competition research?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Island Lawn, Feb 6, 2001.

  1. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    We are the largest in our market in our chosen field.

    I know when somebody new starts up if they drive by me. I ALWAYS pay attention to them, no matter how small. I was small once. Small smart guys get big. Big guys are competion. So are small guys if you aren't paying attention.

    65hoss is obviously doing a nice job. SOMEBODY's paying attention to THAT. I'd bet my paycheck on it.

    I know a contractor in a southern market doing $11 million in landscape work. His biggest fear is the small guy just starting out. He pays attention to them ALL.

    Stonehenge is right....IMO... Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
     
  2. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    Lots of good info coming in!
    Thanks everyone for your input.

    Stonehenge,
    I like your idea about just flat out approaching the comp., asking questions(consider the source), watching them work.
    Do you have any general questions that you ask almost every comp. you talk to?

    Anyone else do this?

    Any other specific idea on obtianing info on the comp.?

    Paul,
    I bet as you are waving, if they've gotta nice rig, you pay attention and maybe even turn your head trying to get a better look as they go by.
    Thats where I am at now. But I want to do more because
    I know I could learn a lot from my comp.
    I doubt I could learn as much as I learn here, but maybe.
    And the info would be specific to my market and climate.

     
  3. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    I'm in a large market, plus I do high profile jobs, seems it never fails for the other guys to come around and see what I do and how I do it. There are a lot of new ways to do work and if I don't stay ahead of the guys watching me then I'll be behind them, thats not where I want to be. The harder part is watching guys just starting out, and under bidding work with out an idea of what they are bidding, and driving the prices down.
     
  4. OBRYANMAINT

    OBRYANMAINT LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 555

    i constantly have an eye on the competition the bigger guys are easy to get info on because they usually have more accounts and have more ex-employees(not necessarily disgruntled)......they got to the level by doing most things right so their equipment and work practices are like gold to an intelligent up and comer that can apply the same traits......i think i know a lot more about my comp than they know about me but i have been suprised before!
     
  5. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,489

    I never underestimate the intelligence of the competion. Lots of guys out there that are way smarter than me. Unfortunately, they don't have that on their forehead so I gotta figure out who they are by watching.
     
  6. Pauls Mowing

    Pauls Mowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 207

    I apparently failed to fully explain my position on the topic at hand. My post stated that I was not worried about my compitition. I should have continued to state that I do watch them, see what they are doing and what they are using. And they in turn watch me. In our area of about 130,000, there are LCO's who use Lexmarks, and continues down to the fellow pulling a boat trailer with his compact car with his 21" mower straped to it. Most of the LCO's here tend to keep to themselves, and hence there is little comminication between us. I run my little niche market here mainly mowing weed lots which no one else wants to do. Yes, it does concern me that as others see me out doing my thing, others will follow. There is nothing I can do about that.

    I further appreciate the concern that others have experssed to my short and apparently misleading post. There is a great deal of knowledge within this site, and I continue to use this to further my business.

    Thank you all.

    Paul
     
  7. Mike Nelson

    Mike Nelson LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 416

    Paul,
    I think you just wanted to see what type of reaction you would get.:D
    It is great,everybody seems to be on the same page.
    Good luck to all
     
  8. Vibe Ray

    Vibe Ray LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 785

    I think it is always important to chat with your competition....it also gives you a bit o' adrenaline rush sometimes!!!
     
  9. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    The questions I ask really vary. Depends on what's being done. Also depends on who I'm talking to. A foreman for a huge company might not care if he tells you all the secret stuff they do at install. Where a company owner might guard it like a hawk.

    One specific competitor of mine has enough pride for 2 people. I use that to his disadvantage. I'll see him on a job and challenge something I see. He'll go on and on about what he does, why he does it, just to prove he's right. That helps me in 2 ways - at bid time when customers are considering who to choose (and I can tell them how each company will approach this project), and at install time, so I can be sure I'm installing the best way I can.

    Some people won't give you any info. Some will give you lots. You just have to play it by ear. Just approach it innocently, "I'm new in town and wanted to say hi. I'm sure we'll see each other all over town and just wanted to intorduce myself. And hey, whatcha workin' on there?" :)
     
  10. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    I admire good looking work and note poor work.
    Also always looking for a better way.
    Other than that my hands are full just
    doing what I do the best I can do it.
     

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