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View Full Version : Listing "Contracted" price on door hanger?


littlenic
01-12-2004, 02:41 PM
When listing price on door-hanger, I have it listed as follows:
Contracted price to service your yard $__________

Do you thing having it listed, as Contracted will cost me customers? I think it may let the potential customer know I do contracts. I'm just starting out, thanks for you feed back.

littlenic
:)

satxmow
01-12-2004, 03:11 PM
I will be doing the same thing this coming season. if it is a good price i believe they will give you a call. will you list how many cuts they get with the price?

tx_angler
01-12-2004, 03:39 PM
You might think about avoiding the word "contract".

Maybe rephrase it to:

"We can cut your lawn for as low as $___________ with an annual service agreement."

That would get your point across about the agreement and leave you room to upsell extras.

promower
01-12-2004, 05:15 PM
I only thing is you have to do an estimate on each house you hang a doorhanger, might not take to much longer but then you cant have anyone help you hang them unless they know how to do lawn estimates.

Phishook
01-13-2004, 01:50 AM
Not a bad idea.

But what about the back yard, or areas you can't see?

troblandscape
01-13-2004, 01:56 AM
I could not do that in my area, Lawns that I would do for 30$
guys are doing for 15$ and then going out of business, I don't advertise. I let my business grow from word of mouth, saves me time and money that way. I have tried advertising and stopped after showing up on an estimate, and there was another landscaper there.

Master of the Lawn
01-13-2004, 01:59 AM
Dont think this is a good idea. If you give them a price without talking to the customer and finding out what he/she wants you might get the job and regret it later when they ask for you to trim and expect it in the regular cost. Trimming is always extra from mowing.

JimLewis
01-13-2004, 05:06 AM
First of all, I think the idea for listing a price for that home on your flyer or door hanger is a good idea. We've been doing that for a few years with great success.

As for mentioning the contract - I think that's a bad idea alltogether. I think it scares a lot of people away. In fact, I know it does. People tell me it does. So if you insist on going with contracts (I haven't done contracts for 8 years and do just fine) then I'd wait until you meet with them in person to go over the contract.

I'd handle it like this; My flyer would say, ""We can cut your lawn for as low as $___________ / month (or week). Please call for details."

And then when they call and say, "Hi. I got this flyer on my door. You quoted us $150 per month. And that sounds good. We'd like to sign up. What do I have to do?", then I'd respond with, "Well, we need to arrange a time to meet and go over our policies and get you signed up. What's good for you?"

Then at the meeting, I'd have the contract prepared already and I'd go over a list of things with them. What day of the week we'd be there, when I send out invoices, when payment is due, do they have a dog?, please move toys before we come, etc. etc. etc. And then at the end I'd just say, "Well, that's about it. Does that sound fair?" And then wait for them to say YES (those famous words every salesman should get a client to say before making a sale).

Then after they say "Yes." I'd say, "Great. All I need from you is to read this and sign down here. Then, we'll begin service! (excited!!!)"

Then, I'd just let them assume this was just normal every day business. You'll be surprised. I think you'll find that 50% - 75% will just sign it, even with reading that they are signing up for a year. You're controlling the posture of the situation. And it would seem akward for them now, at the last minute, to want to question something. So most of them will just sign it. But a few, probably 25% will notice and actually mention the year-long-contract thing. And when that happens, you need to again re-assert yourself and take the correct posture. You're attitute and words should be something like, "Right. Well, like any reputable business, we have a 1 year agreement. But don't worry. You'll be very happy with our service. You'll have no reason to want to cancel. I take pride in my business and our good work. I'll do whatever it takes to please you. And most importantly, when we have to do this again in 1 year, I want to be able to earn your business NEXT YEAR too."

However you word it, you should just act like this is an every day thing for you and most companies (and it probably is) and that they have no reason to worry (which, they probably don't).

Still, since I know contracts do scare off some people, I think you should expect maybe 10% of people will be scared off by this and decide last minute not to sign up with you. In that case, if you're really stuck on contracts, then I guess I'd just say, "Well, think it over. We'd love to earn your business. If I can help, please call me." and leave. Expect to lose a few now and then and it won't come as a shock when it happens.

That's sales 101 for you. You're welcome. :cool:

work_it
01-13-2004, 05:45 AM
Jim, what a great post! It's been a while since I've used contracts but am using them again next year. Thank you for the refresher course and great advice.

