PDA

View Full Version : Amazing!! The difference a little higher...


DFW Area Landscaper
02-27-2006, 11:00 PM
income makes. Last week, we started our spring scalp mowings for all of our returning customers. We started in a town where the incomes are a little higher than average.

Today (Monday) we started in a town with middle class average incomes. My phone has been ringing off the hook with people calling to say "Are you guys already mowing? It doesn't need it." Then I explain this is just the spring scalp and we won't start regular service for a few more weeks. They are always ok with that.

But the difference in acceptance is what I find amazing. The people in the above average income city didn't care a bit. The people in the average income city are acting like $25 is going to kill them.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

lawnprosteveo
02-27-2006, 11:12 PM
yeah, its funny how that is...my higher income people pretty much want me to keep things looking good and "just send the bill"...they always pay and rarely complain.

ZaK18
02-27-2006, 11:23 PM
It is early...Most companies dont start for another 2 weeks...Why are you charging $25 for Scalping?...It should run 2 or 3 times the average mowing price...

Jpocket
02-27-2006, 11:29 PM
It is early...Most companies dont start for another 2 weeks...Why are you charging $25 for Scalping?...It should run 2 or 3 times the average mowing price...

One word = revenue.

Its been a long winter

promower
02-27-2006, 11:34 PM
haha jpocket I can relate to that!

DFW Area Landscaper
02-27-2006, 11:36 PM
Zak18,

I agree. It is a LOT more work. I am still able to make a tiny profit on the spring scalp and pay my guys well. I would really like to charge double for the spring scalp, but the problem is, I am already on the phone with a new client for what seems like an eternity. By the time they call and inquire about lawn mowing and weed control and shrub trimming, I am talking to them 15 minutes on the initial phone call. There just isn't any time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive and then explain why we do it and why it's more expensive. I am already approaching information overload with half of these people anyway.

Even if we did take the time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive, 90% would forget and then call to complain when they get their credit card statements.

The nice thing about the spring scalp is that it enables us to "fabricate" another cut on all of our clients earlier in the year. Once the spring scalps are finished, we start the door hangers and then on March 13th we start regular service.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

ZaK18
02-28-2006, 12:03 AM
Zak18,

I agree. It is a LOT more work. I am still able to make a tiny profit on the spring scalp and pay my guys well. I would really like to charge double for the spring scalp, but the problem is, I am already on the phone with a new client for what seems like an eternity. By the time they call and inquire about lawn mowing and weed control and shrub trimming, I am talking to them 15 minutes on the initial phone call. There just isn't any time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive and then explain why we do it and why it's more expensive. I am already approaching information overload with half of these people anyway.

Even if we did take the time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive, 90% would forget and then call to complain when they get their credit card statements.

The nice thing about the spring scalp is that it enables us to "fabricate" another cut on all of our clients earlier in the year. Once the spring scalps are finished, we start the door hangers and then on March 13th we start regular service.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

I understand the problems with charging a higher amount...Guess its not worth, all the explaining you would have to do, and the inevitable chargebacks, I am already running into the same problems...My customers can be so dense sometimes :dizzy: doesnt matter how I explain the increase in price, I almost always get a call, * I noticed that you charged me 3 times the amount I authorized...Im calling my credit card company* blah blah blah... I tell them very kindly that we already discussed this and then I have to re-explain about all the extra work involved...maybe I should charge normal price...and let my customers know there getting a great deal because I like them so much :sleeping: ...and start the year off on a good note...

bigjeeping
02-28-2006, 07:19 AM
I've never done this.... how necessary is it? If you guys can convince me I'll call all my customers and tell them I'm going to do it!

rodfather
02-28-2006, 09:03 AM
I've never done this.... how necessary is it? If you guys can convince me I'll call all my customers and tell them I'm going to do it!

it's for Warm Season grass only

MarcSmith
02-28-2006, 09:30 AM
what type of grass. I never did any spring scapling in Florida....now we would cut the the bermuda on the field here at G-town real low to kill back the winter rye....

DSIM
02-28-2006, 09:41 AM
Scalping is an invitation to WEEDS. You better have a good application of pre-emergent down. I dont scalp lawns but I do cut them fairly low on the initial cut so they green up quickly.

I noticed after a while that the grass that was left 2.5" or more during dormancy had fewer weed issues.

Hermanator
02-28-2006, 10:51 AM
Zak18,

I agree. It is a LOT more work. I am still able to make a tiny profit on the spring scalp and pay my guys well. I would really like to charge double for the spring scalp, but the problem is, I am already on the phone with a new client for what seems like an eternity. By the time they call and inquire about lawn mowing and weed control and shrub trimming, I am talking to them 15 minutes on the initial phone call. There just isn't any time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive and then explain why we do it and why it's more expensive. I am already approaching information overload with half of these people anyway.

