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View Full Version : I tell them I cost more... then tell them why


DiscoDave
03-07-2012, 12:02 AM
I am not interested in competing on price (because I can't). My niche is better quality and higher in price and it is working!

I tell our prospects before they even see my price to expect us to be one of the higher prices they have received. I follow up by giving them five bullet points of why I am worth it.

This takes away their impulse to want to negotiate with me when they receive my price. They also don't immediately dismiss my quote simply because I am higher. They open my proposal expecting a higher price and look for reasons to justify hiring me despite it.

Gmgbo
03-07-2012, 07:12 AM
I always tell them In not always the cheapest too, weeds out the price shoppers.

Roger
03-07-2012, 07:44 AM
The pool of non-price shoppers is small.

Consider all the LS threads about equipment. What is the first question: How much? Read the current thread about a new sulky being offered. Despite all the talk about features, the question of price kept coming up, until the $500 price tag was made public. LCOs seem to be right up at the top of the list for price shopping. We have no reason to expect anything different for routine, menial work of grass mowing. If you are offering a unique service, then you have leverage.

cpllawncare
03-07-2012, 08:03 AM
There is only so much quality you can talk about on the maintenance side it's all about the level of service that makes the difference, it goes back to the fact that people do business with people they like and trust.

DiscoDave
03-07-2012, 10:02 AM
The whole idea of starting my process with talking about my higher prices is to convert them from price shoppers to quality and service buyers. My job is to change the way they approach making a buying decision. I do not let the prospect control the sales process. I listen and gather information. Then I go to work changing their mind.

Remember, I am not selling a tangible item such as a sulky. I am selling a LEVEL of service and a PROMISED result. I remind my prospects that the level of service and quality of work they receive is contingent upon the ability of the service provider to perform. Then I describe how I can deliver on the promise.

This is more difficult on the mowing end of my services. Since folks see mowing as a brainless activity that anyone can do (and let's face it... it is) our mowing service is a sidebar for all of the other things we offer.

Now if all they want is a mowing price and they do not have any use for our additional services, I am not likely to get that account. Frankly, those are not my target customers anyway. Pre-qualifying the prospect is a key to knowing how to approach the process with them. Find out early if they are price driven or quality driven.

Cpllawncare is right. People PREFER to do business with people they like and trust. However, they constantly buy from lowball companies that they don't care for because their prices are just so darn low. Now, if they like and trust you, they are more likely to look for reasons to spend a little more with you.

cpllawncare
03-08-2012, 07:57 AM
Dave, I like the way you think, I want to learn the process of converting these folks from price shoppers to quality shoppers as mowing is the back bone of my business. I'm trying to change that, it just takes time to learn all the other things that you need to be an expert on to really be able to sell "Other services"

maelawncare
03-10-2012, 11:56 PM
Any chance your show your bullets of knowledge. :)

agent walker
03-17-2012, 12:34 AM
just curious what your bullet points are??

DiscoDave
03-17-2012, 11:36 AM
Any chance your show your bullets of knowledge. :)

just curious what your bullet points are??

I sent you both a PM.

humble1
03-17-2012, 12:13 PM
Look at mowing say a 40 lawn. You can say all you want about quality but you can only charge what the market will bare. So you can't say I'm going to use new equip, fully insured, uniformed, new trucks, all people are plant biologists and get 150 to cut the lawn. If everyone else is bidding 30 to 50 your market is just that. So how can you get more than what your market brings in?
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DiscoDave
03-17-2012, 01:56 PM
Look at mowing say a 40 lawn. You can say all you want about quality but you can only charge what the market will bare. So you can't say I'm going to use new equip, fully insured, uniformed, new trucks, all people are plant biologists and get 150 to cut the lawn. If everyone else is bidding 30 to 50 your market is just that. So how can you get more than what your market brings in?
Posted via Mobile Device

I am primarily talking about all other landscaping (pavers, walls, installation, design, maintenance) and lawn care services (fertilization, hydroseeding, sliceseeding, irrigation etc.). Mowing is only 15% of our revenue. It's not our main focus and we only run two mowing crews at this time. Most of our mowing clients are those that have hired us for other services and added mowing because they love our people, love our company and love the results we provide (in that order).

