ESTIMATES. FACE TO FACE OR LEAVE ONE?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Feb 15, 2001.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    HEY FOLKS, JUST WONDERING HOW U ALL FOUND IT TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE, WHEN SOMEONE CALLS FOR AN ESTIMATE, DO U JUST LEAVE ONE IN WRITING, OR MAKE SURE U SPEAK WITH THEM FACE TO FACE? I HAVE FOUND THAT SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY DONT WANT TO SPEAK WITH ME, THEY SAY JUST LEAVE ME AN ESTIMATE IN THE MAILBOX, OTHERS DONT SPECIFY EITHER. I STARTED ADVERTISING MONDAY LAST WEEK, AND DID 5 ESTIMATES ALL FOR CUTTING AND FERT, AND DID NOT GET ONE REPLY YET. ALL OF THESE WERE DONE BY JUST LEAVING A BID IN THE MAILBOX, NO FACE TO FACE CONTACT. HAVE U GUYS FOUND FACE TO FACE TO PRODUCE MORE WORK? THANKS, BOB
     
  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,073


    We find that most people in our area like us to set up a time when they will be home so they can meet with us.

    We have done a few estimates without meeting the potential customers, but we have never just left an estimate in the mailbox. I think if you are going to go this route, it would be more effective to tell the customer that you will stop by and look at their property and give them a phone call in the evening to discuss their yard. That way you get to at least talk to them again.

     
  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    If they don't want to talk face to face and give you a chance to sell yourself and explain some procedures or what their lawn may require, I would assume they are merely looking for the cheapest and those customers are the ones you can do without!
     
  4. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,073



    Nah, I don't think that is always true. Maybe sometimes, but not always.

    We actually had one customer who we didn't even meet until this past October after taking care of his lawn all season.
    He's a busy guy, doesn't get home from work until late, but he still cared about his lawn. I think the little time he does have, he doesn't want it chewed up by people coming by and giving bids. You can sell yourself over the phone, if need be, but it's a little bit harder.
    Not everyone cares just about price.
     
  5. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 712

    Either way, but leave it up to them. I ask when it would be convenient to meet them and discuss their needs, but sometimes they may just be busy, or afraid you'll want to try a hard sell. I have several clients like this. They never complain, always pay quickly, and don't chat my ears off if they're home when I mow. Model clients, IMO.
     
  6. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 675

    If asked to just leave it in the mailbox, on the property or even with another person like a manager at a commercial property, I do what the potential customer asks. But, I make sure when getting the address info, I also get the phone number and I call them to make sure they understood the qoute and to see if they had any other questions.

    When giving the qoute, I also put in a list of other services and prices if I would like to do those services on that property.
     
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Since I tend to charge more than most of my competetors I always try to meet one on one with the potential client. I have never just left a bid somewhere. If you are going to charge top dollar it is important that you sell the job or else you may find yourself doing a lot of bidding and no cutting. Like you said, "DID 5 ESTIMATES ALL FOR CUTTING AND FERT, AND DID NOT GET ONE REPLY YET".
     
  8. jcoat

    jcoat LawnSite Member
    Posts: 112

    When the customer asks you to leave the estimate in their mailbox and they don't respond, another contigent perhaps is that the mailman is picking up and throwing away the estimate before they can respond to it! I wouldn't think this is the case, but from my father being a retired postmaster AND the many times this has been addressed on the site, this could be the scenario (You know, once that mailbox is planted, it is property of the USPS and any propaganda is considered trash <my thoughts only>). You might tell the customer that your policy is to meet ALL CUSTOMERS in-person so you can establish a relationship with them. Tell them you do this to differentiate yourself from the competition and you want to sell customer service, as well as, lawn maintenance.
     
  9. Hello Everybody:

    I always want to talk to them because you can find out a lot about what they want & their Gripes too! In almost all cases you find out why they are unhappy with other Lawn Service & that's very important.

    I had several tell me what they were paying, who they were using & then I had some that would tell me a bunch of wierd stuff that they expect to be done. If I was there I might not be able to decide if they a customer I want or if they were a Zero or Bullet? :)

    EXAMPLE:

    I had this one Doctors wife talk to me for over a hour telling me all this Mumbo Jumbo & I thought she was crazy. I would have bidded the lawn at $150 a month year round. After talking to her for a hour I decided it needed to be $285 a month. I got the job & it was very profitable.

    She treated me like crap for a month or so. Then she treated me OK. Then later I found out she was Big Time in the Junior Leauge. She called me one day to yep you got it, watch her Kids Play outside, well I said NO & she kept on & On. Well stupid me did it.

    I was there 1 hour 15 min. she gave me $50 & I told her NO again. I told her I needed work real bad & I wanted nothing but year rounders. I wanted folks just like her & she knew what I was talking about! $$$$$

    2 months later I had gotten over 15 from her, referalls. All Doctors & Lawyers, well 1 stockbroker too! No matter what I told them price wise they agreed to pay it! LOL

    End of that month that I did the LOL Babysitting job, she included the $50 in my check.

    After her I did all bids in person, even if I had to go to their job or what ever? All those wierd ones I listen good & price by the way they act? I did real good too!

    Don't worry if you don't get 1 out of 5, I hardly ever did. I was happy with 1 out of 15 or 20. I charged the crap out of them & if I'm going to do this work I'm going to get paid for it.

    BTW, I have got paid $650 a cut for residential (it was the lawn from Hades too), twice a month for over 1 1/2 years & lost the account because the guy called me at lunch one day & wanted me to put down over 1,000 bales of pinestraw in his flower beds before 6:00 that afternoon. I could not have got that much straw delivered there by 6:00 if my life depended on it. Oh well in this business you got to take the good with the bad. :)
     
  10. Five Star Lawn Care LLC

    Five Star Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,005

    Deffinatly with GrassMaster on this one.....meating clients face to face makes them feel a lot more confident about your service, and it allows u to sell your service a lot better...when i give an estimate face to face i get on average every 9 out of 10 as weekly clients....then on the other hand when i dont speak to them in person i aveage 3 out of 5.....this system has proven very succesfull b/c i am good at communicating with people and selling my service. If u are uncomfortable talking directly with potential client then u may just want to drop the estimate in the mail box, but the company that goes up to the door and addreses the clients needs in person is more than likely going to get the job if your prices are the same.
     

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