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  #11  
Old 05-06-2013, 09:36 AM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ragland Al
Posts: 9,856
Good thred.

Everyones business model is different, Im solo and the 1.5 million dollar houses are what keeps me going over the winter. I have found mow and blow on average yards to be more profitable, but theres never anything to do in the winter.

One thing that will help everyone is to have alot of good equiptment and backups.
I like the idea of using a cheap riding mower, I may do that when I get real old.
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  #12  
Old 05-06-2013, 09:55 AM
Caddyshack Lawn Care Caddyshack Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Columbia MO
Posts: 476
Some excellent thoughts here. It's great to hear someone champion the mow-and-go lawns. I used to have a partner who hated them. He'd rather spend twice as long manicuring a lush lawn just for the pride feeling when we were done. Don't get me wrong, I won't take on a yard that's solid weeds, but I prefer the average joe lawns to anything. Those folks don't tend to be nitpicky and are more appreciative and I make more $ per hour.

As for giving estimates via googlemaps, etc....I don't do that anymore. The devil is in the details, and you can miss some details that way. Of course, my service area is limited now so that helps.
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  #13  
Old 05-06-2013, 12:10 PM
Tom-N-Texas Tom-N-Texas is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: ft worth texas
Posts: 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by herler View Post
Pride comes before the fall.

Not that it makes any difference, it's going to happen, regardless.

Might be a while yet, in your case, I see the signs starting where already people have forgotten how hard the last recession was but I can see it and you're moving along at some pretty break neck speeds there so just keep going, push it, hard, and when the bubble is fully built and it POPS, you will be among the free fallers.

I can hear it now.
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrhhhhhh

Hopefully you won't be anywhere near any high rise windows at the time.
Nothing's impossible of course but I keep my prices reasonable and my routes are compact without a lot of drive time. I also advertise a lot If I go down it really won't be pretty out there. A more likely scenario would be an injury or health problems, which would spell trouble for me. I hardly think I'm invincible so don't get me wrong here. I just have found my nitch and am exploiting it while I can. I've had lots of experience in this biz and this works for me
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  #14  
Old 05-06-2013, 12:23 PM
Tom-N-Texas Tom-N-Texas is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: ft worth texas
Posts: 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom-N-Texas View Post
Nothing's impossible of course but I keep my prices reasonable and my routes are compact without a lot of drive time. I also advertise a lot If I go down it really won't be pretty out there. A more likely scenario would be an injury or health problems, which would spell trouble for me. I hardly think I'm invincible so don't get me wrong here. I just have found my nitch and am exploiting it while I can. I've had lots of experience in this biz and this works for me
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I was talking to another lawn guy the other day and he was telling me that he won't step on a yard for less than 35 bucks. Of course while he's there he pulls weeds and cleans up around the place but to me this is the kind of operation that is ripe for elimination in an economic downturn. My philosophy is to keep prices low yet cherrypick the heck out of my customers. It goes without saying though that this requires a decent base and a good flow of new calls.
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  #15  
Old 05-06-2013, 12:34 PM
Tom-N-Texas Tom-N-Texas is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: ft worth texas
Posts: 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caddyshack Lawn Care View Post
Some excellent thoughts here. It's great to hear someone champion the mow-and-go lawns. I used to have a partner who hated them. He'd rather spend twice as long manicuring a lush lawn just for the pride feeling when we were done. Don't get me wrong, I won't take on a yard that's solid weeds, but I prefer the average joe lawns to anything. Those folks don't tend to be nitpicky and are more appreciative and I make more $ per hour.

As for giving estimates via googlemaps, etc....I don't do that anymore. The devil is in the details, and you can miss some details that way. Of course, my service area is limited now so that helps.
Yea the people in the average/rundown homes are generally easier to work with too. I will say that the rich neighborhoods do tend to have an extended mowing season though So that's nice but generally, push come to shove I'll take the small, ugly yard every time, given the choice.
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  #16  
Old 05-06-2013, 09:19 PM
herler herler is online now
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 3,347
I don't do Zillow.

