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  #17831  
Old 05-23-2013, 08:01 PM
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Outdoors_Unlimited Outdoors_Unlimited is offline
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Location: Oxford, Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCLawn and more View Post
This brings me to my question. How have you guys been with customer service while being slammed? I give myself a D right now. I had 23 voice mails in 2 days.
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I have had the same issue lately. I came to the conclusion though that if I want to get anything done, I have to let VM catch it.

I then screen through my calls at night, and call back the leads I'm interested in.

I have all of my yearly maintenance peoples phone numbers stored in my contacts, and call them back between job sites when I see they call. I also have the visual vm option on my phone, so I can listen to the calls from maintenance people without having to listen through all of the voicemail.

Another thing I've done is push it to clients that I use texting, and many of them understand the benefit of communicating that way.

I would say I've been handling it the best I can as an operator who works in the field.
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  #17832  
Old 05-23-2013, 09:21 PM
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JCLawn and more JCLawn and more is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outdoors_Unlimited View Post
I have had the same issue lately. I came to the conclusion though that if I want to get anything done, I have to let VM catch it.

I then screen through my calls at night, and call back the leads I'm interested in.

I have all of my yearly maintenance peoples phone numbers stored in my contacts, and call them back between job sites when I see they call. I also have the visual vm option on my phone, so I can listen to the calls from maintenance people without having to listen through all of the voicemail.

Another thing I've done is push it to clients that I use texting, and many of them understand the benefit of communicating that way.

I would say I've been handling it the best I can as an operator who works in the field.
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I try to use texting a lot. I ended up leaving a guy out in the cold last week saying I was going to do this and that and totally forgot about it, didn't mean too. I've never had these issues till last fall. Also a fault of mine is when I go into work mode I won't make or take calls. I could literally be on the phone all day I think so when that happens I go emergency only phone calls.
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  #17833  
Old 05-24-2013, 12:50 PM
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Outdoors_Unlimited Outdoors_Unlimited is offline
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I've got a question for you guys.

His do you guys go about determining what the market will bear pricewise.

If I go with the formula of figuring out my costs, and going with that, I'm leaving money of the table because I operate with as small of a budget as possible.

I "think" I'm starting to get the lawn pricing figured out, as I am hitting the hourly rates I'm shooting for. I'm looking more along the lines of the irrigation work. Last week I installed a lake pump for a friend, thought I made decent money doing it, only to have the neighbor tell me he couldn't even buy the pump for what my installed price was. When I talked to the guy at the irrigation supply I found out I under sold myself by $200. I dont want that to happen much more. So this week, on a valve replacement I thought I would try to up the price I was charging a bit, to have the customer tell me I was way high. I've always charged $125 to replace a valve, and tried $175 this time.

We are always getting compliments on how nice of a job we do, so I know I'm pretty much covered on the quality side of business, now to figure out how to be more consistent and in line on the pricing department. How did you guys learn this part. I once heard, Johnny's plumbing company didn't fail because he was a bad plumber, its because he didn't understand business. Basically that's what I'm afraid of. I KNOW the work/field/crew management aspect of being a business owner, but I never knew/ still learning the business side of it.

Would it be best for me to take some business classes? What tips can you offer?

Edit: I'll add that I am still small, with one helper, but want to learn these things before I grow much more, and run into issues, risk loosing everything I work so hard for.
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  #17834  
Old 05-25-2013, 08:07 PM
3rdDayBrad 3rdDayBrad is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: MI
Posts: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outdoors_Unlimited View Post
I've got a question for you guys.

His do you guys go about determining what the market will bear pricewise.

If I go with the formula of figuring out my costs, and going with that, I'm leaving money of the table because I operate with as small of a budget as possible.

I "think" I'm starting to get the lawn pricing figured out, as I am hitting the hourly rates I'm shooting for. I'm looking more along the lines of the irrigation work. Last week I installed a lake pump for a friend, thought I made decent money doing it, only to have the neighbor tell me he couldn't even buy the pump for what my installed price was. When I talked to the guy at the irrigation supply I found out I under sold myself by $200. I dont want that to happen much more. So this week, on a valve replacement I thought I would try to up the price I was charging a bit, to have the customer tell me I was way high. I've always charged $125 to replace a valve, and tried $175 this time.