Hodge
01-13-2004, 09:42 AM
Jim,

As usual a great response and an excellent way to approach the contract issue. I do not use contracts and have not for 5 years, and do great without them also.:)

LawnPerfect
01-13-2004, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by jimlewis
First of all, I think the idea for listing a price for that home on your flyer or door hanger is a good idea. We've been doing that for a few years with great success.

As for mentioning the contract - I think that's a bad idea alltogether. I think it scares a lot of people away. In fact, I know it does. People tell me it does. So if you insist on going with contracts (I haven't done contracts for 8 years and do just fine) then I'd wait until you meet with them in person to go over the contract.

I'd handle it like this; My flyer would say, ""We can cut your lawn for as low as $___________ / month (or week). Please call for details."

And then when they call and say, "Hi. I got this flyer on my door. You quoted us $150 per month. And that sounds good. We'd like to sign up. What do I have to do?", then I'd respond with, "Well, we need to arrange a time to meet and go over our policies and get you signed up. What's good for you?"

Then at the meeting, I'd have the contract prepared already and I'd go over a list of things with them. What day of the week we'd be there, when I send out invoices, when payment is due, do they have a dog?, please move toys before we come, etc. etc. etc. And then at the end I'd just say, "Well, that's about it. Does that sound fair?" And then wait for them to say YES (those famous words every salesman should get a client to say before making a sale).

Then after they say "Yes." I'd say, "Great. All I need from you is to read this and sign down here. Then, we'll begin service! (excited!!!)"

Then, I'd just let them assume this was just normal every day business. You'll be surprised. I think you'll find that 50% - 75% will just sign it, even with reading that they are signing up for a year. You're controlling the posture of the situation. And it would seem akward for them now, at the last minute, to want to question something. So most of them will just sign it. But a few, probably 25% will notice and actually mention the year-long-contract thing. And when that happens, you need to again re-assert yourself and take the correct posture. You're attitute and words should be something like, "Right. Well, like any reputable business, we have a 1 year agreement. But don't worry. You'll be very happy with our service. You'll have no reason to want to cancel. I take pride in my business and our good work. I'll do whatever it takes to please you. And most importantly, when we have to do this again in 1 year, I want to be able to earn your business NEXT YEAR too."

However you word it, you should just act like this is an every day thing for you and most companies (and it probably is) and that they have no reason to worry (which, they probably don't).

Still, since I know contracts do scare off some people, I think you should expect maybe 10% of people will be scared off by this and decide last minute not to sign up with you. In that case, if you're really stuck on contracts, then I guess I'd just say, "Well, think it over. We'd love to earn your business. If I can help, please call me." and leave. Expect to lose a few now and then and it won't come as a shock when it happens.

That's sales 101 for you. You're welcome. :cool:



BINGO!

I do the same thing on my door hangers. As I am walking up to the door I am writing the weekly service price down on it. I also write the price down next to the address in a small note pad (just to keep someone from trying to lowball me). It has worked like a charm. The biggest advantage in doing quotes this way is that I am only at that property once. Advertisment and quote are taken care of at one stop.

bobbygedd
01-13-2004, 12:05 PM
all i can tell you is this: a friend of mine started his first year , put out flyers, and put the weekly cutting price on the flyers. he was a little high priced, but got ALOT of customers this way. the flyers were ugly, his setup was garbage, so the only thing i can think of that got him so many responses was the fact that he wrote the price on the flyer

dobehap
01-13-2004, 01:13 PM
Thank you Jim.


Jim, how long is your contract...how long does it take for customers to read it and sign it... how many pages.

I have a 1 page 10pt font contract... I find that I cant fit everything I want to place in there...but yet dont want to go to multiple pages- I think the more pages the more intimidating it could be.

Your imput is appreciated.

Dan the mowing man
01-13-2004, 01:32 PM
What do you guys think of putting just a minimum price per cut instead of a estimate. It would eliminate a lot of people who just want it done for free,and would allow you to put them out alot faster then if you had to estimate every lawn

bobbygedd
01-13-2004, 01:56 PM
i will never again quote a "minimum " cut fee. tell u why. we get a million calls for estimates. on the phone they sometimes ask, "can u tell me ABOUT how much it will cost?" i've said , "well, prices start at $30 per visit, and depending on the size of the property, go up from there." well, you show up, quote them $45, and they're like, "wait, on the phone you said $30...."

