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View Full Version : Fert App Prices are going down!


kootoomootoo
03-09-2004, 03:36 PM
Must have done ten quotes this past week on 10000-15000 sq ft lawns and all looked shocked when I even dared mention it would be $50 per app. Scotts and numerous other guys are around
$43 or less. One had six estimates and even at $48 I was the highest.

Thankgod for installs.

hole in one lco
03-09-2004, 05:00 PM
I gave a guy an estimate for the same size prop $45.00 the other guy is doing it for 30.00.
I got the aerating for 85.00 so one door closed another opens

turfsolutions
03-09-2004, 09:29 PM
I did 50 estimates the last 7 days. Only 2 sales so far. I am consistant with lawn doctor and tru green, but weedman and scotts are low balling $%*)#)#_#@@%$. I am sticking to my guns regardless.

DUSTYCEDAR
03-09-2004, 09:33 PM
that sucks turf 2 out of 50 i have picked up a few from scotts

hole in one lco
03-09-2004, 09:37 PM
Its better to sell 1 at regular price then 2 discounted theirs only one stop and you make the same money.

grassguy_
03-09-2004, 10:23 PM
We're seeing the same crap here as well, and even when we've come in with a price a few bucks under the big companies then they tell the people they'll match the price. That's when I say to the potential client, they've been making that extra off of you for how long now, and now their willing to give it back? Guess who's yard will get cheated this year?

Enviro Green
03-09-2004, 11:12 PM
I gave a guy an estimate for the same size prop $45.00 the other guy is doing it for 30.00.

That's the same thing all the small businesses said when Wal-mart came to town....

Scary, isn't it. I don't compete. I come out of the truck and say, hey, I am going to be higher than anyone else you called. Shall we still talk?

EG

turfsolutions
03-09-2004, 11:22 PM
I would say it is a bit different than a Walmart, but similiar. It is a bit uneasy knowing that there are companies out there going sooo low just trying to gain the major market share. I just don't know how you can bid $40-45 for a 10k lawn, please the customer, make a profit, pay employees well enough to retain them, and offer IPM. Can anyone answer this or are they just making a tiny profit until the little guys are out of biz and then raising there rates??

I agree, sell quality, if the customer wants low price then discussion over.

DUSTYCEDAR
03-09-2004, 11:57 PM
look what they did in our area turf
they bought out custom care and r pricing lower than lawn doctor and fighting it out with chem lawn and weed man to see who can go the lowest
they just use smoke and mirrors to raise the price when they can and if u dont pay the hound u and put a collection company out on u
all tricks i care not to try

bobbygedd
03-10-2004, 12:00 AM
i had a client i signed the other day tell me, that a major fert company(she wouldn't say the name) is going aroiund doing quotes in her neighborhood, and advising the customers that they should NEVER let the guy who cuts the lawn fertilize it too. he said we won't put the right amount of fert down, cus we don't like excesive growth, and overall we have no clue what we are doing.

DUSTYCEDAR
03-10-2004, 12:04 AM
i luv when they do that try to make anybody but them look dumb

bobbygedd
03-10-2004, 12:08 AM
yup dusty, i can make myself look dumb, i don't need thier help

Enviro Green
03-10-2004, 12:29 AM
Well, that's the nice thing about fighting a 8.50 per hour applicator working for a paycheck for the big boys. He is his own demise.

Then he'll leave, then another, then another.....

2 man crew
03-10-2004, 12:47 AM
Same thing here. I had one potential tell me tgcl would do their 6000sq lawn for $30.00. Early season trends right?

GarPA
03-10-2004, 06:01 AM
a number of fert companies around here are averaging 4.50 to 5.00 per k

TSM
03-10-2004, 10:57 AM
its a big numbers game, but we all know that.

they sell low, put pressure on their employees to stay out on the road for 10 hours or longer...employee developes a big chip on his shoulder and eventually quits or gets fired and along comes the next guy who has no time to get trained, if you can read a map you're good to go.

customer begins to see that he is getting NO value for his dollar.

keep all those rejects in your data file and market them a few times per year. you will see some of those rejects come over to your side and pay a higher cost for a better value. happens every season.

turfsolutions
03-10-2004, 12:46 PM
I hope so. Scotts and Weedman are really screwing things up around here. I bid $54.00 per ap (5 step program) on a 10k and was told I was outrageously high. That would mean they have to be going $40 or less for the same.

Stressin a bit.

Runner
03-10-2004, 12:57 PM
They do the same thing around here. Of course, when your laying down 46-0-0 that costs a little under 3 bucks a bag, you can afford to do this. It's like I tell the customer after I finish explaining which ferts do what....What do you want? The Cadillac, the Buick, or the Chevette?

DUSTYCEDAR
03-10-2004, 02:09 PM
i can do it CHEEP but i dont want to if they wont let me do it right i guess i will starve

James Cormier
03-10-2004, 02:18 PM
There are people out there that will take the lowest price no matter what, there's notthing you can do about it.

