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Qualifying potential customers

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Island Lawn, Apr 29, 2001.

  1. Island Lawn

    Island Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 632

    I would like to get some ideas for how to go about qualifying potential clients over the phone. The goal is to keep from running around spending $ giving estimates to people that dont qualify as someone who wants me bad enough to pay for me!

    What about asking questions like:
    Do they have a sprinkler system?
    What is the current condition of lawn?
    When was it last serviced?
    Do they do it themselves?
    Do they have someone else do it?
    What happened to them?
    Why Me?
    How did you get my name? (What ads are working?)

    ?What do y'all ask people when they first call?

    What kind of info should I be focusing on during "first contact"?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    I simply tell them that I am only accepting full service accounts (lawn cutting, mulching, bed edging, shrub trimming, and fertilization). If they dont need that, I dont want them. It saves time and I can do other projects that pay the money.
  3. Fine Lines Lawn

    Fine Lines Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 447

    If they desire quality work and will pay me, then they are "qualified"
  4. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I've given some thought to this also. My main concern is that they would have an irrigation system (and use it) and have a lawn with out many bare spots. I have gone to some that look like shick, no water in months, weeds growing everywhere, stumps still in the yard with mounds around them. Business is off this year and I know you can't be too choosy but I'm not taking on any more crap yards just to exchange money, their money to the dealer for blades, filters, etc. If things weren't so tight I might give up some more of the yards I have due to the dirt and lack of care on the owners part.
  5. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    I definitely like to weed out the calls, but I find if you ask too many questions they seem to get irritated and impatient.

    I try to keep it simple.

    "Hi, what can we do for you?" "I want to get my grass cut." "Ok, where are you located?" Then once I find out if it is a desirbable area I will continue.
    "Has your grass been cut this season?" If they say no, I tell them straight up front that our customers have been cut at least 3 times, and to get their grass cut for the first time it will be 3 times the normal charge. If they say ok, then I ask them how often they like their grass cut. If they say weekly, then I will set up a time so we can go look at it.

    Keep it simple on the phone. When you get there, then you can find out why they chose to call you, where they heard about you, who used to maintain it, etc.

    Out of all the good and bad things that have come with this business, we have never hurt for phone calls. Every day we come home and find that there are at least 3 to 4 or sometims more calls that need to be returned. We turn down work every day. I read about how some of the companys
    have it hard getting customers because their areas are so overpopulated with lawn companys, but in this one aspect of the business, we are really fortunate.
  6. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    I'm new in this business so when they call, they qualify. I too run short on time but you never know what you might miss if you don't at least do a drive by. Hopefully down the road I'll have all good jobs that I can start weeding others out. :)
  7. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    I ask them when I can come over to give them an estimate.

  8. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,226

    i like the idea of asking them where they are located, to see how rich they are by the neightborhood, but it doesn't mean they will spend money. also someone living in a smaller not as nice development most of the times spend more money than my customers in the big facncy houses.

    you can't qualify anyone who calls you over the phone, its as simple as that, in order to make some money you have to spend some..

    ok this happened to me last year, i was cutting at my aunts house and a lady stopped and i really didn't want to go look at her yard down the street because i prejudged her because she said she didn't have it cut yet that year and it was a month in to the season. well it turns out that that lady has more money than she knows what to do with it and whatever i think needs to be done in the yard i just do it and charge her for it. also if i would of not went i would of missed out on a $5500 landscaping job for her house. plus this year i'm landscaping the back yard, putting in a walkway to her new pool,laying rock down around the pool, and reinstalling a new back yard from when it got torn up from the installtion of the pool.

    i would of missed out on all this money if i would of stuck to my prejudgement. granted not all the people will be the same as mine, but their is a diamond in the rough and thank god i found that 1. don't judge until you meet them in person and check out the yard and what not you might be able to convince them in to alot of extras.
  9. i just get the accounts and work with them. if you can work with the customers then do it. if you cant then dont. do what they can afford, so long as you make money some how. i have a customer who doesnt have much money. however i still work for him, because even though he doesnt have a lot of cash around he still gets me a lot of work, and gives me things, feeds me, etc. so i dont care. dont judge, see if you can work with them and thats it. what can taking a simple car ride take? besides gas and time. you never know.
  10. sheppard

    sheppard LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 542

    I have been in sales for 10 years but I am very new to the lawn care business. It was always a safe bet to conclude that anyone calling in for what I was selling was not serious. The average was better that 50/50. They were 'shopping'. From the posts I've read this seems true in the lawn care business as well. The more you can qualify the customer who initiates the call the better you can spend your time. Starting the process youself and 'choosing' your customers based on location or size seems to be a much better process. Thoughts?

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