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View Full Version : My Competitor Undercut Me By Half !!!!


whoopassonthebluegrass
04-27-2008, 09:45 PM
I moved this winter, leaving a subdivision for a more rural environment. I'd been a nice guy and was doing 16 neighbors basically at cost - but sent letters after having moved to explain that the deal was gone... and here's the REAL price...

So one of them calls me. The used car salesman that always manipulated me into giving him freebies on top of his severe discount. His price for this year on his 14K lawn was $91 per treatment. Well he calls to basically inform me that I'm not even competitive!!

It ends up that one of the biggest guys here in town, who had to hire a firm last fall to keep from going bankrupt, bid that 14k lawn at $45 per treatment!!!

Now, mind you, we're apples to oranges. He's a stripped package, while I'm high end premium with all the whistles and bells wrapped into the package already...

But $45???? What on earth??? How in the world is this guy still in business?? Absolutely insane!!!

bill8379
04-27-2008, 09:53 PM
Here it's about $45-$50 per app for 4k of lawn.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-27-2008, 09:55 PM
Yeah. This one is 14k. I laughed and told him his bid for on oversized yard was less than my minimum... Told him I wouldn't have done even his front yard for that.

gregory
04-27-2008, 10:20 PM
some times its better to just walk away........

kbrashears
04-27-2008, 10:44 PM
Wow. 10.00+ per 1k square feet? Unreal what some of you get.

sprayboy
04-27-2008, 10:49 PM
16 lawns at cost?

Never me.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-27-2008, 11:16 PM
16 lawns at cost?

Never me.

I was in a low-income neighborhood where we all built our homes through sweat equity together. So these were good friends. PLUS, being low income, these people didn't know what the crap they were doing with their lawns... so my efforts also helped SIGNIFICANTLY increase curb appeal and home value... which helped me when I sold.

LawnTamer
04-27-2008, 11:19 PM
Wow. 10.00+ per 1k square feet? Unreal what some of you get.

Um, what? $91 for 14k, thats like $6.50/k.

kbrashears
04-27-2008, 11:21 PM
Um, what? $91 for 14k, thats like $6.50/k.

I was replying to Bill.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-27-2008, 11:23 PM
FWIW, that $91 is my price for 12K. I was trying to cut him a very slight deal.

ted putnam
04-27-2008, 11:41 PM
Brashears, I'm about 2.5 hrs south of you and I get close to $40 for 4k and slightly below $91 for 14k.I start at a $30 minimum for 3k. All I can say is don't sell yourself short if you do quality work and I can't speak for everyone hear but as for me, I'm not getting any younger. This is how I make my living and pushing a spreader isn't as easy as pushing a pencil so I pay myself accordingly.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-27-2008, 11:43 PM
Brashears, I'm about 2.5 hrs south of you and I get close to $40 for 4k and slightly below $91 for 14k.I start at a $30 minimum for 3k. All I can say is don't sell yourself short if you do quality work and I can't speak for everyone hear but as for me, I'm not getting any younger. This is how I make my living and pushing a spreader isn't as easy as pushing a pencil so I pay myself accordingly.

While I agree with what you say - it drives me nuts when people talk pricing without comparing packages. You can't just look at costs!!! You have to have an understanding of what that money is buying!!

LawnTamer
04-27-2008, 11:45 PM
I was replying to Bill.

Right, sorry, I have a couple props where I get $10+ /k. My current minimum is $42/app. and I have quite a few lawns that are 2-4K, love those lawns, especially when I have 2 or 3 of them together.payup

ted putnam
04-28-2008, 12:04 AM
While I agree with what you say - it drives me nuts when people talk pricing without comparing packages. You can't just look at costs!!! You have to have an understanding of what that money is buying!!

Very true! In my case they are buying a person with 20+ yrs experience in lawn care and ornamental tree/shrub care who uses only the finest products in a timely manner responsibly. I also do a lot of little extras at no charge to make the properties I care for stand out. My customers don't pay for someone who can't answer their questions to come spread triple 13 from the co-op on their lawn. They are paying for knowledge and expertise from a professional. So you are correct...My "package" may be a little more than some and I have plenty of customers who think I'm worth it and are willing to pay for it.

kbrashears
04-28-2008, 12:33 AM
Brashears, I'm about 2.5 hrs south of you and I get close to $40 for 4k and slightly below $91 for 14k.I start at a $30 minimum for 3k. All I can say is don't sell yourself short if you do quality work and I can't speak for everyone hear but as for me, I'm not getting any younger. This is how I make my living and pushing a spreader isn't as easy as pushing a pencil so I pay myself accordingly.

