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  #11  
Old 09-04-2011, 06:06 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by topsites View Post
I am sorry, maybe I'm just jaded but after 10 years do you think I don't see these things?
Yes, you are jaded. I've been doing this 15 years. I'm not Jaded. It's a choice. You can chose to be negative or positive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by topsites View Post
......do you think I don't see these things?
There are always low-ballers. It's how you differentiate yourself from those guys that matters. We spend a lot of time and money making sure that our company looks and is a lot more professional than those guys. We landed a job the other day that was about $25K. The paver patio portion of the job was $12K. and the client was seriously considering going with his "lawn guy" to do the paver patio and having us do the rest of the landscape, because his "lawn guy" gave a bid for only $9K. But guess what? His "lawn guy" didn't have what we had. He couldn't show them a portfolio of over 100 paver patio jobs that he'd done that turned out beautiful. He didn't have hundreds of references to give them. He didn't even give them any references! He didn't have an A+ rating with the BBB and A ratings in 10 categories on Angie's List. He didn't have an experienced crew of installers. He didn't offer a good warranty.All he had was a cheaper price. They chose us because we overwhelmed him with reasons why he should chose us. The client chose to pay us 33% more than he could have paid the other guy because he perceived there would be a distinctively higher level of quality and service with our company.

People make choices like that every day. There are literally hundreds of LCOs in the Portland area who maintain yards for less than we do each month. So why is it most of them have only 50-100 accounts and we're doing 270 every week? It's certainly not because we're cheaper.

Low-ballers will always exist. You just have to differentiate yourself and focus on the people who are willing to pay more for great quality and great service. Then it doesn't matter who is low-balling you. Because they cannot offer what you can offer.
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


www.lewislandscape.com - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
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  #12  
Old 09-04-2011, 07:45 PM
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94gt331 94gt331 is offline
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Thanks for all the responses everyone. Jim Lewis thanks for all the great Help and advice, i liked your newsletter very much. Topsites i can see where your comin from, sometimes you do extras for the customer and it really ends up not helpin at all but i'm not really trying to generate sales out of the newsletter, (that will be nice if it does) but i'm more trying to focus on customer appreciation and comunication. I want my customers to remain confident with my service and to let them know i care about my company and I'm not just collecting a paycheck. It seems like small buisiness slow down over the years because they don't remain interested in there relationships with there customers and progressing in the industry, I just think there is alot of companies coming in that can look good enough or appealing to take some of my work. That hasn't happened but as busy as my company gets sometime it is hard to keep up on the relationships with my clients because were allways trying to go go go go. I know i have a decent buisness going, I just don't want it to die off because i got boring to my customers.


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  #13  
Old 09-04-2011, 08:00 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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You're welcome...

It's not really a matter of you becoming boring. It's just that your company name doesn't stick in people's heads forever, like we think it should. So if we're smart business owners, we need to do a good job of keeping our company name in front of current and previous customers. So they don't forget us.

This is the same reason your business should use Facebook. The only reason to use Facebook, IMO, is to keep in contact. Be on people's radar.

I'll give you a perfect example of this; I hired a company to work on my garage door once about 5 years ago. They did a great job at a great price. But around my place there are a million garage door companies and a lot of them have similar names "Dave's Garage Doors", "Dan's Overhead Doors" etc. About 2 years later I needed to have someone install an automatic lift for my 3rd car garage door. But for the life of me, I couldn't remember the name of the company I had used just 2 years prior. I would have gladly hire them back but they never left a sticker anywhere and I never heard from them again. So I just went online and did a search and found another company. Had that company sent me a newsletter or email or little calender every 6 months I would have remembered their name and they would have got a decent job.

This is the main reason we need to do the same. Past customers would use us again. They just forget our company name. It's easy to do. Life gets busy.
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


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landscape design Portland Oregon
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2011, 08:07 PM
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94gt331 94gt331 is offline
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Out of curiousity Jim what keeps you motivated on being a large LCO do you enjoy the responsibility. What drives your buisiness?
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  #15  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:12 PM
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mowerbrad mowerbrad is offline
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I think newsletters are a great tool for companies to utilize, the open more opportunities for you to expand your business or offer new services. If all you do is mow the lawn of a customer, they may never know that you offer other services, besides mowing. Do I think you need to send out a monthly newsletter?...no, but a few newsletters every year can help your business.

Have a new service that you started to offer? Want to remind your customers of seasonal services you offer? Want to give your customers some lawn care tips throughout the year? Newsletters can help you do all of these things. At the beginning of the season, send out a newsletter that advertises your spring clean-up services, dethatching services or even some fertilizing tips.

Newsletters allow you to both educate your customers about how to take care of their lawn (proper watering, fertilizing, etc). They also allow you to sell extra services.
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  #16  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:50 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Originally Posted by 94gt331 View Post
Out of curiousity Jim what keeps you motivated on being a large LCO do you enjoy the responsibility. What drives your buisiness?
Part of the answer is; I don't really know. I just have a lot of drive and a ton of determination. When I put my mind to something I don't like to give up. And I don't want to be standing idle either. I want to be constantly growing, getting better, getting more business.

