How to approach new customers....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by promower2002, Jan 7, 2003.

  1. promower2002

    promower2002 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    Just completed bidding for the '03 season. I would like some input- Would you advise calling the prospective client, or would you drop by, give 'em a card, and get your foot in the door that way? Also, what is a good hourly rate for shrub trimming? Thanks
     
  2. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    What type of prospective clients? Residential I would leave a card and info at the door. Comm'l I would write a letter to the decision maker at the business.

    Trimming rate for shrubs? Well, that has been argued here many many times. It comes back to what are your expenses?
     
  3. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 502

    It's my practice to never discuss an hourly rate with a customer. We price work by the job. You set yourself up for failure by becoming a common wage earner. People resent paying a high hourly wage because they compare it to the money they make at their own jobs.
    If an hourly rate is important to you, then figure it privately and give the customer one price for the whole job. I have actually refused business with people who insist on having us work by the hour.
     
  4. lawncare3

    lawncare3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,981

    I agree you can't base the price on the hour because they really do place that with their job wages and they think they will NEVER pay more then they make.
     
  5. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    When I submit a proposal to a Comm/Ind account I always put a call back time frame in the cover letter. This way in a week or two when I call, I simply say that its a follow up call to our estimate and the person(s) in charge is expecting our call.

    For Shrubs:
    The 1st and foremost thing you need to do is to keep track of how long each task takes. You should walk the properties and work the estimated times over in your head.

    The 2nd aspect to consider is a larger specimen that may require ladder, scaffolding, or bucket work should be billed out at a higher rate than those you can walk around to complete.

    Here are some ideas that might help you get an idea of how to price your work, all times given include the clean-up.

    If you have small sized shrubs under 3' in diameter these will probably take a total of 10 minutes each. These could include the barberry, euonymus, birdsnest spruce, goldthread cypress etc.

    Then there are what I like to think of as the medium sized range between 3-5’, which usually are the yews, hollies, yaupons, fuller barberries, and boxwoods. I would recommend that you estimate 15-20 minutes each.

    We often have upright/columnar specimens at corners as well. These would be your arborvitae, lelandi cypress, hemlocks etc. that are kept between 6-8' with minimal ladder work to shape the tops. I would recommend estimating about 20-25 minutes each.

    If you have hedgerows and the like, I will usually try to block them together by counting individual specimens. If I have 30 hemlocks 8' tall along the curbside and 20 running along the back of the lawn to make a corner hedgerow I might figure 20 minutes for every block of 6. So it might be 5x20 for the curbside, and 4x20 for the back lawn totaling 180 minutes or 3 hrs.

    You also are going to have to take into consideration how much growth is going to be removed. Are you cutting a privet hedge way back, or is it a well-maintained evergreen that just needs the new growth taken off.

    Another thing to remember is that when you're cutting evergreens, STOP at the dark green layer and don’t get too thin.

    Hopefully this helps some.
     
  6. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    Good info from kutnkru.
     
  7. cdriver88

    cdriver88 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    what is the best way to go after new comm. clients like hotels restraunts ect dentist offices
     

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