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Image is everything?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Whitey4, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I notice a lot of folks seem, at least to me, to be preoccupied with logo's, clothes, how cool lookin one's truck is. Don't get me wrong, I think it's good to polish one's image, but I tend to think too much emphasis gets placed on it here. Maybe it's a geographic thing?

    The big LCO's around here drive around in rusty dumps or flatbeds with double cabs... and sometimes, no double cabs. The crews often even ride in the back, in the bed of pickups! Sure, there are the smaller LCO's, guys with shiny new dually's, but I don't see them getting more business because of it.

    In my locale, I see two things. The price shoppers, and the customers that are willing to spend for a LCO that can actually manage their property, diagnose turf and ornamental problems, do attractive plantings, etc.

    Seems to me, they could care less what you drive as long as it still has a muffler on it and gets you to the job when you are supposed to be there. And in a pre-emptive response, I drive a decent looking but hardly new Chevy S-10 with an 8 foot bed and a small trailer. My customers could care less how nice my signage is, it's quality property management they want.

    I just find it interesting that almost half the threads are about image stuff or what to buy next... and not about how to improve one's ability to increase the quality and effectiveness on the "working" end of being an LCO.

    I'd love to see more threads about seed mixes, why some work better than others in a given region, current pest problems that people are seeing, diagnosing turf problems, even a case study... am I asking too much?

    I am new to this business, and I'm trying to learn as much as I can. I got my first copy of TURF magazine. That was, I thought, lacking in substantive info too... just one big advertisement! Growing gardens on the penthouses of skyscrapers? yeah, that'll come in handy! Maybe it's just the off season....
  2. lawnprosteveo

    lawnprosteveo LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,930

    I know what you mean. Dont get me wrong, people dont want to do biz (usually) with the guy whos truck, trailer, and equip look like it came from a garage sale...or guys who look like they just crawled out from under a bridge this morning.

    But beyond having decent equip, a relatively clean truck, and being somewhat clean....I think people arent too worried about.

    Just my 2 cents.
  3. dgZtrak737

    dgZtrak737 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 120

    I totally agree with you on all of this.
  4. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Very good post...I have been saying this for years.

    The lawn guys are the ones that care about the equipment, trucks, uniforms etc.

    The customers dont.

    They care that you show up and mow the lawn. Thats it.

    They arent willing to pay the guy with the 2008 F550, enclosed trailer and uniforms one penny more than the shirtless guy that shows up with a 20 year old walkbehind in the back of an S-10
  5. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    I don't think the customers care all that much as long as you are some what presentable.Now me on the other hand i do care about the appearance of myself and my business equipment.I TRULY BELIEVE first impressions are important while trying to make a sale and that's what we are doing every time we ask to mow a lawn,why shouldn't we look clean and professional and look like we take pride in our companies are we any different then any other company? You have to see this from the first time customers view,when they peek out their windows at your truck or trailer believe me they will come to a conclusion right away before you even speak if that truck is a pos.I and i WILL REPEAT THIS "I" believe you risk the impression of "wow this guy cant even keep his equipment nice" i can only imagine how my lawn will look if i let him tend to it.Now for the folks that have a good reputation already maybe its OK for you to pull up in your beat up trucks,your rep over rides your equipment but for those of us just starting i fully believe we stand a better chance at that first time account showing up looking like a professional.No matter if anyone believes me or not the only reason i bought all new equipment was not to impress anyone but simply to try and get that little edge when i do knock on that door and also i always have lived my life believing that you get what you pay for in life.I like having warranties and being able to go back and say hey this broke,i would rather buy new if possible and know what i have then roll the dice on someone else's stuff that i have no idea how abused the equipment may already be. Any way this is simply my opinion please don't rip me a new one for it! I for one would like to learn more about things like the correct way to mow a lawn,pricing,up selling,best equipment,striping,time management etc...etc...:weightlifter:
  6. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    I agree with you.

    FYI....There are other forum categories on this site that you can check out and learn just about anything you would need to know in the green industry.
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    Yes, I have found the apps forum to be full of useful info and very helpful. It was just a comment on what I preceive based on my market, a higher priority on image than I see here in terms of customers preferences on Long Island. I asked if it was a geographical thing... since the big low balling LCO's drive around here in trashed vehicles.

    I am hardly suggesting that I would be comfortable arriving in a truck that was ready for the junk yard. My truck is presentable, and certainly not a source of embarrassment. But that is my personal preference, as the customers seem as though they could care less about image.

    But, here we go... it's going to turn into an image thread, instead of a lawn care thread. I was hoping my post might provoke some new threads about LAWN CARE, and how to get better at it. Especially for new guys who are starting out (and that is the name of this forum, starting a lawn care co), who probably need that kind of help a lot more than the topics we tend to discuss here. But.... my guess is this thing will go south in a hurry.
  8. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    yes i have visited them and have learned tons,its just sometimes it seems like alot of bashing or competing instead of educating.But hey you take the good with the bad right!
  9. barefeetny

    barefeetny LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 533

    i would rank image #3

    and then only when dealing with customers that are new and havn't been reffered

    1 quality
    2 value

    depending on the customer 1 and 2 will mix up

    that being said my truck adhears to the 50/50/50 rule

    painted it for 50
    looks great at 50 feet or 50 mph

    it actually looks better then that but then the saying dosn't sound as cool

  10. bigw

    bigw LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,540

    No whitey this thread will not go south because we wont let it,i have a lawn question for you...when do you decide to start lowering your cost per acre price? Is it after 3 acres,4 acres,5?? These are the things i need to know.

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