Part of it is the financial reward. I wouldn't be happy making $50K or $70K a year. That doesn't afford me the things I want in life for my kids, my wife, our life together. So the bigger our business gets, the more financial reward there is. And I'm not that big on toys and such. I don't really own anything impressive like a big boat or summer home (wish I did). It's just general life that is expensive. I wanted a house that was big enough that we'd always have plenty of room. I wanted my kids to be in a private school. I wanted my wife to be able to stay home and raise our kids, not have to work all week and throw the kids into some daycare. All that stuff just adds up.

And I guess the final part of it is the long-term goal. My long-term goal is to either 1) have a company that doesn't need me around every day to run it. So that way I could keep making a good income but not have to work 60 hours a week. I could just check in on business once in a while but meanwhile everyone would be taking care of their part of the business while I was gone. It's exactly what my Uncle did with his nursery. He has been extremely successful and now doesn't even ever have to stop by the nursery. It runs itself and he just gets a good paycheck. OR option 2) sell the company for a few $mil and get out of the game and retire somewhat early with enough $$ to relax for a while or do something less strenuous. I don't really enjoy working as many hours as I do. But one thing that keeps me doing it for all these years is the hope that eventually I'll realize one of the 2 above goals. Several of my competitors in town have sold off their businesses and made some really good dough. One of them sold his biz. for over $5mil. just a few months before the recession hit and now has a nice home in a private gated community in the Palm Springs area. That's the goal - something like that.
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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
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  #17  
Old 09-04-2011, 11:59 PM
topsites topsites is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
Yes, you are jaded. I've been doing this 15 years. I'm not Jaded. It's a choice. You can chose to be negative or positive.



There are always low-ballers. It's how you differentiate yourself from those guys that matters. We spend a lot of time and money making sure that our company looks and is a lot more professional than those guys. We landed a job the other day that was about $25K. The paver patio portion of the job was $12K. and the client was seriously considering going with his "lawn guy" to do the paver patio and having us do the rest of the landscape, because his "lawn guy" gave a bid for only $9K. But guess what? His "lawn guy" didn't have what we had. He couldn't show them a portfolio of over 100 paver patio jobs that he'd done that turned out beautiful. He didn't have hundreds of references to give them. He didn't even give them any references! He didn't have an A+ rating with the BBB and A ratings in 10 categories on Angie's List. He didn't have an experienced crew of installers. He didn't offer a good warranty.All he had was a cheaper price. They chose us because we overwhelmed him with reasons why he should chose us. The client chose to pay us 33% more than he could have paid the other guy because he perceived there would be a distinctively higher level of quality and service with our company.

People make choices like that every day. There are literally hundreds of LCOs in the Portland area who maintain yards for less than we do each month. So why is it most of them have only 50-100 accounts and we're doing 270 every week? It's certainly not because we're cheaper.

Low-ballers will always exist. You just have to differentiate yourself and focus on the people who are willing to pay more for great quality and great service. Then it doesn't matter who is low-balling you. Because they cannot offer what you can offer.
See, here's my problem...
All the BS later and you somehow think that $25k is 33% more than $9k.
Maybe you meant to say 133% but then it still doesn't work so now we just wait
until the day your little house of fake cards comes tumbling down.
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  #18  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:03 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Hey TopShites. Learn to read! If you will bother to actually re-read my post, I said that the other contractor was bidding $9K for the paver patio and my bid was for $12K for the paver patio. The REMAINDER of the $25K job was always going to go to us. The only thing the customer was balking on was the paver patio.

Now do I have to do the math for you on 9K vs. 12K too???? Or can you figure that one out on your own, Skippy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
The paver patio portion of the job was $12K. and the client was seriously considering going with his "lawn guy" to do the paver patio and having us do the rest of the landscape, because his "lawn guy" gave a bid for only $9K
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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
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  #19  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:35 AM
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TuffWork TuffWork is offline
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Location: Amarillo, Tx
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I give newsletters twice a year. Spring and Fall. To tell my customers of all the extra seasonal services going on. During summer it's all just mow because it's too hot to be doing any fertilizers, etc. Fixing to send out my new one for fall.

In the spring it's all about touching base and getting some income going to pay for initial overhead. It's hard to buy 1k lbs of fertilizer for a company that doesn't have any capital coming in so I try and touch base and get some commitments from my die hard customers before things get crazy with the new customers that I get from advertising, etc.


PS Jim, I would kill for a reason to go to Portland and have an hour or two to talk to you.
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  #20  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:37 AM
topsites topsites is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post
Hey TopShites. Learn to read! If you will bother to actually re-read my post, I said that the other contractor was bidding $9K for the paver patio and my bid was for $12K for the paver patio. The REMAINDER of the $25K job was always going to go to us. The only thing the customer was balking on was the paver patio.

Now do I have to do the math for you on 9K vs. 12K too???? Or can you figure that one out on your own, Skippy?
No but that's neither the way I saw it nor is 9k vs. 12k near the amazing picture I thought you were looking to portray,
I accept your point but also I find that the difference is minor... Well, it's still significant but not outrageously so.

I can handle what you speak of...
And you should get paid more.

My problem is that in the end the customer ultimately STILL shops price ALL day long.
They'll USE that estimate of yours once they figure out the secret...
And haggle out a better price over top of USING your information.
That's been my problem.

But I can see where I shouldn't have lowered my price, that's what I keep thinking was my mistake,
what I get for trying to be a nice guy, granted not all customers are like that either.

Last edited by topsites; 09-05-2011 at 12:42 AM.
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