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View Full Version : Laughed for half the day yesterday over one phone call..


lawnsplus
05-05-2006, 09:31 AM
I get a call from a recent flyer drop, this guy says "I got my lawn cut last year for $15.00 a week can you do it for that price?" I reply with is it less than 1000 square feet? He says no its over 5000. I said I couldn't even slow down in front of his house for $15.00! He said well I will find someone to do it at this price.

I finally asked "Why isn't the same guy cutting it this year?" Oh he went out of business was the reply.

Just makes me laugh when I think about it!!:laugh:

Charles
05-05-2006, 10:26 AM
The sad part about is that he will find somebody to do it for 15$. 10 years from now, he will again find somebody to do it for 15$. 20 years from now.......

bwilder10h
05-05-2006, 11:43 AM
I said I couldn't even slow down in front of his house for $15.00!


I love to mess with people like that and this comment is likely something I would use.

I told a guy last week that I'd cut his lawn for $30 while he was on vacation for a month :rolleyes: he said "I need it done for $25" and I told him I'm sure he wouldn't have any problem finding someone.

Two days later he calls back to say he would have it done for $30 and I told him "the price was now $60 because I'd need to cushion myself from the aggravation a guy like him would likely cause me. People who will try to go on a price war over $5.00 will likely cause more trouble than their $30 lawn would ever be worth"

He didn't like that response much because the line went dead shortly after...:laugh: :hammerhead: :laugh:

dkeisala
05-05-2006, 12:02 PM
The sad part about is that he will find somebody to do it for 15$. 10 years from now, he will again find somebody to do it for 15$. 20 years from now.......
I just love all the optimism on here when it comes to pricing pressures. It's not like this is something that just popped up overnight, it's always been there and in spite of that, you chose to be in the business anyway. It doesn't do any good to complain about it. Yes, it can be frustrating at times but I think it's best just to laugh those off and move on.

Two gas stations up the street. Arco selling @ 2.93 per gallon, Chevron @ 3.05 per gallon. Both stations are plenty busy. I don't see Chevron whining about Arco undercutting their price consistently by at least 10 cents per gallon nor has it put them out of business.

Many people don't (or financially can't) care about top quality. That's the beauty of capitalism, no matter how big or small your job there's probaby somebody out there to take it on at a price you're willing to pay.

There's a lot of people on here that if they had their way, nobody would be able to afford lawn care anymore and then what? I know a woman that can't afford me to cut her lawn but has a $200 per month smoking habit. That's fine, it's her choice. Lawncare is about the last priority on most peoples list. Jack the price up too high and now Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner needs to decide between paying you to mow their lawn or paying the cable television bill. Which do you think is going to win?

J&R Landscaping
05-05-2006, 12:12 PM
I love to mess with people like that and this comment is likely something I would use.

I told a guy last week that I'd cut his lawn for $30 while he was on vacation for a month :rolleyes: he said "I need it done for $25" and I told him I'm sure he wouldn't have any problem finding someone.

Two days later he calls back to say he would have it done for $30 and I told him "the price was now $60 because I'd need to cushion myself from the aggravation a guy like him would likely cause me. People who will try to go on a price war over $5.00 will likely cause more trouble than their $30 lawn would ever be worth"

He didn't like that response much because the line went dead shortly after...:laugh: :hammerhead: :laugh:

I don't think I would have doubled the price but I would have definitly tacked something to it. Maybe an extra 15 or so. JMO

Rev. Crabgrass
05-05-2006, 12:20 PM
I just love all the optimism on here when it comes to pricing pressures. It's not like this is something that just popped up overnight, it's always been there and in spite of that, you chose to be in the business anyway. It doesn't do any good to complain about it. Yes, it can be frustrating at times but I think it's best just to laugh those off and move on.

Two gas stations up the street. Arco selling @ 2.93 per gallon, Chevron @ 3.05 per gallon. Both stations are plenty busy. I don't see Chevron whining about Arco undercutting their price consistently by at least 10 cents per gallon nor has it put them out of business.

Many people don't (or financially can't) care about top quality. That's the beauty of capitalism, no matter how big or small your job there's probaby somebody out there to take it on at a price you're willing to pay.

