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View Full Version : What's the biggest mistake we make as LCO's


HenryB
05-03-2006, 10:31 AM
1) My top three are Not saying NO to customer's crazy side jobs.
2) Not dropping our 5-10% PITA bottom of the barrel customers annually.
3) Under pricing our services and not Knowing our costs.

If we did these things life would get a lot better.

garth1967
05-03-2006, 10:37 AM
1) My top three are Not saying NO to customer's crazy side jobs.
2) Not dropping our 5-10% PITA bottom of the barrel customers annually.
3) Under pricing our services and not Knowing our costs.

If we did these things life would get a lot better.

i agree with those three .can i add 4}under estimating ourselves

Tim Wright
05-03-2006, 10:41 AM
I am terrible at estimating. Very difficult for me.

Tim

Ramairfreak98ss
05-03-2006, 11:26 AM
i always think im overestimating, then realize that the $1800 job i quoted out the customer comes back realizing i was about half of what the next guy quoted... then they ask to have it done 3 days later after waiting a month or two after giving out the quote.. lol.

Yeah im bad at estimating some things, i always try to overestimate and usually its still probably too cheap, ive found myself with my methods working ok, then just tacking on $100 or $1000 to the bill to to know im in the right price range.

Remsen1
05-03-2006, 04:36 PM
I have gotten better at this but I used to try too hard to give the customer a good price, then when it was all said and done little things I didn't think of started adding up and I would make a VERY low profit in the end.

For example I used to only write in a small mark-up to my price for materials. This is a big no-no because what if the price you thought you could get it for changes, or your supplier runs out and you have to go somewhere else? Now I add a sizeable mark-up to the retail price, (the price anybody could get it for anywhere, anytime). The mark-up is for my time shopping, inspecting, picking out, buying the right amount, delivering, breakage, waste etc etc etc. This is just one example of what I've changed in my estimates. I now make sure to make a profit on each and every line item on the estimate.

Now I am more of the mindset that I would rather be with my family than go out and work for peanuts, so I make sure to quote a price that will make me a decent profit.

grasssin
05-03-2006, 05:17 PM
5) Wasting money on "Sounds good at the time" advertising

Ei: $300 for a one week radio ad, $400 phone book covers (who uses those?), $300 on leaflets at the movie theater

Total spent: $1000

Total Customers Gained: 0

6) Not realizing that this is an artform

It is just like a shovel- anyone can use one, it just takes someone with skill and knowledge on how to use it right

HOOLIE
05-03-2006, 05:17 PM
On the estimating side, I've learned the hard way to NEVER leave an estimate unless I'm 100%, slam-dunk, no-brainer SURE that I will make money on that job. My first couple years I'd sometimes leave a quote and be second-guessing myself. Sometimes I might feel it's too high, but gotta take care of myself :)

rodfather
05-03-2006, 06:57 PM
Becoming too lenient with extending credit to customers (at least for me) it is.

mcwlandscaping
05-03-2006, 06:59 PM
I am terrible at estimating. Very difficult for me.

Tim
Im in your boat!!

Rhett
05-03-2006, 07:25 PM
All of the above Rod having the biggest. How about letting customers dictate your schedule. " I really need to have this pruned as I have company coming."Spend too much time hearing about the Grandkids while you are paying someone to sit in your truck and listen to the radio. Half hour conversation cost me 14 bucks in just labor. Seven as he is sitting there and seven to make up the lost time.

PGA
05-03-2006, 07:31 PM
One simple rule:


Know your limits.

lawnspecialties
05-03-2006, 08:07 PM
1) My top three are Not saying NO to customer's crazy side jobs.
2) Not dropping our 5-10% PITA bottom of the barrel customers annually.
3) Under pricing our services and not Knowing our costs.

If we did these things life would get a lot better.