I agree. We do have a minimum, but if we try doing 14k yards for 91 bucks per app, we would not have many customers. It's closer to 4.5 to 5 here. How many apps are in your program? We do a six app.

kbrashears
04-28-2008, 12:35 AM
Very true! In my case they are buying a person with 20+ yrs experience in lawn care and ornamental tree/shrub care who uses only the finest products in a timely manner responsibly. I also do a lot of little extras at no charge to make the properties I care for stand out. My customers don't pay for someone who can't answer their questions to come spread triple 13 from the co-op on their lawn. They are paying for knowledge and expertise from a professional. So you are correct...My "package" may be a little more than some and I have plenty of customers who think I'm worth it and are willing to pay for it.

As is our package. If only my customers were as anal as I am.....other than April.

I

hate

April.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-28-2008, 12:43 AM
I agree. We do have a minimum, but if we try doing 14k yards for 91 bucks per app, we would not have many customers. It's closer to 4.5 to 5 here. How many apps are in your program? We do a six app.

My real price for 14k would be $103. But I'm including a 6 treatment program that goes something like this:

6 fertilizations
5 weed kills
5 Round-Up sprays in all concrete cracks
2 pre-emergents
2 turf insect treatments (1 imadichloprid, 1 bifenthrin)
1 shrub/bush/ornamentals insecticide treatment

I sound expensive... until you ask my competitors to ring up all those services and give a total.

ted putnam
04-28-2008, 12:49 AM
I agree. We do have a minimum, but if we try doing 14k yards for 91 bucks per app, we would not have many customers. It's closer to 4.5 to 5 here. How many apps are in your program? We do a six app.

I offer a 6 app program also standard. I have a few who take less( with the understanding that their lawn will be of lesser quality) I also offer Fire Ant control as an add on.I don't really do much advertising to speak of. Most of my business comes through referrals. That just seems to work best for me. I'm able to do quality work for present customers, while still doing plenty of estimates for potential customers without being totally overwhelmed by "price shoppers" or people who don't know how to read a yellow pages ad and call wanting someone to mow or bush hog.

PHS
04-28-2008, 07:52 AM
I sound expensive... until you ask my competitors to ring up all those services and give a total.

That's a good point. I go back and forth on that myself. I've always prefered one higher, basically all-inclusive price rather than a low initial price and add-on for everything. It seems to develop the clients I want to work for better than the other approach even though there are a lot of customers I won't get with a higher price up front.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-28-2008, 10:53 AM
That's a good point. I go back and forth on that myself. I've always prefered one higher, basically all-inclusive price rather than a low initial price and add-on for everything. It seems to develop the clients I want to work for better than the other approach even though there are a lot of customers I won't get with a higher price up front.

Dead on. It eliminates the price shoppers.

The only drawback is, for me anyways, it requires educating potential customers. I have to give them a big "apples to oranges" speech.

kbrashears
04-28-2008, 11:50 AM
My real price for 14k would be $103. But I'm including a 6 treatment program that goes something like this:

6 fertilizations
5 weed kills
5 Round-Up sprays in all concrete cracks
2 pre-emergents
2 turf insect treatments (1 imadichloprid, 1 bifenthrin)
1 shrub/bush/ornamentals insecticide treatment

I sound expensive... until you ask my competitors to ring up all those services and give a total.
That sounds great, but it's not applicable to our transition area. Some places do not have a need for a glyphosate treatment in non-existent cracks. Six fertilities sounds great, but not every turf-type needs six fertilities for optimal growth. Five weed kills? Why not one blanket and spot thereafter? What about the customer that doesn't have shrubs? Funny, I know, but I have a few that do not have that. What is good for you isn't good for us, and I now see why you are charging what you charge.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-29-2008, 12:43 AM
That sounds great, but it's not applicable to our transition area.

Really? Why not?

Some places do not have a need for a glyphosate treatment in non-existent cracks.

You're right. But it's a selling point, nonetheless.


Six fertilities sounds great, but not every turf-type needs six fertilities for optimal growth.

That's a pretty blind statement. How do you know how much is applied? For me here in UT, the lawns call for 5# of N/1,000 in a year. So I lay down .8# ish with each application. (And so on with the other nutrients.) If I chose to I could do it in 4 treatments, but this is how I choose to market. It sets me apart. It allows me to be there more often to maintain the weeds, etc...

Five weed kills? Why not one blanket and spot thereafter?

Actually, it's two blankets and spots. But it's all semantics, isn't it? I'm gonna treat the weeds each time I'm there, except for the winterizer. So they are getting 5 weed sprays - regardless of my methods to accomplish the task...

