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LCME
10-14-2004, 01:24 PM
Talking to a potential 2005 weekly mowing customer over the phone I'm asked, how much do you normally charge. My reply, $30 minimum. She currently only pays $25 to current LCO. But, she is not happy with the current LCO's service. I tell her I need to look at the property for my final price. So, later today I will be looking over the property. Also, she is giving me phone numbers to 2 of her neighbors for weekly mowing too.

My gut feeling is she is telling me she is willing to only pay $25. But, I plan to sell my weekly mowing at $30. Mow, trim, edge, blow, etc.

Any advise, comments, suggestions on how I can get and up-sell my services for weekly mowing here. Also, the potential for 1 or 2 more here too. Thanks, LCME

Gravely_Man
10-14-2004, 01:34 PM
Do what you need to do. I personally would not have given a number over the phone without seeing the property first. That being said it might be a $25.00 lawn but then again the real winner for you is that she is not happy with her current LCO. Make a point to sell why you are better then the current guy and why you are worth the extra money.


Gravely_Man

bobbygedd
10-14-2004, 01:56 PM
my experience with people who mention thier neighbors......they are "playing the game", they know you'll run right over to get a few grouped lawns right in a row. they EXPECT you will be comming in cheap, since there are a few in a row. anytime a prospect calls on the phone and says, "my nieghbors and i......, or i need grass cutting and landscaping......" they know what will draw your attention. the grouped properties, and the "big hit" by using the word "landscaping". i've had bad results with people who drag thier neighbors into it right from the start. i've had good results though, after giving a quote, and they agree, then they give me thier neighbors numbers. let us know how it turns out. i got $10 that says she will be telling you how much she's gonna pay, and she will throw the "you can have my nieghbors too" thing right in your face. good luck

MMLawn
10-14-2004, 02:01 PM
I personally don't have and never will have a set mininum price for lawns. Fact is at least in NC, I am a firm believer that some lawns just simply shouldn't cost say $30 or $35 to cut. The guys that have the attitude that "I don't drop my gate for less than $35" and I personally know several LCO's here that say that, are losing some good money because of that. I don't have any lawns right now cheaper than $25 but that isn't to say that under the right circumstances I might not bid $20 on a yard. But with that said I probably would have a price break in the back of my head say a price where I would just as soon as not have the job as to do it for say $15 or so regardless of whether it was a good price, if that makes sense.

chevyman1
10-14-2004, 02:08 PM
I had a lady do that to me between $25 and $30....I told her mine was $30, but I'd do the hedges for free one time in the middle of the summer. Took me maybe 20 minutes, and got the $30 all year

Mowing Freak
10-14-2004, 02:12 PM
My opinion, stick to your guns. I have a $30 minimum and tell people I have over $100,000 worth of equipment (well would be if I bought it all new) and am insured. This works most all the time and you will let the people know in a way that they can't run over you. You can't go into walmart and tell them that you don't want to pay this price for this item. If you did, they would basically say take it or leave it. DON'T let yourself be short changed. You may not get the account but it will leave an open space for a better account down the road. Also as said earlier sell your services. I don't run my competition in the ground. Could make you look bad to the customer. If you can, point out a mistake and say I don't do it that way, then explain how you do it different. Trust me, it pays off in the end.

tiedeman
10-14-2004, 02:23 PM
I have to agree with Bobby on this one. She is just playing games with you trying to get you to service her property at a lower price

twins_lawn_care
10-14-2004, 02:30 PM
since you told her your minimum is $30, don't change that. if you do, she'll know she can weasel you down on every single estimate you give her from now on. Definitely sell yourself, with all the edging, trimming, etc. speak highly of your on time service, and give examples of why you are a good choice, rather than why the old company was a bad one.
Good luck, let us know if you get it, and if you get the neighbors.

We give a free cut for any neighbor referral we contract for 1 year. that seems to get them talking when they hear "FREE"

Evergreenpros
10-14-2004, 02:32 PM
Tell her $30 and if she signs up a friend you'll give her a free mow or two.

