How to improve operations next season

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by guitarman2420, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    I am trying to come up with the best method of reducing fuel/marketing costs for bidding/estimating.

    In the past I have advertised "free estimates". This leads to lots of wasted trips where the prospective client is looking for the cheapest price. I have since changed my ad to eliminate the word "free".

    I personally drive a large F250 diesel pickup. All the vehicles I have available to me are not fuel efficient. I don't have the room in the budget to buy a new fuel efficient vehicle for sales calls. I occasionally drive my wife's Equinox, but it is not branded with our advertising.

    Are any of you having "real world" success with estimating from off site with estimating software, etc.? We are a full service landscaping company. We provide mowing services, landscape installation, landscape design, snow removal, mulching, etc. The only services we do not offer is irrigation services. Any ideas or solutions found would be greatly appreciated.

    Last month I spent @ $450 in fuel (not including maintenance costs, etc) to provide estimates for leaf jobs, mulch, etc.)
  2. maelawncare

    maelawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 420

    $450 a month in fuel. I spend that easily in a week.

    If you cant afford the gas to go look at properties. Than you aren't charging enough.

    I drive my wifes edge sometimes to go look at properties. But most times it's my truck. I don't care about the fuel, I care about the time.

    I know 90% of the yards in my area. Been here all my life. So I tell them I can give em a rough ballpark figure over the phone. Then if they agree I drive out and look at it, this is for mowing pricing. Works everytime. We aren't the cheapest in town so it gets rid of the tire kickers.
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Can you use Google Maps to give you a preliminary view of the property, and then give the customer a price "range"? At least for mowing. Then if they are ok with the range, you could drive out for a final walk through. It might eliminate the price checkers and tire kickers. I am irrigation repair only, and I won't go out to do a free estimate on repairs. If I did, I would never get any work done.
  4. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    1. I want to make sure that you understand that the $450 a month is just for sales calls. Our monthly fuel bill runs 4-5 X that.

    2. Google Maps can be used; but in Virginia, most lots are so heavily wooded that it is hard to get a good look at them.

    Have you bought any of the estimating software where you can highlight beds and it tells you the square footage?
  5. branchoutshrub

    branchoutshrub LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    We use Google maps when possible. I drive my truck and sometimes use the wife's car to save money and miles. It's always a gamble when I don't look at the property myself.
  6. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    I try and give clients a range of prices, because I know the neighborhoods, but every once and a while a yard will surprise you with steep grade issues or large beds vs. grass.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. acculawnsystems

    acculawnsystems LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    Use and give instant quotes to your potential customers. It save time, fuel, manpower and is very effective.
  9. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    I try to do most all my estimates off google maps with the measurment tool or I do estimates on my routes.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 284

    Posted via Mobile Device

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