There's a lot of people on here that if they had their way, nobody would be able to afford lawn care anymore and then what? I know a woman that can't afford me to cut her lawn but has a $200 per month smoking habit. That's fine, it's her choice. Lawncare is about the last priority on most peoples list. Jack the price up too high and now Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner needs to decide between paying you to mow their lawn or paying the cable television bill. Which do you think is going to win?

It is sad but true. There is someone out there that will take the job at a low price and then find out why everone else charges more. It takes all kinds. Some people just don't care if it looks good or not, to them short is good. Such is life.


REV.

Charles
05-05-2006, 01:09 PM
Two gas stations up the street. Arco selling @ 2.93 per gallon, Chevron @ 3.05 per gallon. Both stations are plenty busy. I don't see Chevron whining about Arco undercutting their price consistently by at least 10 cents per gallon nor has it put them out of business.

?

How do you know they are not whining? You might not see or here them doing it:laugh:
Whining is better than going postal. In your area everybody may be busy and can laugh it off as you say. In my area (and probably many other areas) it has reached a saturation of lawncare ops where the consumer is in the driver seat. I use to laugh it off and take the next call. Things have changed and it may be a long wait until the next call. Most people now have a friend or a relative mowing lawns to make it even worse. Now when you DO get a call or a referral and they say joe blow did it for what you did it for 16 years ago and they are getting other estimates in that range.. I had 2 estimates recently that went that way. They did each let me do it one time. Then they called around and got the price they wanted--and probably good quality too.
And why shouldn't they be able to find some one cheap? 60 ads in the paper and phone books and many of them advertising cheap rates.
For 13 years you wouldn't find me indoors on the computor on a Friday. The last 3 years has led to Fridays off--not by choice.

dkeisala
05-05-2006, 01:29 PM
I don' claim to know what's going on in other markets. I'm in a rapidly growing part of the Pacific Northwest, right across the mighty Columbia river from Portland, OR and just a two hour drive south of Seattle. Beautiful part of the country and seems like everyone wants to live here.

What I do know is that there are plenty of lawncare operations around here, most legal, many not. I see them come and go every year. Hell, even I charged far less than I do now when I first entered the market 10 years ago.

I get plenty of people that are shocked by my $45 minimum, people that want to pay half that rate for a lawn that should cost even more than my minimum. I'm sure they have no problem finding a provider. I just keep saying no, knowing I'm getting closer to getting an account I really want.

I had three calls yesterday, one from a woman that wanted to know if I could get there within the day (answer was no) another that wanted to know if we could service her place every other week (answer was no) and the last that wants an estimate for ongoing maintenance on a 1.6 million dollar home (answer was yes). Now, there's no guarantee I'm going to get the account but we'll see. My point is, the more no's you hear, the closer you're getting to a yes and the harder you work, the more you market, the more work you'll get. And if that's not the case, if the market conditions and local economy no longer work for you, why would you stick with it?

Charles
05-05-2006, 02:49 PM
And if that's not the case, if the market conditions and local economy no longer work for you, why would you stick with it?

This area is booming too primarily in the service industry. Lots of small service industry companies are popping up. I love the area I live in too. I probably still make as much as what I could make working for the "man" and have the freedoms that come with being self employed. 10s of 1000s of Textile jobs have gone to Mexico and more are leaving every day. They are leaving or they are folding. Not many can compete with China. So you either start some other kind of biz or you try and beat 1000 people who jump on any job opening.
I am not to the point where I have to give it up. I just have seen a serious backward trend in the past 3 years. I guess too I have gotten lazy because business use to come so easy. Probably need to send out direct mail next year and get more aggressive in advertising...

dkeisala
05-05-2006, 03:10 PM
I am not to the point where I have to give it up. I just have seen a serious backward trend in the past 3 years. I guess too I have gotten lazy because business use to come so easy. Probably need to send out direct mail next year and get more aggressive in advertising...
I'm right there with ya. I'm just totally burnt out on the physical part of the job so I figured it was either time to transition or get out. I don't mind the office work, doing estimates, property inspections, client contacts, etc. but detest the field operations. In order to make the transition work, I need to market more, which I've been doing and so far it seems to be working.

I've found that in marketing, the biggest bang for my buck is in roadside signs. I've done the newpaper thing, we're in the yellow pages, have truck signage, pass out tons of door knob hangers but the most calls generated come from $12.00 18"x24" corex signs that we place in public right of ways. Yes, there's a loosely policed law against placing signs but everyone, from politicians to college house painters do it so I do as well.