I am not concerned with "What the market will bare." I focus on how much each individual I am selling to will be willing to spend for a level of service they have never recieved before. Mowing is "going for" $30.00 to $35.00 per hour around here. We are at $45.00 to $50.00 per man hour for mowing.

If you are a company that is primarily mowing focused you have to differentiate yourself from every other company that has newer equipment, uniformed employees, insurance and clean trucks. The reality is, most people are not going to make a buying decision on how much insurance you have or how new your trucks are. They are going to base the decision on how much they like you, believe in your company to perform and what you can do for them. You have to convince them to make price the last thing they consider by selling value. Not price.

Do things like offering bed weed control in your mowing service and charge accordingly. Be creative with your striping patterns. The same old checker board patterns are worn out. There are a ton of things you can do different to add percieved value for your prospects. Be creative... you will earn more money.

landscaper22
03-18-2012, 12:14 PM
Although it can work with mowing. It depends a lot on the neighborhood. Customers in high dollar neighborhoods are most likely more concerned about quality and dependability over price. At least with landscaping/irrigation/installations you have more of a niche. Most of your lowballer service providers offer mainly Mow and Go type service. So, when you get into somewhat more skilled work like design and installation, you can have a higher profit margin. Generally with installs, customers desire a larger company with a reputation over some kid that would be more likely to end up with not so great results.

DiscoDave
03-18-2012, 06:56 PM
I agree with landscaper22 on low end mowing. That is why low end customers are not our target. The start-ups, the part-timers, the "two-men-and-a-mower" guys and the boy next door can have them.

However, even in the landscaping, irrigation and fertilization arena there are huge price differences among the other larger and reputable companies. In our area, there are still good sized companies (over 1 million in revenue) doing mulch installations at $50.00 to $60.00 per yard. The average is closer to $75.00 or $80.00 for most midsized companies and we are at $85.00 to $100.00 per yard just to install the mulch with a $500.00 minimum. Edging and clean-up is extra.

On pavers and walls, we regularly get under bid by 20% or more.

On lawn fertilization programs I am often 20% to 50% more in price.

On irrigation, we tend to be right in the middle of the pack but the lower priced companies are considerably lower.

My point is, I am never ever the lowest price and I still sell at a rate of 50% or more when going against 3 to 5 other companies that out bid me by following this sales process in this order...

1. Sell yourself.
2. Sell your guys.
3. Sell your company.
4. Sell your service.
5. Tell them how much it costs.

2, 3 and 4 go together.

This works for commercial as well as residential.

kirkmbrown2001
03-18-2012, 10:10 PM
I would have to agree with you Dave. My business at this point is mostly lawn maintenance driven. I always try to push quality of work and customer service to all my potential clients. I mention some of my own "bullet points" on my current craigslist ad to help weed out the price shoppers.

I will share some of my bullet points I use:

Small business size - I only have a few employees and I am always with them. I am always present on any job we do. Therfore, I can monitor the quality of work and better comunicate with the customer.
We are insured
We have online bill-pay
We leave your property looking better than when we arrived - We try to schedule around wet weather when we can to avoid causing ruts and damage to lawns
Flexible scheduling - Since our schedule is not filled to capacity, we can often facilitate short notice requests Ex: Birthday party this weekend
Communication - We like to keep our customers informed about our business and services. I send out monthly e-newsletters to all our customers. I always ask for their feedback. We always try to keep the communication lines open.
Be a part of the family - I always send a handwritten thank you card to new customers. I give them cards and a small gift at christmas. I will go out of my way to help my customers if I am not busy. I have delivered a piano for a customer. I pulled a customer's car stuck in the snow out of a ditch. I still keep in touch with customers that have moved out of my state years ago. I treat them more than customers when I can.


I just got a mowing job yesterday due to the reasons above. I was higher than other quotes he received.

I think as more and more unemployeed people start a lawn care business, customers who originally shopped for low prices will be willing to pay more and choose us after one season with the low-priced landscaper who did a terrible job.