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Not giving estimates

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by LawnsRUsInc., Apr 15, 2007.

  1. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 916

    I had this issue for a cpl years where i would forget to give an estimate or not be intrested in taking the time out of my busy schedule to go there. What have you guys done to not do that. I have done the following that has helped me.

    1. Pre screen clients if its somthing i dont want to do i tell them that we are booked out several months.

    2. My secretary pre types up all estimates and puts it on my desk

    How many of you guys are guilty of the same thing i know i was but with 10 on average estimates a day i felt like clients were not getting customer service like they feel they should get.

    I called 8-10 local landscapers to give my girlfriends property an estimate for maintenance and she lives in a very nice sub. and i recieved 0!!! estimates
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    yup I'm Guilty..

    also what I have done is resended an estimate....

    had a lady call me and meet her at a field... she told me this company used to opperate untill she shut it down 10 years ago, and this field next to it needs weedeating about every month.... there was slag and scrap metal in it.

    so when I thought she was finished telling me about it I gave her a bid....

    then she went on and on and on.... seems the reason she shut it down was because she contamanated the drinking water supply for the entire town. Brenham texas. where Blue bell ice cream is made....

    and so the ground is bad... she went on and said she would have to scrape down 15 to 20 feet replace all the soil and then they would do testing to see if it was safe.....

    after hearing this I did'nt walk away I ran.... she called and tried to get nasty talking about law suite and such.... So I had to pull my heavy guns and remind her that WE DO NOT HAVE A CONTRACT....... WE HAVE A BID.....

    the nerve of some people.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,278

    I do it all the time, I'll admit it's not the best practice. Alot the time i'll tell people we are booked for the summer or something, or if it's an area im not iterested in I just don't call back.

    Sometimes I hate to do it, b/c I do it to regualer customers who want Mulch in like June or July when we are done with that stuff. I just tell them we are over booked on extras, or give a super high price
  4. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 916

    Yea thats the issue you dont call the people back they will say ahh i called xyz company for an estimate and they never called or came out nothing!
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    You might try calling lawn service providers next time instead of landscapers.'
    There is a big difference between the two.
  6. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,667

    I try to put PRICES on all my flyers to prevent wasted phone calls and I wont' travel very far at all for an estimate. I gotta be in the neighborhood.

    For Windows and eaves I try to get info from customer and ball park it, I blow a few estimates but they are JUST estimates. Better to talk to a customer on the phone for 5 minutes that to drive for an hour.
    For lawn care, I put lot sizes and prices but if I can't make money... I mean they are just estimates.
  7. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Hire a sales manager to do your estimates.. I had the same problem, and finally hired someone to handle the estimates.

    We get a call. Someone in the office takes the info. We setup an appointment if necessary and the sales manager meets with the clients and brings back all of the specs. to me. Then I write the quotes. I also meet with clients on a daily basis.

    We average 20-30 estimates per day during the spring and about half of that during the summer.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Maybe cut back a little on advertising, if you're that booked, it could help balance the load while it saves some $ but I also know from experience you're better off advertising too much vs. not enough, so please be careful, do a test first.

    Raising prices a bit helps, too.

    Perhaps you're missing a systematic method?
    For example: I do estimates either in the am before I get going, or in the pm after I get back.
    Line them up like ducks in a row (map it out), get in my car and boom-boom-boom, I used to knock out 3-6 in 1-2 hours.

    I mean, if I can tell on the phone that it's bs, thank them for their time, don't even bother but let them know.
    Cherry picking helps because either I'm interested or I'm not, and if I'm not then I already know what's coming so...
    Once I do get out there, take one look and figure it out, write it down right quick and get back in the car, next!
    Yeah you gotta walk around but I don't usually talk to the customer when I'm there, boom-boom-boom, call them later and just give them the price and work out the details, yes or no, next!

    That's just how I do it, a system or a method helps, quick and dirty, make it easy on yourself (but you do need experience).
  9. Turf Troll

    Turf Troll LawnSite Member
    Posts: 227

    That's what I need to do is cut my time down at places for estimates. Mowing is fine, 5 - 10 minutes, it's the mulching - landscape ones that I'm spending 45 minutes to an hour at the home.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    With mulch, I do all of them the same, I do lose some jobs because this customer wanted it this way and the other like that, but I found doing jobs per customer specs takes so much time... So, this is how I do mulch and there are those who like it and I have my regulars and this carves out a niche (it takes a little bit longer but the saved headaches was worth it to me).

    Nowadays I give the quote, yes or no, if yes then I do it and my way. I love it, so long the price is right and fair you won't get many complaints and one of the reasons I can keep my price down is I already know how I'm going to do it :)
    Best I can recommend is find one method you don't mind too bad that gets you paid.

    What I've done with the landscaping estimates is either I can 'see' a design, or I can not, and it's no secret that some to a lot of times I just don't see anything, meaning to me idk what it is they want (and by this point, I'm done here, I am NOT asking questions on the details, might be best someone who can 'see' it do the job).

    Now I don't get too many landscaping inquiries, but that's just as well by me. I think over time word of mouth has its way, idk...

    I know it stinks to turn down work, but to me it's all about getting in and out of there, practice helps and it gets better with time, yeah 5 or 10 minutes is reasonable, considering... Try and be too speedy and you can get burned, too, maybe 10-15 but not too much longer, I always say 20 minutes tops.

    And pre-screening... I still get one here and there that like to waste 1-2 hours of my time, can't prevent it entirely, but it does get better in time.

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