Expert Lawns
01-13-2004, 02:01 PM
all good posts. i personally don't do contracts, just yearly agreements. they can get out will 14 days written notice. the "C" words scares people.

Tommy D
01-13-2004, 02:02 PM
for what it's worth ( And I am in agreement with Jim ) the only thing i have different on my contract than most lco's is that instead of saying contract anywhere, it say's" service agreement "from (current date of signing) to the end of the calender year. After that at some point during the end of the season I tell them about our budget billing and weather they want that or not I get them to sign up for the next year with another service agreement

DFW Area Landscaper
01-13-2004, 02:15 PM
Jim,

How much better is the response when you include a price on the door hanger vs the response for door hangers with no price?

I get about 1/2% response rate from my door hangers, which don't have price on them.

Thanks,
DFW Area Landscaper

Turf Medic
01-13-2004, 02:26 PM
Do you guys that are putting price on the hanger also put the address on it? I don't know if it is a problem but I would want to keep people from handing to a friend with double the size of yard expecting to get that price. I do think the price idea is good though, I think some people don't call because they don't want to look stupid when asking how much.

johnbast3
01-13-2004, 02:50 PM
My 2 cents--Even though I'm a "newbie" here,I've been in business forever..I never do contracts,that way the customer can cancel anytime,if they are unhappy.The trick is,never make them unhappy.I've never had a cancel except for "moved,die,or will do it themselves"..If someone cancels on a contracted property,are you going to sue?I like the idea of door hangers,but I wouldn't price it.Anyone can sell by price..Let them have a reason to call you,and then sell,sell, sell..JB

DFW Area Landscaper
01-13-2004, 03:10 PM
johnbast3,

It's possible to have a written contract that doesn't tie the customer down to your service for months at a time. My written contract requires 10 days advance written notice, so if you want to say it's a 10 day contract, fine.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Lux Lawn
01-13-2004, 04:22 PM
I have never put a price on a flyer or door hanger for landscaping maintenance before.I would rather have the customer call and discuss it over the phone or in person.One of the reasons I don't put pricing on them is because of the timing.We start passing out flyers in early spring along with everybody else while we start our clean-ups.Each yard is going to be differant some have gates swingsets etc.. or if you give someone a price to cut there lawn using a walkbehind or riding mower then all of a sudden they put up a fence or just want you to use a Lawnboy for whatever reason then your working twice as hard for the same amount of money.This way if you talk to them up front it can make it a little easier.But I understand the the reasoning of putting a price on it to that way when you do go and give an estimate yhe customer knows what to expect and your not going to somebodys house for them to say "thats to much" so I guess it works both ways.

JimLewis
01-13-2004, 04:26 PM
Jim, how long is your contract...how long does it take for customers to read it and sign it... how many pages. Well, like I said in my initial post, I don't do contracts. What I wrote was how I'd approach it if I DID do them (but I don't). I've done lots of sales before so I just have experience with stuff like this. I personally don't like contracts and don't feel their necessary for my market. But if you do feel their needed, the above approach is a good way to go about it.

I agree with you, however, that it'd be good to keep it down to one page. 10 pt. font is already pretty small too. I'd see what I could cut out. Does all of it really need to be in there? Some of the stuff could probably fit on another document you'd present first called "Our Policies".

JimLewis
01-13-2004, 04:29 PM
Jim, How much better is the response when you include a price on the door hanger vs the response for door hangers with no price? I don't know, really. I am usually so swamped in the spring and summer that I hardly have time to shave, much less figure out our response rate on flyers. But the one thing it does for sure is give the prospective customer a fairly accurate estimate before they even call. It saves me a trip. I've already given them a price, so now it's just whether they want to sign up or not. And if they're calling, the do!

Still, if I were to guess, I'd guess we got 1-2% response from our flyers this last year. I know for every little sub-division with 200 houses in it, we probably got 4-5 calls.

GTLC
01-13-2004, 04:29 PM
Wouldn't work here-customers only like extreme lowball prices-like $10-20 per man hour. It would also take me too long.

Lux Lawn
01-13-2004, 04:31 PM
Jim

I'm new here but it seems like you give some great advice.

Turfdude
01-13-2004, 05:01 PM
We too do all work on a contractual basis. I am glad that Jim Lewis does not need these and I do respect Jim a lot. Our reason for a contract is to spell out exactly what the client will receive from us in the way of services, and what we shall receive from them in the way of payment, etc. We also include a 10 day cancellation clause which can be initiated by either party.