The way I see it, I can work my butt off until my body's total broken down and not able to do it any more or I can market my butt off so I can afford to pay other people to go out there and work for me. Personally, I'd rather run the business than work it. Yes, I still have to work but at least I don't end the day sunburnt, dehydrated and totally beat to death.

Charles
05-05-2006, 04:58 PM
Yea I went through the burnt out with work stage and then hired employees. Then got burnt out on employees and was ok with going back to doing it myself. I am still burnt out on doing hedges LOL
THanks for the tip on the signs. Ya our area has been cracking down on roadside signs and requires a permit. Usually they only cracked down during election time:usflag:

Precision
05-05-2006, 05:03 PM
I don' claim to know what's going on in other markets. I'm in a rapidly growing part of the Pacific Northwest, right across the mighty Columbia river from Portland, OR and just a two hour drive south of Seattle. Beautiful part of the country and seems like everyone wants to live here.

What I do know is that there are plenty of lawncare operations around here, most legal, many not. I see them come and go every year. Hell, even I charged far less than I do now when I first entered the market 10 years ago.

I get plenty of people that are shocked by my $45 minimum, people that want to pay half that rate for a lawn that should cost even more than my minimum. I'm sure they have no problem finding a provider. I just keep saying no, knowing I'm getting closer to getting an account I really want.

I had three calls yesterday, one from a woman that wanted to know if I could get there within the day (answer was no) another that wanted to know if we could service her place every other week (answer was no) and the last that wants an estimate for ongoing maintenance on a 1.6 million dollar home (answer was yes). Now, there's no guarantee I'm going to get the account but we'll see. My point is, the more no's you hear, the closer you're getting to a yes and the harder you work, the more you market, the more work you'll get. And if that's not the case, if the market conditions and local economy no longer work for you, why would you stick with it?


And that is the appropriate way to run a business.

The only way the customer is in the drivers seat is if you let them be there. Poor business planning, poor money sense, lack of financial cushion in lean times are what make you need your customers. Most of my customers are happy that we do a good job, that we show up when we are supposed to, alert them of potential problems. Compared to their last three guys who hacked the lawn down more or less and could only be sure to be found on payment day, we look great.

Sure some get cranky, some go with low ballers, some die and some just get fired. But all in all, I have no problems turning down work offers from the cheap or the nuts.

Charles
05-05-2006, 05:36 PM
And that is the appropriate way to run a business.

The only way the customer is in the drivers seat is if you let them be there. Poor business planning, poor money sense, lack of financial cushion in lean times are what make you need your customers. Most of my customers are happy that we do a good job, that we show up when we are supposed to, alert them of potential problems. Compared to their last three guys who hacked the lawn down more or less and could only be sure to be found on payment day, we look great.

Sure some get cranky, some go with low ballers, some die and some just get fired. But all in all, I have no problems turning down work offers from the cheap or the nuts.

You have no idea what everybodies situation is in life.
I am so glad you are surrounded by a bunch of flunky LCOs that make you look good:rolleyes: I have nothing bad to say about the competition here and don't here the complaints about LCO's I use to get on estimates.

brucec32
05-05-2006, 06:22 PM
I think it varies widely by market. This year I cleared house with a bunch of marginal (slow paying, steep hills, strange, etc) customers I took on last year and so needed to grab more new ones than usual. So far I've given about 20 quotes and only 2 declined. After discussions when they called to hire me, I passed on another 2-3 that wanted services I don't offer. But 2 declines out of 20 tells me the market is good and I'm probably not charging enough. I had a question today ("does that include the back yard too?" )which made me realize they thought I was very low. I know I can do the lawn well in 25 min and make $32. Nothing I quoted brought in less than $1/min for me solo, so apparently prices are rising here. I definitely recall getting some surprised looks when quoting, as if my prices were lower than expected. Makes me glad to be here. Down in S. Florida they'd look at you like you were a bandit for charging $25 on a lawn than took about 30 min.

So look at the demographics of your market. If you don't see your streets lined with new homes and new commercial construction and corporate offices, it's probably not going to be a place where you can demand top dollar and not work to get it. Here there seems to be a surplus of busy corporate workers and a shortage of people willing to do this sort of work, even though the streets are filled with trailers with mowers on them. I often mow while within sight of 2 or 3 other lawncare trucks on other lots nearby.