Even if we did take the time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive, 90% would forget and then call to complain when they get their credit card statements.

The nice thing about the spring scalp is that it enables us to "fabricate" another cut on all of our clients earlier in the year. Once the spring scalps are finished, we start the door hangers and then on March 13th we start regular service.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW,

We are just discussing this same thing. Do you take the grass at that very low rate? or do you leave it for them?

do you only take credit cards to make sure you get paid or?

Thanx,:hammerhead:

ZaK18
02-28-2006, 12:33 PM
Scalping is an invitation to WEEDS. You better have a good application of pre-emergent down. I dont scalp lawns but I do cut them fairly low on the initial cut so they green up quickly.

I noticed after a while that the grass that was left 2.5" or more during dormancy had fewer weed issues.

You are correct, thats why its very important to time the scalping. the only reason I scalp, is to get the yards down to 1 in. Which is impossible mulching...Its Very crappy dirty work with a 21" mower....But it has to be done, or the mowing season will be cut short...

DFW Area Landscaper
02-28-2006, 03:04 PM
It is amazing what a difference the scalp makes. My lawn looked like it was completely dormant. We scalped it on setting #3 with the Honda 21's last week. Then, yesterday, I had to train another new guy so he was told to scalp it at setting #1.

My lawn is almost green right now. The scalp makes the soil warm a lot faster.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

ZaK18
02-28-2006, 03:12 PM
Your positive that its the bermuda thats greening up?

DFW Area Landscaper
02-28-2006, 03:20 PM
110% positve. There isn't a weed in my entire lawn. The simizine applications do a great job of keeping our lawns clean as a whistle.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Hermanator
02-28-2006, 10:18 PM
Zak18,

I agree. It is a LOT more work. I am still able to make a tiny profit on the spring scalp and pay my guys well.

Even if we did take the time to explain that the spring scalp is more expensive, 90% would forget and then call to complain when they get their credit card statements.

The nice thing about the spring scalp is that it enables us to "fabricate" another cut on all of our clients earlier in the year. Once the spring scalps are finished, we start the door hangers and then on March 13th we start regular service.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW,

I had posted this earlier, maybe you did see it, but I am wondering if you take the grass for that amount or you leave it for the customer to deal with?

Are all your clients on credit cards or do you do some by checks or other means?

Thanx a lot

JimLewis
02-28-2006, 10:33 PM
.....But the difference in acceptance is what I find amazing. The people in the above average income city didn't care a bit. The people in the average income city are acting like $25 is going to kill them.

Yah, that's how it goes.....The people who have a little more expendable money don't mind spending it as long as they can justify that it's going to something valuable. But broke people have to penny pinch and question every expense.

That's what I've always thought your problem was - that you are operating mostly in average or below-average cities. Hence, you have to always push to get the money you should be getting fairly easily. Like we were discussing in the thread about your new over-the-internet landscape design plan, I find it odd that you have trouble selling regular full-scale designs and installs and feel like you have to sell some cookie cutter $40 internet design thing because none of your customers could ever afford anything else. To me, that just tells me your working in the totally wrong market.

I think if you changed your service area to service cities that were above-income or high-end you'd find a whole other world out there that you've yet to explore.

DFW Area Landscaper
03-01-2006, 11:51 AM
Jim,

For me, I want to be able to market the masses. It's the only way I can see that I can get the kind of growth I need to have.

There are masses of middle class people who just want someone to mow the lawn and they "think" they'll eventually get around to doing all the other stuff themselves (which never happens).

Then there are the tiny fraction of people who would consider a flat monthly rate and everything (pruning, flowers, mulching) gets done automatically.

There are roughly 40,000 marketable homes in my area where they can afford to hire someone to mow the lawn. I would guess less than 5,000 of those home owners would be candidates for a full service commitment. If my guess is right, my market is 8X as large as it would be if I serviced only higher end clients.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

old dog 80
03-01-2006, 08:47 PM
I've never done this.... how necessary is it? If you guys can convince me I'll call all my customers and tell them I'm going to do it!
If you scalp cool season grass in Michigan the next scalping would probably
be the client taking yours! Rodfather,where I grew up-40 years ago-some
people used to burn off lawns or fields early-as soon as snow was gonw to
help them green up quicker.And yes if you scalp,you would get the sun down
to soil and help germinate weed seeds-to whoever mentioned it.

JimLewis
03-02-2006, 01:56 AM
Jim,

For me, I want to be able to market the masses.......Then there are the tiny fraction of people who would consider a flat monthly rate and everything (pruning, flowers, mulching) gets done automatically.....There are roughly 40,000 marketable homes in my area where they can afford to hire someone to mow the lawn. I would guess less than 5,000 of those home owners would be candidates for a full service commitment........

