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4-Seasons
03-22-2008, 11:24 AM
Is it normal to give about 12-15 estimates and only 2 people call back and want us to do the job. I know we arent high with oour prices. I just cant figure it out.

Dunn's
03-22-2008, 11:43 AM
probably came off as inexperienced.

Raven386
03-22-2008, 11:46 AM
Is it normal to give about 12-15 estimates and only 2 people call back and want us to do the job. I know we arent high with oour prices. I just cant figure it out.

No, I really dont think thats normal...I agree with Dunn. I see this is why you had made your other post. Dont lower your prices to get the job. work on your presentation. and how you talk to your customers.

stevenf
03-22-2008, 01:02 PM
I recently had the same thing happen to me and figured out that it was timing. Ipassed out 300 doorhangers at the end of february and ended up giving 8 estimates and only got one $100.00 weed job. I waited a few weeks and pass out another 300 earlier this week. So far Ive given two estimates and got both.

StBalor
03-22-2008, 02:38 PM
You really need to pass out alot more then 300. I have passed out 6000 in the past 5 days. and only 8 calls so far.

AI Inc
03-22-2008, 02:40 PM
You want to aim for a closure rate of about 50%. If your getting more raise your pricing. If your getting less then you realy need to look at what you are doing. Hold your head high with an air of confidence , but not arrogance.

TNT LawnCare Inc.
03-22-2008, 04:11 PM
Are the estimates for mowing only ? If so thats not a very good ratio...How much are you asking for mow,trim & blow ? what size yard ?

2 clowns mowing
03-22-2008, 04:35 PM
all of my estimates get approved. i give it the same day they call. can't give them time to think about it. the quicker the better. give them a higher option than give them a reasonable estimate some pick the higher most go for the cheaper one. also call back 2 days later and thank them for letting you quote job. most likely they are waiting on some one else to give them a estimate but since i called them, they most likely approve the job. also put a sign on the side of your truck saying "we show up!" works every time. the most problems people have is the other people never show up soon enough.

Daily Lawn/Landscape
03-22-2008, 04:41 PM
Follow up call is always a good practice.

Gilligan
03-23-2008, 08:00 AM
There are alot of things you can do to improve your hit ratio.

Some of them have been mentioned..so if I repeat something ...sorry..

Be prompt...not just when you get the account...In other words if you receive a voicemail..don't wait hours or days to call them back..call back ASAP...for existing clients as well...no on likes to be kept waiting..it makes them feel un-important

When meeting with a potential customer...Ask Questions...and LISTEN to what the customer says..

Have they ever used a lawn service before
If so, what did they like and dislike about that service.

Why don't they have that lawn service anymore. Did they drop the service or did the service drop them. (slow payers)

Why are they calling you, How did they hear about you?

Other than price what would they say is the most important thing or things they value in choosing a lawn care service.

How were they being charged previously...weekly, monthly, per cut...etc...
and you can generally get them to spit out a rough number of what they were paying...just stating it that way...

"Jim...so you were paying monthly previously..was that conveinient for you?" (Jim says yes or no) "Let me ask you Jim, approximately what were they charging you per month" "The reason I ask this Jim is some companies bill on a twelve month cycle and others bill monthly only during the growing season. In order to be competitive with my pricing plan I would like to present you with a comparison to what you had, since it worked for you..."

Most customers will just spit out there previous price while still trying to figure out what the heck you just said.

If they don't or even if they do...offer them a choice of plans...First give them a very basic...option..just mowing, edging and weed eating...and price...see how they react...

If they react shocked..well then move on..haha
If they seem pleased then offer them a premium service say including hedge trimming and making sure your driveway and sidewalks always stay weed free the price would be ...blah blah

I could go on for hours..with more of this..but I hope you get the point..

Lastly ...and this is important..When discussing all these things with customers...you must do it as if you have done it a thousand times...and it must come off smoothly...Nothing turns a customer off faster than someone who doesnt know what they are saying...

So if your not real smooth at doing this...you can either practice in front of new customers ...and loose a bunch in the process...or have your GF or spouse play the customer role and practice...In 30 minutes you become real comfortable asking the right questions at the right time....

Hope this helped

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 09:51 AM
What does your estimate look like? Is it just numbers? My close ratio on quotes is about 90%.

I do maintenance and pesticides, and I write a page and a half property report with each quote. I walk off an estimate how much sq footage they have in turf and beds, mention specific plants on the property and what they need, analyze the health of the turf, include a free soil pH test (results included with quote), and suggest a customized program for each property, being sure to explain the specific benefits of each service. I explain how I hand prune as opposed to just using a hedge trimmer. I explain why I do a PH test... I would never apply lime unless it was needed, saving the customer money.

