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View Full Version : Why?? Why????? Why??????????


FrankenScagMachines
10-12-2002, 08:51 AM
Why is it that people price shop around so much when it comes to Lawn care? I know that we dont' price around when we need a plumber to do plumbing work, a mechanic to fix the cars, someone to dig and lay a pipeline, someone to come trim the trees, etc... You just pick on and if you like them (treat you good) then you have them do it next time and usually you recommend them. Why should be/is lawn care any different? I dont' get it! :blob2: :blob2: :blob2: :angry: :blob2: :cry: :cry:
Just venting...
Eric

SLS
10-12-2002, 09:08 AM
Its because the kid down the street doesn't fix plumbing, repair cars, lay pipeline, wire houses, or perform brain surgery.

On the other hand, he CAN grab dad's ol' Craftsman and weedeater and CAN undercut you by a few (and sometimes ALOT) of bucks in order to get some running money or the latest Sega game....especially if he has ZERO overhead and lots of time to kill.

Thats the nature of the beast.

And some people who hire other people to mow their lawns know it...and thus are inclined to shop around for the cheapest lawnguy in their area. They know that practically anyone can just mow a lawn.



Personally, I shop around (get estimates) on the stuff you mentioned above....at least the first time that they are needed.

Last year I needed 15 trees removed from my property and got 4 bids for the work. I went with the guys in the middle price range and saved $1200. They were pros, had the bucket trucks, stump grinders, and the big chippers, lic. and insurance.... and I will use them again. They did the complete job...start to finish.

Ironically, the guy who showed up in the rusty old pickup with one chainsaw and a rope (and beer on his breath) quoted me the highest price. He was just going to drag the limbs up next to the street so the city chipper guys could get them (a couple of months later... after it had killed the grass) and I was going to have to get someone else to deal with the stumps. :dizzy:

I also found my favorite local garage by 'shopping around'. :D

bubble boy
10-12-2002, 09:15 AM
i would say there are price shoppers in all but the brain surgery example. just don't feed the fire: keep your price at your price

1MajorTom
10-12-2002, 09:30 AM
I don't really agree with you though on what you are saying about no one shopping around for price in other service related types of work.

Sure, if it's an emergency plumbing job, and a guy comes out to give an estimate and I'm comfortable with him, I'm going to go with him no matter what the price is because I need to have the work done.

On the other hand, if I am going to get a new furnace installed or a new roof for my house, I'm going to get a few estimates. I will base my selection on price and a few other things. I will be looking for reliability along with how well I am comfortable with the company I hire. Same with the having a tree cut down. My mom had a tree in her yard cut down last year. She got more than one estimate before she hired someone. She was looking for a good price along with someone who could provide insurance.

Now with lawn care, you have to realize that this is a service that for the most part is weekly for a good portion of the year. So unfortunately, some people are going to be looking for a good price because they are going to have to be opening up their wallet a lot more often.

For a one time job, some people will sometimes bite the bullet and pay the price without searching around. But because lawn care is so frequent, it's just the facts that some people want a decent price because they know the neighborhood boy down the street cuts grass and cuts it cheap too!

ipm
10-12-2002, 09:35 AM
I know what you mean. I am not really sure why people think that cutting grass should be free. I think it is because you have smaller companies and bigger companies. Smaller companies have zero overhead so they can give a lower bid. Vise-versa. You know it seems we are all out there competing with each other trying to get the job and the end result is, the customer gets a lower price and the business man cheapens his market. Imagine you have a new development. You have the Lawn Boy cutting yards for no less than $60.00 a stop( or whatever), and you have a real company come in and bid the properties at no less than $60.00. Guess what, chances are the market will be locked in that range. I mean think about it do you cut grass better than the lawn boy??

I had a plumber come into my mothers home, look at a pipe and say "That pipe is loose" hand tightened it and collected $75.00. Drive time, etc. etc. Good thing I wasn't there because I would have asked him to take a good look at the toilet.:D Anyway, don't really know how fell through the cracks on that deal.

I gave a price the other day. The properties were very close to existing accts. So, I say to myself I really need these accts.(Trying to tighten my route) windshield time is eating me up.

How can I bid these so I will make a little money and not have to drive all over town. I gave this guy a lowball(you know cheapen the market. Why I did that I will never understand), and he told me. Well let me shop it out.:blob2: I said sure you do that buddy.

When the bone head calls me back the price goes up. I guess I am venting also.

Art Stubbs handy 58
10-12-2002, 09:51 AM
When you own your own home you will see that shoping around is what we do, we shop for the best quality, service and product just like we do when it comes to our equipment.

