PDA

View Full Version : Mr. softy? bad for business


fga
08-10-2004, 08:36 PM
is it possible to run a profitable business, be successful, and be flexible on costs when customers plead and beg?
I don't like to be taken advantage of, and have become "tougher" as each year passes, but i find myself giving in on occaisions...... bad habit, or normal in this business?
now i'm not talking extreme numbers here. Like an $85 trim job, real quick last week,guy got me down to $65 with his wife yelling at him in the background that I'm too much money. LAdy lost her job recently, pleaded with me to lower her price 10 dollars a month....

locutus
08-10-2004, 08:43 PM
It makes some people feel good to get you to lower your prices. Like they really achieved something. I dont think you gave too much away by going down ten dollars a month.

This idea could backfire on you in certain markets, but did you ever think of building in some negotiating room in you pricing?

fga
08-10-2004, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by locutus
but did you ever think of building in some negotiating room in you pricing? not really, but i guess if i have a clue that the person will be one of those types, i could do that. I think my prices are fair. if they don't think so, i say thanks anyway.
in these cases i've mentioned, it's me basically feeling bad for their situation, and cutting them some slack (at my exspense:( ). I don't like doing things like that, in fear they will make it a habit. Sometimes i just want them to leave me alone and stop crying so i can finish up!

dvmcmrhp52
08-10-2004, 08:50 PM
So tell me what that 10 dollars a month did for them?
Did it buy the baby a new pair of shoes?

Just kidding, but I think you get my point.

Action Lawn
08-10-2004, 09:00 PM
We had this problem last year. our estimators were being beat-up by the customers. So we made a very strict system, all calculated numbers, no negotiating allowed. It saved on sales stress, and we didn't loose any of the quality work. We don't want price shoppers anyways, they are head-aches. If you drop an $85 job by $15 just to get the job, that is almost 20%. That is more than most companies' profit margin. I don't like working for free.

HOOLIE
08-10-2004, 09:16 PM
One lady wanted me to drop my mowing price because:

1-Husband lost his job
2-She has allergies, can't mow
3-Daughter is always "too busy"
4-Oh yeah, husband is "allergic" too

She's telling me this as she is drinking a $4 cup of Starbucks coffee. People like that get no slack.

If its someone I know very well, I have helped out on occasion, but only very occasionally.

pcnservices
08-10-2004, 09:38 PM
Originally posted by fga
an $85 trim job, real quick last week,guy got me down to $65 with his wife yelling at him in the background that I'm too much money. LAdy lost her job recently
Bad customers! Stick to your guns and build a good reputation for yourself with good paying customers. Dont create a president for yourself by bargaining on your service fee. Be reasonable and firm.
Good Luck

bobbygedd
08-10-2004, 09:40 PM
yes being mr. softy is bad for business. when they start that crap i tell them, "yea, i know how you feel, i had 2 trucks break down, roof caved in, and my son needs braces." screw em addam, don't back down. fair pricing is a two way street, fair to them and to you

Runner
08-10-2004, 09:48 PM
There are other stores down the road, ... let them shop at those. If I lower any prices or compromise on any service, it's because it is ME that brings it up. These people don't do it at grocery stores, they don't do it at pharmacies, and they don't do this at the doctor's office. Getting this service is NOT a standard thing, it's more of a luxury thing. If they don't want to pay the steakhouse prices, or even the coney island prices, then they can go to McDonalds very easily. The choice is theirs, but PLEASE don't "ask" to take a burgwer out of my mouth so that I may replace it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich just because
1-Husband lost his job
2-She has allergies, can't mow
3-Daughter is always "too busy" (probably too busy MAKING MONEY!)
4-Oh yeah, husband is "allergic" too
or any other reason.

Ol'time Lawncare
08-11-2004, 10:23 PM
being mr softy wont work in the long run, cause if they jew you down then they will do it all the time, its a fact. stand your growed dont give in,be firm, ive learned that from this site and its help me alot

brucec32
08-12-2004, 01:51 AM
My policy has always been "no negotiating...I give you the best price I can already" It opens a whole can of worms when you start haggling over prices. Do it once, then suddenly your payment terms are negotiable too, or any of your other policies. My way or the highway. I'm a great bargain already when you factor in the quality of work and the reliability. If they want more than that, I don't want them. Anyone who just HAS to shave $10 a month off their lawncare bill can't really afford it and you will regret working for them eventually.

HighGrass
08-12-2004, 02:16 AM
If they kick you once...they'll do it twice. Don't ever let them have the first shot.

PMLAWN
08-12-2004, 04:01 AM
Giving away a few bucks is always giving away from the profit. Most of my jobs only have a few bucks of profit to start with so no, I will keep it.
If people just lost their job than they should have a lot of time to do work around the house.

Ray & Karen
08-12-2004, 07:35 AM
I drive a 1995 Ford Pick-up, and my wife drives a 94 Miata. All of my customers have newer vehicles than we do. If they can afford a new vehicle, they can afford a $99 mower from Walmart. I offer fair prices and quality work, and my clients can set their watch by when I am supposed to be there.

