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agrostis palustris
07-01-2002, 12:06 AM
2 weeks ago I placed a bid for doing the fertilization at 4 fire houses. I was only bidding against Save-A-Lawn and have some GREAT references for the area. I created a printed presentation for the board members and stood in front of them and spoke for a few minutes as to why their lawns would benefit from my program. I put down for 5 apps, 1 of Merit, 1 of Trimec, 3 of PHC 8-1-9. (would have needed 4300 lbs of it), proper liming (figured in for 17,500 lbs of the stuff to cover 116,000 sq ft without having a soil test) aeration, and overseeding. The lawns are all garbage and really should be killed off and re-done. Infested with crabgrass / broad leaf plantain / clover / ground ivy as well as grubs. Please be aware that there were NO specs for the job as it had never been done before. Well my bid came to be $16,100 and I told them that I could budge on my price for the liming if they would wait for a soil test. I believe Save-A-Lawns' bid was around 5 - 6 thousand dollars. All they bid on was 5 apps.
Nobody from Save-A-Lawn was there for the board meeting. Obviously they got the job.
I must ask though... how is the right way supposed to win if people don't want to pay for it?

cantoo
07-01-2002, 12:36 AM
Attention K Mart shoppers, reality check on isle 7

This stuff happens all the time. No one wants to pay for what they actually need, they want a deal, the same as us when we want something done.

lawnstudent
07-05-2002, 09:15 PM
Creeping Bent,

in my humble opinion it seems that you failed to listen to the customer and that is why you lost the bid. From your description of the fire station sites the lawns were a mess. Very low end lawns. Obviously a high-end lawn was not their priority. Maybe you would have been better off recognizing this and bid a low end, basic service as your competitor did. Over time you would have had the ability to up sell the customer on the benefit of liming, aeration, etc. Over time you might have been able to move this customer to a highly maintained lawn and its benefits, but you did not give the customer time to move to this conclusion. Your approach may have been right for the lawn's needs, but you failed to consider the customer's needs and you failed. Learn from this experience and you might just win the next bid. Good luck.

jim

EJK2352
07-06-2002, 09:42 PM
Well said Lawnstudent!!! I was thinking the same thing myself.:) ;) :) ED

Sammy
07-07-2002, 12:33 AM
I have to agree with lawnstudent. :cool:

MATTHEW
07-08-2002, 10:57 PM
Often it is true. But not always. Perhaps there was a change in management and the new Mgr wants to spark some curb appeal and was given a healthy budget to do it.

In residential, it is dangerous to assume that the guy with a mini lawn in a low end neighborhood full of nasty lawns wants the bargain program.
It is also dangerous to assume that the guy in the $350,000 house in the gated community will pay top dollar.

The proper way to approach a new sale is to first probe for expectations. Often, the potential client will give you a clue as to their pocketbook limits.

Simply ask them what they want out of the lawn. Then, explain the turf condition. Then, the cost to achieve it.

There should be a brief interview BEFORE a bid is issued to determine the expectations.

Good luck in the future.

EJK2352
07-08-2002, 11:05 PM
Matthew,
How's things in Canton??? All my lawns are TOAST here. I've been doing rain dances, but still haven't seen a good rain in over 3 weeks.:( ED

strickdad
07-09-2002, 12:54 PM
Originally posted by lawnstudent
Creeping Bent,

in my humble opinion it seems that you failed to listen to the customer and that is why you lost the bid. From your description of the fire station sites the lawns were a mess. Very low end lawns. Obviously a high-end lawn was not their priority. Maybe you would have been better off recognizing this and bid a low end, basic service as your competitor did. Over time you would have had the ability to up sell the customer on the benefit of liming, aeration, etc. Over time you might have been able to move this customer to a highly maintained lawn and its benefits, but you did not give the customer time to move to this conclusion. Your approach may have been right for the lawn's needs, but you failed to consider the customer's needs and you failed. Learn from this experience and you might just win the next bid. Good luck.

jim lawn student, you may need to pay more attention in school, without the lime, the fert will not work....

NC Big Daddy
07-09-2002, 03:47 PM
Billy,
Fert will work without lime.

KirbysLawn
07-09-2002, 04:16 PM
Depends on the soil pH. If the pH is low then the fertilizer will not work, just as Strickdad said. You may get use of maybe 25% of the fertilizer that is applied, again depending on the fertilizer that is applied and the soil pH and CEC level.

If winning the bid means mowing a weed field then I'll pass, let someone else do it...

lawnstudent
07-09-2002, 04:24 PM
strickdad writes:


... without the lime, the fert will not work....

Go back and read the original post. Lime was priced but the soil test results were not back yet! Do you apply lime regardless of the pH value of the soil? Do you always assume that liming is necessary? I don't! It is common in the Chicago area to encounter alkyline soils. I only lime when I know that the soil pH value is below 6.4. In fact cool season turf tends to like a slightly acid soil (6.5 - 6.9). You don't want to lime a slightly acidic soil, though technically it is acidic. The east is different. The east tends to have acidic soils. You perform a lot more liming in the east than we do here in the Midwest.