I also agree that people will always shop around for lawn service, when you are in the business long enough, you will understand that this is nauture of the beast, so why, why, why vent about it. so on to the next customer.. :D

LLMSERVICE
10-12-2002, 10:13 AM
My market is highly competitive. higher unemployment rate, lots of college students and a large older population. I learned to stop haggling. If people want to haggle, I don't take them on. I used to scramble and hustle to get as many clients as I could but you get to a point where you ask youself "at what price"

On the other hand, I'm working pretty much on referrals at this point. Referrals generally don't hesitate about price because you've already sold yourself on quality and reliability to their freinds and neighbors.

Also, track where your clients come from. Ask them how they found out about you, it helps focus your marketing dollars and gives you a better understanding of where the really great clients are coming to you from.

Cheers!

ipm
10-12-2002, 10:16 AM
If these people are shopping around for quality, and so on, then why are they not paying the premium if we use 10,000 dollar mowers, are dependable etc. ??????? I have to disagree. Like I said anybody can cut grass. Lawn service is a luxury expense. As soon as the wallet gets tight, the lawn service and maid are the 1st to go. This is part of the business, but it is the worst I have ever seen it. All I can say is if the foundation of your business is structured by lawn maint. you might want to find some other supports to balance it out.

People want something for nothing!!! Standing in fast food lines, I hear people trying to hustle a small fry. Get atta here! You _ _ you. It is called the chase, it makes people feel good if they get a deal or work somebody over. I'm done here.

GreginAlaska
10-12-2002, 10:21 AM
I can guarantee you that when it comes to laying pipelines, we do "shop around"...usually in the form of putting it out for bid.

bubble boy
10-12-2002, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by ipm
I mean think about it do you cut grass better than the lawn boy??


yes.

Like I said anybody can cut grass.


not like us.

Brickman
10-12-2002, 11:03 AM
Also, track where your clients come from. Ask them how they found out about you, it helps focus your marketing dollars and gives you a better understanding of where the really great clients are coming to you from.



Very good advice. I tried different types of advertizing, and while it would be running I would ask new callers where they saw my name. After a while it became very obvious for my market that the yellow pages was by far the place to be. So I dropped a bunch of the other advertizing.

Hoosier Mower
10-12-2002, 01:16 PM
Everyone and thier brother "mows", not many plumbers around oh. This business is so competitive yet there is so much potential out there. Try this one, mow full time and become a part time plumber..lol...

Shady Brook
10-12-2002, 04:29 PM
The customers I am interested in don't shop price for lawn care. Sure if you give them a outrageously high price, but I think they have an idea about what lawn care will be. Most folks who have lawn care have had it in the past. The good customers choose you because they have seen your work, or heard about the quality of work you do. The people out to get the job done for $2 less are likely going to be a pain in the neck even if you do get them.

Remember some may say they are price shopping because they do not want to make a quick decision, because they have called others for estimates and would like to check out the other companies and their programs, or they may know they do not want your (our) services for some reason, and are trying to be nice.

Don't sweat it, it is just part of the business.

Jay

65hoss
10-12-2002, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by ipm
I know what you mean. I am not really sure why people think that cutting grass should be free. I think it is because you have smaller companies and bigger companies. Smaller companies have zero overhead so they can give a lower bid. Vise-versa.

The zero overhead thought is what gets many many small companies into big trouble.

SLS---Bushhog boy is the kid down the street.;)

SLS
10-12-2002, 06:10 PM
oops! :blush:

LAWNGODFATHER
10-12-2002, 07:32 PM
Easy, this is the number "ONE" supplemental job/BIZ there is.

Look at how many Fireman, Kids, teachers, and second job people there are on this board.

Why is it that way? That is why people shop, for almost the same reason.

People shop because of MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's all about the Benjamins!!!!!

Randy Scott
10-12-2002, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by Shady Brook
The customers I am interested in don't shop price for lawn care.

Jay

BINGO!!!! I sell quality reliable service with referrals to back it. The jag squeezing me for a price over the phone is clueless and someone I don't want or need! Let them shop, regardless of their service provider, they will always be unhappy. Believe it or not, some people are just that stupid.

SLS
10-12-2002, 11:41 PM
Randy,

I agree...trying to get a price quote over the phone for lawn service is silly. :D

I can't imagine calling up a auto body shop on the phone and telling them "Hey...I just had a little fender bender...whats it gonna cost to repair it?" :laugh:

I think that the 'price shoppers' go away when you have enough accounts to garner referrals...and you no longer have to do flyers, ads in the papers, ect. I quit advertising (except for my truck signs) two years ago. I get calls from the signs too...but now it's mostly referrals.