Gene $immons
10-14-2004, 02:44 PM
We mow a lawn for $10.00 dollars. That's right $10.00 dollars.

It is a small strip next to a lawn that we do for $35.00

takes us 4 seconds

Now, who has that beat?

bobbygedd
10-14-2004, 02:47 PM
4 seconds? i got that beat

GreenMonster
10-14-2004, 02:54 PM
She's not happy with her current LCO @ $25, but you don't think she'll pay $30 for you? Tell her to stick with the guy doing a sh!t job then.

As already said, don't count on the neighbor stuff either. If you are willing, offer a "neighborhood" discount that could kick in after 5 or so accounts on the same stop.

stizostedion_vitreum
10-14-2004, 02:58 PM
I second the free mow for every "annual contract" referral they give you. But absolutely DO NOT go bow to her offered price.

It's our benefit to have 2 or more customers in same locations.....don't pass this effeciency back to the customer...just make the incentive.

I have a competitor here that thinks all lawns are $20.....I wouldn't do any of these same lawns for less then $30. He provides lawn mowing, blowing etc... We provide solutions!!!

tj

Precision
10-14-2004, 02:59 PM
I agree with Bobby's first post.

You know what your overhead is. You know what your time is worth. And like someone said if you cave in now on price you may as well forget about ever upselling anything. It will be a nickel and dime on the price THEN whine and complain about how poorly you did it.

Sell yourself. Ask some pointed questions.

Mrs. Jones, what brings me out here giving you an estimate?

Oh you don't like your other lawn guy. Why is that?

Oh, well I can promise you now that I know those are some of your pet peeves, I won't be doing those things, not that I would anyway. Talk about your service.

Now how much was it again that you paid him?

Oh, $25, I see. THEN SHUT UP.

When she speaks, let her then say. Well for $25 he may have felt he needed to take shortcuts inorder to still make money. That is why I charge $XX.xx. That way I know that I will be able to spend the time to do it right. PAUSE (but not long enough for her to say anything) THEN. Now, I assume the extra $X.xx per cut would be worth it to have your yard done right, correct.

If she says no, politely end the conversation and get out of Dodge. You have encountered a certified PITA.

LCME
10-15-2004, 11:20 AM
So I go to the first house and look over the property. Flat, light trimming & edging. Lot size 100x180 deep. I told her I can mow for $30. And, I would normally charge $35 but because I said $30 over the phone will go half way. :cool: She accepted my terms no problem. She signed up on the spot or next year. Done. Then, she says go across the street and talk to my neighbor. I talked to her neighbor and also got $30 signed up for next year. :cool: Lot size 100x150 deep flat, but more trimming & edging. Done. And, she tells me her daughter is going to possibly stop mowing next year and will let me know. And, she has a friend just about 12 houses down who is also looking for mowing. These customers were not PITA at all. I should of asked for more! :cry:

Thanks for all the comments here. :waving: Appreciate the feedback, did what you guys suggested. Told them about my services then shut-up and let the customer talk. Worked great. Thanks again, LCME

bobbygedd
10-15-2004, 01:13 PM
you're gonna get boned, i just know it

GreenMonster
10-15-2004, 01:16 PM
you're gonna get boned, i just know it

:laugh:

Sorry, LCME -- Bobby does make me laugh.

Congrats on the new accounts. Too bad you didn't get all you could. You should adopt my motto "No quotes over the phone". I learned the hard way too.

JustMowIt
10-15-2004, 02:03 PM
my experience with people who mention thier neighbors......they are "playing the game", they know you'll run right over to get a few grouped lawns right in a row. they EXPECT you will be comming in cheap, since there are a few in a row. anytime a prospect calls on the phone and says, "my nieghbors and i......, or i need grass cutting and landscaping......" they know what will draw your attention. the grouped properties, and the "big hit" by using the word "landscaping". i've had bad results with people who drag thier neighbors into it right from the start. i've had good results though, after giving a quote, and they agree, then they give me thier neighbors numbers. let us know how it turns out. i got $10 that says she will be telling you how much she's gonna pay, and she will throw the "you can have my nieghbors too" thing right in your face. good luck

The biggest problems with "groups of neighbors" is they are always looking for a great rate, but you are still dealing with multiple customers! Usually the "group" is really 2-3 houses & they may not all agree on a schedule (i.e. start date, end date, weekly or bi-weekly) 1 of them may be easy to deal with the other 2 may be more difficult. After all of that, 1 moves & the other you had to dump. After it is all done, you are left with 1 customer that you discounted!

