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View Full Version : What are people doing with there costumers


jonesy5149
09-07-2011, 07:10 PM
ok,

what are contractors doing for there costumers if they spend 20k or more with you.
We have bought them trees or plantings or even sealing the patio for no cost to them.
just looking out side the box to see if there are things at EDI we could do to better are self.:):)

zedosix
09-07-2011, 07:46 PM
ok,

what are contractors doing for there costumers if they spend 20k or more with you.
We have bought them trees or plantings or even sealing the patio for no cost to them.
just looking out side the box to see if there are things at EDI we could do to better are self.:):)

Most of our jobs are over 20k so that would be alot of free-bee's on my part. We don't give them anything other than the work they asked for.

CALandscapes
09-07-2011, 08:04 PM
Most of our jobs are over 20k so that would be alot of free-bee's on my part. We don't give them anything other than the work they asked for.

Ditto. You get what you pay for - a quality job from a reputable company who stands behind our work. Nothing more, nothing less.

jonesy5149
09-07-2011, 08:06 PM
20k is just a number what sets you from the next company apart.
We do not do any thing less than DVS number he had up and
Maybe I'm just way out there. Did any body by a car and then they
Give you a car wash and oil change for free. Or better yet you go and
Buy a cat 305 and they give you a 16" bucket for free.
That's keeps me coming back every time. Even if the product your buying
Is the best or patio..........
Posted via Mobile Device

zedosix
09-07-2011, 08:07 PM
I also wanted to point out that alot of it depends on the customer as well, we've had fabulous customers who only spent maybe 10k and we give them good after service which could be extending the warranty and not charging them for a touch up or something, and at the same time like a certain job this season over 100k where when her warranty runs out she'll pay double for my services.

jonesy5149
09-07-2011, 08:09 PM
I also wanted to point out that alot of it depends on the customer as well, we've had fabulous customers who only spent maybe 10k and we give them good after service which could be extending the warranty and not charging them for a touch up or something, and at the same time like a certain job this season over 100k where when her warranty runs out she'll pay double for my services.

Nice work that has something to be said. PRIDE has a lot of money
In the long run
Posted via Mobile Device

AztlanLC
09-07-2011, 08:32 PM
We give the best job we can for the money they pay us, but many times I try to show them how much we appreciate their business not by giving something solely based on monetary value.
Last job we did it had pillars on the entrance we brought a ribbon, pair of scissor and bottle of wine I'm sure you get the picture, other job the customer was pretty specific in choosing the stone for their patio (quartzite granite) at the end we had lots of those little left over pieces from chiseling and hammering the stones, I had one of my workers do a mosaic with their names and put it in a picture frame.

zedosix
09-07-2011, 08:36 PM
We give the best job we can for the money they pay us, but many times I try to show them how much we appreciate their business not by giving something solely based on monetary value.
Last job we did it had pillars on the entrance we brought a ribbon, pair of scissor and bottle of wine I'm sure you get the picture, other job the customer was pretty specific in choosing the stone for their patio (quartzite granite) at the end we had lots of those little left over pieces from chiseling and hammering the stones, I had one of my workers do a mosaic with their names and put it in a picture frame.

Now thats something they'll remember.

jonesy5149
09-07-2011, 08:38 PM
Kick ass
Posted via Mobile Device

zedosix
09-07-2011, 08:46 PM
Jonesy ....that should read "their customers" just fyi. :)

jonesy5149
09-07-2011, 08:51 PM
Ya I was eating DINNA so it was quick but thanks
Posted via Mobile Device

Gilmore.Landscaping
09-07-2011, 09:22 PM
Company I work for does way to many jobs over 20k to throw gifts at them all, on really large jobs 300k plus we have done numerous things from trees to Address Stones, it all depends on the client and if they were nice or not.

Dr.NewEarth
09-07-2011, 10:28 PM
I think little things like that should be figured into your overhead costs any-how.
You can always let the customer believe they are getting some-thing more for free.

A small bag of lawn seed after you do a lawn job, a follow up phone call, a quick free consultation or a Christmas card? That all costs us money, but if you're going to do it then I believe we have to
cover the cost of it some-how.