Shuter
08-12-2004, 07:37 AM
Customers will always look for some kind of bargin from me. I try to stay away from customers that will always try to lower the price. The best policy for new customers is to give the price and stick to it. If they are not happy, then move on. I am not in business to screw people.

HOOLIE
08-12-2004, 07:48 AM
I also like to tell these type of customers that "I'm unemployed for 3 months of the year, I gotta cram 12 months of earnings into 9" Makes 'em think about it from my perspective a little bit.

grasswhacker
08-12-2004, 07:53 AM
Don't become a "Walmart" -(rolling back prices)- due to an unforseen circumstance. Lawncare is a luxury, not a necessity, and they do make mask for those that have allergies.
There is only one exception for this, and that is a widow. If she is going through a hard time and needs a break on price I would try to make some accomodation.

PMLAWN
08-12-2004, 08:40 AM
Grasswhacker--The widow has already worked her husband to death for no return, and now she will work you too. J/K
I use to live in Chicago and up there in the older neighborhoods there were a lot who had been in their homes for 50 years and had money issues but down here in all the new subdivisions the homes start at 250 and go up and they are buying them and parking Caddys and Benz's in front. I don't believe my $1 a week off will make much diff. so again I will keep it. That way my wife can be a rich widow too.

Rollacosta
08-12-2004, 08:48 AM
most of my jobs are in the region of $250-450 ..so yes i am open to a little haggeling over price ,but i have a limit of how low i go i'm not running a charity also if you bid to low or let them beat you down to much you tend to loose hart for the job and when the task is completed you feel dissatisfied

grasswhacker
08-12-2004, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by PMLAWN
Grasswhacker--The widow has already worked her husband to death for no return, and now she will work you too. J/K
I use to live in Chicago and up there in the older neighborhoods there were a lot who had been in their homes for 50 years and had money issues but down here in all the new subdivisions the homes start at 250 and go up and they are buying them and parking Caddys and Benz's in front. I don't believe my $1 a week off will make much diff. so again I will keep it. That way my wife can be a rich widow too.

A 250g house and caddy parked would not be what i consider a widow having a hard time. I was only talking about if a widow is living very modestly and having financial difficulties. I have yet to have this happen, but would try to help if the situation arises.

NickN
08-12-2004, 09:23 AM
IMO,if you come down on price,what you're essentially telling your customer is that you were over charging them to begin with.Know your costs and your profit margin and stick to them.
.

brucec32
08-17-2004, 06:18 AM
I found gradually weeding out the price conscious customers over time worked well. Every year I would analyze what I was making on each account and raise the cheapos and if they accepted the price, fine, if not, I'd replace them in the spring fairly quickly. After a few years you have zero cheapskates on the schedule. Same goes with hard to deal with customers. Life is too short. Punt them.

Gravely_Man
08-17-2004, 11:21 AM
I too find myself occasionally wanting to “work” with the customer. Yes sometimes this can send the message I am charging too much but most people understand you are in this business to make money.


Gravely_Man

Randy Scott
08-17-2004, 11:25 AM
We have all (most of us, well, some of us) have came up with our prices for a reason. Lowering them really doesn't make any sense. Other peoples misfortune shouldn't become yours. Almost EVERYONE can do work in their own yard. Whether it be good or bad results, people can trim their own shrubs, etc.. So someone down on their luck because they lost their job, can still afford a lawn service? Give me a break.
I will work with our good customers on payment terms, but prices NEVER go down.

mastercare
08-17-2004, 12:22 PM
Sometimes I'll lower a price, if I see that more work is forthcoming. I'll just make it up on the next job I do for them... Mark up materials a little more, overestimate the time it'll take me. Disposal fees, etc.

But, here's what I generally tell someone when they want a lawn cut for less. I tell them that if they'd like, I can lower their prices. But, in order for me to do that, I'm going to have to get rid of the people who help me and do a good job.... I'll have to hire a group of slackers to cut their lawn. The quality won't be as good, it might not get cut on time, and the lawn won't look very professional. But, if that's what you want.....I can gladly refer you to a kid in the neighborhood. If you want a lower price, I can find someone who will work for me really cheaply, and give you a cheap quality cut....but honestly, you don't want your lawn to look like that, and I don't want my truck parked in front of your house unless I can do a quality job.

Lux Lawn
08-17-2004, 08:22 PM
FGA

I know where you are coming from i had a guy today ask me about trimming his bushes I told him between 60-80 dollars he said I could do it if I keep it at 60 geez thanks alot so if we are there and it looks like its going to be more the 60 what am I going to do.If would take him 2 hours to do the job so if his time is not worth the extra 10-20 dollars then thats sad.

Also talked about snowplowing for the winter he said he paid 130 last year after I told him I wanted 160 for this year I said stay with who you have.