The landscaping industry is competitive, right?
More people are doing this kind of work now than ever before, right? At least that is how many business owners in this industry feel every time they see a new company pop-up. Frustrating.
What's even more frustrating is when someone calls you for an estimate - any kind of estimate - maintenance, lawn care, design/build, etc... and you know right away they are not merely calling on you. In fact, they openly admit to you they have called upon 3, 4, or even 5 other contractors for a bid. Now the pressure is on.
You want the job, but you kow your numbers. You know what price you need to charge to do the work. The fear of the "lowballer" or "novice" coming in and underbidding you is a legitimate concern. But its also a legitimate concern that another professional is going to come in and just do a better job at selling the work than you do.
In a perfect world, all lawn and landscape business owners are very good salespeople. We know what to say. We know how to present things and we know how to make our company stand out from the rest and get the prospect to sign on the dotted line.
That's not always the case.
So how do you avoid, or at least lessen the chance that the prospect is going to choose someone else over you?
Yes, you could promise them the world, give them a ridiculously low price or whatever else you have in your bag of tricks to just "get the work", but that is not healthy for the bottom line of the business.
What you shoudl consider is the following...
Let's say a prospect calls you and wants a complete maintenance program for their home - mowing, trimming, edging, shrubs, bed maintenance, mulch, aeration, fertilization, weed control ,clean-ups, etc. The prospect hasn't really indicated some very important things to you that may help you put your bid together - simple things like how nice they want things to look, how often, or even what kind of budget they have to work with. And let's be honest, its not exactly an easy question to ask...
"Hey Mr. Smith, how much you got to spend on all this work?"
So what do you do?
Give the prospect options - I like to provide as many as three options. Let's call them Gold, Silver and Bronze to make it easy.
You lay out the proposal in a way that gives the prospect three choices instead of one.
Gold Package - all services done perfectly, on a regular basis, top notch products, top notch results. Mowing weekly and bagged, all beds edged, shrubs trimmed every two weeks, weeds removed form beds weekly, 2 applications of top quality mulch with pre-emergent granular applied, two aerations with overseeding, 6 different fert/weed control apps, leaf removal done weekly, etc, etc, etc..... Price $4,500 for the year
Silver Package - services done right, as expected with fewer details and steps. Mowing is weekly, not bagged, trimming is done, beds and hardscaping edged as needed, shrubs trimmed 4 times a year, weeds removed once a month from the beds, 1 application of mulch and no pre-m, 1 aeration and no overseeding, 4 fert/weed control apps, 2 fall clean-ups....Price $3,400 for the year
Bronze Package - mowing is done as needed, not bagged, trimming around obstacles, never any edging, shrubs trimmed twice a year, weeds pulled form beds twice a year, 1 application of mulch, 1 aeration, 3 fert/weed control apps, 1 fall clean-up.... Price 2,000 for the year
(Disclaimer: I am just doing this as an example, do don't pay attention to the actual numbers as all properties vary in size, needs, etc.)
Now Mr. Prospect has 3 bids in his hand. He sees that you can provide the service in a multitude of ways and he can look at your options and cross it against his budget. He sees that you want him as a client and are willing to tailor the services to his needs.
Does he really need to talk to anyone else? Maybe, but seeing the effort that you put into the process and knowing that you are willing to work with him to give him what he wants, needs and can afford goes a long way.
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