No way, it cheapens the experience for the customer, they're not stupid, how would you feel if an auto-mechanic 'googled' your car problem?
Heck I don't mind them checking one thing or another on the computer, but don't "google" my problem!
Especially not if you want me to think of you as the expert, and that's the key.

These customers, I want them not just to think of me as the expert, but I want to come across as a person with however many years in the field as I have, but most important I sure don't want them to think less of me.

So...
The only time I give telephone estimates is when I know the neighborhood they live in real well, understand I feel safe after so many years, I have worked in many areas and I am quite familiar with the yard sizes in certain areas that I can usually get away with saying "most of the yards in your area usually go for $xx to $xx and yours likely falls in that price range"

But most of those type of neighborhoods are cookie cutter lots and houses, too.

I mean, we have to remember...
If you make a mistake and bid too high, they will probably say no.
And if you make a mistake and bid too low, they will probably say yes.

Oh, you bet I get to eat CRUD when I bid too low, if I want to save face.
At this point I either lose money or my reputation goes down the drain, what a choice.
And if I bid too high I lost out, too.

So if I am even remotely in doubt, it takes less time and money to hop in the car and drive out there and take a look...
Than it does to try and fix a mistake after having given the wrong estimate.

It's better to be one hundred percent sure.

Last edited by herler; 05-06-2013 at 09:25 PM.
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  #17  
Old 05-07-2013, 08:40 AM
Tom-N-Texas Tom-N-Texas is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: ft worth texas
Posts: 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by herler View Post
I don't do Zillow.

No way, it cheapens the experience for the customer, they're not stupid, how would you feel if an auto-mechanic 'googled' your car problem?
Heck I don't mind them checking one thing or another on the computer, but don't "google" my problem!
Especially not if you want me to think of you as the expert, and that's the key.
I'm not sure I'm seeing the connection to being an "expert" and making a home visit beforehand (or not.) If anything, apologizing in advance for basically being in such high demand that there is little-to-no time to come out for a personal inspection is, I think, a good indication to the customer that the company is all what it's cracked up to be. Would you try going to a restaurant that was never busy...that there were never cars in the parking lot?? Same concept. But honestly I don't do the zillow thing for that -- I truly do not have time to give out several on-site estimates per day.


Quote:
Originally Posted by herler View Post
These customers, I want them not just to think of me as the expert, but I want to come across as a person with however many years in the field as I have, but most important I sure don't want them to think less of me.

So...
The only time I give telephone estimates is when I know the neighborhood they live in real well, understand I feel safe after so many years, I have worked in many areas and I am quite familiar with the yard sizes in certain areas that I can usually get away with saying "most of the yards in your area usually go for $xx to $xx and yours likely falls in that price range"

But most of those type of neighborhoods are cookie cutter lots and houses, too.

I mean, we have to remember...
If you make a mistake and bid too high, they will probably say no.
And if you make a mistake and bid too low, they will probably say yes.

Oh, you bet I get to eat CRUD when I bid too low, if I want to save face.
At this point I either lose money or my reputation goes down the drain, what a choice.
And if I bid too high I lost out, too.

So if I am even remotely in doubt, it takes less time and money to hop in the car and drive out there and take a look...
Than it does to try and fix a mistake after having given the wrong estimate.

It's better to be one hundred percent sure.

yea that's true...it's possible to screw up a bid using only zillow, but I always inform the customer that my initial telephone (or email) bid is not a hard-and-fast price until I can see the lawn with my own eyes....it's a good-faith estimate based on all the information I have at the time....most people appreciate all of that and are happy to have such an estimate w/out waiting on someone to come out there.

Either way is fine though...I'm not knocking what you do -- I did it for many years...I do see and know the value of meeting my customers in person.
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