, is it that the client asks questions that your lack of experience can't answer (no shame in that, just proceed, to the back of the bus please), or maybe it's because you are limited in the different services you provide. in any event, i know, i know, most of you are going to say you get 90% of the estimates you give, well then just tell me, about the 10% you don't get. what is the main reason you don't land them?


Price and not getting back in contact with the potential customer soon enough. I now try to keep a call back to less than an hour. That helps because a lot of the elderly people want instant gratification and not being responsive gives the people time to call another lco, get a low price and becoming a price shopper. Usually the next guy on the list has a very low price that I am unwilling to match or beat.

meets1
10-04-2005, 08:24 PM
PMLAWN is on the money.

First thing I ask the customer is " what is your buget? and I'll try to work with that figure.

Also 80% of our work is from our top 20% of customers - always improving, add to or taking away from. They just ask "do you have the time?" ALWAYS$$$$

Drew Gemma
10-04-2005, 08:30 PM
price I love to hear it when they say man you cost more than the big companies. I just say thnk you and smile. I changed my approach I basically tell them up front if you want sub par work and low prices call someone else. If it doesn't equall profits than I don't want it.

Jason Rose
10-04-2005, 09:47 PM
OK, I can't believe Bobby is sitting back and allowing you guys to say that you ASK THE CUSTOMER what they want to pay!

Granted I wish this is the way it really worked, especially on the ones that are looking to PAY more that I ever would have quoted! But I would think asking would be a big turn off to customers. You know your business, you know your costs, you have experience in this field, they DO NOT.

I understand, I think, that most of you are trying to ask "what's your budget". Maybe most aren't seeing it, but to me that's the same as asking "what would you like to pay me?"

Of course, go to the car dealership. What's the first question you get asked by the salesperson? "What's your budget?" Similar tactic, but not really. Vehicles have a price on them and your budget dictates how nice of a car you can afford. With lawn care, I understand there is varying levels of service, from mow blow and go, to full service everything outside your house is maintained. Maybe that's why you ask "what's your budget" to get a feel for what they want out of their LCO. But if it's to see what they are willing to pay for basic service then I would say no to the practice.

Envy Lawn Service
10-04-2005, 10:05 PM
tell me, when you give an estimate, and you DON'T get the job, what is the main reason? is it too high of a price, is it that the client asks questions that your lack of experience can't answer (no shame in that, just proceed, to the back of the bus please), or maybe it's because you are limited in the different services you provide. in any event, i know, i know, most of you are going to say you get 90% of the estimates you give, well then just tell me, about the 10% you don't get. what is the main reason you don't land them?

Bobby,

I'll be straight up and say up front that I land a very small percentage of the bids and estimates I give. Single digit percentages.

The main reason I don't land them?..... Without question PRICE!

Anyone who claims to land 90%....
You are coming in too low...
You're cheap and they know it. Period.

Envy Lawn Service
10-04-2005, 10:07 PM
By the way Bobby, I've tried to PM you several times as I said I would in that other thread. But I'm having a lot of problems with it hanging up, not sending, and I loose what I type. As it turns out, I'm not the only one experiencing this.

Precision
10-04-2005, 10:14 PM
By the way Bobby, I've tried to PM you several times as I said I would in that other thread. But I'm having a lot of problems with it hanging up, not sending, and I loose what I type. As it turns out, I'm not the only one experiencing this.

server too busy is damn annoying

Branchland
10-04-2005, 10:15 PM
Residentail, I get most of the mowing jobs I price. I'm charging the going rate in my area. I believe I get most of them because I return calls and meet them ASAP. Landscaping I don't. Because of price. They didn't think it'd be that much.

Commercial, I don't get hardly any. Mowing or landscaping. Don't know why. I've even lowered my prices on a couple this year from last year just to see. Still didn't get them. The ones getting them must be real low or they know the right people.

Precision
10-04-2005, 10:21 PM
First question to ask is "do you want to just cut grass or are you looking to build the vaule of your property and be rewared every day when you drive into the drive because your property looks great and well manicured. We don't just "cut grass" so if that is what you are looking for we are not your guys, sorry."

Good answer, but I don't even bother when the customer says the other guy said he'd do it cheaper. Too many good customers.

I am even more blunt. "Good for him, sounds like you have already found your next lawn person."

Long pause.