Generally speaking, a written contract will protect the parties that have entered into the agreement.

trying 2b organic
01-13-2004, 05:44 PM
I present customers with a one page stating policies. I am considering calling it a service agreement and getting signatures. I will always let residential customers cancel with notice.

hortboy
01-13-2004, 11:42 PM
Annual contract prices can cause sticker shock. I always price it per mow and very rarely speak of annual costs, monthly at the most. If they are smart they can figure out annual cost. It like the TV Info-mercials 4 easy payments of $39.95 sound better then 1118.00 for the year!!!!!!!!!!!

Team Gopher
01-14-2004, 09:00 AM
Hi Littlenic,

Hi haven't seen this done yet, but what if you offered 2 prices, one with and one without a signed contract? Just a thought. Maybe that would help get more potential clients to sign your contract.

Phishook
01-15-2004, 01:59 AM
Originally posted by Team Gopher
Hi Littlenic,

Hi haven't seen this done yet, but what if you offered 2 prices, one with and one without a signed contract? Just a thought. Maybe that would help get more potential clients to sign your contract.

That might be to many choices.

JimLewis
01-15-2004, 02:16 AM
I disagree. I don't think offering a client 2 different choices is "too many choices" for most people.

We used to do things similarly several years back. I had mostly seasonal customers at the time but I knew a lot of companies in my area had year-round clients. And I wanted some. So I began to give two prices with every bid. The first price, e.g. $140 per month, was the regular rate I'd charge to do their lawn. However, if they were willing to commit to paying us year-round and allow us to keep servicing their landscape all year, then the price would be slashed to, say, $125.00 per month.

And actually, the second (lower) price was the price I needed to make in the summer to be profitable. The higher price was just an elevated price I charged because I knew they were going to ditch me at the end of the season.

It worked very very well. People responded very favorably. 90% of people would go with the year-round deal just to save a few bucks. Within 2 years, I just quit offering the choice and we were big enough by that time that I didn't care if people wanted year-round or not. It's all I was interested in taking and if they didn't like it, they could go elsewhere.

But that kind of philosophy DOES work. I think people like to have choices. It releives the pressure of HAVING to sign a contract. This way, they have a choice whether to sign it or not.

Phishook
01-15-2004, 03:50 AM
I got ya now Jim. ;)

outrunjason
01-15-2004, 06:44 AM
I tired that whole thing with the price on it and didn't work to well. I didn't actually estimate each house either. I just copied a bunch of flyers and then wrote in the amount on all them. I made sure I put them in a neighborhood where the price I was quoting was good for me.

Jason

AintNoFun
02-03-2004, 10:44 AM
now wouldn't you be considered a "low baller" if you give a cheaper price than the guy doing it?

work_it
02-03-2004, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by AintNoFun
now wouldn't you be considered a "low baller" if you give a cheaper price than the guy doing it? Are you sure you're responding to the right thread? There wasn't any mention of going after other LCO's business and offering cheaper prices anywhere here.

AintNoFun
02-03-2004, 03:27 PM
were im sure some are putting them on houses that have landscapers and not soliciting just new construction homes. and if your price is cheaper than the guys thats doing it, aren't you "lowballing" him.

work_it
02-03-2004, 04:00 PM
It's obvious that most of the houses are not new construction, but that doesn't mean that they're lowballing anyone. They know their operating cost, and the average price that people are willing to pay. What if the existing guy is a scrub that does a horrible job? Then the price on the flyer would be higher than they're already paying. The homeowners would be in the position of choosing either a cheap price and a lousy looking lawn, or paying a little more and increasing their property value.
Homeowners and businesses are always shopping and trying to get the most for their money. What if your price just happens to be $2/wk less than someone elses, but your competition offers more services and has an excellent reputation in the comunity for beautiful work? Do you think they're going to hire you? Probably not. Would you say that the other business lowballed you? I wouldn't.

justmjc
02-03-2004, 09:28 PM
Also, since you most likely won't know what the homeowner is paying, as long as you are trying to be competitive to the best of your knowledge, there is no way to know if you low balled or estimated high anyway. Your numbers would have to be extreme for the area, and everyone at least knows the round about going price.

