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Selling the extras

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Acute Cut, Feb 5, 2001.

  1. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 980

    how do you sell your extra services (aeration, seeding, etc) to residental customers. I dont have any customers in "high class" areas. Most of this area around here is middle class america. We dont have Beverly Hills or anything around here. Even the nicest houses are MAYBE 300,000$.

    I have handed out info on the services, as best asi could figure anyways.

    I would hate to be seen as the neighborhood kid that is by every month selling some piece of junk for school for some new drive or something or other. I know the advantages of these "extras", but how do you convince them they need to purchase this to make that green thing in front of thier house look that much better?

    What do you do if the outcome is not as promised? I aerated a lawn last year that didnt ever green up or look any different. (I know it may take a couple times to tell the difference, but how do you explain that to Joe Blow forking over his paycheck from his construction job?)

    thanks for the help guys (and gals where applicable)
    Acute Cut
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    We sell most extra work as we recognize the need. That is, if we recognize that Mr. X needs some overseeding, we call him or mention it to him when we are at his house. Same for any other extra service we provide that isn't part of their package - like Pruning, fresh mulch, planting, etc.

    But with aerating, we do it a little different. I always try to aerate as many lawns as possible in a 1-2 day period of time. So every spring we call all of our clients by phone and try to sell them on aerating. We tell them that we can get the cost down very low because we will be doing a lot of lawns in one or two days and can disperse the cost of the rental between all of the clients (which is true.) So I tell them I can come by and do it for $X.xx. I always get a good 25% - 40% who say yes. Then we offer it again in the fall as well. I'll charge $55 or so per lawn and we'll do 20 or more lawns in a day. (lawns are small around here). Do the math! It's good dough.

    As for noticing an immediate change in the color of the lawn, I think maybe you are looking at it wrong. Aerating should not be a quick fix. If a lawn isn't green, there are some other issues there. Mostly related to the type of fertilizer that is being used and water supply. But that's a different topic. Point being, aerating alone shouldn't be held responsible for greening up a lawn. Aerating is something you do to KEEP a healthy lawn healthy. It is used to reduce compaction in the soil and sometimes to break through the thatch layer. I tell people that aerating is like sweeping a floor. Nobody really notices that it's been done, but if you don't do it, everyone will notice.
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,662

    Make up the majority of our clients so their greenskeepers kind of sell these services or at least advise them of the benefits of them for us.

    The other thing that we did when we started out "adding" services to their bills was to rotate them. Aerate this year power rake the next etc. Over a period of the last five years, we have gone from Aerating every other year and power raking every third, to Aerating each spring and overseeding every other fall.

    When clients ask us about dethatching their lawns we sell them on fall overseeding because of the lack of weed competition. I always advise my customers about whats best for them as if we were discussing my own personal lawn. By doing it this way Im not just selling services to them but giving them advice say as a partner would or financial adviser.

    We have also turned them away from services they dont need or postponed them until the next season (when we knew that we might be slower) and this helps their overall budget and keeps us in good graces, when actually we are saving our butts because we would otherwise we would be cramming to fit them onto our schedules.

    Sorry so winded.
  4. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876


    I sell extras like aeration by including info with the invoice educating the customer on the benefits. Your local extension can supply you with the info. Also explain that this is not to be confused with the push type aerator that poked holes---this is a professional machine that is capable of.......(you get the idea). Explaining things like "soil compaction" and how fertilizer and oxygen must reach the "Root system" will make them see what you are talking about. Sounding professional and educated will always help.
    I got about 80% to go for aeration last year. Most people here want their lawn thatched in the fall. Since we did not have a drought, there was no renovation to do so I told them that I would be aerating in place of thatching last year. (I just thatched the previous fall so there was bot alot of buildup). This hooked all of the people that never tried it. We both saw a difference (not immediate of course, but noticeable over time) and now I include this as part of the package and have had no complaints.
    I was thinking of a way to sell soil testing and I thought of it a couple days too late. I offered a 10% discount on the first months service if contracts were returned early. Instead of the discount, I should have offered a "Free Soil Test", which would have made me look more professional (educated) and could have hooked people for next year on it, as well as sell additional applications like iron, or save me money by not having to apply as much as I thought necessary without having a soil test.

    Hope this long message helps.


  5. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    I just wanted to bring this back up to see if anyone that had an opinion may have missed it. I am as curious as Accute.


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