"Thank you for you time."

cgland
10-04-2005, 11:02 PM
Always price! That's why we try to prequalify our leads.

Chris

daveintoledo
10-04-2005, 11:16 PM
and your right , as well as many others here.....its price..

i too have tried to pm you and you need to empty the old messages, i think it said its full

PMLAWN
10-04-2005, 11:42 PM
Green,
You always give really good advice and I agree with what you are saying but unfortunately value is not the first item a customer looks for. A professional marketing rep once told me research shows that of value, quality and price, the first determining factor for the majority of customers purchasing any item is price. Once the item had been purchased the customers mindset quickly switches to quality, shortly followed by value received.

.
You are right that the price is in question but the price is all about money and how the prospect values the money. Value is the amount of worth that you ( or anyone ) has of something. Everyone on this site has a different idea of the value of a dollar. Some feel that they are doing good when they are making $30,000 a year doing this while some feel bad about making $100,000 and feel they are worth more.
Price is only an sub-chapter of value.
your kid asks for an Ice cream bar, you value the dollar that you have in your pocket but you value the kids happiness and his love more so you pay the dollar so you can give him what he wants.
Next day he asks for a new bike and the value of 150 dollars out weighs him now so no bike. He will now start selling you on how much better your life will be if he is happy, (building value for you) and how much better he will be at school if he is happy at play, (building value for him) and how much better life will be for mom if he is out riding a bike rather than messing up the house by being home with nothing to do, (building value for mom). The price of the bike has not changed but the value has and it becomes easier to open the wallet.
And by the way, business advice from those that are in the oldest profession, (right after selling, because that had to happen first), Get your money before because the value of service quickly declines after the service has been rendered.

You do know the oldest profession????

olderthandirt
10-04-2005, 11:45 PM
I totally disagree about the price being the big reason. If an 18 yr old bids a job and gets asked any questions he's gonna have limited knowledge about the business and about dealing with the public. Its all about your ability to sell the product, and that comes from many differnt thing. Experience is #1 in both the field knowledge and the people skills area, education plays a role, personality, the ability to "read" a person. You don't sell them what they need, anyone can do that. The hard part is selling them what they have not even thought they needed, before someone else beats you to the punch.

PROCUT1
10-05-2005, 12:17 AM
Heres my question. Where are all of the low priced guys hanging out?????

Considering that the 25,000+ members on lawnsite are all the HIGHEST PRICED and HIGHEST QUALITY lcos on the planet.....

Nope.....no cheapies here...... No one has ever lost a job due to quality either

olderthandirt
10-05-2005, 12:22 AM
Heres my question. Where are all of the low priced guys hanging out?????

Considering that the 25,000+ members on lawnsite are all the HIGHEST PRICED and HIGHEST QUALITY lcos on the planet.....

Nope.....no cheapies here...... No one has ever lost a job due to quality either

Might be some stretch the truth a little. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

ahlab
10-05-2005, 01:15 AM
I totally disagree about the price being the big reason. If an 18 yr old bids a job and gets asked any questions he's gonna have limited knowledge about the business and about dealing with the public.

Nope, this is completely wrong. People here are indicating that their potential customers value price more. If they balk at the price they aren;t going to worry about age or public relation skills.

Soupy
10-05-2005, 01:33 AM
Bobby,

Those that I do not get are a combination of my price being too high and/or their expectations for their lawn being too low.
Billybob the Redneck that just wants an occasional hacking down of the lawn, politely listens to my pitch but has already decided I am too expensive for what he wants. And he is right, especially after I add the 30% surcharge for being a dirt patch yard.

Price shoppers, cheapskates, and the like don't like me as soon as I show up and am in control of the process. I give them a quick, high price and move on.

