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View Full Version : $4- $5/gal for fuel...still doing those free estimates?


nlminc
05-21-2008, 08:21 PM
This has got to stop! Figure out how much it cost to just drive out to a property and back to the office never mind spending your time with a prospect.

I had a lady email her addy and ask me to run over an drop a quote in the door for her! Sorry, if you can't take the time to meet with a prospective contractor face to face...you are a waste of my time.

jrush
05-21-2008, 08:31 PM
Yup, same here, lady called and wanted some shrubs pruned. Only, maybe 3 out of all the ones she had. I said when is can we meet so you can show me exactly the ones you would like. She almost got upset! She said just take a look and let me know. Sorry lady, if you don't have 5-10 min than you are just wasting my time. Or, let's say I did it and she said not those, I meant the other ones! You either meet with me and my charming personality or f-off!:)

ed2hess
05-21-2008, 10:37 PM
Do all estimates by email.....yard prices are not that much different and often they shop around.

mattfromNY
05-21-2008, 10:43 PM
I've been running estimates when I am in the neighborhood. If if is a distance to go, I tell the prospect that I will call when I'm on my way, and I'll only go when I have other work in the area. I am not looking for work, turning away as much as I am taking. But, every now and again I pick up a good job. This spring I grouped cleanups as many as I could that were close to each other, and I've let some of my lawn customers go b/c they werent close to others that I service. It sucks, I am constantly watching my gas gauge as much as I watch my employee to see that he isnt wasting time. I'm driving myself nuts!! Somethings gotta give with these gas prices. Just went over $4 today at the local stations.

whoopassonthebluegrass
05-21-2008, 10:58 PM
I had a lady call early in the season. Left mssg requesting non-weekly mowing (which I don't do) and left her address - waaaaay off the beaten path. So I delete it and let it go.

Then a lady calls for a bid last week, says all the right things - so I tell her I'll come out. She starts giving me her address: SAME LADY!!!

Needless to say, I haven't made time to drive out there...

LawnBrother
05-21-2008, 11:04 PM
I will always give free estimates for mowing, but I only give estimates in areas I already work in, so I'm there anyway.

topsites
05-21-2008, 11:05 PM
Yes, yes, they're coming my way for free, they're coming my way for free :D

Matts lawn care
05-21-2008, 11:17 PM
I am pre screening my messages. For lawns I am using maps.live.com and it's working out good, just tell them the price will be more if it is not maintained weekly or whatever. You can see a good amount of detail, fences, obstacles ect. If they are too far I delete.

TomberLawn
05-22-2008, 12:50 AM
I'm really working on route planning. Since I'm part time and out of school, I only mow about 2 days a week. Diesel has been over $4 for some time now, so I'm really watching my work schedule to make sure I have enough to do to make the trip worthwhile. I try to only go to town 1-2 days a week and plan out the stops so that I make the most of my time and fuel. Right turns are great. I heard last year that UPS reorganized their routes to only make right hand turns, so the trucks didn't idle at stop lights all day, and they saved millions of dollars. According to the UPS website, in 2007 they saved 30 million miles and 3 million gallons of fuel. By today's prices, that's almost $14 million.

mngrassguy
05-22-2008, 01:06 AM
My county website has property tax info inc oblique aerial photos, property size, ect.

flakebortch
05-22-2008, 01:20 AM
I am pre screening my messages. For lawns I am using maps.live.com and it's working out good, just tell them the price will be more if it is not maintained weekly or whatever. You can see a good amount of detail, fences, obstacles ect. If they are too far I delete.

I do this too. From the phone # I do a reverse phone directory look up and find out their name and where they live. Then I go to Zillow.com to find out the property value. Then I try to locate the propery on maps.live.com. I have to pretend to know a lot less about someone when I call them back so I don't creep them out.
As far as the remote estimate goes, although I live in the sticks, it's only 90 miles north of NYC. Rich folks from the City build lavish, yet rustic homes here with long driveways. So, even though I know that a family of inbred hillbillies called this road their territory when I was growing up, I also know that Robert DiNiro owns many acres there these days. You never know where your next big score is coming from around here.

Kickin Your Grass
05-22-2008, 09:26 AM
I do all my estimates on this, so It cost next to nothing for gas:

http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d182/dallas02GT/New2226.jpg

DoetschOutdoor
05-22-2008, 09:33 AM
You beat me to it Allen...I will be getting a bike before the end of this year.

whoopassonthebluegrass
05-22-2008, 09:57 AM
At least show a little class when you arrive. Your ninja screams, "I'm all about speed. Watch out!"

I opted for something that allows me to maintain my dignity while implying to potential customers that I'm a careful man who is meticulous about detail...



Here she is:



.