We have never had any luck with those deals, so we do not offer any "group discount", each lawn is a separate account.

GreenMonster
10-15-2004, 02:07 PM
The biggest problems with "groups of neighbors" is they are always looking for a great rate, but you are still dealing with multiple customers! Usually the "group" is really 2-3 houses & they may not all agree on a schedule (i.e. start date, end date, weekly or bi-weekly) 1 of them may be easy to deal with the other 2 may be more difficult. After all of that, 1 moves & the other you had to dump. After it is all done, you are left with 1 customer that you discounted!

We have never had any luck with those deals, so we do not offer any "group discount", each lawn is a separate account.

Good points. I don't do enough residential mowing this year, but for next year, I have thought about a neighborhood discount, but with plenty of terms and conditions to avoid the problems Justin mentioned.

LCME
10-15-2004, 02:16 PM
:laugh:

Sorry, LCME -- Bobby does make me laugh.

Congrats on the new accounts. Too bad you didn't get all you could. You should adopt my motto "No quotes over the phone". I learned the hard way too.

No apology necessary. I was laughing as soon as I read Bobby's reply :laugh:

bobbygedd
10-15-2004, 02:37 PM
in fact, i dumped a set of nieghbors just today. i got a call for 3 lawns in a row. back in early june. i sold two of them at $30 each, the third should have been $45, i couldn't get her to go over $40. you know the deal, "the last guy charged me $25." anyhow, i know my numbers, and with the 3 in a row, it was well worth it to do it $5 cheaper than i wanted. here is how this fell apart: one customer was dropped when she was 8 days late on her first ever bill. she and i have a court date. the other two i dropped today. the $30 customer is 15 days late, habitually, and will only send the original amount, not the late fee. gone, and collections will start. the last one (the $40 nieghbor) is a great payer, but i dumped her cus she aint worth the trip with at least one other property on the stop.

GRT
10-15-2004, 02:40 PM
Bobby, how many days do you give your customers before their bill is considered late?

Thanks!

Lux Lawn
10-15-2004, 03:11 PM
in fact, i dumped a set of nieghbors just today. i got a call for 3 lawns in a row. back in early june. i sold two of them at $30 each, the third should have been $45, i couldn't get her to go over $40. you know the deal, "the last guy charged me $25." anyhow, i know my numbers, and with the 3 in a row, it was well worth it to do it $5 cheaper than i wanted. here is how this fell apart: one customer was dropped when she was 8 days late on her first ever bill. she and i have a court date. the other two i dropped today. the $30 customer is 15 days late, habitually, and will only send the original amount, not the late fee. gone, and collections will start. the last one (the $40 nieghbor) is a great payer, but i dumped her cus she aint worth the trip with at least one other property on the stop.

Bobby that sucks from 3 to none just like that.

bobbygedd
10-15-2004, 03:16 PM
here is the procedure, again: we start you on our schedule, say in june. we cut june 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th. the bill goes out june 15th,for all 4 cuts, and is due by july 1st. depending on the client, service may cease july 2nd, or sometimes i give it till the 7th. but, due date is the 1st

Lux Lawn
10-15-2004, 03:22 PM
here is the procedure, again: we start you on our schedule, say in june. we cut june 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th. the bill goes out june 15th,for all 4 cuts, and is due by july 1st. depending on the client, service may cease july 2nd, or sometimes i give it till the 7th. but, due date is the 1st

Bobby I understand how you do you billing,but what if someone asks you to do something extra on the 28th what bill does that hit.

