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Perception vs Reality

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by lawntennis, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. lawntennis

    lawntennis LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 415

    My college prof posed this question. Would you rather be the best in your area at your business but be perceived below average or be below average but be perceived to be the best? The obvious answer was that perception was more important than reality (profit wise). TGCL comes to mind 25 years later. Joe Lawnowner only knows two things..."Is my lawn dark green" and do I have any weeds. TGCL gets a quick green up with the high nitrogen they spray and liquids do a good job with weed control. There problems are well chronicled on this site and I agree but the public's perception is uneducated.
    You can try to educate them with newsletters but I sometimes wonder what percentage of our clients read our words of wisdom when it comes with a bill.
    Any comments?
  2. ACutAboveNC

    ACutAboveNC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 88

    It is all in marketing and TG/CL has the money to market their product, regardless of how good of a product they offer. I have learned that offering a superior product will bring you the customers because they recognize the hard work. I have picked up so many clients by educating them on the different products I use in my chemical program. People are afraid of complex names for your chemicals, so just slow down and explain what they do and this is the result you get. And to answer your question, I would rather be percieved as neither. I think I offer a superior product for less cost ( Thanks to a low overhead =) ).
  3. Agri-AFC

    Agri-AFC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    What I'm still trying to figure out is how a company that did $450 million in revenue (2005) could be that bad. After doing a search on this site, I realize many of you hate TG/CL. I think hate being kind. What are many of you offering that THEY don't. Do THEY come into your neighborhood and drive down the price of lawn care? Do you think maybe their tech's are to blame for the reputation of the company? If THEY do half the stuff people claim to have seen them do, why hasn't the EPA or State agencies shut them down?

  4. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 841

    Like was stated, marketing to uneducated consumers and doing just enough to keeo them thinking you are doing good work (because you are a professional company) but thinning back on the proper mix of products to boost profits.

    By visiting my clients lawns at the least every other week, I can see changing conditions due to the recent growth of the grass. TG/CL only come to spray, so if they do not see how much the grass has grown, or even changed due to climate, they cannot offer a customized service program.

    By filing all their reports on time, everytime and again, marketing to the uneducated. Additionally, a company that large has Good Lawyers...
  5. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    i'm only the operations manager, not an owner, but if i had to chose i'd take the 'perceived best' all day long.

    green lawn with no weeds and no reseeding due to insect populations. thats where the large dollars are and thats why TGCL, Scotts, Weedman are in this business. one can make a ton of $$$ by keeping lawns green, weed free and insect free in large volume. Large volume can be a problem for customer service though?

    or....one could go another route. Total.Lawn.Care says he visits his properties at least once every other week. We know that TGCL does not do this...where would they find the time? One could have a smaller customer base and charge a premium price for their service and make a very comfortable living with a total focus on customer service (bottom line....green grass-no weeds-no insects)

    for 20 years i've heard and been talking about educating the customer. we've made some progress and have a ways to go.
    we do newsletters (we print our own...not a preprinted piece that we buy).
    our invoices are chock full of info. as well. but in my estimation....maybe 20%?of customers read any of it. education is a slow process.
  6. Agri-AFC

    Agri-AFC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    Please don't take my response the wrong way especially since I may disagree with you here. I'm just very curious as to why TG/CL gets the bad rap that it does and did I mention I'm doing some research as well.

    1. I read a lot about TG/CL water down products yet I haven't seen or know of any proof, court documents on the net, anything that can verify that statement. If anyone can point that out please lead me in the right direction.

    2. That statement is only practical to someone who services maybe a few hundred accounts. I'm sure TG/CL services thousands of account in a geographical area so customer service is probally an issue. I'm speaking from experience too. I worked for a LCO that serviced over 8,000 customers and only 12 techs and 1 service manager. Things weren't perfect. Only 2 of the 12 techs (yes that includes me) had a Degree and I had the only Turf Degree.

    3. I didn't understand what you were trying to say except the Lawyer part. I'm sure any fortune 500 company has great lawyers. They have huge investments to protect.
  7. jbone

    jbone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    In business, a consumers perception of a product (service) is more important than reality. If a customer thinks that you are a top notch company although you really arent, you can at least improve your performance and actually meet their expectations/perception. Now if you are a top notch company but people dont think you are you have to change their minds....GOOD LUCK WITH THAT!! Although I would rather be a top notch company with a reputation of being that, out of the 2 options given I would rather be the below average but perceived to be the best. Reason being: If people perceive you as the best you are almost guaranteed to have work which = $$$ and thats all that matters. If your on the other end you have to fight to make a living.

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