What if they're a pita customer? What can we do for them?

jonesy5149
09-08-2011, 04:54 AM
I think little things like that should be figured into your overhead costs any-how.
You can always let the customer believe they are getting some-thing more for free.
A small bag of lawn seed after you do a lawn job, a follow up phone call, a quick free consultation or a Christmas card? That all costs us money, but if you're going to do it then I believe we have to
cover the cost of it some-how
BINGO. This is what I have been doing with the trees.
Or mothers day gift cards or fathers day tool cards

FLCthes4:11-12
09-08-2011, 08:56 AM
I dont think you should perform any work or extra service for free. To me it cheapens (sp) the work you have charged for and also makes the statement that you are willing to work for nothing which can lead to nit picky call backs. I do agree with somehow thanking the customer for the work with possibley a gift card or something around the holidays but I believe you need to charge for the work that you make your living with.

PSUhardscaper
09-08-2011, 10:46 AM
Jonesy ....that should read "their customers" just fyi. :)

I constantly wonder if members of lawnsite use to kind of grammar in their posts on their proposals, contracts, ect. It seems like these days people aren't even proofreading - only looking for the red underlined words, then hitting send.

AUTO CORRECT WILL ONLY FIX MISSPELLINGS: Everyday I see the incorrect usage of their, there, and they're. Hear/ here. Those lessons are taught in elementary school.

How do you expect a client to take you seriously when you are making these mistakes in emails and 'professional documents' that are exchanged?

DVS Hardscaper
09-08-2011, 11:11 AM
I constantly wonder if members of lawnsite use to kind of grammar in their posts on their proposals, contracts, ect. It seems like these days people aren't even proofreading - only looking for the red underlined words, then hitting send.

AUTO CORRECT WILL ONLY FIX MISSPELLINGS: Everyday I see the incorrect usage of their, there, and they're. Hear/ here. Those lessons are taught in elementary school.

How do you expect a client to take you seriously when you are making these mistakes in emails and 'professional documents' that are exchanged?



PSU - you wrote "etc" wrong. Did you not "proofread"?


I also correlate spelling and grammer used on the forum of how their proposals must appear! My mentality is "you never know, some day a judge may be reading this (proposal) and have to decide a verdict". I try my damnest two make shore my papers are as clean and crisp as possible, I don't want anything in there that may sway a judge to think "no wonder he's a landscaper".

Although, for me posting on the forum and drafting official business documents are two different things. I dont always proof reed my posts. And my business documents are proof readeded.

Although back in the spring I sent a mowing customer a mowing agreement. I didnt proof reed it. It had a couple typos! They signed it and sent it back and hand rote corrections for the typos! Embarrassing.

There are times where clients will show me proposals they received from others. And so often they are drafted with miss spellings and incorrect grammar.

Matt Rusk is notorious for poor spelling.

On forums sometimes guys get carried away with worring about spelling. Back when Lawn & Landscape had a nice forum, I used to purposely make sure that every post I submitted had 1 word spelled wrong somewhere in the post. Just to make someone take the time to correct me.


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PSUhardscaper
09-08-2011, 11:56 AM
PSU - you wrote "etc" wrong. Did you not "proofread"?


I also correlate spelling and grammer used on the forum of how their proposals must appear! My mentality is "you never know, some day a judge may be reading this (proposal) and have to decide a verdict". I try my damnest two make shore my papers are as clean and crisp as possible, I don't want anything in there that may sway a judge to think "no wonder he's a landscaper".

Although, for me posting on the forum and drafting official business documents are two different things. I dont always proof reed my posts. And my business documents are proof readeded.

Although back in the spring I sent a mowing customer a mowing agreement. I didnt proof reed it. It had a couple typos! They signed it and sent it back and hand rote corrections for the typos! Embarrassing.

There are times where clients will show me proposals they received from others. And so often they are drafted with miss spellings and incorrect grammar.

Matt Rusk is notorious for poor spelling.

On forums sometimes guys get carried away with worring about spelling. Back when Lawn & Landscape had a nice forum, I used to purposely make sure that every post I submitted had 1 word spelled wrong somewhere in the post. Just to make someone take the time to correct me.


,

.

:laugh: I never got time to proofread. Around hear, I'm just knocking out the emails as fast as possible. Their meant to be quick, and if I don't see any red lines as I type, there on they're way to the customer.

Will P.C.
09-08-2011, 12:05 PM
I am towards the end of getting a little over 10K done to my house. Deck, patio, erosion problem, etc. Personally, I do not care about a free tree or free touch up.

Knowing that the job is going to be done to my satisfaction, and that I can call the contractor back to fix the small errors, go much further.

jonesy5149
09-08-2011, 12:41 PM
Yes but you did not pick the contractor because of the free things
You pick them because of the work they do, or price, word of mouth. Who cares
Its a little thank you for letting me play at your house. Don't get me wrong
They all don't get the objects or service but we they do stand back they may hug you.
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PatriotLandscape
09-08-2011, 03:10 PM
they get exactly what they pay for nothing more nothing less.