I would also add that it helps a lot to give a good friendly presentation, not hit them up with too many rigid terms, and show up in a clean vehicle, properly groomed and dressed. The gym shorts and Jimmy Buffett T-shirt look is comfortable, but not confidence inspiring.

Charles
05-05-2006, 06:28 PM
Yes, prices here are much higher than Florida and you are low. One good reason is the average yard in Florida is smaller. Another good reason is the season here is much shorter than Florida

Precision
05-05-2006, 11:28 PM
You have no idea what everybodies situation is in life.
I am so glad you are surrounded by a bunch of flunky LCOs that make you look good:rolleyes: I have nothing bad to say about the competition here and don't here the complaints about LCO's I use to get on estimates.


Not all my competition are complete morons. Actually none of my competition falls in that category.

However there are a bunch of yahoos running around with mowers who definately fall in the not quite all there category.

There are several companies who do great work. But, since they do great work, I rarely have the chance to bid on properties they maintain. I do however have plenty of chances when Bill the drunk stops showing up, or Harvey got a better paying job at Wal-mart. Often times the prospective client is looking for another cheap cut, but sometimes they have finally learned their lesson. And those are the customers I treasure.

topsites
05-05-2006, 11:55 PM
I had three calls yesterday, one from a woman that wanted to know if I could get there within the day (answer was no) another that wanted to know if we could service her place every other week (answer was no) and the last that wants an estimate for ongoing maintenance on a 1.6 million dollar home (answer was yes). Now, there's no guarantee I'm going to get the account but we'll see. My point is, the more no's you hear, the closer you're getting to a yes and the harder you work, the more you market, the more work you'll get. And if that's not the case, if the market conditions and local economy no longer work for you, why would you stick with it?

Oh man did you hit it on the head... I had a call today for a 3/4 acre lot (at least that's what the prop.map showed) and so I go over and take a look at it and quote them 50-55 which is really a fair price. Now gee can you do it for 50 omg I HATE that, I should've just got in my truck and left but I agreed and then the kicker: Ok so you're doing it right now, correct?
I pointed at my truck (picture below) and said NO, I'm headed off to Shoosmith Landfill and I'll get to this likely by next Wednesday.
blablabla and crap, finally I get out of there and the whole time I'm like man I should've quoted 75 or 100... About an hour later I get a call and she said she done found someone else, and I don't know if she heard it but I could tell you could hear relief in my voice lol...
Anyway, pic of the truck as headed for landfill: (notice absence of grass-cutting equipment)
http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/3408610276.jpg

Evergreenpros
05-06-2006, 02:07 AM
I love to mess with people like that and this comment is likely something I would use.

I told a guy last week that I'd cut his lawn for $30 while he was on vacation for a month :rolleyes: he said "I need it done for $25" and I told him I'm sure he wouldn't have any problem finding someone.

Two days later he calls back to say he would have it done for $30 and I told him "the price was now $60 because I'd need to cushion myself from the aggravation a guy like him would likely cause me. People who will try to go on a price war over $5.00 will likely cause more trouble than their $30 lawn would ever be worth"

He didn't like that response much because the line went dead shortly after...:laugh: :hammerhead: :laugh:


I've noticed on thing about people who complain about price, they pay. Can't say the same thing about non-payers. Of course when you don't plan on paying, $150 or $500 per month makes no difference.

LawnTamer
05-06-2006, 10:36 AM
Had a call last saturday afternoon, this guy wants his lawn mowed that day, I say "sorry we can't fit you in till Wed. (I only mow Wed-Fri). He asks, "well how much do you charge?" I respond for his neighborhood $25-30 (small lots). He acts like I just tried to charge him $7/gal for gas. "Well my LCO last year only charged $20!" I say, "Well why aren't you using them?" "They went out of business" He replies. (Go figure)
So I tell him to call if he wants it Wed, and remind him that we have an 8 week minimum.
He calls back Tues and leaves a message to mow his lawn, I'm in the neighborhood so I swing by his address so I can give him an actual bid and a service contract. His lawn hasn't been touched all year, it is overgrown, but it is only about 4k and right on my route 3 houses from another client, so I put him at $26 and leave a message for him to leave the signed contract on his door if he wanted the lawn done Wed.
He called that night and said he'd found someone cheaper, funny thing is I drove by yesterday and it was still a mess. If he calls again his price will be higher:cool2: