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Old 04-12-2013, 01:02 AM
JContracting JContracting is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Champlin, MN
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I don't have multiple crews, but screen out prospects when they initially call you with several questions that help you identify if the person is someone you want to have as a client, prevents lots of wasted time & money!
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:54 AM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 6,818
Well, filtering out calls is part of the game, yes. But I'd say we will go out and meet with customers and give them a written bid 90% of the time. Maybe 10% get filtered out over the phone.

First, most of our new customers come from our website. And our minimum prices for weekly service are listed on our website. So that filters out a lot of the cheapskates before they even call.

For existing customers wanting additional work, we'll always go out and give them a quote, no questions asked.

For new customers wanting maintenance work other than weekly service (e.g. clean-ups, mulch installation, etc.) we don't screen those too hard. That kind of work is quick and easy to bid. And we can do a lot of those kind of bids in a day. So we always take those leads.

The other leads we get for landcape installs, hardscape, design, irrigation installs, etc. we do filter out a little. But I don't like to tell people we won't give them a bid. So I just get certain information and decide which one of the sales managers gets that lead. If they are in an area of town that we don't get a lot of work in, have a low home value (we check on Zillow), seem rude or impatient over the phone, or certain other factors that I won't discuss in a public forum, then I will send that lead to one of my other sales guys in our company - because I deem that lead to be a low-chance lead. That is, we're going to have a low percentage chance of landing that job and I only want to spend my time on the leads where we have a high %. Some people we screen out over the phone just by giving them a ballpark figure. If they want synthetic turf, for instance, we'll tell them it generally costs at least $15 per sq. ft., installed. So then we ask them to measure the area out, multiply it by $15 and if that sounds like it's in their budget call back. Most do not call back. Which is a good thing. Because I used to land less than 10% of the Synthetic Turf bids I gave. Now that we have them do this exercise, I land a much higher % of those bids because those that do call back have already considered how expensive it is and are okay with the price.

I think your problem is that you need to hire another sales person / project manager.
Jim Lewis
Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon - Portland Oregon Landscaping Company

landscape design Portland Oregon
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:33 PM
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tyler_mott85 tyler_mott85 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Wichita, KS
Posts: 585
What is the number that you all feel is.ballpark average doable for a solo op? Ive always had 100k in sales in my head for what I could do. This is with 50 full service accounts. Spread between resi, commercial. Mowing four days a week and doing extras two days a week when necessary. Snow removal on commercial accounts only would be on top of that. This is ideal conditions of.course.

As for growing the hardest struggle with growing is not having enough capital to fund the expansion. You can borrow money sure but what happens when theres a downturn in the economy and u don't have the business to pay off all those loans?

Ryan lawn and tree is one of the larger regional lawn care cos around here and ive read articles that they have never taken a loan to grow. Only pay cash for everything they need. Very well respected company around my parts.

If u want to grow make sure you can fund it. Either have investors, be indepedently wealthy, or be prepared to make drastic choices to always always always stay in the black. Saying 'oh its just one year we'll make it up next year' only works if you can.see the future.

I'm scared to even start up part time again after a several year hiatus simply because I lack the discretionary cash and I don't want to put my three kids and wife at financial risk.

Gotta have stones, man, gotta have stones.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:35 PM
Bassman Bassman is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: South, FL
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by Armsden&Son View Post
Well said for sure.... And hey there Bassman.... Isn't that the great thing about the industry in general though? I am one of the guys that you described(fire in the belly) for sure. Currently a single op but just keeping my head down and being patient, observing, watching, waiting, learning, all while honing my craft and learning new things. I absolutely have plans to expand but here I am solo for now... And here you are, solo in the green industry, after many years of obviously not being solo(you said you ran businesses) It's just great that there can be that endless variety of people and backgrounds in our industry. Let me ask you a question.... Knowing what you now know about the landscaping industry, when you were younger and running other businesses would have gotten into the industry then? In other words, being a "business man," Do you think that there is profitability in our industry?
There's profit but much less than many business enterprises. I was fortunate to earn a good living in a health care/medical supply business I owned when my kids were young. I would have never been able to provide the same lifestyle to them in the landscaping industry.

I must confess, I'm more happy now although I make a fraction of the income I used to.

75% of all new business start ups fail in the first 3 years, my track record is a little better than that statistic but not by much.
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