Those that are serious and want to improve their lawn and do the extras, get lots of time and attention and I only talk enough to keep them talking about what they want / see their yard becoming. These people usually sign up before they know price because we have established the beginnings of a relationship and the beginnings of trust. That is what business should be based on. Not price.

well, either that or fear of the shovel

How do you determine between the different types? I don't see how you can look at someone and say "he's a price shopper, he's getting a higher price". Why not just give everyone the normal price, no matter what? Why give them a reason not to choose your company? I do agree on raising the rates for certain circumstances, like the dirt lawn. But never raise/lower the rates for any reason outside the scope of the work.

olderthandirt
10-05-2005, 01:35 AM
Nope, this is completely wrong. People here are indicating that their potential customers value price more. If they balk at the price they aren;t going to worry about age or public relation skills.
You should not even be discussing price until you sold them what they need.
ever hear the expression that if you have to ask the price you probably can't afford it? Well lawn cares no differnt why would you ask them what there budject is when you have not told them what you intend to do to there property. How many customers go into to buy a chevy and leave with a caddy? Those are the type of customers you want. And why did they buy the caddy because a sharp salesman convinced them that it was what they wanted and showed them how they could afford it. Now if your just looking for mowing jobs an add in the paper that says you will under cut any price will get you all the work you want.

Soupy
10-05-2005, 01:54 AM
I agree with that sales are important. That is also why I preach that a professional look is important. First impressions are everything in sales. Some on here don't believe you need nice lettered truck (not cheap magnets), uniforms, nice proposals, letterhead...the works. I always here that quality sells, but the problem is not everyone knows the quality that you offer before they hire you.

You don't have to land every job you bid. I have also always said that if you are landing more then 75% of the jobs then you are priced to low. 75% is a high number too, but if you have good sales and a professional image then 75% can be acceptable. Your prices should be adjusted by the percentage of your sales. Just like a store will raise prices on a hot item and lower prices on a poor seller.

jasonnau
10-05-2005, 07:59 AM
Since I've been starting my business, my biggest problem is that I usually get what I bid on. So, I've been slowly increasing my pricing so that I'm not undercutting myself. I must be still low, because I rarely loose one. Example, a customer wanted their shrubs prunned. Previously, they had "Chemlawn" prune them. I didn't even know Chemlawn did that kind of stuff. Chemlawn charged her $600.00 to do the job. I figured I could do the job in about 3-4 hours. I told her I would do it for half of what chemlawn charges. I've been doing it since, and I feel like it's a good paying job. Maybe I'm wrong! I do loose some, but, you all know that kind of customer well, the person who would shun at anything over 10 dollars. I had a new mowing customer who I just lost because last week she asked me if I could take care of all of the leaves that were falling in her landscape beds and yard. I told her I sure could, but it would involve a weekly fee for the extra time. She said, "If it costs anything, forget it then. Well, could you at least get them in a pile, and my husband will pick them up" That was said with a lot of "attitude" in her voice. Needless to say, this week she stopped me before I cut and said "We've decided to not use your services any further". This lady would have me skip when the lawn needed cut. Sometimes they'd cut the front themselves, and have me skip that week when they didn't cut the back yard. It didn't bother me a bit to loose her. Some people are just not worth the time and money. I have a few that I'm going to put the hammer down to next year. I'm increasing my price on a handfull of cuts, and I'm making clear, that it's "My Decision" wether their yard gets skipped or not. I really hate when people look at their front yard "which doesn't grow" and say "It doesn't need it this week" when their back yard is already 6 inches high. Anyway, I guess I'm just ramblin' here.

Nosmo
10-05-2005, 09:28 AM
People come in an assortment of all different types . Some of them are gonna do what you recommend and pay your price. Some of them are gonna go along for a while and then balk when the weather changes. If all of us were the same then who could tell us apart ?

One of the main things we need to keep in mind is this :
The customer is #1 and in the end is the main factor in your business. Without him/her you won't have an income.

Some of them we can get along without but somebody down the line will be able to handle those types. In this line of work Salemanship, Good Public Relations and being able to grit your teeth are assets.

Nosmo

PMLAWN
10-05-2005, 09:37 AM
In this line of work Salemanship, Good Public Relations and being able to grit your teeth are assets.

Nosmo

Yes, gritting is sometimes VERY important.

turfman33
10-05-2005, 11:55 AM
First question to ask is "do you want to just cut grass or are you looking to build the vaule of your property and be rewared every day when you drive into the drive because your property looks great and well manicured. We don't just "cut grass" so if that is what you are looking for we are not your guys, sorry."

PMLAWN. I like it....trying to explain the cost of equipment and the value of a better service seems to fall on deaf ears. Most of my clients are real good loyal clients. when i raised prices due to the cost of everything going up nobody minded. They like my work and my attention to detail and thats the clients I want. It feels great getting onto a lawn that is in awesome shape and the client takes pride in it.