All these things make me very different than any other company out there. If your quote only includes numbers, now you are competing based on price, not quality of service. I convince cutomers that their property will look greatly improved with more personalized attention. I also back those claims up. Give them more reasons to want to use your service. Most people will be motivated unless they are strictly price shoppers, and I don't want those accounts anyway.

Never miss a chance to differentiate your company from the others. Sometimes I will just stop by and show a customer how their turf has a weak root system, explain why, and how I will improve it. Heck, I even went around knocking snow off some shrubs this winter to prevent damage. People were shocked. I did that even on new customers that hadn't paid me a dime yet. That took me about an hour to do.... and locked those customers up for life. What other LCO ever did that? NONE.

yes, I spend a lot of time on my quotes, but I am looking for full service accounts that will bill out at 1500 to 3000 a year. Time well invested. When you deliver your quote, it should look like you spent time on it. If you don't go the extra mile then, will you go the extra mile when you service the account? Knock their socks off when you quote them. That's how I keep such a high close ratio.

Big Bad Bob
03-23-2008, 01:43 PM
Is it normal to give about 12-15 estimates and only 2 people call back and want us to do the job. I know we arent high with oour prices. I just cant figure it out.

Actually that's pretty good. If I get more than 20% of my bids, I figure my prices are too low.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 04:58 PM
Actually that's pretty good. If I get more than 20% of my bids, I figure my prices are too low.

I'd rethink that.... you are talking price, and only price. I charge $36 a fert app, five times, for about 3k of turf, and my close ratio is 90%. You think my prices are too low? I don't.

Dunn's
03-23-2008, 06:55 PM
That is kind of low for fert programs. Even chemlawn charges more then that.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 07:05 PM
That is kind of low for fert programs. Even chemlawn charges more then that.

$12 per 1000 sq feet? You think that's low? My cost is around $2 per 1000k, give or take a quarter depending on the app. I make 30 bucks in five minutes at that price for a 3k lawn. Times 5 apps per account, that's $150 for less than a half hour.... over $300 an hour. Not to mention the other 3 standard apps I sell which doesn't include grub control or fungicides unless first diagnosed as a need. Or a nutsedge treatment... or... lime if the pH test calls for it...just what should I be making? $500 an hour?

Dunn's
03-23-2008, 07:09 PM
more then chemlawn if you make the same or less you are charging to little. Plain and simple,most of the time there is hardly any chemicals in what they are spraying,we know people who worked their and half the time it is almost pure water.

Atlantic Lawn
03-23-2008, 07:12 PM
4 -Seasons if You don't mind me asking how old are you and what is your level of expertise ? That has a lot to do with getting clients.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 07:14 PM
more then chemlawn if you make the same or less you are charging to little. Plain and simple,most of the time there is hardly any chemicals in what they are spraying,we know people who worked their and half the time it is almost pure water.

Sorry, but you don't really have much of a grip on fert application prices. Go to the pesticide forum, there is an active pricing thread there. There isn't a single guy in that thread charging over $10/k. Most are around $6 to $8 on the high side.

And screw ChemLawn.... I compete mostly with other LCO's. The nationals don't do squat in business around here. They might have 1 out of every hundred houses, and they aren't my competition. I know what my local market rates are... and ChemLawn doesn't even enter into the equation.

4-Seasons
03-23-2008, 08:01 PM
4 -Seasons if You don't mind me asking how old are you and what is your level of expertise ? That has a lot to do with getting clients.

21 and have 4 years combined experience with my partner. But the thing is these are just spring clean ups. Nothing big.

Big Bad Bob
03-23-2008, 08:15 PM
I'd rethink that.... you are talking price, and only price. I charge $36 a fert app, five times, for about 3k of turf, and my close ratio is 90%. You think my prices are too low? I don't.

If those prices are right for you, well, that's what you should go for. I go for the people who want good service and never squabble about price. I'm sure you give great service. I just happen to get more for that same service.
Nothing wrong with your business plan, for you, nothing wrong with my business plan, for me.
I'd rather do 25 lawns for $40.00 than 50 lawns for $25.00 annnnd be able to upsell $500.00 in services with no arguments that's all.

bill8379
03-23-2008, 08:30 PM
Is it normal to give about 12-15 estimates and only 2 people call back and want us to do the job. I know we arent high with oour prices. I just cant figure it out.

I know last year I had about 5 people phone me up to start service after I had already cut the regulars 3-4 times. Only one of these customers were worth keeping and even they had done half their yard but left the other half of their back yard get badly over grown. All the rest had their entire yard over grown, bunch of cheap skates. I'll be on the watch for them this spring.

