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Screening Question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by gator-town, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. gator-town

    gator-town LawnSite Member
    from bfe
    Posts: 92

    I have only been privy to the business side of the biz for two years now and I would like to know if there are any "subtle" questions that you can ask a potential client on the phone prior to showing up ... It would seem the only thing they see in the add is lawn care service and not the other 15 lines that has nothing to do with what they are calling for ... An example from this week was requesting that I run over 1" caliper trees with my $6k ZTR while at the same time scalping the weeds and grass to the point that they, the client, could lay sod on top of the ground ... The yard is on creek with slopes exceeding 30% ... I kid you not the family pet looked like a cross between a laborador and a mountain goat ... Almost as ugly as some of those feet pics the other day ... At that point I had to ask the man where the cameras were and that he did not look like Allen Funt but that he could have been his son ... All kidding aside I have tried in the past to screen clients without seeming too obvious but this guy was so upbeat I got sucked in ... In the past I have stated, without looking at the yard, my minimum unload fee was $35-$40 and if they felt that was too much It would save us both a lot of time ... Any suggestions from some of you guys/gals that have been around a while ... You must ask questions that either raise or lower your neck hairs .
     
  2. AL Inc

    AL Inc LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,218

    I know this can be tough sometimes. And you will get "sucked in" some times and find yourself on a property that looks like Vietnam. I just try to ask lots of questions. First I'll ask what type of services they want, then try to find out who was doing the work prior. If I start hearing things like "every other week" or "I'm looking for a price" I'll usually tell them we have a minimum price and only do weekly maintenance. Also, if they are really bad-mouthing the last contractor, I'll try to see if they are legitimate complaints or problems that all landscapers have (ie: cutting in the rain-sometimes it has to be done.)
    I also try to ask how they found us, was it from a referral or just out of the yellow pages? Obviously the referrals are the best sales who usually aren't shopping price. Good luck, Mike
     
  3. gator-town

    gator-town LawnSite Member
    from bfe
    Posts: 92

    Mike ... asking what type of service are you looking for is a good start ... to me asking to mow ones yard means just that, not everthing except grass ... a minimum unload price is something I have always tried to use, but I seem to ask it more at the end of the season than in the beginning ... the warmer it is the more I try to use my head ... referrals have always been my best clients because you have something in common with them ... I do appreciate your response .
     
  4. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Sorry to change the subject, but, "the other 15 lines?"
    How big is your ad, it must cost a fortune?
    Around here, 3 lines, one month, $112!
     
  5. gator-town

    gator-town LawnSite Member
    from bfe
    Posts: 92

    crawdad ... got a "box" in the yellow pages ... includes 9 lines and color ... contracted for $75 / month ... tried the service directory in our local paper last year with equal success ... same price, maybe 5 lines, no color, contract ... IMO service directory was just as good but best of all I could cancel at any time ... good luck ...

    gator
     
  6. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,939

    Thanks for the quick reply. My ad is in the local paper, service directory, with 10 or 12 others.
    Crawdad
     

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