Steve

PROCUT1
10-05-2005, 12:35 PM
Most clients dont care about the things we think they do. Not when it comes to the typical " lawn mowing service"


2005 F-350 with 400' enclosed trailer 20 ztrs and crew of uniformed guys..... They dont care

1985 pickup with 48" in the back and a part timer in shorts and a tank top.....
They dont care.

They dont care if your mower is $200 or $10,000.

They dont care if you have a uniform or a sleveless t-shirt...

They want the lawn mowed and there is a price that they will pay..... They dont care who does it as long as its decent.... Their feeling is that if the 85 guy mows the lawn and gives them a decent job for $25 they shouldent have to pay anymore for you to do it with your $100,000. in overhead...

The fact is that there are plenty of guys that may not look as professional as we think they should but they do a good enough job and keep their customers........

There are " high end" customers out there that look for a more flashy company but they are few and far between...... Most people are just hiring someone to do a job that they know they can do themselves and just dont want to or have the time to.....

We are by no means considered " skilled professionals" by MOST people... We're the lawn guy.... The guy outside in 100 degrees sweatin his ass off while the customer is inside telling their kids " Look at that guy outside.... Thats why you need to go to college"

Not downplaying the good businessmen out there but I beleve thats how most of the public view LCOs. Dime a dozen....

When it comes to Landscape projects of a high dollar amount is when the entire situation changes......... Then they are looking for a qualified company, successful appearance, references, clean-cut uniformed.....etc....

If my faucet is leaking and I need a plumber, Ill sooner call the 400lb greasy guy with his butt-crack hangin out to fix it.....

If im building an office building and need a plumbing company to do the new installation............ Well sorry butt-crack guy..... but Ill go with the established reputable company.......... But next time I have a leaky faucet....... Ill be callin butt-crack man.....

Mr. Magpie
10-05-2005, 02:06 PM
For residential: Price is paramount in landing the deal..... quality is paramount in keeping the deal. Value is paramount in the longevity of the deal surviving differing seasons.

My philospohy is that this prospective client has a need, I am ready willing and able to meet their need and the only real variable is the price. However, Sometimes they also NEED a certain price, and its up to me to figure this out quickly and timely during the estimate. If they are this type, I will also meet that need as well, because that is what I do, I serve people their needs. Now, if I can serve people their needs WHILE being profitable, that means I am damn good at what I do, which I am. So, everybody wins, everybody gets what they want, and avoids what they hate.... problems.

Give 'em the price they want. If you are afraid to do this, such as topsites, consider this: There is commonly a difference between people who are stingy about price and people who give you headaches down the road...... this is mostly due to the fact that if you DO indeed meet that stingy persons' low price AND satisfy his other needs (good service), you are his godsend and he will never fire you and always pay!!! You will be gold in his eyes, and his gold will be in your pocket.

For the others whom I wait patiently for, I pounce on them with the high prices and they almost always accept. Its these folk that buy me nice things, while the penny pinchers keep me in business.

Who agrees with this philosophy???

bobbygedd
10-05-2005, 04:10 PM
not me. the client does not have A NEED. a "need", is non functioning plumbing, a car that needs repair, a broken refrigerator, medication....etc. a lawn customer has a DESIRE. it's very hard to name YOUR price, on a desire. also, you said-" while being profitable"....what does "profitable" mean? if i buy an apple for a dime, and sell it for 20 cents, i am profitable, but is that profit significant? you can't let the client name the price, or control the pricing, it leads to a whole lot of other trouble, unfortunately, it's a done deal.

GreenUtah
10-05-2005, 06:22 PM
Green,
You always give really good advice and I agree with what you are saying but unfortunately value is not the first item a customer looks for. A professional marketing rep once told me research shows that of value, quality and price, the first determining factor for the majority of customers purchasing any item is price. Once the item had been purchased the customers mindset quickly switches to quality, shortly followed by value received.

It's unfortunate that clients looks at price over quality but a prime example of this is. Wal-Mart vs Nordstroms: a pair of nice shoes can purchased at both stores but the vast majority of customers are going to buy their shoes at Wal-mart based solely on the price. How well the shoes wear and their quality is a secondary issue.

Now, there will still be those people that prefer the quality and the value of a item purchased from Norstroms but their customer base is a whole lot less than that of Wal-marts.