Referrals have already talked to your existing customer (the referree) and know what to expect before they ever contact you. They will already know if you are cheap or not.

Want to deal with 'price shoppers'??? Run an ad in the Thrifty Nickel or some other small, community-based newspaper. That brings out the pennypinchers for sure!

Brickman
10-12-2002, 11:52 PM
SLS you are right.

I never gave a price over the phone unless it was a call back on a job I had already gone and looked at.

One thing I started doing the last several years in my advertizing was stating that "Brickman Lawn Care" was serving the large residential and commercial customer. THAT by it self weeded out a lot of ''thriftynickel'' people.

odin
10-13-2002, 12:01 AM
Thats one thing we never do is give a quote over the phone.

Sometimes you will get some one call and give there lot size and say how much do you charge for that size lot .

Like my wife says no aquota over the phonena:D

awm
10-13-2002, 12:19 AM
new money spends like crazy ,and no they dont usually price shop. they no longer have to worry about prices etc ,and they enjoy the freedom of it. old money on the other hand tends to be the smartest ,tightest, priceshoppers of all. guess what new money turns into, after while . u rite. old money.. either that or they go dn in flames. its just smart to get the most your dollar will buy.

lawncare3
01-27-2003, 10:24 PM
Originally posted by Randy Scott
BINGO!!!! I sell quality reliable service with referrals to back it. The jag squeezing me for a price over the phone is clueless and someone I don't want or need! Let them shop, regardless of their service provider, they will always be unhappy. Believe it or not, some people are just that stupid.

I totally agree they are just plain cheap. I found it's the ones with less money that are quicker to spend it then the ones with more money.

IBGreen
01-27-2003, 10:47 PM
Go commercial! I don't mean the commercial properties like the shell station, I'm talking about 25 acre commercial properties. Kids needing money for Sega games don't do those. Usually.

The Plant Poet
01-27-2003, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by lawncare3
I totally agree they are just plain cheap. I found it's the ones with less money that are quicker to spend it then the ones with more money.



I've been working for very wealthy people for ten years now and the one thing I've noticed about all of them is they're not only good at making money, they're good at hanging on to it. There are as many cars out there to buy as there are landscapers to hire so why do they buy the JAGS. Because there chasing the warm fuzzies.

Marketing 101: Snob apeal. People will spend more if it makes them feel better.

Make them feel good about what there buying and they will pay for it.

troblandscape
01-27-2003, 11:37 PM
a guy who underbids is most likely to do a shabby job in our minds........ but most customers don't know the difference. Remember, the under bidding landscaper can probly make the yard look better, than if the homeowner was doing it. Comes with the territory. The trick is to have enough work so you don't have to worry about being under bid. Good Luck!

coonman
01-27-2003, 11:58 PM
They may shop around a little. But once you start mowing for them and do a good job, most will be extremely loyal and would not consider another lco.

GreenQuest Lawn
01-28-2003, 09:59 AM
Come on we all "shop around" When was the last time you went to a store for a sale, We all want the best price on mowers, vehicles, Ect. Its in our nature to want to save money. I HATE walmart but if I can save 20% verses going to the high price automotive store for things like oil and cleaner I am there.

Same thing for lawn cares, MOST people THINK there is no difference. So That is what we must teach them.

Sell your service not your price. If you let it get to you you will just run yourself down worrying about it.

Gravely_Man
01-28-2003, 01:39 PM
I totally disagree with BushHogBoy statement "I know that we dont' price around when we need a plumber to do plumbing work, a mechanic to fix the cars, someone to dig and lay a pipeline, someone to come trim the trees, etc..." I truly believe that most people do shop around when it comes to anything that involves money unless they have found someone that they can trust and who does good work. What does it hurt them to call 3-4 people and get an estimate? The answer is nothing.

Gravely_Man

Acorn
01-28-2003, 05:41 PM
4 types of customers around here. 1) wealthy (don't want to be bothered with yard work and are very tight with their money...that's why they have money) 2) elderly (don't trust anyone under 65 and are tight with their money 3) people with lawns from hell (i.e 45% slope to the property) not as picky about price because they would do almost anything not to have to waste another Sat mowing their lawn and 4) joe sixpack who has been worrking 70 hours a weeks and is too exhausted to mow the lawn on Sun and needs to time share his kids with the ex on the weekends. This last group doesn't care about quality and just wants the d@mn lawn cut so he shops for the local kids.

troblandscape
01-28-2003, 05:45 PM
I think Acorn hit this one on the head;)

xpnd
01-28-2003, 06:27 PM
It's the customer's privelege to shop different services an for that matter prices. It's called capitalism. Without it we all would be working for the same price.

lawncare3
01-28-2003, 07:09 PM
Acorn,

You are correct.