They say we all have a twin somewhere. I just found mine. His name is Henry.:laugh:

bobbygedd
05-03-2006, 08:34 PM
no mistakes here. please do not include ME in your "we"

yrdandgardenhandyman
05-03-2006, 09:31 PM
I was talking to one of our local sideshow "lawn care professionals". You know the kind. They're the ones who leave a yard looking like a new mown hay field. Mower in the trunk of the Taurus. Oh, and he installs sinks too. That's how we met. At a clients house.
We were talking about price. I told him that my average yard was $35.00. He asked how I got them to pay so much. I said, "good job, reliable, professional service".
Then he asked what I do when the client starts haggling the price so I told him that I thank them for their time, turn and walk away. He got kinda flustered and asked, "HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?!!!! You just lost that job." I said I didn't care because that's not the kind of customer I want. I want clients who trust and respect me and my work just as I respect them as a customer. There's enough Wal Mart lawn boys out there. I don't want to be the cheapest and dirtiest. I want to be the best. I may never reach that goal but it won't be from not trying.

topsites
05-03-2006, 09:40 PM
1) My top three are Not saying NO to customer's crazy side jobs.
2) Not dropping our 5-10% PITA bottom of the barrel customers annually.
3) Under pricing our services and not Knowing our costs.

If we did these things life would get a lot better.

Those I don't find too bad thou number 1 catches me from time to time, my big challenge is this one:
4) Falling hook line and sinker for the customer's low-balling comments some like to throw around, all of which translated mean: We don't intend to pay more than about half the usual... Then, quoting the stupid price they want.

There is, however, an easy solution for this one: When they influence the estimate, there appears a price in my head. It always does this, they can start on the phone and I haven't even looked at the job and I'm already thinking a figure: Take this figure, and double it.

PGA
05-03-2006, 09:42 PM
Those I don't find too bad thou number 1 catches me from time to time, my big challenge is this one:
4) Falling hook line and sinker for the customer's low-balling comments some like to throw around, all of which translated mean: We don't intend to pay more than about half the usual... Then, quoting the stupid price they want.

There is, however, an easy solution for this one: When they influence the estimate, there appears a price in my head. It always does this, they can start on the phone and I haven't even looked at the job and I'm already thinking a figure: Take this figure, and double it.





If a customer trys and quotes me a price I usually refer him to someone else.

topsites
05-03-2006, 09:48 PM
If a customer trys and quotes me a price I usually refer him to someone else.

No they never quote it, but while they're throwing the comments they give themselves away and I find myself wanting to give them the price they want. It's hard to explain but a lot of the other guys here have this same problem, trying too hard to get the job might be another way of saying it.

BIG one for me, even in my 5th year it catches me but I'm getting better.

This guy said it pretty good:
I have gotten better at this but I used to try too hard to give the customer a good price, then when it was all said and done little things I didn't think of started adding up and I would make a VERY low profit in the end.
No offense but that's if we make a profit at all, I hear you!

This thread here explains it a bit but I was feeling frustrated so pardons:
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=145299

Anyway, I did get one of the jobs and $85 is high but fair, the lot would normally cut and trim for 40 maybe 45 but when it's all overgrown and stuff, I like to say double the estimate and that's the easy way (most of the time). Seriously, thigh-high grass (or higher) is double the usual price, it won't cover every situation but it helps a lot.

Still, this one's a big challenge for me. Soon as I'm done figuring it all out, I go right back out there and do it to myself just ONE more time, as if I'd already forgotten lol. Thou I will say the right female can still make it worth the smile, at least.

Freddy_Kruger
05-03-2006, 09:53 PM
I got pwned bad by a guy, went form 85 a month to 15 per week (so once in a while it will be 5 cuts a month). I felt like he was a very smooth negotiater rather than a cheap skate.

deereman
05-04-2006, 12:03 AM
I think that my mistake was answering everybodys questions about our mowing operations, as well as different jobs that we have, then watch them think about starting up there own lawncare biz. Since then if somebody asks me if there is money in mowing I tell them HELL NO! Stay away from it!

KINGjosh
05-04-2006, 12:18 AM
How about becoming to friendly with the customer?

That used to mess me up alot back in the day. Now a days I dont even really care to talk to the customers, just do the job, charge em'. And if their cheapskates or late payers I'll drop em like a bad habit!

grasssin
05-04-2006, 12:57 PM
One more

6) Taking on friends and family as clients

LwnmwrMan22
05-04-2006, 05:38 PM
Lawnspecialties -

You don't have a twin, you're part of triplets.

Those are my top 3 too.