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  #1  
Old 01-03-2001, 03:57 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Hey guys, I got a question for those who do a lot of advertising. What kinds of things do you do to make sure you don't let a customer down?

What I mean is; every spring and summer the same thing happens. I start getting worried around Janurary because things are so dead so I plan tons of advertising. Then when spring finally hits and I am getting swamped with calls I invariably end up taking a call, taking down the information, and then not showing up to give the bid. Now this doesn't happen very often, but it does happen. And I feel really bad about doing this.

My goal has always been to give an estimate to 100% of the people who wanted one from me (assuming it was a job I could do and was interested in.) I really feel bad when I let someone slide through like that. But I just get so busy it's hard to keep up. I am as organized I could possibly be. But I wondered what others did to make sure they gave bids to everyone.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2001, 04:05 PM
osc osc is offline
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We did a yellow pages ad in 2000 and had to drop it for the year 2001. Too many calls. My wife had the auto response thing of "we're booked up for three months".
  #3  
Old 01-03-2001, 04:15 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Well, I have never been booked up for that long (I wish I had). Usually we are only booked for a week or two during the busy season. And I honestly would like to make sure and give every bid and get all the business we can take. It just seems that I have trouble keeping up with calls, estimates, overseeing jobs, buying new equipment, etc. Then, before I know it, I let one slip by.

Jim
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


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landscape design Portland Oregon
  #4  
Old 01-03-2001, 04:29 PM
beck beck is offline
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I was once told that if you get every bid you make you are not charging enough.

If I have a lot of work that needs to be done I generally raise the price. The law of supply and demand.

I try to find out if there is a possiblility for more work up front. If there is then I won't raise the price too much. Hoping to get that job and any future jobs.

Also find out their time frame do they want it done for a party next weekend or whenever you get around to it. That will help in the initial conversation, by finding out if it fits in your time schedule.

Being organized helps out a lot. I usually make "to do lists" my spring list is starring me in the face. (too bad it is still a couple of months off)

  #5  
Old 01-03-2001, 04:47 PM
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Richard Martin Richard Martin is offline
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JimLewis wrote:

<b><i>It just seems that I have trouble keeping up with calls, estimates, overseeing jobs, buying new equipment, etc</b></i>

If you are getting this busy it is time to hire someone to help you. You could hire a salesman, an office person or a field manager. You need to become an effective manager and delegate some responsibility to hired help. Check into some online courses in management. You will not regret it.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2001, 05:56 PM
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JimLewis JimLewis is offline
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Argh! You guys don't get it. I was looking for a few organizational tips. Maybe "Well, I always get up at 7:30 and give all of the estimates for the day and then go on to other business" or something like that.

Beck, I don't expect to land every bid I give. That wasn't the issue. The issue was trying to organize things in such a way where I GAVE every bid. Whether I got the job or not was not what I was addressing.

Richard, I don't really have the business to warrant adding a salesman, office person, etc. Although my wife is coming home full time in March and she will help with office work. But we are only really super busy like this for a 3 months or so, then it's completely managable. And it's not like I miss very many bids anyway. Even if I hired someone and got it to where I was able to make 100% of the bids, that would only be maybe 5% more than I had done in the past, which doesn't justify hiring help.

Anyway, like I said, I am just looking for organizational techniques to help me oranize things so that I don't ever miss a bid. I am mostly interested in hearing from guys who have a pretty good sized operation going, who advertise a lot, and have come up with a way to make sure they give every bid they want to within 48 hours or so of receiving the call.
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Lewis Landscape Services - Oregon
"kickin' grass and takin' names"


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landscape design Portland Oregon
  #7  
Old 01-03-2001, 06:03 PM
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Well, I have a friend that has a rather successful tree and yard service (no maintenance) and though he doesn't actually work with the guys, he has one day out of the week, Wednesday, that he does his estimates. This wouldn't work in our business though, because people want their stuff done NOW!
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2001, 06:46 PM
HOMER HOMER is offline
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That sounds like the most sane thing to do, I have trouble as well at times. Take one morning a week and do estimates, and tell them when they call that you reserve every Wednesday morning for estimates and thats when you'll be there. I think it's more of a discipline thing, at least it is for me. If I could practice some of what I preach I would be better off!
  #9  
Old 01-03-2001, 06:47 PM
double e double e is offline
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You probably already do, but have a note pad handy.
1st page: I have things to do: jobs you already got the go on.
2nd page: Jobs to bid on- when people call- put name/address/and what to do
3rd page: Jobs pending- jobs you already bid on, just waiting to hear back from

When people call tell them you busy and will bid as soon possible. But mostly dosn't work, because people are impatient.

On jobs I don't want- I always refer other companies. It makes them feel appreciatated and they will in turn refer you.- could be the job you've been looking for.
  #10  
Old 01-03-2001, 08:57 PM
Ssouth Ssouth is offline
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jimlewis, personally, I've always been a notepad person but have found I have to many pads floating around at one time and never have all of the info I need with me at all times. For Christmas I recieved a palm pilot and have been playing with it ever since. I truly believe this device will put an end to all of my organizational needs. I, myself have been guilty of not returning calls again ( I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN, it makes your business look very bad) This past summer I recieved several lucrative jobs where other company's would say they would be there but never showed up. Either be honest and tell them you are busy or SHOW UP. I recieve all of my business through word of mouth and would hate to lose all of my business through word of mouth. If you have to put a string around your finger LOL. Just some food for thought.
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