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  #21  
Old 08-19-2014, 09:40 PM
Kawizx62003 Kawizx62003 is online now
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Transition Zone
Posts: 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Cornwallis View Post
Since getting out of the military and while I was in school I've worked in firearms sales for three years at one of the largest FFL's in the nation. I think it's really helped me in my ability to read people and to sell my product. I can tell about 90% of the time what kind of gun someone is going to buy after simply giving them a quick once over and exchanging a few sentences with them. It's the same thing when I get a call and roll up to someone's yard. There are obviously exceptions, however, I generally know as soon as I drive up weather I'm going to get the bid or not.

Obvious warning signs for me are:

1) The yard looks like death. I have a few that started like this. They are all weekly customers now and have been for more than a month.
- this tells me they don't care about their yard but the home owners association is likely on their ass, they need someone to "knock dat der grass over" and do it cheap.

2) Crummy car in the driveway. Some people have crummy cars that are paid off which gives them more money for lawn care. Interestingly I have no customers with crummy cars. BUT I have a few that have crummy houses and nice cars. All weekly's (and have been since March.Ever read "Millionaire Next Door"?
- This applies particularly to middle and slightly above middle income neighborhoods. Generally this means they bought a house a few years ago when anyone could get a mortgage. They can't really afford the mortgage but they got the loan and now their super strapped for cash so they can't afford to fix or maintain their car. They think they have money for a lawn service because they shopped craigslist and saw craigslist ads for fifteen dollar cuts. Their first thought was most likely "gee Cletus, we can afford that, we can just buy a few less packs of cigarettes and miller lite." When I say crummy car I'm not talking about a well maintained older car, I'm talking about a rusty geo metro sitting in front of a $200,000 house.

3) The house is in a cookie cutter neighborhood.
- I never just ignore a call or e mail as that's bad business, but when I get a call from one of these people I politely decline and tell them I'm not taking on any more homes in that area. Many of my customers are in Cookie cutter neighborhoods. Thats where route density is for me. Many of these are 300 and 400K homes. All the customers I have in cookie cutter neighborhoods are weekly. Yards are small and quicK!

4) Price hagglers.
- My price is my price. If you were so happy with "the other guy" then why in the hell are we talking? Agree!

5) "I'm looking for a better deal"
- I recommend checking craigslist or contacting the kid down the street. I offer high quality services at an affordable price, however, I'm not the Walmart of lawncare. Think of me as Fresh Market. The highest quality food with a nice atmosphere and lots of hot chicks running around in leggings. I'm a little bit more but I'm way better. Where would you rather shop? Most choose walmart but some chose Fresh Market. Those customers that are willing to pay a premium for a quality service are keepers. Yes their few and far between but they're out there and you just have to find them. I have advertised on CL. I have gotten a few excellent customers. They were my firsts and I still have all but 2 of them. Most are biweekly (before I stopped taking biweekly). One is weekly and is a great customer. I have even upsold him.</color>

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Then again maybe I am the Walmart of mowing haha. BUT we obviously have a very different IDEAL customer. Not knocking you by any means as I actually enjoy reading your posts. Just adding my opinion.
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  #22  
Old 08-19-2014, 11:36 PM
New2TheGreenIndustry New2TheGreenIndustry is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: GA
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So you're on the phone with a lead and you don't think it's one you want to go out and meet. How do you let them down without coming off as rude? I'm thinking about mentioning 12 month service plans so the less desirable leads will disqualify themselves.
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  #23  
Old 08-19-2014, 11:56 PM
Dr. Cornwallis Dr. Cornwallis is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Valrico, Fl
Posts: 476
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kawizx62003 View Post
Then again maybe I am the Walmart of mowing haha. BUT we obviously have a very different IDEAL customer. Not knocking you by any means as I actually enjoy reading your posts. Just adding my opinion.
No offense taken man! Seeing how everyone does things and hearing opinions is what makes this site so great. What works for me may not work for you and what works in your area may be suicide in mine.

The criteria I cited are generally red flags. As always there are exceptions to just about every rule. One of my best customers is one I picked up from a Craigslist add when I first started. It's a cookie cutter house with no irrigation and mostly weeds and sand for a lot. They consistently give me more money than I bill them for and they pay early every month, often before I even send out invoices. They don't nag me and they don't talk my ear off when I mow, they also don't care when I mow. They're one example however. I can't count how many quotes I've showed up to that fit the criteria perfectly.