Now, knowing that price is most customers determining factor following by quality you can use this to your favor. When taking on a new client bid the job at a price that the customer is going to feel comfortable with since they have never seen your work before. Later in the season or during your second season with that client it should be a lot easier to raise their prices to your desired level now that the client has had the opportunity to see the quality of your work and the value you provide.


OK, (bear with me a moment guys, I'm goign to be Utah specific, but I'm sure you can find parallels in your own markets)so price is a way of measuring one thing against each other, to determine the value of any given exchange. The key is to create that greater value to get a greater price. Let's take food as an example. You can get a cheap burger at the McDonalds and Burger Kings scattered all over the land and certainly the biggest player in the fast food biz. You can also get a burger at Red Robin, Training Table, Applebee's etc. No where near as cheap, but it's still a burger, right? There are plenty of those franchises around as well, so there must be a midmarket demand, right? Go upscale and start talking the Tuscany's or Lacai's, the most memorable food you'll ever have? no. Why are they booked each night then? If value cannot dirve pricing, why obtain or mention specific training or certifications you may have? Why use references? I'm sure you've been around enough to hear guys name drop that they did work at a local celebrities house(Stock, Horny, Malone, Huntsman, whatever) The purpose of doing that is to create a measurement of value in your services, that you are enough in demand to be shopped by those that can go anywhere and yet you're still available to the common man/woman. You do the local churches, cemetery, corporate headquarters of XYZ, by even mentioning any of those things, you are trying to raise the value of your service.
For small business, value IS the key. Pricing is for bulk and volume. Walmart IS about price and they have done it very well, but the only reason they have done it very well is economy of scale, which no small business has. Communicating with your potential customer the value of doing business with you, through example or pitch, is the only way to distinguish yourself from the neighborhood 12 yr old. If we have no value, we have no customers, so try not to get too caught up in the trap of thinking it's all pricing, it's not even close.

Wells
10-05-2005, 09:04 PM
For residential: Price is paramount in landing the deal..... quality is paramount in keeping the deal. Value is paramount in the longevity of the deal surviving differing seasons.

My philospohy is that this prospective client has a need, I am ready willing and able to meet their need and the only real variable is the price. However, Sometimes they also NEED a certain price, and its up to me to figure this out quickly and timely during the estimate. If they are this type, I will also meet that need as well, because that is what I do, I serve people their needs.

Who agrees with this philosophy???

100% Agree.....

Envy Lawn Service
10-06-2005, 12:26 AM
For residential: Price is paramount in landing the deal..... quality is paramount in keeping the deal. Value is paramount in the longevity of the deal surviving differing seasons.

My philospohy is that this prospective client has a need, I am ready willing and able to meet their need and the only real variable is the price. However, Sometimes they also NEED a certain price, and its up to me to figure this out quickly and timely during the estimate. If they are this type, I will also meet that need as well, because that is what I do, I serve people their needs. Now, if I can serve people their needs WHILE being profitable, that means I am damn good at what I do, which I am. So, everybody wins, everybody gets what they want, and avoids what they hate.... problems.

Give 'em the price they want. If you are afraid to do this, such as topsites, consider this: There is commonly a difference between people who are stingy about price and people who give you headaches down the road...... this is mostly due to the fact that if you DO indeed meet that stingy persons' low price AND satisfy his other needs (good service), you are his godsend and he will never fire you and always pay!!! You will be gold in his eyes, and his gold will be in your pocket.

For the others whom I wait patiently for, I pounce on them with the high prices and they almost always accept. Its these folk that buy me nice things, while the penny pinchers keep me in business.

Who agrees with this philosophy???

Anymore, I gotta believe you are in the majority there, without question.

However, I gotta be honest and say.... that has got to be one of the most backwards service business philosophies I have ever read. A popular industry philosophy, but still a backwards one.

olderthandirt
10-06-2005, 12:50 AM
Theres only 1 Reason any lco don't get the job. Because he does not want it bad enough!
If you wanted it bad enough you would be willing to lower your price to 0% yes not make a profit he!l you might end up in a hole but you could get the job.

So if your to high priced and lose jobs you need to change your business around OR you need to sell the customer what you can make your most profit on. The auto companys don't make a profit on the no frill cars they make it on the big luxery cars with all the options. They both get you where your going but one gets you there in style and its your job to make the customers want and need that extra style. The style that only you can provide them, the style and class that they never pictured themselves with. You need to point out that its not expensive, its actually paying them to let you sell them the style, yes its the style that makes there home values go way up and thats $$$ in there pockets. Its all about selling.

