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Keegan
02-24-2011, 10:40 PM
The other day a lady calls up wanting organic lawn care and can I look at her property. I said sure but I would like to wait until all the snow is gone. I still have 6" on my lawn and I'm only a mile or 2 from her. She got mad I said that and basically hung up on me.

I hope this is not a pre cursor of what to come. :dizzy:

Smallaxe
02-25-2011, 10:03 AM
PR, PR, PR, are the 3 most importants aspects of the business...

What did you do instead of go talk to her?

Compostwerks LLC
02-25-2011, 03:42 PM
Sounds like just the person you don't want as a customer. If she want's instant gratification it may be more trouble than the money is worth.

It may be a good idea to have something 'canned' that you qualify the prospect; "Well typically, our program entails XY and Z which takes place in April, May, June (ect). Typically that will cost X per 1,000 square feet. How does that sound? Good. Every property is different. You will need an assessment of your turf so that we can meet your expaectations. I'm available to do this for a $50.00 fee which we will credit if you proceed with our recommendations. Is that something that you are interested in? Good, are you able to meet me at your property on March 20th so I can examine the turf? Great Mrs. Jones, I'll see you at 12:00 on March 20th.

We're very good at treating people's plants without pesticides, but by and large I see us not being the best business people. Please, do not take offence. I'm just making a very simple suggestion and trying to raise the bar in this industry.

Let's say you go to a doctor or lawer. Does he/she give her time away? NO! Does that doctor or lawer give you a cost estimate....NO! Do you walk away without giving that doctor or lawer a check? NO!

We can do better than being lead around by our tails giving estimates. People EXPECT professionals to charge their worth. Do not dissapoint them.

JDUtah
02-25-2011, 08:09 PM
I'm doing bids with snow on the ground. Have doen them for 2 years now. Works GREAT! Next time they get moody tell them to call me *jokes* ;)

Gotta love google earth. :)

JDUtah
02-25-2011, 08:23 PM
Let's say you go to a doctor or lawer. Does he/she give her time away? NO! Does that doctor or lawer give you a cost estimate....NO! Do you walk away without giving that doctor or lawer a check? NO!

Do lawn care guys spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and years and years of study to obtain their "right" to practice in our industry? I'm just not sure I agree with this one.

If a window washer or a maid wanted to compare themselves to a doctor when I am trying to get a bid I am going to RUN the other direction... As a consumer no way do I want someone with that mentality charging me for such relatively simple work...

dKoester
02-25-2011, 08:53 PM
The other day a lady calls up wanting organic lawn care and can I look at her property. I said sure but I would like to wait until all the snow is gone. I still have 6" on my lawn and I'm only a mile or 2 from her. She got mad I said that and basically hung up on me.

I hope this is not a pre cursor of what to come. :dizzy:

You could of just went over to her property with some sample programs pictures of your work, etc. Sounds like you need to improve on customer service.

Compostwerks LLC
02-25-2011, 09:03 PM
Do lawn care guys spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and years and years of study to obtain their "right" to practice in our industry? I'm just not sure I agree with this one.

If a window washer or a maid wanted to compare themselves to a doctor when I am trying to get a bid I am going to RUN the other direction... As a consumer no way do I want someone with that mentality charging me for such relatively simple work...

It's a mindset JD. I spent too much of my time in the past chasing my tail giving free estimates. I changed my ways and spend more time making money as opposed to spending my time with people who need to be convinced (educated) as to the value of my services.

It's called an up front contract. I will do this for you, this is what you will do for me.

You are a professional and so am I. This work is not all that simple. We have put much into educating ourselves. We need to be paid fairly.

JDUtah
02-25-2011, 09:44 PM
A mindset to not loose money is a good one, but there are many different ways to not loose money... It takes me a total of 3 minutes to receive an estimate request, measure it out, and e-mail the contract. Oh and did I mention I stay in my underwear? My advertising and quality of work convince people to hire me. Not the words I use.

To me, convincing people that they want to hire you is done in the marketing and advertising stages. By the time they are looking for a price you have graduated to the sales stage. And in sales, your job is to find out what the person wants and give it to them. It is NOT to tell them what they want.

It sounds like this lady wanted a quick price quote. She didn't get it. So now she is looking elsewhere for a company that is willing to give it to her.