GreenMonster
10-15-2004, 03:24 PM
Add-on services are invoiced separately from scheduled services, and due upon receipt.

bobbygedd
10-15-2004, 03:55 PM
add on services on the 28th, are cash in my hand when i'm done

jim dailey
10-15-2004, 04:05 PM
you're gonna get boned, i just know it

Booby, he's in Michigan...YOU'RE in Jersey...

Grassboy 101
10-15-2004, 07:10 PM
Yu can mow a strip in 4 seconds? Have you actually timed it with a stop watch? If you can thats great.

Precision
10-16-2004, 09:17 AM
I don't think bobby's 4 seconds was talking about dropping his trailer gate. And to give him credit if you made him use the stop watch it would probably take 6 seconds.

Jersey, Michigan, Florida what difference does that make, Screwed is screwed and Late is Late.

GrassBustersLawn
10-16-2004, 10:11 AM
LCME

Don't drop your PRICE!

Here is what to tell her: I have $xxxxx amount of money invested in this equipment (mowers, trimmers, trailer, blowers, truck etc.)to provide you the best service possible. I also have INSURANCE & all the necessary LICENSES needed as well as x # of years experience. I'm saving you the TIME & LABOR to do the job, as well as the expense of YOU owning, storing & maintaining the equipment! It cost me $xxxx of dollars spent to on a blade sharpener/balancer so that the blades are sharp each day to give you the best cut. When was the last time you sharpened the blades on your personal mower? ALSO, when my machine needs repaired I have to take them into my local dealer, whom I Have to pay $xx PER HOUR ($56 in my area) to have the item worked on. BASED ON ALL THESE FACTORS, I feel that my price of $xx is not only VERY FAIR, but a GOOD VALUE FOR YOU!

If she doesn't APPRECIATE YOUR HARD WORK by paying you WHAT YOU DESERVE, move on and find someone that will!!!!

Mike

GrassBustersLawn
10-16-2004, 10:20 AM
Oh yeah, I forgot to comment on the "I told my 2 neighbors about you" comment.

EACH PROPERTY HAS TO STAND ON IT'S OWN!!!!! Giving a discount because you have 3 houses by each other is LUDICROUS!!! THAT IS YOUR PROFIT that you are giving away. If you discount them, then when the one is going to have her grandson or nephew or Joey down the block do it, you can't tell the other 2 that you are raising your price, SO DO IT RIGHT AT THE START and DON'T DISCOUNT!!!!

Mike

LCME
10-18-2004, 01:03 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot to comment on the "I told my 2 neighbors about you" comment.

EACH PROPERTY HAS TO STAND ON IT'S OWN!!!!! Giving a discount because you have 3 houses by each other is LUDICROUS!!! THAT IS YOUR PROFIT that you are giving away. If you discount them, then when the one is going to have her grandson or nephew or Joey down the block do it, you can't tell the other 2 that you are raising your price, SO DO IT RIGHT AT THE START and DON'T DISCOUNT!!!!

Mike

Hi Mike, thanks for the tip. No multi-home discounts here. No way!