We are always getting compliments on how nice of a job we do, so I know I'm pretty much covered on the quality side of business, now to figure out how to be more consistent and in line on the pricing department. How did you guys learn this part. I once heard, Johnny's plumbing company didn't fail because he was a bad plumber, its because he didn't understand business. Basically that's what I'm afraid of. I KNOW the work/field/crew management aspect of being a business owner, but I never knew/ still learning the business side of it.

Would it be best for me to take some business classes? What tips can you offer?

Edit: I'll add that I am still small, with one helper, but want to learn these things before I grow much more, and run into issues, risk loosing everything I work so hard for.
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You have some great questions, Outdoors...

A business class or two is never a bad idea. They will give you direction when you're making those important decisions for your company.

As for what you charge....

As long as you are covering your costs and making a respectful profit, then you are doing it right. You will not get every potential customer you talk to.

But you will get the customers who believe you are being fair, have heard of you beforehand and know your work. These customers will be willing to pay what you are charging.

I do not do any advertising... haven't for 10 years. All my work is referrals. I have some good customers who have given my number out quite a few times. I also have formed some great relationships with other business owners who work in our field.... sprinkler installers, tree companies, suppliers, etc. They also have given me some great referrals thru the years.

Keep doing what you are doing. Do good work, and always give the customer a little extra when you are there, they will see that.

Seems like you are on the right track. Good luck!
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  #17835  
Old 05-25-2013, 10:09 PM
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Outdoors_Unlimited Outdoors_Unlimited is offline
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Location: Oxford, Michigan
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I spent this winter studying plant id/care. I'm thinking it would be a good idea to enroll in a few classes for business next winter and try to dial that end of the business in.

Thanks for the response Brad.
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  #17836  
Old 05-25-2013, 11:28 PM
reliablelawn reliablelawn is online now
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Location: Detroit MI
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Coming from a finance major at MSU, business classes will only get you so far. If you are looking for a "business class or two" you will be forced to take a basic Marco/micro econ or a basic corporate accounting class most likely. These courses have little to no practice application to real world small business owners. Good basic knowledge to know? Yes. Game changer for running a business? I could not count on it.
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  #17837  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:50 AM
3rdDayBrad 3rdDayBrad is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reliablelawn View Post
Coming from a finance major at MSU, business classes will only get you so far. If you are looking for a "business class or two" you will be forced to take a basic Marco/micro econ or a basic corporate accounting class most likely. These courses have little to no practice application to real world small business owners. Good basic knowledge to know? Yes. Game changer for running a business? I could not count on it.
All due respect, Reliable, but taking some select business courses CAN be a game changer for running a business. Enrolling at a local community college gives you the option of choosing which classes you take. Micro/Macro economics is not one of them.... Business Mgt, Sales, or even Marketing are all good areas to gain some knowledge for running your business.

With knowledge comes power. And in this case, the power to make educated decisions that can only help you grow your business.
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  #17838  
Old 05-26-2013, 08:56 AM
3rdDayBrad 3rdDayBrad is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outdoors_Unlimited View Post
I spent this winter studying plant id/care. I'm thinking it would be a good idea to enroll in a few classes for business next winter and try to dial that end of the business in.

Thanks for the response Brad.
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You are one step further than most of your competition, Outdoors. Having a Horticulture degree myself, I am constantly entertained by the many 'professionals' in our field that spew nothing but B.S. to customers just to get the job. To me, that doesn't reflect professionalism at all, but rather, ignorance and immaturity.

Keep doing what you're doing, Outdoors. As I said in my previous post, Knowledge is power.
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  #17839  
Old 05-27-2013, 07:21 PM
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puffyhead929 puffyhead929 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Novi Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reliablelawn View Post
Coming from a finance major at MSU, business classes will only get you so far. If you are looking for a "business class or two" you will be forced to take a basic Marco/micro econ or a basic corporate accounting class most likely. These courses have little to no practice application to real world small business owners. Good basic knowledge to know? Yes. Game changer for running a business? I could not count on it.
Agreed. I'm doing the same thing right now. Those classes help to an extent but nothing replaces real experience.
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  #17840  
Old 05-27-2013, 08:36 PM
MJK MJK is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 354
Hey guys, I'm looking to buy a diesel transfer tank system to put in my truck. I want to keep the fuel as clean as possible while brining it to the jobsite to put in skid steers. I was looking for a 50 gallon size. Any recommendations by those who have them?
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