I've been reading these post, now I have a situation needing a little help. I'm planning on doing a huge advertisement campaign in my area where as I'll be hitting 16k homes in my zip a number of times. Aside from that, I'll be using ads, flyers, b/cards and stands. I WOULD like 100-150 accounts to make up 1 crew this season. My flyer is beautiful in my opinion, and will be printed in B&W for the mass mailing and color for the flyers and others.

For the mailing and flyers, should I include the price or leave it blank? I think the going price in the area is $20-$35 for sub lots, and I want to be sure I fill my quota. Should I put a price as low as $20 and work it out as I get the call? Or should I go from $25 and work from there. I'm willing to take slightly less than average just to win the volume and adjust accordingly. I'm in with a crap load of competition so I want to make sure I hit the quota, not nessesarily trying to low ball. I think $35 is the high end but it may be more like $30. Any recommendations? I think if I only get 1% of the mass mailings, I'd be happy.

work_it
02-03-2004, 11:04 PM
Whenever I'm pricing a lawn each one is bid individually. You have to take into consideration that two lawns the same size may not have the same amount of work. I think it would be a huge mistake to do a mass mailing which included prices for the area.
Another thing to think of is staying within the normal price range. If you get your 150 accounts at $25/yard average and I get 150 yards at my average ($35) I will be making $1500 a week more than you. Who do you think can afford to advertise even more to obtain new clients throughout the season? Who do you think will pay off their equipment first? Who do you think can afford to be in business longer?

MudslinginFX4
02-04-2004, 12:20 AM
I don't put prices on my door hangers or flyers becuase like stated above, I can't have other people put them out. It also takes to much time. Another reason is because I know I'm not the one with the best prices out there and if they are that worried about the price I'm not sure I want them. I strive for perfection and I feel that the best service I can give requires more money because we spend more time on each property.

precisioncut
02-04-2004, 12:23 AM
Mine say: Your Price Per Cut is Only $__________.*

(*Price subject to change. Call for complete estimate to confirm.)

Thats kind of the terms and conditons of the "Price Per Cut" deal.

DFW Area Landscaper
05-11-2004, 10:15 PM
Jim,

When you do the door hangers with prices, is it you walking around the neighborhoods or do you let the employees do it?

What I'm getting at here, is, lawns can vary greatly from one home to the next in time requirements. If one guy is on a hill with a couple of retaining walls, an alley driveway, a swingset and a trampolene, and the other guy across the street has a flat lawn with a front driveway and no obstacles, the prices would be different.

Are the prices hand written on the door hanger as you approach the home or are the prices pre-printed?

I know I'd get a better response from door hangers if I had a price on them. One of the more successful LCO's in my area left a door hanger on the my door a few weeks back that said "For basic lawn service your lawn has been estimated at $25 weekly. (Average house)." It was pre-printed on the door hanger. If you do that, my fear is that everyone with $40 & $50 lawns would be calling.

Can you give me some more details about how you make this work?

Thanks,
DFW Area Landscaper

JimLewis
05-12-2004, 05:22 AM
Of course, I would prefer to do it myself. But that's not practical. I am much too busy to be passing out flyers. So what I do is train someone to do it for me. I go out with them for several hours and we go over every house and landscape together. I say things like, "See this property here? Small front lawn. We can see from the arborvitae hedge in the back yard that the back isn't too big either. Most of the plants are young - not too much maintenance. The flowerbeds are already fairly clean. This would be a fairly easy house for us. So for this house I'd write down $xx per month." ......."Now, see this next property? This also has a small front yard. But look over the fence here. You can see even here from the street that there is a big hillside in the back yard with lots of intricate plantings. Also, you get the idea that from where the back hill starts that the back lawn is probably also fairly good size. And there are a lot of mature plants and trees here we'll have to take care of. So this price is going to be higher; $XXX."

Stuff like that. I go over several dozen or a hundred properties with them. Until they understand how I price things. Then I test them on their own for a little bit.... "How much would you estimate this house to be?" and I can tell by their response if they are getting the hang of it or not.

In the end, the exact price doesn't matter too much. I'll probably have to go out and confirm their price on my own. I just tell the customer who is calling that the price they got on the flyer is just based on what we can see from the street. Of course, we didn't go into their back yard. So the price may vary slightly.

The flyer just gets me the call. Then I go out and give a more firm estimate. But usually, I can do it for the price we quoted on the flyer. Then we're both happy.