In my area in the current state of things they already feel I should give them more than whats in the contract because the wrote a check.

Why give them something more? my feeling is that people don't value anything that is free.

for example you used sealing a patio. assume the patio was 600 square feet techniseal is 35 per gallon for efflo cleaner so you into that for a quick hundo. next is the sealer at 50 per gallon and your at another 275 so out of the profits that you mad to pay your bills on a contract you just gave them back in materials $375.

so here you are 60 days after you installed your patio cleaning it for free. value easily 500 if not more. assume 5 hours with picking up supplies etc.

now your back another day when its dry and invest another 7 hours for free.

so at minimum 13 hours and $375 in materials. I hope you made more than 10% on your 20k project because after all your hard work you just gave them back half your profit in being a nice guy.

and god forbid if this free service causes any dead grass or the sealer doesn't penetrate correctly.

DVS Hardscaper
09-08-2011, 05:14 PM
We don't do make it a practice of working for free.

And I don't buy my people gifts because they *LET* us do they're work.

I do believe in expressing *THANK YOU* to the customers that talk us up and refer us to their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

I am very grateful to those that let us come in and do our job and don't bother us.

When the recession first hit I can't tell you how many prospective clients (usually the males) would say "How's business, SLOW???" And the way they would say it was with a hopeful tone of me saying "yes". When they would say it like that I felt as if they were praying on me to do the work for next to nothing. Maybe it was my paranoia, I dunno. And I'd reply "no, we're booked with work", and their faces would look like they were thinking "damn, that's not what I want to hear"!

Nope. No special gifts. Unless you refer us to others. We're already working with minimal margins, the market is saturated with contractors.



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JimLewis
09-08-2011, 06:51 PM
I don't do it as a rule on every job. Mostly because I'm just too busy. I would if I had the time. But I do believe in giving little gifts or extras. It sets you apart from other contractors in general. First, you gotta have the whole package. If you don't got your other stuff in order, then the little gift at the end doesn't matter at all. So I start by making sure we do a great job. We always start on time, finish on time, and on budget. So right there, I've differentiated myself from 90% of contractors in general. Contractors are notorious for starting late, taking way longer than expected, finishing late, and being over budget. So it's my first priority on every job to make sure I'm not like that.

The second thing I do is make sure that I check in on all of our jobs every day (well, almost every day) and meet with the customer and make sure the project manager has been keeping them informed and that they are happy with the way things are progressing. This is another thing most of my competitors don't do.

But at the end of a job, when we are all done and everything went exactly to plan and we've finished on time and on budget, I believe it is just icing on the cake to leave a nice gift. A gesture of your appreciation. Just from the responses you see here, you can see that most contractors DON'T believe in doing that. I use that fact to my advantage. They can all have great theoretical reasons why they don't believe in giving freebies or gifts or whatever. But regardless of what they say, it really does help to leave that added impression on the customer. It's little extras like this that really help set you apart. It's little stuff like that that is why we have an A+ rating on the BBB and an A rating in 11 different categories on Angie's List and the Super Service Award in 5 different categories on Angie's List (including pavers) and regularly get high marks and great reviews everywhere.

I started my company 15 years ago with the slogan, "Setting the Gold Standard in Landscaping" And I didn't mean it as some cheesy slogan to just help us get more business. I really intend to be that way. I want to be the company that everyone sees as being better and different than the rest. And we've done a great job of establishing that reputation. I think that's part of why we've seen the kind of growth we have in recent years. Despite having raised our labor rates 3 times in the last 24 months, we grew by 45% last year ($500,000 in add'l sales) and are over 50% growth so far this year. We've been booked out for months every since spring and the phone keeps ringing all day every day. So I think we've done something right.

Anyway, I like the idea. I don't get a chance to do it with every job. But I don't mind spending about 1-2% of the total job cost on a nice gift. Now, it may be easier for me to do so because we've raised our rates now to the point where we're quite a bit more profitable than most of our competitors. So we're making a few thousand more on a job like that than what 85% of our competitors would have charged for that same job. I know, I see their bids. So I guess to me, I can afford to take $100 or $200 off of a $20,000 job a little more than most guys can. But to me, it's worth it.

