how do you assesss if your prospective customer is 'for real'

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GarPA, May 5, 2002.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Need your opinion on how you approach a new customer.
    I met with the lady last Friday...we start with job 1 which is to teat out 600 sq ft of juniper....yuck. Then yesterday she calls and wants my ideas on replanting this same bed with 'whatever'.Told her I dont know what 'whatever' is but gave her a checklist of questions to help her determine what she likes/doesn't like. Then she calls me again and says she wants all the beds edged and 5 large white pines installed and beds cut in with perennials. You all know how much unproductive time we spend on proposals...its just part of our business. Maybe I'm doing this wrong but with a case like this one, I will start with job one and give her a proposal...get at least some sense if its a go no go...then I'll spend the time on the other estimates. I'm somewhat concerned shes more interested in getting just an idea of what all of her 'wish lists' will cost her, rather than actually having an intention to have the work done this spring.
    How do you approach a prospect like this?? thanks in advance.
     
  2. kerr lawn

    kerr lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    something to the effect of i'm really busy right now so lets take this slow so let me give you an estimate on the juniper and the beds edged. Then let me fiqure out how much it will be for the pines trees and perennials (if she has already decided i hope for your sake).
    i say you do it this way because then with the juniper and the edging you go get that done when you have time. Also it is money on the spot, maybe pay out a few in labor and you keep the change.
    Also then she will see your work and you will see how she is for real, once you start asking for money. Then you go forth and spend the time to fiqure out how much the plant materials are gonna cost you if you don't know already.
    peace
    bryan
     
  3. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    First off I don't do landscaping so it is a little hard for me to give advice to your end. But one thing I have done in the maint. end is when a customer starts talking like this is to add a little extra into later bids to cover the time you spent on the estimates. So if you do get the job you get paid. OR ask her out right how serious she is. Tell her you are busy and if she is just being a recreational big taker, you don't have time to bid jobs you will never get.
     
  4. heygrassman

    heygrassman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 509

    Take a deposit or retainer for the design and proposal. Make it refundable on the work if she chooses to do the work this year. This does not have to be a practice to all your customers. If she knows someone else that got one, then respond with "we were running a special where we were waiving the fee that month".

    I do like Kerr's idea. Sell it in a bit at a time..
     
  5. marcie

    marcie LawnSite Member
    Posts: 21

    charge her for design........... she'll go away
     

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