can a customer see you in a Lexus?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,645

    I have always wanted to drive a Lexus, but I have always worried about the impression it would make if a client sees me driving it. Bids checks, simple repair or whatever, at some point a client will see me in it. Even if it is an older model, used, and I paid 5-6 grand for it, I still worry that customers will immediately think I'm a little too successful and probably overcharged them. Am I wrong about this, or do you guys agree? why is it Ok to drive a $40,000 new truck but not a used luxury car like a Mercedes, Lexus, jaguar, etc?
     
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,109

    Why does the customer have to think you are poor if you do lighting for them? You are the professional in a "Doctor-Patient" type relationship. Who cares what you drive? I would personally feel more comfortable hiring someone who is successful who I am confident must do a good job to get to where he is rather than Leroy in the rusted out old beater that I know is going to be cheap, but am unsure if he knows what he is doing or if he will return my calls after the job. I like to drive nice vehicles and have nice equipment. If it makes me look expensive, that's ok. I always encourage my customers to get multiple bids and I also tell them I will probably be the most expensive but I am also going to be better than any one else they talk to. Fixture salesman are poor and struggling, lighting designers are successful and snobby. Ha, Ha,... not really, but you get my drift.
     
  3. cudaclan

    cudaclan LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 152

    The best analogy that I can use is antique/flea market finds. I find that vendors are more apt to bargain or have realistic $ expectations if you dress more “subdued”. If you wear expensive jewelry and clothing the impression is “you can afford it”, whatever the cost.

    Remember, industry expectations.
     
  4. NightLightingFX

    NightLightingFX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 581

    If you are successful you should be able to spend your money any way you want. Most of your customers probably aren't going to be too comfortable dealing with someone driving around a HOOPTIE. On the other hand if you are into the STATUS game and it is important to you that you are seen in an expensive vehicle. Some people might have the same attitude I have. Which is I am not impressed with people / contractors who need status symbols. To me it doesn't seem like a smart business choice to drive up to a work site in an overated vehicle or an underated vehicle. For me personally, I wouldn't worry about what I drove around when I wasn't working.
    ~Ned
     
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Initial meetings we dress nice. We usually take the silverado. Its nice and clean looking no dents or anything.

    Here is another take on it. I recently had a small concrete slab poured for our addition on the house. Only 420 sq ft. Contractor came out. Gave us a price within 100 bucks. He was driving a 3/4 ton work truck. Seemed like an honest man. His price was near the higher end of what I was willing to pay for finishing but he could get to it quick so we gave him the go.

    They show up at 730 am just after I left. Spoke to my wife and told her it would be $175 more than quoted (mind you this is a small 1200 buck job). She said fine and wrote the check. I get a msg from my wife at 330 in the afternoon saying we owed the concrete man another 185. I flipped because he raised his price not once but twice claiming his price didnt increase but it took more redimix than he expected. 4 people estimate the concrete volume at 7.5 yards. He claimed it took 10. He shows up wanting his other $185 in a brand new Cadillac DTS. Not sure why but this made an impression on both my wife and I.

    Meanwhile I dont see anything wrong with driving something your clients would drive but then again you dont see an 09 caddy in my driveway just yet either. I think its all in the way you present yourself and if you remain honest. Had the concrete man stuck to his price and done honest work I would not have cared less what he drives.

    I make sure each and every client knows I WILL be the one completing the installation so I see nothing wrong with showing up in a lettered company truck that is clean and in good working condition. I think different people will interpret this in different ways but if your going to play on a level ball field then make sure you keep things honest because the first time some one feels cheated its going to spread like wildfire.

    We are often seen at upscale establishments where our clientel are and at theatrical presentations. I see nothing wrong with that. I dont always wear a company polo but I do always have a fresh supply of cards on hand for anyone who might ask what we do.
     
  6. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,267

    I feel if you can afford the car and want the car you should buy it. Like you said we can spend $30-$40k for a truck. I just bought a brand new Silverado Z71, I take that on estimates since it is my nicest truck. This is also my personal truck not used for landscaping, only plowing in the winter.
     
  7. BCarlson

    BCarlson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116

    I get what you are saying. Nobody should care about what you drive. They don't know that your doing landscaping and you're wife might be the CEO of Microsoft. Maybe you invested well when you were young. But on the other hand first impressions are everything, you show up in an "09 F350 King Ranch they might automatically assume you are out of their price range. Also part of your long term goals, if I need 2 trucks do you spend 80+ grand on 1-tons or if 1/2 tons would do just fine do you invest the savings over the cost of the 1 tons. But a used Lexus no one is going to care that much about. And if anyone does and says something you bought it to help save on gas.
     
  8. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    Just curious. Why do people pay 15k more for a camry with a lexus logo? I dont think mixing a high end car in the business is a good idea. I dont show up for estimates on my harley or any of my muscle cars. I go with truck and trailer in tow.
     
  9. capelawncare.com

    capelawncare.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,136

    Im not in the lighting business, just landscapes and lawns. I own a BMW Convertible, that I showed up to give few estimates to people a few different times. I never got one of those accts, or jobs where the people saw my car.

    A few people actually commented about it. Now I wont, give an estimate without my old beater work truck.
     
  10. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,941

    Put that money into a loaded Tundra and pay for some custom upgrades that James does not have and post the pics here.
     

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