Just my .02 take it or leave it

Let's see what our chemical counterparts are doing... http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=341956

OrganicsMaine
02-26-2011, 07:54 AM
Do lawn care guys spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and years and years of study to obtain their "right" to practice in our industry? I'm just not sure I agree with this one.

If a window washer or a maid wanted to compare themselves to a doctor when I am trying to get a bid I am going to RUN the other direction... As a consumer no way do I want someone with that mentality charging me for such relatively simple work...

Can you actually quantify how much our "education" costs? Yeah, you can easily do that with your college courses, but, what about all the trial and error, the "on the job training" that has cost money over the years? Plus, we are educating our clients and giving them a lot of good "free" advice in there. Oh yeah, and we are crediting that money back if they use our services. Do the lawyers/Drs. doing that?

phasthound
02-26-2011, 11:59 AM
I agree with Peter. I don't want that kind of customer.

NattyLawn
02-27-2011, 01:18 PM
A mindset to not loose money is a good one, but there are many different ways to not loose money... It takes me a total of 3 minutes to receive an estimate request, measure it out, and e-mail the contract. Oh and did I mention I stay in my underwear? My advertising and quality of work convince people to hire me. Not the words I use.

To me, convincing people that they want to hire you is done in the marketing and advertising stages. By the time they are looking for a price you have graduated to the sales stage. And in sales, your job is to find out what the person wants and give it to them. It is NOT to tell them what they want.

It sounds like this lady wanted a quick price quote. She didn't get it. So now she is looking elsewhere for a company that is willing to give it to her.

Just my .02 take it or leave it

Let's see what our chemical counterparts are doing... http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=341956

To each his own. Quick price quotes are not what people on this side of the industry want to give. If people tell me they're going by price only, I'm not winning that battle. I also don't sell programs either, so just sending out a contract on an estimate from goilawn isn't the best practice for me. This would work fine for a standard lawn care company. I'm trying to educate the customer, not just give them a price. I had a call like the OP's a few weeks ago. I told the woman that I would measure when the snow melted, and I did. She wasn't happy, but she didn't know square footage so I couldn't even ballpark a price. I agree with most of the responses. I wouldn't want that customer either.

Compostwerks LLC
02-27-2011, 04:40 PM
To each his own. Quick price quotes are not what people on this side of the industry want to give. If people tell me they're going by price only, I'm not winning that battle. I also don't sell programs either, so just sending out a contract on an estimate from goilawn isn't the best practice for me. This would work fine for a standard lawn care company. I'm trying to educate the customer, not just give them a price. I had a call like the OP's a few weeks ago. I told the woman that I would measure when the snow melted, and I did. She wasn't happy, but she didn't know square footage so I couldn't even ballpark a price. I agree with most of the responses. I wouldn't want that customer either.

Natty, I think you're right on track.

Insofar as education, I think it's not as much as telling people what your going to do (educating) as why they should have you treat without chemicals. When you use conventional methods, you damage your property. With organics, you're investing in your property.

At the end of the day, people want to see results. How they get there is almost inconsequential (to them). It's our job to help them and also make a fair living.

Barefoot James
02-27-2011, 10:25 PM
I check out their property on the web and send them a preliminary quote to make sure we are on the same page. I also send them another attachment which shows my work (pics) and some places they can check out some of my clients, in their area. This gives me lots of things to talk about (leverage) when they call back or I call them to discuss details about their property and it weeds out folks that are just looking at price and NOT results. If they get back to me needing more info THEN I spend my time and efforts to look at their property and customize a program to their needs. Now if they are close by I will take a look first.
Another thing is our pricing is in line now with the big boys which is going to make my job even easier because we are about results - not pricing, but if we have the results and even pricing - who you gonna hire?

Compostwerks LLC
02-27-2011, 10:37 PM
:clapping:

Bravo!

OrganicsMaine
02-27-2011, 10:37 PM
I feel that GoIlawn is a great tool. Even if it means a "bridge" program to start, it is usually an easy upsell to go full organic. I want to get in the door and then I can work from there.

jonthepain
02-28-2011, 02:27 AM
...Oh and did I mention I stay in my underwear?

TMI!

I really didn't need to know that...