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Huh? Well, I certainly don't know Texas very well. But I guess I assumed two things. 1) I assumed that the Dallas Fortworth area was huge and had a lot more than 40K marketable homes in that area. But you're telling me the Dallas Forthworth area is basically a bunch of broke people? 2) I assumed that most major metropolis cities (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, etc.) all have large suburban sections where the more well-to-do live. You're telling me that's not true? You don't have rich suburbs around the DFW area?

Brianslawn
03-02-2006, 02:57 AM
$25 for scalping! we charge more than that for an estimate! $150 a yard for scalping for the past 5 years. might even raise it this year.

K.Carothers
03-02-2006, 03:55 AM
Yah, that's how it goes.....The people who have a little more expendable money don't mind spending it as long as they can justify that it's going to something valuable. But broke people have to penny pinch and question every expense.

That's what I've always thought your problem was - that you are operating mostly in average or below-average cities. Hence, you have to always push to get the money you should be getting fairly easily. Like we were discussing in the thread about your new over-the-internet landscape design plan, I find it odd that you have trouble selling regular full-scale designs and installs and feel like you have to sell some cookie cutter $40 internet design thing because none of your customers could ever afford anything else. To me, that just tells me your working in the totally wrong market.

I think if you changed your service area to service cities that were above-income or high-end you'd find a whole other world out there that you've yet to explore.

I have to totally disagree with you. If that works in your area, great. You tell him to change cities:dizzy: Get a grip. After all expenses and labor costs along with the extra time spent with the high end customers, your net is not all that. Dfw is not you and you are not DFW - two different styles. I read a lot of your posts and if the person is not dealing in high end properties then you look down upon them. Maybe you have a complex. Enjoy your exploration.

kc

work_it
03-02-2006, 04:20 AM
I don't think Jim is looking down on him. Maybe he's being curt, but why beat around a bush. Maybe we shouldn't be so darn sensitive, eh? Heck, not like I'm an angle and haven't written things that anger some of you on this site. I've always found Jim's advice useful, and haven't second guessed his advice yet. Out of all the members on lawnsite Jim's one of the last ones I would tell to "Get a grip". He's always been helpful, and I don't disagree with his advice on this matter. The way I read Jim's post is; advertising is expensive, and so is running a business. So instead of waisting valuable money and time on people who can't afford your services concentrate on those who can. As for labor...from my understanding, Texas is one of the best places in this country to find cheap labor. Heck, I'm surprised nobody in that area has started a company called "WETBACK EXPRESS LAWN MOWING".

K.Carothers
03-02-2006, 04:34 AM
I will never take what someone says as the gospel nor should you. I understand constructive criticism. Since Jim knows the difference then he will see it in the way I wrote. If not, fine. But to make a statement to find other cities is just down right stupid. Then take a jab at DFW online design by calling it "thing" was uncalled for especially coming from a man that didn't know what word to put in a contract about disposal fees. He could of used better words.

kc

JimLewis
03-02-2006, 04:55 AM
Listen, DFW created a thread where the basic point was, "Wow! I am amazed that the people who are a little better off are so easy to deal with!"

And my response was basically, "Yah! No kidding! Maybe that's a hint!"

If you disagree, Carothers, that's fine. That's a matter of opinion. If you were offended by my calling his silly $40 online design program a "thing", then you are a little too sensitive, I think. There are a lot more offensive things said on this board to get fired up about. This is hardly one of them.

If you think my idea of maybe chosing to work in areas that have a little higher class of clientele is stupid, that's your opinion too. My experience has been to the contrary. But I am sure you would know more than me.

So I'll re-tract my statements and only make this final statement in regards to DFW original post;

"Yep. The people in the above-average cities do tend to be much easier to deal with. It would be nice if there was some way you could get more clients like that. But it sounds like that isn't possible. So, oh well. Enjoy the few you can get, I guess."

There, that better? That appease everyone?

LOL. :laugh:

K.Carothers
03-02-2006, 05:13 AM
Sounds great coming from a good Christian. I bet you use that fish to gain customers. I know where you are trying to lead this to. I have rhino skin and can take anything someone has to throw. Just because I'm not a yes man to the Internet giants doesn't make me any smaller than you:weightlifter:

Enjoy,

kc

K.Carothers
03-02-2006, 05:25 AM
[QUOTE=JimLewis]

If you think my idea of maybe chosing to work in areas that have a little higher class of clientele is stupid, that's your opinion too. My experience has been to the contrary. But I am sure you would know more than me.

