How Do You Deal With Chemlawn?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Jake Wolf, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Jake Wolf

    Jake Wolf LawnSite Member
    from NYC, NY
    Posts: 37

    I'm wondering what impact regional and national chemical application companies have on your application business? I know chemlawn only has a 60% retention rate, but spend plenty of money on advertising and marketing. How do their prices and service compare to yours?

    I'm going to be blogging alot about chemlawn especially since they have so much public data available online.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Prices? low. Service? No comparison. It is apples to oranges. I sell quality and value. It takes me 2 minutes with what I have to say to sway a person from trubrown over to us....that's all I need. After that, the REAL persuader is the results of the first ap. they get from us in comparison to trubrown. Exactly what I tell them is going to happen - happens.
  3. How do I deal with Chemlawn?

    Simple, first I hit them with a better program, before they recover from that, I hit them with better customer service, while they are dazed I smack them with personal accountability, then "no pestering phone calls" right to the head.

    Then I finish them off with "A job done right, the first time and every time after that for a fair price."

    No contest really. Chem lawn has more money and more customers but when you compare my program and long term results with theirs, the choice is clear.
  4. PR Fect

    PR Fect LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    Our pricing seems to be comparable. I believe they get better service from us, and yes personal accountability. The biggest problem comes on what they ( the national squirt & ferts) have trained the public on buying. Most what a " per application " price. And then want to tell you how many "applications" that there lawn needs before you have even seen it. This is the mind set that the public has been taught. This is done by the big guys because its the only thing they can sell and do on that large of a scale. We sell an IPM program of "seasonal" lawn care. Each lawn getting what it needs in a season, and only what we feel it needs.This is very hard for allot of customers to understand. So its an uphill sell for us. PR
  5. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    Hey guys. I just want to thank all of the fert companys that know how to green up a lawn and keep it growing all year. 90% of the time when I have to skip a lawn cuz it doesn't need cutting it is a chem lawn lawn. They suck. All of my lawns customers that use them complain to me about them or try to blame me for their brown lawns. Why does the guy who's there every week get blamed for the crappy work of chem lawn. Once a guy from chem lawn tried to give me crap in front of on of my customers for cutting to short. Funny thing is, I cut the lawn at 3 3/4" and he was telling the customer that I cut less than 3 inches and it was my fault for the lawn looking like crap. I gave it to him pretty good when we got back to his truck. Now he looks the other way when I see him out there trying to green up the world. Thanks for knowing your jobs. You guys keep money in my pocket.
  6. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,202

    the price per 1k is not what sets the difference in price, it's the salesmen that sells the lawn for less then the measured sqft.
  7. Jake Wolf

    Jake Wolf LawnSite Member
    from NYC, NY
    Posts: 37

    I'm new to pricing applications. Most of my customers have 1/8 of an acre lots with lawn area of 750-3000 sf. I'm trying to push a monthly service of applications, seasonal plantings and pruning. I figure that way I'll get plenty of face to face time with the customers and will be able to really keep on top of things.

    The stuff cost pennies per yard and I'm in an affluent are with home prices anywhere from 300k-1mm+.
  8. indyturf

    indyturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Posts: 1,873

    Don't try and compete on price with TG. you need to have a min charge, since you have small lawns start with a 3k min for $30-$35 and add $3-$4 per K over 3000 sq ft. sell yourself and quality results
  9. tdkx

    tdkx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    Lot's of good advice in here. Pretty much the sales part of the deal is the real clincher. If you don't know what you are talking about then at least TRY to know what you are talking about. You might get by that way. Better yet, actually KNOW what you are talking about when you are selling a program. Remember, Chemlawn often drives away it's best applicators/techs with too much corporate policy. Remember, Chemlawn uses a lot of straight urea fertilizer and the cheapest 2,4D it can find. How do you get Chemlawn prices? Well, you really can't unless you find a salesman who will listen to your plight against Chemlawn. Remember, Chemlawn is a national company, along with several others, and Chemlawn arbritrates it's prices with vendors long before any sale is made with a salesman. Salesmen know good and well who Chemlawn is and they know the low margins associated with those sales because it is contract pricing. The surest way to fail as a newbie in the LCO biz is to go and tick off a bunch of sales guys. Fert/squirt/machine salesmen DO NOT consider a $500 purchase that big of a deal. To go into a vendor and start to argue price, with no tact or salesmanship, over five bags of fert is a sure way to pay six bucks a bag more for fert. Those who survive the initial stage of LCO start-up are those who took the time to make a relationship with a salesman whom they can deal with. Once you do establish that relationship with a salesman, keep it up to date, because that is the only guy who can make up the difference between your pricing and Chemlawn's contract pricing. Don't try to intimidate the sales guy, he knows a lot more than you about his(or her these days) product, do because that is what he does all day long.
    As for what price you should pay for a bag of fert...well...

    Best of Luck
  10. upidstay

    upidstay LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,346

    You will never be able to compete with Chemlawn on price. Period, end of story. Don't try. They can easily be beaten on service. If a customer is willing to live with a crappy lawn to save a few bucks, the screw 'em. There are certain people you are better of NOT having as customers, and cheap skates are one of them.
    I used to use the car analogy on customers. Got a a Cadilac sitting in your driveway? Why not buy a Kia? You would have saved $20 grand? But it won't ride as nice, look as nice, hold up as well? Exactly! You get what you pay for. Same with lawn services.

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