As an example, we finished a nice job about 2 months ago that involved a fire pit, large paver patio, seat wall, lighted pergola, planting, and irrigation. It was just under $30K. On the last day, the client went out and out out their table and BBQ onto the patio. So I went over to Crate & Barrel and bought about $200 worth of outdoor table stuff (pitchers, cups, decor) and some nice stuff for the BBQ. I had them put it in a nice gift wrapped box and after I did my walk-around and settled up with the customer, I handed them the package. They were flabbergasted. And we got a really nice review on Angie's List from that job too.

So I think it works. But you gotta charge enough so that you can afford to do it.

jonesy5149
09-08-2011, 08:09 PM
I hope you made more than 10% on your 20k project because after all your hard work you just gave them back half your profit in being a nice guy.


oh boy 10%:confused: you are in mass and 10%

jonesy5149
09-08-2011, 08:11 PM
Jim,
I Respect that..................

PatriotLandscape
09-08-2011, 08:17 PM
oh boy 10%:confused: you are in mass and 10%

ok well then please tell me what your average net profit is.

what estimating strategies do you use?

I'm not talking gross profits.

Industry avergage NET profit is 5-7% but let me guess you have the best guys and get the best price and run a company that practices LEAN management.

I'm willing to bet you dont truly understand the numbers in your business. I'm not picking on you. I understand my numbers on a level most would find sickening. Without knowing the true numbers you could be growing broke slowly.

jonesy5149
09-08-2011, 08:31 PM
I can tell you this my Hr rate will keep me buying equipment and trucks every 5 years and pay my labor and the office people.
My profit comes from what i mark up and if i beat the labor budget. I will tell you this it is not 5-7%
do you know what your over burden number is?????? mine is 2.03

zedosix
09-08-2011, 09:21 PM
Jim,

I hope you take care of your men as well as you take care of your customers.

PatriotLandscape
09-08-2011, 10:37 PM
our labor burden is a percentage. it is 40%. how do you use that 2.03 number?

JimLewis
09-08-2011, 11:30 PM
Jim,

I hope you take care of your men as well as you take care of your customers.

I'd like to think I do. They get a raise every year. Decent benefits. We pay more than most in our area.

All of my installation project managers have been with me at least 7 years. And most of their helps have been here for several years as well. I think that says a lot.

cooltype
09-09-2011, 08:00 PM
ok well then please tell me what your average net profit is.

what estimating strategies do you use?

I'm not talking gross profits.

Industry avergage NET profit is 5-7% but let me guess you have the best guys and get the best price and run a company that practices LEAN management.

I'm willing to bet you dont truly understand the numbers in your business. I'm not picking on you. I understand my numbers on a level most would find sickening. Without knowing the true numbers you could be growing broke slowly.

Didn't I read something on here not too long ago that DVS was 30% profit? Either way I would have to find another business if I only made 5-7% profit

GreenLight
09-09-2011, 08:31 PM
Didn't I read something on here not too long ago that DVS was 30% profit? Either way I would have to find another business if I only made 5-7% profit

If I can pay myself a $100,000-$150,000 a year salary and still have a net profit of 7% at years end then I certainly wouldn't be looking for another business (and no, im not paying myself that salary, but a guy can dream).

Profit is all relative to what the head honchos are stuffing their pockets with. I know enough owners in the industry who pay themselves salaries of $40,000 a year, myself included, (tax purposes) and live on that for personal purposes. Thus they generally have higher profit margins (20% or more) at years end when all is said and done.

Then there are the owners who pay themselves a high salary $70,000-$90,000 and of course they generally have lower margins because they account for a massive amount of the companies daily overhead. Im not saying DVS model is wrong, im just saying profit is a very relative term.

cooltype
09-09-2011, 08:48 PM
this is true

DVS Hardscaper
09-09-2011, 08:48 PM
You guys are mixing up net profit for the individual job with the company's net profit at the end of the fiscal year.

Two different things.



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Posted via Mobile Device

GreenLight
09-09-2011, 08:52 PM
You guys are mixing up net profit for the individual job with the company's net profit at the end of the fiscal year.

Two different things.



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Posted via Mobile Device

How does one differ from the other? If you aren't accounting for yourself and the money you are taking from the job, then it's not profit.

DVS Hardscaper
09-09-2011, 08:53 PM
The bigger companies that do annual sales volumes in the millions usually have annual net profit of around 7%.

The smaller companies annual net profits are usually slightly higher, not usually exceeding 12%.

You annual net profit is after ALL expenses, salaries, your salary/draw, etc.