QUOTE]

One last thing Lewis,

If you are going to quote me, get it right. You are the typical Internet muscle man that is better than everyone else. I am done posting. This is going nowhere. Enjoy those high end homes and someday stop by my place and you can go out on my lake a catch some bass but I'm sure you have 2 lakes.

K.Carothers
03-02-2006, 05:44 AM
One more thing I promise. I just got done looking over your website pics of landscaping work. Yes, you did a good job-I mean that. But if those homes represent high end customers to you , then you need to get out and really see what a true high end customer is :laugh: ...instead of those average homes.

It all makes sense now.

Good day -

kc

TPnTX
03-02-2006, 09:12 AM
Wow....how rediculous was that. You gotta scrape the crap off your shoes quite often around here it seems. (It's the snow. It screws with your mind)

I'm off I-30 east of Dallas. I'm looking into covering the upper-middle class sections which there are a lot of.

I've been doing a lot of fence work in upper class neighborhoods in North Dallas $500m and up. Small lots, easy in and out. I'd love to get into that market but it's a little too difficult to get to.

Dallas Ft. Worth is a great market. I'm sure DFW knows what he's doing to fit his own needs.

And Jim I've looked at your work some time ago. You'd make a killing around here with your water features and such.

Later
TP

DFW Area Landscaper
03-02-2006, 11:42 AM
Jim,

Somehow everyone started making incorrect assumptions within this thread. There are no bad feelings between Jim & I. Jim has been a very good mentor within the industry for me. Jim has helped me more than he probably realizes.

I agree with what Jim said. Basically, higher end customers who can more easily afford lawn mowing service are easier clients to keep happy. Not 100% all the time, but generally. It's the single moms who are struggling to make ends meet that are calling to skip cuts in the early spring and late fall. The more well to do don't have time to concern themselves with whether or not they got every penny of their money's worth out of today's cut.

Jim doesn't have the problem of customers calling to skip cuts. That is a very big deal. I have a tremendous problem with that in the early spring and late fall. On the other hand, if a customer cancels my service tomorrow, I simply don't care. I market to the masses and I can probably place a lot lower value on a client than Jim can. Many of Jim's clients are producing annual revenues of $2,400 per year. Less than 1% of my clients are producing that amount.

Two similar business with a lot of differences. That's all. Our target market is not the same.

The more I think about it, the more I think Jim's service would do well in my market. My real concern is the dormancy of the bermuda in the winter and customers thinking they are getting screwed. Jim's grass doesn't go dormant in the winter. At least it's green and Jim can justify cutting something green a lot easier than we can justify mowing a dormant bermuda lawn.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

walker-talker
03-02-2006, 11:44 AM
I just came back from 3 scalping estimates. The bermuda lawns, which are thiner, were still it their dormancy stage. The zoysia lawn had green grass underneath the golden dormant grass. 100% of my clients are elderly and they are very adamant about having their grass scalped. It is almost as-if their lawn is going to die if it not scalped yearly.

Armadillolawncare
03-02-2006, 01:27 PM
When scalping do you have to bag or can you mulch?

walker-talker
03-02-2006, 03:45 PM
You must bag. I have a 48" Walker with a 9.5 bushel hopper. I have been into zoysia so thick that it filled the hopper after scalping 6 or 7 feet. There is no possible way to mulch something like that, you must bag.

JimLewis
03-03-2006, 12:45 AM
DFW,

I think you and I agree for the most part. I do understand that you have a different type of business. And my only reason for making the comments I did was just in the spririt of trying to help.....Trying to help you expand your thinking a little....maybe challenge you to consider new markets for your business or expand into areas you didn't think were possible. That's all. Obviously, you understood that. So we're cool.

I am always glad to hear that I have been helpful. And even when I am being a little sarcastic, I am usually only doing it to give someone a little verbal kick in the butt to get them thinking differently. Some people misunderstand. And that's unfortunate. But I am glad you understood where I was coming from. As always, I wish you continued success with your business.

bad_chad48
03-03-2006, 02:18 AM
I agree with Jim Completely as well. Jim I also want to thank you for the help that you aided me in the past. I still (4 years later) look at your posts and consider what you say in them. As for that one guy talking about Christianity... why did Jesus tell the disciples to through their nets on the other side of the boat when they were fishing??? TO CATCH MORE FISH. That kinda goes hand in hand. If like this one guy DFW had the opportunity to "fish" in an area that had more "fish" for the taking then by throwing his net on that side should reap more "fish"...
I as well am in kind of a pinch.. The area that I live in does not have the income to support the model business that I wish to have. But for now, I have to lower my profit margin to build up my business so that in the next few years I can venture out into other areas. I see exactly what your are saying Jim.