:laugh:

Smallaxe
02-28-2011, 12:27 PM
To each his own. Quick price quotes are not what people on this side of the industry want to give. If people tell me they're going by price only, I'm not winning that battle. I also don't sell programs either, so just sending out a contract on an estimate from goilawn isn't the best practice for me. This would work fine for a standard lawn care company. I'm trying to educate the customer, not just give them a price. I had a call like the OP's a few weeks ago. I told the woman that I would measure when the snow melted, and I did. She wasn't happy, but she didn't know square footage so I couldn't even ballpark a price. I agree with most of the responses. I wouldn't want that customer either.

It is also a good idea to go onsite, pull a plug or 2, show them what they got for soil,thatch, root depth, etc. and tell them what they can do without. If they can do w/out something, it leaves room for something else.

Also reading people is much more accurate when you engage conversation with them. If they want 6 apps becuz that's what TGCL does, and they want 2 inch height in July with bagged clipping and 2 " of water/wk... Then I know right away, that they can't afford my service.

If you are sending out estimates and programs without even touching the soil, then it is all the same as squirt and fert... JMO... :)

jonthepain
02-28-2011, 12:42 PM
Couldn't agree more, axe. I do much better in person than on the phone, and can't imagine making recommendations without actually looking at the site and the soil first.

And sometimes you just get a gut feeling that you aren't really going to hit it off with a particular customer...

OrganicsMaine
02-28-2011, 01:46 PM
I agree with both of you, however, my goal is to get my foot in the door. If the customer is used to having what TGCL does, and thinks that is the only way, then it is up to me to educate them and sell them on the value of what I offer. The only reason they would be calling me is because they are at least curious about organic lawn care. That right there is my "in".

By quoting a base price on a "bridge" program, I immediately know if they are comfortable with my pricing. I also explain that this is my most basic program and that once the soil test is performed, we may need to do more, but that is a start.

While we all are passionate about our service offerings, we need to be equally as passionate about selling those services. TGCL and all of the other squirt and fert guys are.

JMO

JDUtah
02-28-2011, 02:25 PM
I agree with both of you, however, my goal is to get my foot in the door. If the customer is used to having what TGCL does, and thinks that is the only way, then it is up to me to educate them and sell them on the value of what I offer. The only reason they would be calling me is because they are at least curious about organic lawn care. That right there is my "in".

By quoting a base price on a "bridge" program, I immediately know if they are comfortable with my pricing. I also explain that this is my most basic program and that once the soil test is performed, we may need to do more, but that is a start.

While we all are passionate about our service offerings, we need to be equally as passionate about selling those services. TGCL and all of the other squirt and fert guys are.

JMO

I agree :)

Keegan
02-28-2011, 02:57 PM
Couldn't agree more, axe. I do much better in person than on the phone, and can't imagine making recommendations without actually looking at the site and the soil first.

And sometimes you just get a gut feeling that you aren't really going to hit it off with a particular customer...

I totally agree with you!

jonthepain
03-02-2011, 08:37 PM
thanks

and conversely, sometimes you really hit it off.

i worked for a new client today, she was real happy, talked my ear off, and hired me to do a bunch more stuff for her.

it's less like work when i'm building relationships.

:)

Smallaxe
03-03-2011, 03:08 PM
thanks

and conversely, sometimes you really hit it off.

i worked for a new client today, she was real happy, talked my ear off, and hired me to do a bunch more stuff for her.

it's less like work when i'm building relationships.

:)

I believe that 1 good client is more profitable than 5 names in a ledger of invoices... Over the years I've found good clients, in the oddest of situatins, and in turn, I dropped those who didn't fit into my personal priorities...

Of course I am more of a solo operator as opposed to the TGCL business model... :)

ecoguy
03-13-2011, 08:41 PM
I believe that 1 good client is more profitable than 5 names in a ledger of invoices... Over the years I've found good clients, in the oddest of situatins, and in turn, I dropped those who didn't fit into my personal priorities...

Of course I am more of a solo operator as opposed to the TGCL business model... :)

Isn't that the truth. That's why I spend most of my time and advertising dollars directed at Eco watering holes. It's so much easier servicing the already convinced. That being said, you do need to take the time to convince.

Smallaxe
03-13-2011, 10:25 PM
Isn't that the truth. That's why I spend most of my time and advertising dollars directed at Eco watering holes. It's so much easier servicing the already convinced. That being said, you do need to take the time to convince.

I find that the biggest challenge is that of a "MythBreaker" among the believers... None of my best clients were environmental, and though I have converted many, I blew it with some becuz I was green(novice) and made thoroughly incorrect statements... I neve regained credibility... :)