Soupy
10-06-2005, 12:56 AM
For residential: Price is paramount in landing the deal..... quality is paramount in keeping the deal. Value is paramount in the longevity of the deal surviving differing seasons.

My philospohy is that this prospective client has a need, I am ready willing and able to meet their need and the only real variable is the price. However, Sometimes they also NEED a certain price, and its up to me to figure this out quickly and timely during the estimate. If they are this type, I will also meet that need as well, because that is what I do, I serve people their needs. Now, if I can serve people their needs WHILE being profitable, that means I am damn good at what I do, which I am. So, everybody wins, everybody gets what they want, and avoids what they hate.... problems.

Give 'em the price they want. If you are afraid to do this, such as topsites, consider this: There is commonly a difference between people who are stingy about price and people who give you headaches down the road...... this is mostly due to the fact that if you DO indeed meet that stingy persons' low price AND satisfy his other needs (good service), you are his godsend and he will never fire you and always pay!!! You will be gold in his eyes, and his gold will be in your pocket.

For the others whom I wait patiently for, I pounce on them with the high prices and they almost always accept. Its these folk that buy me nice things, while the penny pinchers keep me in business.

Who agrees with this philosophy???

I disagree.. The price is the price, take it or leave it. I don't need penny pincher's keeping me in business. Work smarter, not harder!!!!! That's my philosophy.

I was in a business program in high school. Anyway the teacher told me something I never forgot. He said that an employee should generate at least 6 times his pay each hour. He said if he is not, then the employer is actually working for the employee. This concept can relate to customers as well.

micah79
10-06-2005, 01:29 AM
Theres only 1 Reason any lco don't get the job. Because he does not want it bad enough!
If you wanted it bad enough you would be willing to lower your price to 0% yes not make a profit he!l you might end up in a hole but you could get the job.

So if your to high priced and lose jobs you need to change your business around OR you need to sell the customer what you can make your most profit on. The auto companys don't make a profit on the no frill cars they make it on the big luxery cars with all the options. They both get you where your going but one gets you there in style and its your job to make the customers want and need that extra style. The style that only you can provide them, the style and class that they never pictured themselves with. You need to point out that its not expensive, its actually paying them to let you sell them the style, yes its the style that makes there home values go way up and thats $$$ in there pockets. Its all about selling.

Yeah right???? Work for zero profit. I'm not a charity. Why would you try so hard to not profit. And by the way!!! auto makers make money on all cars they sell. I know that for a fact.

micah79
10-06-2005, 01:38 AM
I disagree.. The price is the price, take it or leave it. I don't need penny pincher's keeping me in business. Work smarter, not harder!!!!! That's my philosophy.

I was in a business program in high school. Anyway the teacher told me something I never forgot. He said that an employee should generate at least 6 times his pay each hour. He said if he is not, then the employer is actually working for the employee. This concept can relate to customers as well.


All of my customers yield a profit and keep me in business. I have noticed that the penny pinchers are usually the biggest complainers.

jeffex
10-06-2005, 06:07 AM
PRICE 1st. then availibility 2nd. sometimes I am 4weeks out on getting projects done and people want it NOW. The additional services I am reffering to are power washing , mulching , and shrub trimming. I only hope to get 3 of 5 pressure washing bids and my price of $75 per yard of mulch delivered and installed keeps those jobs to a minimum by itself. My hours are limited so I try and max profit. A business with crews and employees has a different price and profit target. When acustomer calls me for power washing their deck i tell them I charge by the square foot and height of the deck I can give them a ball park on the phone and pre-qualify them . I think they like that I explain how my pricing works so they don't feel cheated. BUT!!! my wife [who does this business with me] has had great success with charging BIG prices that I didn't think we would get. This is in the spring when demand is at peak.

PMLAWN
10-06-2005, 07:39 AM
If my faucet is leaking and I need a plumber, Ill sooner call the 400lb greasy guy with his butt-crack hangin out to fix it.....