IN2MOWN
05-22-2008, 10:12 AM
When someone calls me I let them know right off the bat that I have a $35.00 minimum and then I ask if they still want me to come out and look. 1/2 the time they hang right up and save me the trip of driving out there.

flakebortch
05-22-2008, 10:19 AM
I never thought about it but I guess my vehicle conveys that this is my first year in business:

grass2cash
05-22-2008, 10:19 AM
There is always Google Earth provided the home has been there for 2-3 yrs. Hell, let the customer know that with increased gas prices your estimates are to be done via the net and that the estimate will be a rough one.

flakebortch
05-22-2008, 10:21 AM
When someone calls me I let them know right off the bat that I have a $35.00 minimum and then I ask if they still want me to come out and look. 1/2 the time they hang right up and save me the trip of driving out there.

So does everyone assume they will get the $35 cut?

IN2MOWN
05-22-2008, 10:23 AM
So does everyone assume they will get the $35 cut?



No. I tell them its my 'MINIMUM' and that it varies but be prepared to at least pay that much.

Some people invite me out after that to look at their property and some tell me thanks but no thanks.

ICT Bill
05-22-2008, 10:27 AM
I was visiting a customer in ME, large spraying firm. The owner has an Iphone, a potential customer called and so he asked for his address and keyed it into his Iphone on google earth. He tapped the four corners of the property on the Iphone and the screen said 5400 square feet. He then continued the conversation with the potential client by telling him his estimate. It took all of 45 to 60 seconds for the entire phone call.

He also has a GPS screen in his trucks that have push pins on the map for the next cusatomer site. The office can add or delete sites remotely. Blue for one truck red for another, etc. You can see where they have been and where they are going and redirect if need be

IN2MOWN
05-22-2008, 10:33 AM
I was visiting a customer in ME, large spraying firm. The owner has an Iphone, a potential customer called and so he asked for his address and keyed it into his Iphone on google earth. He tapped the four corners of the property on the Iphone and the screen said 5400 square feet. He then continued the conversation with the potential client by telling him his estimate. It took all of 45 to 60 seconds for the entire phone call.

He also has a GPS screen in his trucks that have push pins on the map for the next cusatomer site. The office can add or delete sites remotely. Blue for one truck red for another, etc. You can see where they have been and where they are going and redirect if need be


Thats a good idea.

topsites
05-22-2008, 11:45 AM
At least show a little class when you arrive. Your ninja screams, "I'm all about speed. Watch out!"

I opted for something that allows me to maintain my dignity while implying to potential customers that I'm a careful man who is meticulous about detail....

I say you should've got a Vespa but that's ueber cool, a Puch, I haven't seen one of those in years wow!
Yet it shows you are conservative and in a good way since the trend of going green is so hot.

WHIPPLE5.7
05-22-2008, 12:06 PM
I tried using Google earth just now on some of my customers homes and it isn't too accurate. It shows the house about 2 or 3 over instead of the right one. How could i give email/phone estimates with the inaccuracy?

whoopassonthebluegrass
05-22-2008, 12:09 PM
I tried using Google earth just now on some of my customers homes and it isn't too accurate. It shows the house about 2 or 3 over instead of the right one. How could i give email/phone estimates with the inaccuracy?

My section of the country is inaccurate, as well. It's too bad. I'd love to save the time and fuel...

Richard Martin
05-22-2008, 02:23 PM
I prefer to do a face to face estimate. I'm not a half bad salesman and doing it over the phone just doesn't cut it. With the price of fuel these days aquiring high quality customers that are willing to pay the price is more important than ever. I do try to schedule the estimates for when I'm in the neighborhood servicing other accounts. If they insist on a "right now" estimate I take the wife's Cobalt that gets 40+ MPG.

zz4guy
05-22-2008, 04:39 PM
My 94 corsica costs about $0.20/mile and I can write off $0.49/mi.

I loooovvveee free estimates :)

Sydenstricker Landscaping
05-22-2008, 04:57 PM
If the place is close, I will take the truck or try and schedule it on a day I am in that area. Otherwise my Saturn gets 35 mpg!!!:)

Charles
05-22-2008, 05:39 PM
Depends on how big the job is. I try to stay within a 15 mile radius for small job estimates and I use a little sports car to give it. Used to be about $9 to fill that little car up. Now its $25

IMAGE
05-22-2008, 09:14 PM
I got a vulcan 900 last week. I have been using it for estimates. Its a cruiser bike, and it gives me something to talk about with potential customers. Either its a chance to talk bikes/shop or a chance to talk gas prices, either way its small talk and its golden.

and its over 50mpg :)

jhakarter
05-23-2008, 12:17 AM
Haha im with ya Image. I got my permit on friday and have been riding my dads bike to school and also to look at jobs. Went and looked at one today after school and took it. Sure beats 4.60 for diesel! haha Filled up for the races last nite and pump shut off at 74 bucks but it was only 15 or 16 gals. Its stinks! O by the way check out the back page of the fargo paper from thursday if you get it if you want some good reading.. ; )..