But....many people are just waiting to be sold, you gotta market yourself differently than the Big guys, You gotta sell yourself not your price per app. MY biggest competion comes from the other smaller lawn treatment companies that charge in my price range.

When ever I lose a sale to the big guys and my prices are so much higher I always tell the customer, Keep my number sometime in the future youll call

DUSTYCEDAR
03-10-2004, 02:53 PM
james u have a very nice setup and the web page looks great.
i am still working on my sales pitch still a little ruff.
the area turf and i are in is always been a bit competive but has goten even worse in the last six monthes.
i know my numbers and i try to be as efficent as i can
but i need to find a better way to sell myself to the undecided masses.
any word of mouth refferals i sign on the spot no prob.
its the price shoppers that i need to step up to good service.

James Cormier
03-10-2004, 03:41 PM
Thanks Dusty, Sales is a tough game to be in, If your like me ( and you sound like it ) and you can meet the customer on the lawn and walk around I know I can sell those people nearly 99% of the time.

Thats when a customer finds out that you know what your talking about ( turf that is ) and thats when you sell yourself,I love talking with people about non lawn issues, this make them relieze your a person with a family and they feel good about doing business with someone like that.

There are always people that feel better about doing business with a large corp. and thats fine, you just gotta find out who you want to work with and go for it.

I think one secert to sales is calling people back, I dont go home until every phone call is returned that day.

Couple of years ago after I sold the mowing business there was one month in the spring my old phonebook ad was still saying "lawn Mowing" For 2-3 weeks I was returning phone calls telling people we no longer do mowing and I got so many people thanking me for returning their call and telling me they cant even get guys that are looking for work to return their call.

I think thats where the big guys are a little better cause they got people in the office answering the phone and more people calling back, Ive noticed a big difference in sales since I made a point to miss any calls.

dantelawn
03-10-2004, 09:37 PM
James is right...
A return phone call from a small contractor is so simple yet I always seem to surprise customers with a return phone call.

I too am in SE PA like some of you on this site and I also feel the pressure of large volume franchised lawn care like happylawn/custom care. These folks are 1/2 of almost every quote I give. Six 6 step program 5 fert, weed, lime no grub control on 20,000 sqft property we are $90/ap, they quote same type program for $42/ap.

Although frustrating to lose potential sales, we have made the decision to sell on margin not volume (like most contractors I see here on this site). Selling on margin not get you thousands of new sales per season. The masses want cheap (Home Cheapo, WalMart, franchised lawn care). I may be wrong but make your choice.... inexpensive with lower quality people & materials but lots of customers or smaller with quality people products and service.

turfsolutions
03-10-2004, 10:10 PM
Dante lawn - where are you located?

James Cormier
03-10-2004, 10:18 PM
Its funny how things work though...when I started my own in 94 I wanted to offer the best program at a very high cost. The problem was finding enough people looking for that type of service. I just couldnt get over the 150-175 customer mark.

So I changed my program alittle, offering a cheaper program with the option to add any additional service. So my avg price per customer went way down, Well my customer base doubled in one year. I am still not as cheap as chemdog and the others but I am no longer the most expensive guy on the block.

So I guess there is a happy meduim that we all need to find.

dantelawn
03-10-2004, 11:04 PM
Turfsolutions...
We are located in Eastern Montgomery County. Abington, PA

Soupy
03-11-2004, 01:08 AM
I try to tell potential customers that they can have lower prices because they give you 4 unnecessary treatments a year. I explain that when we say 6 apps we mean it. I have seen the big dogs out pushing fert while there was still snow on the ground. I wouldn't be surprised if some customers get 2 apps of strait fert before they get their Pre app. I explain that they are waisting their money.

I had Chemlawn tell a customer that I picked up from them that I didn't know what I was doing if I didn't apply lime when I aerated and over-seeded. They tried to act all Innocent and told the company that they didn't care if they went with us, but please make sure he comes back and applies lime or of course they could do that for them too.

I could have capitalized on that and applied lime, but then I would have looked like I agreed with them and that would have made the customer think I really didn't know what I was doing.

DUSTYCEDAR
03-11-2004, 09:18 AM
when u apply lime like chemlawn 1 bag per 10k u can apply it each time u seed.
i have seen chemlawn do and say many things over the years, i tell the customer how much lime i will apply after a soil sample and state the pounds on the est. ask scam lawn to do that.

turfsolutions
03-11-2004, 09:30 AM
Good point about the lime. These morons put down 1 bag per 10k to correct soil ph? To maintain maybe, but not correct. As Dusty says, state the pounds. 50 lbs per 1000 not 10,000.

hole in one lco
03-11-2004, 09:49 AM
thats why i keep my license with me in the truck so if someone wonts to doubt me i tell them the state of ohio says im good enough .