If im building an office building and need a plumbing company to do the new installation............ Well sorry butt-crack guy..... but Ill go with the established reputable company.......... But next time I have a leaky faucet....... Ill be callin butt-crack man.....
Butt-crack man

I love it. LOL

Mr. Magpie
10-06-2005, 11:44 AM
Anymore, I gotta believe you are in the majority there, without question.

However, I gotta be honest and say.... that has got to be one of the most backwards service business philosophies I have ever read. A popular industry philosophy, but still a backwards one.

See, I am young (24) and in extremely good shape. I have all the best, most powerful equipment. I utilize EVERY corner cut on EVERYONE's property (without them really knowing or caring about it). I have almost ZERO costs to run my business, being solo, having small, dual purpose truck, ect. I work fast, but not really hard. And the work I do is simply mistake free and up to industry standard. I make $67-69 an hour before my miniscule costs and taxes, driving time included.

Here's the explanation: I suppose things are so easy down here for me that I am settling for less than is possible. If I had been spending the last couple years really growing my biz, I would have weeded out some of the pinchers and I would be more profitable. But, I am just not that driven I guess. I am making so much more money than I need to support myself (I put $2,400 in my savings account every month), that I have not continued improving my customer base.

So, considering this, I suppose my advice should be something like: "Always tell a stingy customer you will do their lawn for their price, and then only spend the amount of time you want at their property and see if you can retain them." My bro and I call this "milking" the account. Suprisingly, we keep many of our "milking" clients and they love us. GO figure.

Sorry for the long post, but maybe some understand better now. I understand what I was saying better at least!

olderthandirt
10-06-2005, 12:06 PM
Yeah right???? Work for zero profit. I'm not a charity. Why would you try so hard to not profit. And by the way!!! auto makers make money on all cars they sell. I know that for a fact.

Well you need to understand the concept of what I'm saying before you comment on it. You sound like a layed off auto worker so let me ask you whats is the profit % on a stripped out little car compared to the profit % of a fuly loaded top of the line model?
In other words why mow 10 lawns at $20 apiece in 1 day when I can mow 1 for $20 AND sell them 10 yds of mulch @ $75 a yard + an irrigation system so there lawn looks great in a drought and saves them the cost of renovation:dizzy: They don't want an irrigation system then they will definatly need slice seeding,aeriation,over seeding, & fert program
Your one thats happy to say I do great work and I'm deserve $50 to mow that lawn and the customer goes for my $20 price but to get the $20 he gonna be buying $750 in mulch and possably $2500 irrigation system or a paver patio etc.
So instead of thinking you have a chance to make $1500 on a 30 mow season I prefer to make 3k and up in a wk and give them the mowing cheap.Or sell there account to another lawn boy, its your loss leader. If you can't upsell your work your doomed to just be the grass cutting boy.

yrdandgardenhandyman
10-06-2005, 12:43 PM
Well you need to understand the concept of what I'm saying before you comment on it. You sound like a layed off auto worker so let me ask you whats is the profit % on a stripped out little car compared to the profit % of a fuly loaded top of the line model?
In other words why mow 10 lawns at $20 apiece in 1 day when I can mow 1 for $20 AND sell them 10 yds of mulch @ $75 a yard + an irrigation system so there lawn looks great in a drought and saves them the cost of renovation:dizzy: They don't want an irrigation system then they will definatly need slice seeding,aeriation,over seeding, & fert program
Your one thats happy to say I do great work and I'm deserve $50 to mow that lawn and the customer goes for my $20 price but to get the $20 he gonna be buying $750 in mulch and possably $2500 irrigation system or a paver patio etc.
So instead of thinking you have a chance to make $1500 on a 30 mow season I prefer to make 3k and up in a wk and give them the mowing cheap.Or sell there account to another lawn boy, its your loss leader. If you can't upsell your work your doomed to just be the grass cutting boy.


