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Old 03-19-2013, 03:07 AM
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GreenUtah GreenUtah is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 866
I'll second not being a fan of Toro's cut going clear back to the introduction of the Recycler decks (which I foolishly bought a 52" hydro walkbehind w/ the T-Bar steering during the winter they came out without a demo..POS)

While's it's critical to know what the market is supporting, it's even more so to NOT PRICE MATCH if you cannot complete service at a profit for that price. Not everyone pays the same general price and not everyone is satisfied with the general service.

You have to weigh what you have versus potential competition and if you can't meet on price and efficiency, you can get there on service or other skills. Failure to adjust or know their profit points and competition is what kills lawn businesses by the bucketloads every single year. So it ALL has to go into the mix of not only what you charge, but what you offer and how you sell it.

A for instance: We had a spray customer (just a typical residential) who was always calling us out for service calls. The lawn was always way too short, like a putting green, except with bluegrass, cut by a contractor. I offered to put him into a weekly rotation and cut it properly at a commercial price, as I had a crew making stops at banks just a few blocks away. He declined even though I knew it would be at a lower price than any residential offering and he was already coming to us for our turf expertise.

I extended this offer twice during service calls and meeting with him. The third time out, I encountered his contractor working. An older Japanese fellow who was handling the full gardening on the property and he was literally on his knees on the turf with a pair of scissors taking down any missed pieces or high spots after he had just finished with a manual, push reel mower. No power anything. Broom, hand trimming, etc.

He had to be paying a fortune more for service under these methods, even if the guy was working for less than minimum wage (unlikely), but something in the equation was more important to this customer.

You'll need to look for that happy balance with customers (not the extreme, as in this example) to even the field where you have an equipment disadvantage. Start with asking what they would like it to be, what's bothered them about service in the past and mold your offering to fit.

Perhaps they didn't like turf tears from heavier machines or full crews would just come too early in the day. Perhaps they just felt like people weren't working on the property for long enough for what they were paying (even though work is done to spec, this is common - the price of efficiency sometimes). The point is to find what you have to offer that takes you away from a strict price point comparison.

Find your value.

and yes, we discontinued the handcut customer
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