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  #41  
Old 11-20-2013, 08:11 PM
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After seeing how Jim (and most reputable LCOs in our area) structured service, I followed suit. 2 seasons in we have had 3-4 clients a year ask us about it each fall. No one has ever cancelled to avoid paying through the winter. And I only visit most residential accounts one time a month in January and February. My commercial accounts get two visits.
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  #42  
Old 12-05-2013, 11:46 AM
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Question for Jim Lewis again,

How often do clients or potential clients want to pick apart your 12 month plans...?

I'm not full service so I'm at a bit of a disadvantage since I don't do sprinkler maintence other than heads I might damage and I generally shy away from pruning. I'm really reluctant to subbjng out work and having to be a go between.

Any pointers in this area?

Also is there a specific demographic that is easier to deal with than others...?

For my business model it just seems to work best for me to focus on the clients lawn and most of my clients enjoy some light prunning and/or gardening for themselves.
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:24 PM
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I don't know exactly how often they balk at our plans. I haven't been the one giving bids for maintenance for several years now. I give them occasionally, if I'm already there for a landscape construction bid or something. But otherwise, our maintenance managers give those bids.

That said, we land about 30-50% of the maintenance bids we give, depending on the time of year. So at least 1/3 of the customers are totally okay with the way our service is set up. During April, May, June it's closer to 50%. So then, a good half of them are okay with our program. But either way, we don't get a lot of people picking them apart, so to speak. We just explain our package and then leave them the proposal. Some call back, some do not. It's pretty clear from our estimate form that our packages are pretty firm.

By the way, if anyone wants to see our estimate forms, happy to share them. Just PM me with your email address. Might help to understand what we leave our clients with.

I guess part of our success is the area in which we're based. In cities that we service, it's all suburban upper-middle class neighborhoods. 90% of the homes around here are on 8000 sq. ft. - 12,000 sq. ft. lots. Lawns are all very well manicured in at least 75% of the homes in this area. It's sort of the standard around here. And since it's Oregon, we have lots and lots of plants, trees, perennials, ornamental grasses, etc. With that comes lots of weeds and leaves too. So there's always a lot more to do than just mow. I've been to some areas of the country where there are just big open lots with large lawns and very few plants/trees around the yard. It's not like that here. Most very busy landscapes, with lots to do.

So my point is; it may be an easier sell in a climate like ours where there is a lot of vegetation, lots of leaves, lawn grows very quickly, weeds grow all the time, etc. And it's probably also an easier sell in the kind of community we live in, where all the yards are sort of expected to be manicured. Here's a pretty good example of a typical neighborhood here where every yard has plenty of vegitation and every lawn is manicured.

But even within the communities we service, we still market toward the upper 50% of the income bracket. There are still a fair amount of homes/neighborhoods that look more like this as well. We just don't market too much to those neighborhoods. We don't get as many takers for our service there. Thankfully, there are plenty of neighborhoods like the first example above. Those are the ones who mostly hire us and keep us busy.

Our standard demographic is a family who is in a home with an over $350,000 Zillow Value, urban professionals who work a lot, often have kids, have a fair amount of discretionary income, etc. Then there is a second demographic that is older clients in the 55-65 age range who have done well for themselves financially, live in a nicer-than-average neighborhood, are often retired, and just don't want to do yard work anymore. And there is a smaller, 3rd demographic that is the REALLY wealthy. Homes in the $1Mil-$2Mil range. Nicer estate properties. Don't care as much about price but really expect top results. We have a handful of those too.

Hope that helps.
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Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon

Last edited by JimLewis; 12-05-2013 at 08:28 PM.
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  #44  
Old 12-05-2013, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
I don't know exactly how often they balk at our plans. I haven't been the one giving bids for maintenance for several years now. I give them occasionally, if I'm already there for a landscape construction bid or something. But otherwise, our maintenance managers give those bids.

That said, we land about 30-50% of the maintenance bids we give, depending on the time of year. So at least 1/3 of the customers are totally okay with the way our service is set up. During April, May, June it's closer to 50%. So then, a good half of them are okay with our program. But either way, we don't get a lot of people picking them apart, so to speak. We just explain our package and then leave them the proposal. Some call back, some do not. It's pretty clear from our estimate form that our packages are pretty firm.

By the way, if anyone wants to see our estimate forms, happy to share them. Just PM me with your email address. Might help to understand what we leave our clients with.

I guess part of our success is the area in which we're based. In cities that we service, it's all suburban upper-middle class neighborhoods. 90% of the homes around here are on 8000 sq. ft. - 12,000 sq. ft. lots. Lawns are all very well manicured in at least 75% of the homes in this area. It's sort of the standard around here. And since it's Oregon, we have lots and lots of plants, trees, perennials, ornamental grasses, etc. With that comes lots of weeds and leaves too. So there's always a lot more to do than just mow. I've been to some areas of the country where there are just big open lots with large lawns and very few plants/trees around the yard. It's not like that here. Most very busy landscapes, with lots to do.

So my point is; it may be an easier sell in a climate like ours where there is a lot of vegetation, lots of leaves, lawn grows very quickly, weeds grow all the time, etc. And it's probably also an easier sell in the kind of community we live in, where all the yards are sort of expected to be manicured. Here's a pretty good example of a typical neighborhood here where every yard has plenty of vegitation and every lawn is manicured.

But even within the communities we service, we still market toward the upper 50% of the income bracket. There are still a fair amount of homes/neighborhoods that look more like this as well. We just don't market too much to those neighborhoods. We don't get as many takers for our service there. Thankfully, there are plenty of neighborhoods like the first example above. Those are the ones who mostly hire us and keep us busy.

Our standard demographic is a family who is in a home with an over $350,000 Zillow Value, urban professionals who work a lot, often have kids, have a fair amount of discretionary income, etc. Then there is a second demographic that is older clients in the 55-65 age range who have done well for themselves financially, live in a nicer-than-average neighborhood, are often retired, and just don't want to do yard work anymore. And there is a smaller, 3rd demographic that is the REALLY wealthy. Homes in the $1Mil-$2Mil range. Nicer estate properties. Don't care as much about price but really expect top results. We have a handful of those too.
pretty much the same here to a T. except replace those big trees with palms and replace the plants with tropicals.

i prefer homes with lots of vegetation cause most guy here either just want to mow or don't know how to Properly maintain the plant material.

Hope that helps.
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