The customers around here, that want low price, are the ones who also WILL NOT buy any other extra services. If they are cheap azzes, they are cheap azzes. How do you up sell to someone who, no matter how much you push for these services and try to educate them on turf health, just simply don't care enough about their property to pay for improvements? All they give is a blank stare and either say, "I'll get back to you on that.", and never do or, just a flat out, "No. I don't think it's necessary." All they want is for the city to stay off of their backs.
Magpie has a valid point that if they want low price, they also have low expectations. If all they want is a $15.00 mow, then give them a $15.00 mow and move on. If you can pick up a few neighbors, (birds of a feather flock together) you can make your $60.00/hr/stop.
For me, it is the customers who aren't price shoppers who are the ones willing to pay for the extras.
These price shoppers are only good for filling the schedule until you can get better clients.

olderthandirt
10-06-2005, 01:19 PM
The customers around here, that want low price, are the ones who also WILL NOT buy any other extra services. If they are cheap azzes, they are cheap azzes.
Very few times have I run across a customer that I could not get to purchase an additional service. Let go back to the cars salesman for a second, Why is it that all dealers have 1 top salesperson ? because they know how to sell they can convince a customer that wants the cheapest car made that the top of the line is a better bargain and will make there life more enjoyable there great BSers :D but they get the sale, All customers in all transactions want to spend the least amount of money that they can. A good saleman can show them how spending a few more dollars will improve there lives and in return put more money back into there pockets. One example would be the irrigation, The lawn looks like crap and its devalueing the property becoase of the way it looks. So you explain that to renovate the lawn gonna cost them X amount of dollars and they might have to do it the following yr if the drought hits again. Plus they have to drag hoses around and turn them on and off at the correcttimes etc. But if they were to purchase an irrigation system its a 1 time expense it adds beauty to the landscape witch increases the property value and the system itself adds to the value plus theres no work invovled for them. You need to explain how a few dollars spent today will make them many dollars as soon as your finished. And to make it even more appealing you could put it on a cc or arrainge financing for them. Anyone can cut grass you have to be able to sell the benefits of your company to stand away from the pack of others.

How do you up sell to someone who, no matter how much you push for these services and try to educate them on turf health, just simply don't care enough about their property to pay for improvements?

Then this goes back to the title of the original thread about why did you not get the job. Because I would not want it!!!!

yrdandgardenhandyman
10-06-2005, 03:15 PM
Very few times have I run across a customer that I could not get to purchase an additional service. Let go back to the cars salesman for a second, Why is it that all dealers have 1 top salesperson ? because they know how to sell they can convince a customer that wants the cheapest car made that the top of the line is a better bargain and will make there life more enjoyable there great BSers :D but they get the sale, All customers in all transactions want to spend the least amount of money that they can. A good saleman can show them how spending a few more dollars will improve there lives and in return put more money back into there pockets. One example would be the irrigation, The lawn looks like crap and its devalueing the property becoase of the way it looks. So you explain that to renovate the lawn gonna cost them X amount of dollars and they might have to do it the following yr if the drought hits again. Plus they have to drag hoses around and turn them on and off at the correcttimes etc. But if they were to purchase an irrigation system its a 1 time expense it adds beauty to the landscape witch increases the property value and the system itself adds to the value plus theres no work invovled for them. You need to explain how a few dollars spent today will make them many dollars as soon as your finished. And to make it even more appealing you could put it on a cc or arrainge financing for them. Anyone can cut grass you have to be able to sell the benefits of your company to stand away from the pack of others.



Then this goes back to the title of the original thread about why did you not get the job. Because I would not want it!!!!



Maybe I should check the local Community College for a course in salesmanship. :help:

Wells
10-06-2005, 05:46 PM
If you can't upsell your work your doomed to just be the grass cutting boy.
Mac
Some individuals do very well just being the grass cutting boy.
TJ from Just-Mowing is a prime example of someone who has done very well just selling mowing service.

Woody82986
10-06-2005, 06:04 PM
I am always learning new ways to sell my services and how to sell myself and the way I do things. I don't think I will ever quit learning about my client base. The reason I get most often for not getting a job is price related.

olderthandirt
10-06-2005, 06:05 PM
Mac
Some individuals do very well just being the grass cutting boy.
TJ from Just-Mowing is a prime example of someone who has done very well just selling mowing service.
I know there are exceptions--- But there not the ones participating in "why they did not get the job" Plus there price is not to high :p

jasonnau
10-08-2005, 07:17 AM
Anymore, I gotta believe you are in the majority there, without question.

However, I gotta be honest and say.... that has got to be one of the most backwards service business philosophies I have ever read. A popular industry philosophy, but still a backwards one.

My road would be a fairly nice one to plow without all of those potholes in it.

But, bottomline, When I think "It's only a $35.00 cut, I should just drop this one", I then think "Times 32". Hmmm, Do I really want to give up over a thousand dollars this year?