A different spin on gaining customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by K.Carothers, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. K.Carothers

    K.Carothers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,124

    It's winter and time to turn on the mind to unique ways to gain customers. I have an idea and wanted input on it. Don't hold back on comments and remember that this is only an idea.

    Most customers don't get fertilizer on their lawns throughout the year. These are the lawns that slow down to every other week in the summer. Of course the lawns that are treated need cut weekly. I was thinking of offering to my new customers Free 4 step fertilizer program throughout the year with signed contract for cuts. You say you will lose money but will you? For starters you can high bid all these customers(at least $5 more per cut) with 32 cuts/yr=$160 more per account. Second, since you are fertilizing the lawn it will keep growing during the summer months keeping the every other week cuts to every week adding another 8+cuts per lawn at an average of $30/cut=$240/yr per account. Third, sell the customer a grub control treatment and the final winterizing treatment=$60/account. Fourth, the customer feels they are getting a steal and the ones that have a fertilizer co already will drop them. And finally, your accounts lawns would look great adding value to your quality of work= more drive by customers wanting your service.!! We all know how much the mark-up with fertilizers are. I guess you can call it a loss leader with great profits at the end of the day. Just a thought I have been tossing around and would like all the pro's and con's of this idea.
    Thanks
    P.S. Merry Christmas Everyone(if I can still say Christmas in America)
     
  2. wrestlingcoach

    wrestlingcoach LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 251

    don't forget the extra special chemical licenses and fertilizer licenses and the great added Insurance.
     
  3. desert rose gardening

    desert rose gardening LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    if you can afford it try it for a year. Not all of my customers want fretilizer, so some of them I put on anyway, not many maybe five or so. I don't want to mow a yellow lawn. And where I work in this country and the size of most my lawns I can fertilize four lawns with a fifty pound bag that costs about $11.50 or so. As you can tell most of my lawns are small tract homes. And like you said if you charge more to Begin with, it wont cost you anymore. Then you have to think about the following years how you want to do it.
     
  4. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Sounds like a good idea mostly. Here grass doesn't slow down till well into October. The only things I can see that may be a problem are if you bag clippings, more dump fees so better include that cost and a Nitrogen rich grass ( a heavy feeder) will produce more soft tissue and could more more suspetable to damage depending upon the variety. Are you going for Milnorganite most of the season and then a spike of an ammonia based as grass starts moving towards dormancy or what? What type of fert program?
     
  5. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Sound like a good idea. If you are going to charge $5 extra per cut you are still charging for the service (at a discount). I would try to sell the program at full price first and if they don't bite then you can let them in on your free program. I think a phone call explaining that to prove the benefits of apps. you are willing to perform the service at cost for the first year.

    Cudo's for thinking out of the box :)
     
  6. Mico Landscaping design

    Mico Landscaping design LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Ask bobby he knows everything :waving:
     
  7. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Man, Bobby is on vacation and still can't catch a break :) I bet he doesn't make it the whole 2 weeks though. He will find a coffee shop somewhere with internet access.
     
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I have been kicking around this idea in my head all year. I had never really thought about it until another local LCO told me that he does this. Except he puts down fertilizer and no charge and does not even tell the customer.....which I would not recommend at all.
     
  9. PR Fect

    PR Fect LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    K, yes you can say Merry Christmas! And Merry Christmas rigt back at you! We tosed this one around a few years ago, even thought of ferting at night when the clients place was closed. You know, they see the lawn looks great, and you get all the credit. I estimated 4 to 5 more mowing's per year. Lawn with Fert and irrigation 26 to 28 mowing's per year, just Fert program 21 to 23 per year, and natures way about 16 - 18 mowing's per year. So how much freebies do you do? How about watering it also? And the big one, what if your other customers who pay for a Fert program find out? I think what you really are talking about is selling a full service lawn care program, for one set price. If they do not fertilize now, I found them to be cheep, and not wanting to spend for a full program. And sometimes your worst paying clients. So do you really want to give your service away to that part of your customer base? PR
     
  10. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    K,
    I believe you'll be selling yourself short by adding a 4 step program for $160.
    Try selling your existing customers,that do want fertilzer apps,more services,like lime apps.,aerating,spring and fall cleanups.You'll make less stops(same customers) while increasing your income at the same time.It's a win/win for both of you.
    We tend to think in terms of more customers are better,but actually we're missing out by not selling every possible service to our existing customers.
     

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