Register free!
Search
 
     

Click for Weather
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 04-07-2012, 09:53 AM
White Gardens's Avatar
White Gardens White Gardens is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bloomington IL
Posts: 6,731
Jim, great thread.

Now, here's my take on the whole estimating scenario.

I have to lean towards Jim's argument. People just don't have the funds like they used to. Around here I always try to give people a range on what they are looking to spend. I also try AGLA's tactics in that I discuss products and the varying prices on products.

Another thing also, is that it seems is that 50% of the people I deal with only have short term aspirations with the home they live in currently, so those install budgets are focused on low-cost and curb appeal rather than the out-door living spaces.

Here's the quote I use.

" So, you want the world, I can give you the world. But, if you can only afford the moon that goes with the world, then I'll give you the best dam*&% looking moon I can give you."

Now, in AGLA's case (an clarify if I'm wrong please), his business focuses more on the landscape design aspect rather than the install work. So, the way I see it, the customer is going to already have a line item in the budget that includes the design work. So, there tends to be more funds available as a whole for the project.

So, I'm not saying AGLA is a god and just down right awesome and lands the big jobs just by pure will, it's his business model. And on top of it, I'm sure the region economics might have something to do with it also.

So, on both sides of the coin, my opinions lie mostly in line with Jim and his article. People around here are very budget minded. Most professionals and their higher budget lies in their short term goals with their 225k home with only 8k of yard at best to play with.

And on top of it, stupid DYI programs had to go ruin everything by making homeowners think projects can be cheaper and done faster than what most small landscape companies generally can do. I could easily knock out a 25K project in 4 days if I had 35 guys on a project, not to mention half of them being volunteers........

Jim. Also liked your FB page.

Don't be afraid to like mine. I'm three short of 300! LOL!


....
__________________
White Gardens On Facebook.......WG Thread......Greencare For Troops......... mywhitegardens.com(under construction)

2005- Completion of University of Illinois Master Gardner's Program.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 04-07-2012, 12:01 PM
AGLA AGLA is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 1,677
White,

You nailed it right on the head. Design is my business model - my target is not the highest end of the design market. Most people find me because they are already pre-disposed to hiring a designer or referred by someone who has worked with me(others because they want free advice). I am in a seasonal resort area and most of my clients live somewhere else. Simply having enough money to afford a second home means that they have disposable income. They certainly don't have the time to do any DIY projects because they live somewhere else. They want everything in place so that after they drive 8 hours from NY, CT, or NJ, they can start partying. The cost only becomes an issue if they feel like it is too much for what they are getting. There is no reason, from their perspective, for me to start with wanting to know how much they are willing to spend. It makes some of them feel like you have not been there before.

You can adjust to your client and the situation. There is no one size fits all approach. Know your options and try to match your approach according to the client and situation.

However, most of us tend to work in a certain range of the market. They are all good, but most of us get referrals within the same range so we get geared to working in that segment. I think that is a good thing because it keeps everything consistent. So sticking to what you know in your situation is not a bad thing either. The more specialized you are to working a certain part of the market, the more you can use a one size fits all approach.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 04-07-2012, 12:55 PM
Duekster Duekster is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 7,971
I do not often have a hard job closing but I would like to learn how to design better. Get better at Pro-landscape or some other program so I can up sale. I think people have a lot of pent up desire to do things to their homes.

I do sometimes let them know there is a wide range of materials that could be used and a wide range of cost associtated with those materials. I often toss out a few examples, particularly rocks and stone.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 04-07-2012, 02:53 PM
JimLewis's Avatar
JimLewis JimLewis is online now
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 6,356
I definitely understand where you are coming froom AGLA. Don't disagree with much of what you said. And we've won a fair amount of jobs by designing to what the customer wants and then them finding more money. It's just that we've also lost a lot of jobs because we overdesigned. Not fancy. Not Disneyland. We just designed to what they said they wanted but it turned out that they couldn't AFFORD what they wanted. So sometimes people will find the money somehow. But many times people just decide that they can't really afford it and just leave the entire process and use that money for something else.

And I'm not talking about just $10K jobs. We've lost many jobs that were $20K, $30K, etc. price range too. All for the same reason. Just sometimes people have loftier dreams than what they an really afford. So it sucks to keep losing jobs like that.

I just know that we'll land a higher % of jobs we bid if we pay a little more attention to their budget. The problem, until now, has been trying to get that figure out of people. Because they never want to give it up. But this article illustrates really well a technique that works perfectly for doing that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Gardens View Post
Jim. Also liked your FB page.

Don't be afraid to like mine. I'm three short of 300! LOL!