Lizard
03-12-2004, 11:32 AM
We have small and large companies underbidding us too. I am the only licensed company in our county for weed management and I'm trying to price and still make a small profit. Sometimes it's impossible because of the low bids from others. I have been tempted to turn in the unlicensed companies to get rid of this, but small towns are not the best places to start financial wars.
My guess is that these companies are putting down half or less than the amount of fertilizer needed! Good luck with this battle.

turfsolutions
03-12-2004, 10:18 PM
Lizard,

Quick story - today I am buying mulch, a guy walks in as I am paying and wants a price sheet for mulch etc... He says hes just starting up, green as green can be. Driving a beat up old ford and all. I ask if he has anyone doing lawn applications for him thinking referrals. Oh..Ug... Ahh. We do that ourselves. I almost asked him how long he has been lisenced. I have never turned anyone in, but I do think about it.


TURF

Rossislawn
03-13-2004, 10:07 AM
I don't have a problem at all. In my area I am doing 5k, just fert and a little spot spraying with 3 way for $40-$50 and aeration and overseeding for $175. I have no prob getting lawns. I pick up about 2 lawn's a week. I have had no complaint's. Some of my customer's are old tgcln customer's and they love me because I knock on the door talk to them and take my time.

work_it
03-13-2004, 05:05 PM
turfsolutions,
He's lucky it wasn't me he was talking with. I have a tendancy of breaking out the old camera and taking pics of license plates and turning them into the Dept. of Ag. I just got my license this last month, but last year turned in a couple guys for spraying. The way I see it he, and guys like him, are taking money out of your pocket and food off your table. It's idiots like him that drag our industry through the toilet and make customers run back to the companies like TG/CL after he completely messes up their lawns. Next time get his business card and license plate number and turn him in. Just my $.02.

Lizard
03-13-2004, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by turfsolutions
Lizard,

Quick story - today I am buying mulch, a guy walks in as I am paying and wants a price sheet for mulch etc... He says hes just starting up, green as green can be. Driving a beat up old ford and all. I ask if he has anyone doing lawn applications for him thinking referrals. Oh..Ug... Ahh. We do that ourselves. I almost asked him how long he has been lisenced. I have never turned anyone in, but I do think about it.


TURF
Turf,

There are so many new companies popping up every day like that one that I can't believe it. They get laid off and think that this is an easy money maker till they get called back. I had a call yesterday from a lady that said she needed to know how much we charge. I asked what services she needed bids on. With hesitation, she gave me here address, which I looked up and found that it was another new company trying to find out how much we bid on a lawn. There house was a dump with a small Dakota and no signs of equipment. They will come out underbidding all of the established companies and keep the prices down. This is the kind of crap that makes me mad. I am calling everyone that I know to call them for bids to waste there time, and I plan to follow up with a call in a week or two to see if they have anymore questions! I hate to be a prick, but some of us are trying to feed our kids.

Lizard

Runner
03-14-2004, 06:12 PM
Myself, I'm not going to let this turn into the mowing industry. I didn't go through all the work and trouble for nothing. Nor, do I pay all the money. I will be turning in each and every one of the people I see that I know are not licensed.

bobbygedd
03-14-2004, 08:29 PM
runner, are you really? i know i'm not on "the list", but i really get so p!ssed sometimes, i feel like turning them in too. i just never have. u know, being 5'2", i could get smacked around. i pay for my license, and have to take the credit courses etc, and i keep the records and everything, pain in the butt.

johnbast3
03-14-2004, 08:38 PM
Not wanting to brag,but when I give estimates for fert programs,I would say I close 98 percent..Not that I'm giving a zillion estimates,I strickly target certain areas with advertising..What I do do,as compared to all the fert jockeys,is stop at dinner time,and talk to the customer in person.The others stick a written est in the door,some of them very poorly written(Tru Green in peticular)..

Runner
03-14-2004, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
runner, are you really? i know i'm not on "the list", but i really get so p!ssed sometimes, i feel like turning them in too. i just never have. u know, being 5'2", i could get smacked around. i pay for my license, and have to take the credit courses etc, and i keep the records and everything, pain in the butt.

LOL!!!:D
Ok, OK! :rolleyes:
For real, I just sick and tired of seeing all these guys out there who don't have a CLUE on what they are doing, running around with backpack sprayers, spraying their Home Depot stuff, only to help their lowballed mowing account, which they probably aren't even paying taxes on, in the first place!
As far as you being 5'2", we'll find out, because you and I are going to come face to face one of these days, so I'll KNOW how tall you are. What throws me, is that as a general rule of thumb, muscle, being much more dense than normal flesh (or fat), weighs more. I am 6' tall, weigh just over 200#, and my arms arent even CLOSE to being the size that YOURS are. If it was MY guess?..... I'd have you figured at about 220, to 230. Maybe some day, we can meet, swap some storoes, enjoy good food, and do some 12 oz. curls.:drinkup: THEN we'll compare arms! :D

bobbygedd
03-15-2004, 08:34 AM
yea, when the lord was handin out body parts, he wasn't real generous to me in some areas, but the big arms he gave me. so i said, "lord, can't i trade in the big arms for a bigger, umm, you know...?" he said, "shut up son, don't you EVER know when to shut up?"

fastpitcher
03-19-2004, 09:23 PM
Very very funny; Bobby