JimLewis
01-29-2003, 12:01 AM
Let me offer an reason that hasn't really been touched on yet;

I think if you are finding that a lot of your prospective clients are shopping around on you then maybe it has to do more with the kind of marketing you're doing.

There are certain kinds of marketing techniques that encourage people to shop around. Or at least, lend themselves to people shopping around. And there are others that will result in the client just looking at YOU, and not shopping around. I'll give you a few examples;

Things like Yellow Pages, Classifieds, BBB guide, etc. list a host of LCOs or landscapers all in one area. And when a person opens the yellow pages and sees 20 companies listed, it's only natural to call a few of them.

But marketing like Door Flyers, Truck Lettering, Signs, Telemarketing, Referrals, etc. are what I call "in-your-face" kinds of marketing. YOU are getting in your clients face, even though they didn't purposely go looking for an LCO at that exact minute, THERE YOU ARE! This is effective because although they may have wanted to call an LCO, they may not have known who to call or taken the time to call. But then they see your truck, or get a flyer on their door, or a neighbor starts bragging, or whatever and all of a sudden they are interested in calling you!

The second kind of marketing usually results in people NOT shopping around. They are more curious as to what YOU would charge, not everyone else. Because YOU were the one that contact them - directly or indirectly. Nobody else right then and there was in their face. So they call you and they are usually just looking to see if your price is in line with the price they have in their mind. If it is - you're in business!!!

That's why I focus most of my efforts on the second kind of marketing.

I'd estimate that about 80% of the time, my prospective clients are NOT shopping around. They are just interested in my price only. Furthermore, for those who are shopping around, it's not so much that they are going for the cheapest price. I think most people already have a price in their head that they want or can afford to pay. And the first company who impresses them and offers them a price that's anywhere close to what they already had in mind - gets the business!

That's why I usually land the job 80% of the time as long as I get there before any other LCO does. But when I am the 2nd or 3rd person they're getting a bid from, my percentage chance goes down to more like 40-50%. A lot of the time, they've already signed up for someone else's service for exactly the reasons I listed above.

Flex-Deck
01-29-2003, 12:45 AM
WHY - WHY - WHY do you people on this site refuse to make your operation more efficient with the same number of machines, or less, and less employees - ONE flex-deck = one employee, or ONE flex-deck = 50 % more production for the machine you are running. Going to make a statement here - the economy is not very good - needs to take an aspirin - the only way you guys out there are going to improve your situation is to improve efficiency - Forget about the "I am going to charge X and they will pay it"

I do like the parts of the posts that talk about quality because QUALITY is where it is at - that keeps the accounts - NOW lets make some money on those accounts - The manufacturers of this country do not want you to have all the efficiency the Flex-Deck offers because they are maybe afraid they may not sell as many machines - "Except Dixie Chopper, which may see the light - In fact have had some emails that congratulate Dixie as having some insight to the future"

The Plant Poet
01-29-2003, 11:55 AM
Jim Lewis I could'nt agree with you more. In your face marketing works. When someone moves into one of my neighborhoods I take them a " welcome to the neighborhood " house plant, Introduce myself and leave them a brochure. Now they wave to me when I'm working the neighborhood.


FlexDeck, great advice! Unless Your just being grossly underpaid on an account, raising your prices to make more money should be condsidered a sin.

Increase productivity and make more money. Thats the competitive edge. Every year your clients expectations go up while they want prices to come down. That's a challenge we should all embrace.

More work per unit = more profit.

Acorn
01-29-2003, 02:48 PM
I agree however there is a point where is turns into the customer wanting something for nothing. More and more for less and less year after year...might as well stay home

The Plant Poet
01-29-2003, 04:34 PM
Of course there's a point where you can't keep doing more for less. Thats when you add more services like top-dressing or design changes. Maintenace just gets you in the door. Add-ons is where you'll make your money.

If a customer does'nt want to improve there property and we're not making money on the maintenance, It's time to drop that account and find a better paying one.

imalandscper
01-29-2003, 05:41 PM
So now tell me where the Flex Deck has anything to do with people shopping around? HUH Got me stumped.

bubble boy
01-29-2003, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by imalandscper
So now tell me where the Flex Deck has anything to do with people shopping around? HUH Got me stumped.

me too...