....
I thought I already had. I know I posted on your wall before. But I went ahead and liked it too. Likes help. But what you really want are LOCAL likes. People in the area you service. Most of my likes are customers or people in the area I service. That's a whole lot better than a bunch of likes outside your area.
__________________
Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 04-07-2012, 05:39 PM
White Gardens's Avatar
White Gardens White Gardens is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bloomington IL
Posts: 6,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post

I thought I already had. I know I posted on your wall before. But I went ahead and liked it too. Likes help. But what you really want are LOCAL likes. People in the area you service. Most of my likes are customers or people in the area I service. That's a whole lot better than a bunch of likes outside your area.
About half of my likes are locals, so it's not too bad.

Just met with a Marketing specialist the other day and we're finally going to get the web-site going along with me doing a bunch of blogging to keep getting organic hits before I start getting into google ad-word purchases.

That and all my posts on LS I'm hoping will add up on the organic hits. (yes there is an advantage to being consistent on this site!)

That's been the biggest thing. I've finally have taken on an employee and really starting to amp up production. Hopefully the web-page will help with that.

...
__________________
White Gardens On Facebook.......WG Thread......Greencare For Troops......... mywhitegardens.com(under construction)

2005- Completion of University of Illinois Master Gardner's Program.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 04-08-2012, 07:07 AM
allinearth allinearth is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 600
Quote:
Originally Posted by AGLA View Post
No. I explained why. I also explained that there are a lot more opportunities in the $10-$15k projects for contractors. I can not get that work because people will not hire me to do it - they just won't dedicate any money out of that limited budget for something other than built work. I can design $5k landscapes. I just can't get anyone to pay me for it.

You need to do what you need to do to land those customers that are out there whether they are $1k or $100k. You mentioned that jobs over that $10-$15k are few, but they are there. When those come along, it might be nice to know another approach that you can use to help yourself land the job. All I'm doing is telling you what I do that works very effectively for those jobs. You can choose to be insulted by that or choose to take from it anything that may be useful. That is up to you.

When prospective customer is describing a landscape that will clearly be over $30k, many don't like the conversation starting with budget. It is a given that they have the money and makes you look like you are all about the money like a kid in a candy shop. Stert with pleasing them on the design. When that is done, price it out. It is a different situation and should be handled differently. That is all I'm suggesting.
I think I deal with a lot of average income households. Many have never had landscape work done so don't realize what it costs. There are many that would be satisfied with what the local lawn boy could do and expect low prices. I would like to believe we are above that level and those are the type of customer that I would like to eliminate or qualify by discussing budget. However, I realize that I have some customers that clearly expect higher levels of detail and quality and I would never even ask budget. On those type you are right. We simply have to give them what they ask for.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 04-08-2012, 08:53 AM
White Gardens's Avatar
White Gardens White Gardens is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bloomington IL
Posts: 6,731
Quote:
Originally Posted by allinearth View Post
I think I deal with a lot of average income households. Many have never had landscape work done so don't realize what it costs. There are many that would be satisfied with what the local lawn boy could do and expect low prices. I would like to believe we are above that level and those are the type of customer that I would like to eliminate or qualify by discussing budget. However, I realize that I have some customers that clearly expect higher levels of detail and quality and I would never even ask budget. On those type you are right. We simply have to give them what they ask for.
Agreed and good post.

Only thing I want to add is that my pitfall is that I want to help everyone regardless of budget so we end up taking on jobs that are just down-right small or annoying just because I want to help.

...
__________________
White Gardens On Facebook.......WG Thread......Greencare For Troops......... mywhitegardens.com(under construction)

2005- Completion of University of Illinois Master Gardner's Program.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-08-2012, 11:12 PM
Farbio Farbio is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 99
Great topic. We deal with this issue as well and can relate to Jim Lewis. AGLA is design only so he is most likely not effected by much if he does design over the customers budget. He is paid and onto the next design before the landscape contractor even gets his bid to the customer. The customer may have been thrilled with AGLA's design but shocked at the 50k price tag the contractor gave them. Design build companies are much more affected by this situation because we need both the design and the build portion. I try to get the budget if at all possible.
Posted via Mobile Device
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-09-2012, 09:54 AM
AGLA AGLA is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 1,677
I don't do fantasy design. My designs do get built and in order for that to happen, the design and budget ultimately meet. The biggest thing that I'm trying to tell you is to learn to understand the budget without asking for it directly unless it is obviously one that is very limited.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 04-09-2012, 07:35 PM
Isobel's Avatar
Isobel Isobel is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: West of Boston
Posts: 548
It's nice to know that this is advice they're giving out. I use this in conversations with my clients already, with alot of success.
__________________
2011 F350 XLT 4x4 SuperCab, 6.7L, 6' bed, 6000 miles w/ 8' HD Fisher plow
2007 Honda Element LX 97000 miles
2008 Bri-mar 10k dump trailer
2003 Haulmark 6x14 Enclosed trailer
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump






Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:11 AM.

Page generated in 0.07656 seconds with 9 queries