In relation to what you said about the millionaire next door; my father is a commercial pilot. He used to fly for a client that had more money than God. The guy lived in a normal upper middle class house, drove cars a few years old (but in good shape) and wore faded wrangler jeans and t shirts. If you looked at him no one would ever have guessed that he had a 100' Hatteras and a Lear 35. He owned land and multiple homes but none of it was extravagant.

I use Craigslist as well and have picked up some excellent customers from it. I figure why not use it, it's FREE advertising. However, if you search farm and garden services in the Hillsborough area, the results read mostly like "cheapest cut in town" etc. Not dogging anyone who uses Craigslist as I do too, and it sounds like a lot of potential clients turn to it, cheap and fair alike. The problem isn't that most of the people who use craigslist are cheap, it's that most Americans are cheap.

The reason I generally avoid cookie cutter neighborhoods is down here they're typically low income neighborhoods dominated by fly by night lco's offering full service for $60-$80 a month. The people that own the homes can't typically afford a house to begin with, much less a lawn service, however, because the lawn care industry along with the home building industry in FL has whored it self to the bottom, they can now sort of afford both, albeit at a low quality.
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  #24  
Old 08-20-2014, 12:08 AM
Dr. Cornwallis Dr. Cornwallis is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Valrico, Fl
Posts: 476
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2TheGreenIndustry View Post
So you're on the phone with a lead and you don't think it's one you want to go out and meet. How do you let them down without coming off as rude? I'm thinking about mentioning 12 month service plans so the less desirable leads will disqualify themselves.
1) How much are you looking to spend on lawn service?

2) Are you looking for weekly service?

3) What type of service plan are you looking for? Full service? Basic mow, edge, trim and blow? Just mow?

4) Do you have a gate?

Typically the calls I receive that I don't want to take on are easy to let down, otherwise I would do them. If it's a sand lot I flat out tell them I won't service it because it's too hard on my equipment. Most of the calls I get for post stamp sized yards (which I don't want to do) sort them self out. I have a minimum $110/mo service charge and most of those people are expecting Andy the alcoholic to show up and bang it out for $75.
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  #25  
Old 08-20-2014, 07:08 AM
Kawizx62003 Kawizx62003 is online now
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Transition Zone
Posts: 645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Cornwallis View Post
No offense taken man! Seeing how everyone does things and hearing opinions is what makes this site so great. What works for me may not work for you and what works in your area may be suicide in mine.

The criteria I cited are generally red flags. As always there are exceptions to just about every rule. One of my best customers is one I picked up from a Craigslist add when I first started. It's a cookie cutter house with no irrigation and mostly weeds and sand for a lot. They consistently give me more money than I bill them for and they pay early every month, often before I even send out invoices. They don't nag me and they don't talk my ear off when I mow, they also don't care when I mow. They're one example however. I can't count how many quotes I've showed up to that fit the criteria perfectly.

In relation to what you said about the millionaire next door; my father is a commercial pilot. He used to fly for a client that had more money than God. The guy lived in a normal upper middle class house, drove cars a few years old (but in good shape) and wore faded wrangler jeans and t shirts. If you looked at him no one would ever have guessed that he had a 100' Hatteras and a Lear 35. He owned land and multiple homes but none of it was extravagant.

I use Craigslist as well and have picked up some excellent customers from it. I figure why not use it, it's FREE advertising. However, if you search farm and garden services in the Hillsborough area, the results read mostly like "cheapest cut in town" etc. Not dogging anyone who uses Craigslist as I do too, and it sounds like a lot of potential clients turn to it, cheap and fair alike. The problem isn't that most of the people who use craigslist are cheap, it's that most Americans are cheap.

The reason I generally avoid cookie cutter neighborhoods is down here they're typically low income neighborhoods dominated by fly by night lco's offering full service for $60-$80 a month. The people that own the homes can't typically afford a house to begin with, much less a lawn service, however, because the lawn care industry along with the home building industry in FL has whored it self to the bottom, they can now sort of afford both, albeit at a low quality.

OHHH, you're in Florida, nevermind! Hahaha. I wore wranglers back in the day, wish I secretly had a jet.
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