Dunn's
03-23-2008, 08:50 PM
If those prices are right for you, well, that's what you should go for. I go for the people who want good service and never squabble about price. I'm sure you give great service. I just happen to get more for that same service.
Nothing wrong with your business plan, for you, nothing wrong with my business plan, for me.
I'd rather do 25 lawns for $40.00 than 50 lawns for $25.00 annnnd be able to upsell $500.00 in services with no arguments that's all.

same here bob we have never seen anyone underbid chemlawn. The only way to do that would be just to spray completely plain old water.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 08:51 PM
If those prices are right for you, well, that's what you should go for. I go for the people who want good service and never squabble about price. I'm sure you give great service. I just happen to get more for that same service.
Nothing wrong with your business plan, for you, nothing wrong with my business plan, for me.
I'd rather do 25 lawns for $40.00 than 50 lawns for $25.00 annnnd be able to upsell $500.00 in services with no arguments that's all.

We are pretty close to being on the same page, actually. My minimum is $36. For a 4k lawn, I charge $48. That's $12 per 1000 sq feet, minimum of $36. I never said I'd do a fert for $25... and I won't, either. Not sure where you think we disagree here. I don't have any properties over 4k of turf, but I'm sure I would start some sort of price break after 5k. I'd say our pricing is actually darn near the same.

lifetree
03-23-2008, 09:05 PM
... I do maintenance and pesticides, and I write a page and a half property report with each quote. I walk off an estimate how much sq footage they have in turf and beds, mention specific plants on the property and what they need, analyze the health of the turf, include a free soil pH test (results included with quote), and suggest a customized program for each property, being sure to explain the specific benefits of each service. I explain how I hand prune as opposed to just using a hedge trimmer. I explain why I do a PH test ... I would never apply lime unless it was needed, saving the customer money.

All these things make me very different than any other company out there. If your quote only includes numbers, now you are competing based on price, not quality of service. ...

This sounds like the most positive approach I've heard ... congratulations on being able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd!!

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 09:57 PM
same here bob we have never seen anyone underbid chemlawn. The only way to do that would be just to spray completely plain old water.


Well, if you think that 36 bucks minimum and 12 bucks per k is too low, pray tell, what are YOU chatrging?

Atlantic Lawn
03-23-2008, 10:07 PM
No offense at all intended, I just remember trying to sell when I was young and I could say the exact same pitch the guy who was in his thirties would say. He would close almost every customer or at least that's how it felt. I would get so pissed, I felt like they were lookin at me as some young kid who they just didn't trust or believe. Hang in there it will work for you in time. Maybe try to slow down when you talk to folks.

Dunn's
03-23-2008, 10:12 PM
Well, if you think that 36 bucks minimum and 12 bucks per k is too low, pray tell, what are YOU chatrging?

Whitey is says you are a start up and not a licensed pesticide appliactor in your profile. So just take our advice and quit arguing, because you don't know what you are doing.

echeandia
03-23-2008, 10:25 PM
Are you giving the estimates over the phone or face to face? I have a much higher closing rate in face to face meetings with customers.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 10:29 PM
This sounds like the most positive approach I've heard ... congratulations on being able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd!!

Thanks.... at the age of 53, and having worked for the man and gotten screwed.... I endevoured to do what I like. Namely, gardening and making my own home look it's best. I didn't want to just be an LCO or a chemical applicator. I wanted to use my expertise making other properties look their best. I manage my accounts the way I do my own property.

That means only putting down lime when it's needed. Doing a pH test right in FRONT of the customer. People have never seen that kind of service, at least around here. I study my butt off to be able to diagnose turf and ornamental problems. I volunteer at a local state owned arboretum 4 hours a week. Why? Not only to learn from some PhD's, but to be able to pick their brains with a sample of a diseased plant, tree or shrub. Free expert consultations, because I volunteer.

I won't make as much money as I could.... but I want to do what I love. I use IPM, and feel veru good about my business, both from an integrity standpoint, and just flat out enjoying the work.

One new customer, a guy that dropped at least $10k in ornamentals, asked what's this? I told him it was red thread. His last LCO knew it was a turf fungus, but not what kind. He applied a fungicide. Wrong approach. Get rid of red thread by reducing the frequency of irrigation, making sure there is enough N, and impove the aeration to the turf's root zone. No fungicide needed.

Customer was blown away. I proved to him he needed lime, told him "Let's not waste money on a fungicide app. Red thread isn't a fungus that will wipe out the lawn, like other more devastating fungi can." I showed this same customer WHY his beloved weeping birch kept getting "ill". Bad pruning, water spouts, using soil injections instead of drenches.... wrong pH. Bad scouting... recognizing a birch leaf miner infestation after the damage has been done.

Just like on my own property, I want to be there every week. That means mowing the stinkin lawn too, but that is the price of doing what I love to do.

I want to be, and maybe am, a horticulturist. That means I make less money, but I'd rather lose 20k a year and be happy doing what I do. Still, as a solo, my customers trust me when I say we need something. I get a lot of high profit upsells that way... mulchings, plantings, apps, renovations.