FrankenScagMachines
10-18-2004, 02:37 PM
personally, i have considered discounts for more than one lawn per stop, but never really done it. Example: one lawn i do for $40. Guy 2nd house over had me do his occasionally when his mower broke down or he was too busy, or whatever reason. This spring he had me doing it pretty much all season. When i did it every now and then last year, it was $45 a pop even though it takes less time than the $40 two houses over, because it was not scheduled in plenty of advance. This season when we have been doing it weekly, it's $40 even though it takes less time than the lady 2 houses down. Because we do this in one stop, I can do both lawns myself in an hour and 15 minutes with no drive time or about 55 minutes with a helper, give or take a few. They are very close to two other lawns I do, but this is not even taken into consideration it is just an added bonus. I never gave either of these people a discount. I told the guy $40 since we're doing it weekly, I told him that is what I'm charging her. Her lawn takes a little longer than I would like for the $40 and his is just fine with me on price so it kinda evens out. The original customer here, she is moving to a house down the road and wants to continue service there, and will strongly refer us to the new owner of her current house. Which is fine with me, I like her new location much better. the yard there will be easier for us to service and gets our foot into a new neighborhood, one i have been wanting to get into for a couple years. Plus, i still work in the one neighborhood for the one guy and his price is good. That way, I have a chance to make better money off of the lady where it should be, i get a new neighborhood, and i still have the other guy and his neighborhood. If i had given him a discount, even though i still have her as a customer, I may not be making any money! I have another situation almost similar, two houses across the street from each other. The one guy had me do it since last July. I was happy, i got into a neighborhood i'd been wanting for 2 years and it was a real nice lawn there very visible good setup. The neighbor across the street finally signed up this year around June i think. I had been making a little more off of him than the other guy as it was a quicker yard although a smaller front yard and not a corner lot, so not as visible for my artwork. Well the original guy across the street moved and the new owners signed up with me. I raised the price. They could see I was doing a great job and that the neighbor was happy also. Now i am making a good price on both. BTW, the other one is trying to sell his also. This summer there was a selling frenzy in that neighborhood for some reason. Every 3rd or 4th house was for sale, literally! His house hasn't sold yet but I am confident I can get the new owners unless they're tight with their money.
Have a couple other places where it's two yards, one stop, or within a couple blocks or in same neighborhood. This is an excellent opportunity to make more money, by decreasing or eliminating driving time. Don't give away the extra profit to the customer. Charge what the job is worth. Customers are the least dependable thing in our world, IMO, and if you sacrifice your profit to a customer, thats like throwing it in the air... you never know if it'll float back to you or blow away. I've never had people expect a discount just because i"m already there. They know it's a benefit to me and they know i may not charge as much, but they never mention it out loud. Or maybe they think I automatically built it into the price (haha... sorry! nope!). Oh, and absolutely no senior citizen discounts either! I don't charge them more than regular customers but definately no less! Those are potentially the most problematic customers here. They beleive it should be done their way and no other way, and that no matter what you do, you're overcharging three times more than it's worth, and you never do a good enough job just because they can't see well enough to know you do, or thats not the way their dad did it. They sit at home all day with nothing to do and no one to pick on. They'll take it out on you naturally. I am very friendly with them and don't mind having a conversation with them a few minutes after mowing if needed, but i'll never lower price for most of them. One old lady i do it cheaper than i would have normally but she has a very bad back, no way she can do it herself and she only gets $640 a month from social security. she is widowed, her husband was in the military i beleive, and she doesn't live in the best area and she pinches pennies tightly. She drives a 1982 mercury she bought new then and still keeps it new. She can't afford to trade it in. She and my one neighbor (original customer, now widowed) are the only ones i currently provide special pricing to. No one else. I may make future exceptions but these people know they get a good deal and don't take it for granted or try to abuse the privelege. They are good customers, some of my best, and are a pleasure to work at their property even though it's more like a donation.

Sorry to ramble. Point is, don't discount for no one! Someone is going to lose, and it WILL be you!

LCME
10-21-2004, 02:53 PM
Picked up another neighborhood account here. I figured I have 2 now so ask for more money. Told the customer I need $35 to mow there 100x150 lot. Signed up for next year on the spot no questions. :blob3:

HOOLIE
10-21-2004, 04:04 PM
Oh yeah, I forgot to comment on the "I told my 2 neighbors about you" comment.

EACH PROPERTY HAS TO STAND ON IT'S OWN!!!!! Giving a discount because you have 3 houses by each other is LUDICROUS!!! THAT IS YOUR PROFIT that you are giving away. If you discount them, then when the one is going to have her grandson or nephew or Joey down the block do it, you can't tell the other 2 that you are raising your price, SO DO IT RIGHT AT THE START and DON'T DISCOUNT!!!!

Mike

Actually that's your EXTRA profit you're giving away. Presumably you should be making a profit on each lawn even without neighbors. Since its "extra" profit, I will, from time to time, give a SMALL discount in these situations, but only when they ask. I never offer it (Don't Ask, Don't Tell)

If you are making an extra profit, then you should keep most of it. You can give a little to your customers, but then they'll have to split it up amongst all of them, so its not a very big discount.