What about the customer that doesn't have shrubs? Funny, I know, but I have a few that do not have that. What is good for you isn't good for us, and I now see why you are charging what you charge.

Those who have no shrubs don't get the spray. If they request, I'll swap it out for a Foundation Spray...

================


I'm not sure what your point is with all this. I have no false illusions that one can't be all things to all people. I am high end and tailor my package to premium customers who want perfection. I don't want cheapos.

I am well aware that there are many who are cheaper than me. The point of this was to point out that some numb-nut is doing 14k for $45. Which is insane...

kbrashears
04-29-2008, 01:52 AM
Really? Why not?



You're right. But it's a selling point, nonetheless.




That's a pretty blind statement. How do you know how much is applied? For me here in UT, the lawns call for 5# of N/1,000 in a year. So I lay down .8# ish with each application. (And so on with the other nutrients.) If I chose to I could do it in 4 treatments, but this is how I choose to market. It sets me apart. It allows me to be there more often to maintain the weeds, etc...



Actually, it's two blankets and spots. But it's all semantics, isn't it? I'm gonna treat the weeds each time I'm there, except for the winterizer. So they are getting 5 weed sprays - regardless of my methods to accomplish the task...



Those who have no shrubs don't get the spray. If they request, I'll swap it out for a Foundation Spray...

================


I'm not sure what your point is with all this. I have no false illusions that one can't be all things to all people. I am high end and tailor my package to premium customers who want perfection. I don't want cheapos.

I am well aware that there are many who are cheaper than me. The point of this was to point out that some numb-nut is doing 14k for $45. Which is insane...

The 'lawns'? You only have one turf-type there? I'm not knocking your program. I just have a hard time charging people for something that I will not have to do on their property. Believe me, we're very high-end on what we do for our customers. Our market just isn't going to support 6-7 per 1k square foot.

We give our customers literature detailing what we can do above and beyond our chemical applications. It works for us. I'm sure yours works for you.

whoopassonthebluegrass
04-29-2008, 01:56 AM
The 'lawns'? You only have one turf-type there? I'm not knocking your program. I just have a hard time charging people for something that I will not have to do on their property.

The turf types here are all treated the same. As for charging people for something they don't need: I'm a solo operator and I sell 1 package and 1 package only. It's all or nothing, take it or leave it. There's no guilt. People know what they're buying when they sign on... Keeps things very simple for me (everyone gets same # of services, etc.) and allows me to predict my chemical needs, etc...

greendoctor
04-29-2008, 05:31 AM
The turf types here are all treated the same. As for charging people for something they don't need: I'm a solo operator and I sell 1 package and 1 package only. It's all or nothing, take it or leave it. There's no guilt. People know what they're buying when they sign on... Keeps things very simple for me (everyone gets same # of services, etc.) and allows me to predict my chemical needs, etc...

I do things the same way. On any given day I might be treating 4 different types of turf, but my costs are the same. Today, a client calls me to tell me he found someone who will mow, trim, maintain his shrubs, and do all chemical applications for only $150 per month. This is on a 2000 sq ft low cut zoysia lawn with about another 500 sq ft of beds that must be kept immaculate. I was charging $150 just for applications. Good luck with that. I just hope this outfit does not leave granules sitting on top of the turf and burn marks in the grass from spot spraying the incorrect herbicides or too hot a mix.

kbrashears
04-29-2008, 09:56 AM
The turf types here are all treated the same. As for charging people for something they don't need: I'm a solo operator and I sell 1 package and 1 package only. It's all or nothing, take it or leave it. There's no guilt. People know what they're buying when they sign on... Keeps things very simple for me (everyone gets same # of services, etc.) and allows me to predict my chemical needs, etc...
See, that's different. We treat Bermuda, Fescue, and Zoysia differently and adjust accordingly....but each is getting a six application process.

PHS
04-29-2008, 11:10 AM
I'm a solo operator and I sell 1 package and 1 package only. It's all or nothing, take it or leave it.

I like that. I'm not to that point yet but I've seriously cut back on the customized options for customers. When I started my business I thought that was a good direction to go in but I learned quickly it's a PITA, I make less money, and I'm limited as to how good of a job I can do.

dishboy
04-29-2008, 11:31 AM
The turf types here are all treated the same. As for charging people for something they don't need: I'm a solo operator and I sell 1 package and 1 package only. It's all or nothing, take it or leave it. There's no guilt. People know what they're buying when they sign on... Keeps things very simple for me (everyone gets same # of services, etc.) and allows me to predict my chemical needs, etc...


I live 350 mi from you and No way would I consider 5lbs of N a year for any lawn I wanted to grow/mow.