My customers know my company is unique. I simply do things others don't do. There is another poster here.... Marcos. He and I use this kind of IPM approach. You see a post by Marcos, read it. The man knows his stuff, and we have both been able to slow things down a notch, not work as hard, enjoy what we do more, and still make a fine living, if my target of 30 customers and a gross billing of over 100k a year comes to fruition. I'm half way there already, and only in my second year, my first full year of business.

Sorry for the diatribe, but I think this is the business model of the future for landscaping, and I tend to start selling my philosophy when I see a chance to do so. Thanks agaon for the compliment.... but it really isn't hard to do, if one puts in the time, does a lot of reading and research, and develops contacts like I have at the arboretum. There is a lot of room in this servcie industry for using brain over brawn, but both are needed IMO.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 10:44 PM
Whitey is says you are a start up and not a licensed pesticide appliactor in your profile. So just take our advice and quit arguing, because you don't know what you are doing.

Dude, you are the clueless one here. My NYS Pesticide Technician number is T1869929. You can look it up here:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/appweb.pdf

John White, zip code 11801. My name will appear under the "W"s... sorry I thought you might need that hint. Last year I was a part time mow and blow. This is my first year as a fully legal licenced, certified company. I have two years of formal horticultural training. How many you got? May I ask, even something as silly as how many county fair blue ribbons do you have for produce and flowers? How many PhD's in horticulture do you talk with every week? I only talk with 6 every Tuesday. At the Planting Fields arboretum, where I have worked for several years.

http://www.plantingfields.org/

What's YOUR resume look like?

So, why do you refuse to say what you are charging per k? You say $12 per k, minimum $36 is too low. So, privledge us with your superior knowlledge. Tell me how much money I am losing. Tell me how $300+ and hour when I'm doing apps is low balling.

Keep telling me how little I know.... and be sure to tell us how you cahrge $20/k for ferts. You are full of baloney, and you just got OWNED.

Dunn's
03-23-2008, 11:06 PM
Dude, you are the clueless one here. My NYS Pesticide Technician number is T1869929. You can look it up here:

http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/appweb.pdf

John White, zip code 11801. My name will appear under the "W"s... sorry I thought you might need that hint. Last year I was a part time mow and blow. This is my first year as a fully legal licenced, certified company. I have two years of formal horticultural training. How many you got? May I ask, even something as silly as how many county fair blue ribbons do you have for produce and flowers? How many PhD's in horticulture do you talk with every week? I only talk with 6 every Tuesday. At the Planting Fields arboretum, where I have worked for several years.

http://www.plantingfields.org/





ou refuse to say what you are charging per k? You say $12 per k, minimum $36 is too low. So, privledge us with your superior knowlledge. Tell me how much money I am losing. Tell me how $300+ and hour when I'm doing apps is low balling.

Keep telling me how little I know.... and be sure to tell us how you cahrge $20/k for ferts. You are full of baloney, and you just got OWNED.

Because as I have said before only idiots give out what they price things for on the internet. As you can see I am going to let you live in your dream world that is why this is my last post. You can't make 100k a year off thirty accounts when you aren't charging enough that is just drunken dreams.

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 11:13 PM
Whitey is says you are a start up and not a licensed pesticide appliactor in your profile. So just take our advice and quit arguing, because you don't know what you are doing.

Hey, Dunn, where are ya? If you could read, you would have been able to figure out by now that my pricing is right in line with Big Bad Bob's. So when you say "our advice", who exactly are you referring to? You, yourself and who else?

Yet, you still refuse to impart to the rest of us clueless ones what your infinitely superior pricing schedule is! :hammerhead:

What is YOUR cert number? What is your business' pesticide permit number? Why not share your apps program? We can have a showdown.... my apps program vs. yours. Do you even have one? How many generations does the birch leaf miner have? We can do a little landscaping Jeopardy game. You up for it, big mouth? Ante up, or are you all talk? :cool2::laugh:

Whitey4
03-23-2008, 11:24 PM
Because as I have said before only idiots give out what they price things for on the internet. As you can see I am going to let you live in your dream world that is why this is my last post. You can't make 100k a year off thirty accounts when you aren't charging enough that is just drunken dreams.


Aw.... too bad. Right now, off of 14 accounts, I already have commitments for billings of 34k, and with additional services, they will hit 50. I have one install that is about to close for 7k. That puts me at 40 already. It's your last post alright.... you've been owned shooting your mouth off, now go stick yer head in the sand to save face. Tactical retreat, but I expected no less. All talk, no backup.

You keep saying $12/k is too low. But you won't say what isn't too low. Yer a wind bag dude, er, Dunn, whatever. You said Big Bad Bob's pricing was fine... but my pricing is about the same. If anyone is drunk, it's you, but maybe you are to Dunn to add the numbers up. :waving: