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Island Lawn
02-06-2001, 01:36 AM
How detailed do ya'll go here?
How much do I need to know about my competition?

Stonehenge
02-06-2001, 01:54 AM
This quote may come from Sun Tzu/The Art of War: Hold your friends close, but hold your enemies closer.

Skookum
02-06-2001, 03:31 AM
There is soooo much business out there that I do not see this as a major issue fro me right now. But, I will say that in any business, knowledge is power and survival. I would imagine that if you had the time to keep up on such things as your competitors, you would have a slightly bigger edge on them.

Stonehenge
02-06-2001, 04:33 AM
I don't know how big everybody's market is, and if you're in a huge one, you may go completely unnoticed. But I was unpleasantly surprised when I talked to a few really big competitors and they seemed to know more about my biz than I did.

Made me realize I needed to watch them, too. Might help you to catch a trend you'd have otherwise missed.

kutnkru
02-06-2001, 09:58 AM
I can tell you the names of their clients and the competions parents if you asked. Its not about being nosy, its about rule #1: Cover thy own arse first.

Kris

65hoss
02-06-2001, 11:53 PM
I'm in a huge market so I go virtually unnoticed. There are several big players in the area that are in competition with each other but they don't effect me in any way. I consider my competition the highly manacured lawn business. The guys who don't side discharge. In my area, you can tell in about 1 day that a lawn was side discharged. 90% of the small companies in my area side discharge so they are of no concern to me. My customers would never deal with this type of cutting. I pay more attention to the trailers pulling Walkers or exmarks.

BUSHMASTER
02-08-2001, 04:17 PM
I am not the biggest or the smallest BUT i do consider myself as The Competion....:)

Pauls Mowing
02-08-2001, 04:34 PM
My theory is if I spend my time keeping up with the the competition, I'm not doing my job. I'm sure they don't worry about me, and I don't worry about them. But we always wave to each other when we pass on the road.

Paul

Stonehenge
02-08-2001, 05:31 PM
I think if I don't pay attention to what's going on with the competition, I'm not doing my job. If you think you can figure out all of the latest tricks and utilize all of the latest tools to get the job done well and fast, and recognize all the newest trends, you're fooling yourself. Many of my competitors are really smart. I'd bet yours are, too. I try to learn from them.

I do all I can to make my company better than the rest, and I always check to see that they aren't doing the same.

You might wave to your competition. I stop by and talk to them. I watch what they're doing. I ask them questions. About what they're doing at this job. About business in general. About anything I can think of.

Mike Nelson
02-09-2001, 09:11 AM
Paul's Mowing,
I would not take that approach in business.They probably know alot more about you than you think!
I don't care what business you are in,you better know what your competition is doing and know your market share.
Just trying to help.:D

John Allin
02-09-2001, 06:02 PM
We are the largest in our market in our chosen field.

I know when somebody new starts up if they drive by me. I ALWAYS pay attention to them, no matter how small. I was small once. Small smart guys get big. Big guys are competion. So are small guys if you aren't paying attention.

65hoss is obviously doing a nice job. SOMEBODY's paying attention to THAT. I'd bet my paycheck on it.

I know a contractor in a southern market doing $11 million in landscape work. His biggest fear is the small guy just starting out. He pays attention to them ALL.

Stonehenge is right....IMO... Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Island Lawn
02-10-2001, 11:21 AM
Lots of good info coming in!
Thanks everyone for your input.

Stonehenge,
I like your idea about just flat out approaching the comp., asking questions(consider the source), watching them work.
Do you have any general questions that you ask almost every comp. you talk to?

Anyone else do this?

Any other specific idea on obtianing info on the comp.?

Paul,
I bet as you are waving, if they've gotta nice rig, you pay attention and maybe even turn your head trying to get a better look as they go by.
Thats where I am at now. But I want to do more because
I know I could learn a lot from my comp.
I doubt I could learn as much as I learn here, but maybe.
And the info would be specific to my market and climate.

paul
02-10-2001, 11:53 AM
I'm in a large market, plus I do high profile jobs, seems it never fails for the other guys to come around and see what I do and how I do it. There are a lot of new ways to do work and if I don't stay ahead of the guys watching me then I'll be behind them, thats not where I want to be. The harder part is watching guys just starting out, and under bidding work with out an idea of what they are bidding, and driving the prices down.

OBRYANMAINT
02-10-2001, 12:06 PM
i constantly have an eye on the competition the bigger guys are easy to get info on because they usually have more accounts and have more ex-employees(not necessarily disgruntled)......they got to the level by doing most things right so their equipment and work practices are like gold to an intelligent up and comer that can apply the same traits......i think i know a lot more about my comp than they know about me but i have been suprised before!

John Allin
02-10-2001, 12:32 PM
I never underestimate the intelligence of the competion. Lots of guys out there that are way smarter than me. Unfortunately, they don't have that on their forehead so I gotta figure out who they are by watching.

Pauls Mowing
02-11-2001, 08:57 AM
I apparently failed to fully explain my position on the topic at hand. My post stated that I was not worried about my compitition. I should have continued to state that I do watch them, see what they are doing and what they are using. And they in turn watch me. In our area of about 130,000, there are LCO's who use Lexmarks, and continues down to the fellow pulling a boat trailer with his compact car with his 21" mower straped to it. Most of the LCO's here tend to keep to themselves, and hence there is little comminication between us. I run my little niche market here mainly mowing weed lots which no one else wants to do. Yes, it does concern me that as others see me out doing my thing, others will follow. There is nothing I can do about that.

I further appreciate the concern that others have experssed to my short and apparently misleading post. There is a great deal of knowledge within this site, and I continue to use this to further my business.

Thank you all.

Paul

Mike Nelson
02-11-2001, 09:26 AM
Paul,
I think you just wanted to see what type of reaction you would get.:D
It is great,everybody seems to be on the same page.
Good luck to all

Vibe Ray
02-11-2001, 08:20 PM
I think it is always important to chat with your competition....it also gives you a bit o' adrenaline rush sometimes!!!

Stonehenge
02-12-2001, 11:03 AM
The questions I ask really vary. Depends on what's being done. Also depends on who I'm talking to. A foreman for a huge company might not care if he tells you all the secret stuff they do at install. Where a company owner might guard it like a hawk.

One specific competitor of mine has enough pride for 2 people. I use that to his disadvantage. I'll see him on a job and challenge something I see. He'll go on and on about what he does, why he does it, just to prove he's right. That helps me in 2 ways - at bid time when customers are considering who to choose (and I can tell them how each company will approach this project), and at install time, so I can be sure I'm installing the best way I can.

Some people won't give you any info. Some will give you lots. You just have to play it by ear. Just approach it innocently, "I'm new in town and wanted to say hi. I'm sure we'll see each other all over town and just wanted to intorduce myself. And hey, whatcha workin' on there?" :)

awm
02-12-2001, 11:14 AM
I admire good looking work and note poor work.
Also always looking for a better way.
Other than that my hands are full just
doing what I do the best I can do it.