7% of $3 mil is $210k remaining in the kitty. Pretty damn good.
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
09-09-2011, 09:20 PM
ok,

what are contractors doing for there costumers

I only get "costumers" on Halloween and I give them their choice of several different kinds of candy bars. If it's getting late and I still have a lot of candy I'll let them have 2. :laugh:

JimLewis
09-09-2011, 09:47 PM
If I can pay myself a $100,000-$150,000 a year salary and still have a net profit of 7% at years end then I certainly wouldn't be looking for another business (and no, im not paying myself that salary, but a guy can dream).

Profit is all relative to what the head honchos are stuffing their pockets with. I know enough owners in the industry who pay themselves salaries of $40,000 a year, myself included, (tax purposes) and live on that for personal purposes. Thus they generally have higher profit margins (20% or more) at years end when all is said and done.

Then there are the owners who pay themselves a high salary $70,000-$90,000 and of course they generally have lower margins because they account for a massive amount of the companies daily overhead. Im not saying DVS model is wrong, im just saying profit is a very relative term.

Green light is dead on balls accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrjC1E1TBdg). Profit all depends on how much the owner is paying himself and also confused by the fact that the company may be constantly reinvesting the profit back into the company. For instance, I pay myself a salary a lot more than most and then beyond then a lot of the extra profit we have beyond that I am usually reinvesting into newer trucks, bigger trailers, more equipment, bigger shop, more back stock, etc. So on paper it may not look like as much profit. But when you account for a nice big salary and all the equity I'm building into the company each year, it's actually a lot.

DVS Hardscaper
09-09-2011, 11:34 PM
You guys are mixing up net profit for the individual job with the company's net profit at the end of the fiscal year.

Two different things.



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Posted via Mobile Device

my mistake, didn't mean to say "you guys", didn't mean plural


,

DVS Hardscaper
09-09-2011, 11:39 PM
I'd like to think I do. They get a raise every year. Decent benefits. We pay more than most in our area.

All of my installation project managers have been with me at least 7 years. And most of their helps have been here for several years as well. I think that says a lot.


Same with my few people. Although last week I was told by Lawnsite's Finest that I'm a terrible boss, a hothead, and that I breathe down my guy's backs! LOL Amazing!




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DVS Hardscaper
09-09-2011, 11:43 PM
I can tell you this my Hr rate will keep me buying equipment and trucks every 5 years and pay my labor and the office people.
My profit comes from what i mark up and if i beat the labor budget. I will tell you this it is not 5-7%
do you know what your over burden number is?????? mine is 2.03




And what is "over burden"? Do you mean *labor burden*?


.

DVS Hardscaper
09-09-2011, 11:52 PM
......but let me guess you have the best guys and get the best price and run a company that practices LEAN management.




Patriot, you left some out!

You forgot "best work", "best subs", "best designer", "best 3/4 ton Fords with cool smelling diesel engines", "best spellers", "best Bar B Que grillers",and "best backyards resembebling the bottoms of fish tanks"!

There. That sums up some of Lawnsite's Finest!

.

JimLewis
09-10-2011, 02:04 AM
Same with my few people. Although last week I was told by Lawnsite's Finest that I'm a terrible boss, a hothead, and that I breathe down my guy's backs! LOL Amazing!


Who said that??!!! Why I'll knock their block off! Just tell me who said that!!!

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Anyway, I never said that, exactly. But I think I was probably guilty of judging you too soon and not really reading your entire post before I commented. So for my part in that, I apologize.

PatriotLandscape
09-10-2011, 05:43 PM
oops i didnt read it well i guess my brain inserted something that makes sense.

over burden?

I too will be buying new equipment when ever I need it. it has nothing to do with my labor rate. my equipment has its own line item in my worksheets for proposals.

what does this 2.03 number mean? i understand numbers very well please explain.

jbailey52
09-11-2011, 08:16 PM
We have done ice buckets installed into the bluestone, or granite tops on outdoor kitchens and put in a bottle of Dom P Champagne.. added a 12V BBQ light with a switch, stocked the outdoor refridgerator with beer and soda etc.. I think this really helps us... as well as when they entertain in the areas we created our name always gets passed around. I know some are going to say "well if you do good work you will be recomended etc.." but this has always worked for us, so why change.

DVS Hardscaper
09-11-2011, 09:26 PM
Who said that??!!! Why I'll knock their block off! Just tell me who said that!!!

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Anyway, I never said that, exactly. But I think I was probably guilty of judging you too soon and not really reading your entire post before I commented. So for my part in that, I apologize.

That's ok 'ol buddy!

After all these years of no life and forum participation, I always darn near know what the exact responses will be every time before I even hit the Post Message button!

Gotta love the boys in their early 20's expertise that they input! I have a saying, "Hire a teenanger while they still know everything"!



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