Relative to this thread this is a nit. The point of my post is that you need to understand the customer. Talk to the customer. Look at the state of the customer's premise. Understand their needs, their budget, their expectations. Pitch a lawn care program that meets the needs of the customer. Don't pitch a $16,000.00 program when all they want or need is a $5,000.00 program. There is nothing wrong with including options in your pitch! And yes, liming could be included as an option or in the base program. In fact a simple program of liming and fert apps for $6500.00 may have won this bid only if the customer understood the benefit of liming! The winning bid did not include liming? The lack of liming did not prevent Save-A-Lawn form winning this bid. I can only conclude that the customer did not think that liming was required or did not understand the benefits of liming. How do you compete? Know your customer. Know their needs and wants. Pitch a program that fits their budget and meets or exceeds their needs and wants. Make sure that they understand your program. Make sure that they know what is unique about you or your program. Make sure that they know that you know more about there lawn, their problems, their needs than they do or your competition. Make sure that they know that their lawn can not survive without you. That's how you compete. And lime is just a tool to help you get there. Good luck.

jim

strickdad
07-10-2002, 01:00 PM
jim, sorry i was useing the north carolina aproach to lawn care. in "most" of nc. (not the coast) liming is a "giving" with all the red clay and the constant acidic cond. we have found here in randolph county that applying 15lb to k per year will only maintain your present number.. we have gotten alot of test back on new props that were in the 4.9 to 5.3 range and fert will not respond in these conditions..

lawnstudent
07-10-2002, 07:22 PM
Wow! Strickdad, those are some really low numbers!

No need to apologize. I think we all do the same thing. We approach lawn care problems on this site as we do at home. I know I have been guilty of this in the past. I have gotten into the habit of looking at a post's location before I respond. I still write from the Chicago perspective sometimes. It's a hard habit to break. I guess that is one of my pet peeves about lawn site member profiles. Not everybody uses a geographical location in their profile. This sure makes a response harder if you are trying to be sensative to the conditions in their area. What do people have to hide that requires the use of a number or some other non-geographical description for their profile's location? Good luck out there in NC. Keep up the posts. You can take a jab at me anytime you want Strickdad. Keeps me on my toes.

jim

KirbysLawn
07-11-2002, 02:00 AM
Jim, Strickdad is correct about the soil around here. I have MANY soil test between 4.4-4.8, that's not that uncommon. Love the upselling. :D

strickdad
07-11-2002, 02:48 AM
ray, jim, i think we all missed something on this one!!! go back to the top of the page and read how much lime he is gonna put down!!! 17,500LBS FOR 116,000 sqft ???? my calculator says thats a shade over 150lb to k man i thought we had acidic soil...

lawnstudent
07-11-2002, 11:54 AM
agrostis palustris writes:

"... (figured in for 17,500 lbs of the stuff (lime) to cover 116,000 sq ft without having a soil test) ..."

I'm confused because he states: " ... without having a soil test ..."

How do you do this? How do you recommend this much lime without the results of a soil test? Just a good guess? Costly mistake if he is wrong with this guess!

Soil type certainly affects the amount of lime needed to raise pH. As an example, raising a clay loam from pH 4.5 to 5.5 requires 100 lbs. of ground lime stone per M. Raising a Muck soil from ph 4.5 to 5.5 require 200 lbs. of ground limestone per M. More limestone is needed because of the effects of pH buffering and the larger CEC capacity of muck (not because the muck site has a lower pH). We should not assume that the pH is really low just because of a high recommendation for ground limestone. What we know is that the results of the soil test are unknown at this time, therefore, we do not know the pH for this site. We do not know the soil type at this site. We do not know the CEC of the site and how much pH buffering will occur. We do not know the calculations used to predict 150 lbs. of lime per M or the assumptions used in this prediction. The bottom line is we can't draw any conclusions from this post relative to the need for lime. Maybe agrostis palustris can shed some light on the site's characteristics and the results of the soil test?

jim

KirbysLawn
07-11-2002, 07:50 PM
Yes Billy, I missed that.

No wonder he did not get the bid.

Green Sweep
07-12-2002, 07:27 AM
Agrostis Palustris,

Without getting into the technical aspects of your bid, I fully understand your problem. You assume that the potential customer wants to do what is best for the turf first, and worry about the price second. Unfortunately the opposite is true more often than not for both residential & commercial customers. We have a company here in western Pennsylvania (without mentioning any names! ) that low-balls everyone. They will do regular lawn applications (fert, weed control - for 3000 sq. ft.) for $18.00. HOW CAN WE COMPETE? Pittsburgh has a very high elderly population & the buck is the bottom line. For any bid, you have to do your homework - what the customer wants, & try to find out who your going up against. I've learned that if it is not going to be as profitable as you would like - let the competitor have the job.

Rob