Standing out

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The landscaper, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 845

    What makes you stand out from the competition?
    What would your list of things be to make you stand out from the million other companies in your same town. In standing out, I would want everyone in town to recognize my name and not be hesitant to pay a few extra bucks for my quality service.
  2. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 823

    This is an excellent question and one that I have been wrestling with for the last 3 years. I am going to be very interested in seeing some of the responses to this one. This is a very difficult industry to differentiate yourself from the competition, but I try to be professional in both my attitude and business practices. Return phonecalls promptly, do quality work, bill regularly (and with return envelopes!), use updated equipment, and a willingness to go the extra mile for a customer when needed.

    These are things that seem difficult to put into words for advertising purposes. Word of mouth has been my best ally.
  3. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 845

    It seems like a lot of things to get this point across cost big bucks. I like to try and keep my overhead down as much as possible but who knows....i will always be interested to see some of these lists.
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    Your work should stand out and that will make you stand out.
    Your way with people will make you stand out,take the time to personaly communicate face to face with your customers at least once a month
  5. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    2 things we always hear:
    Thanks for returning my phone call, the last 3 guys never called back.
    You guys are very dependable, you always show up on time.
  6. flam41

    flam41 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    only 3 lco in town aerate, none advertise, It is the only one who does. Gets me in alot of yards I wouldnt heve gotten chance to be in. Simple thing, if you can sell the jobyou alredy seem to go the next step from just mowing, to the health of the turf.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Offer something that know one else offers. A grass seed with your name on the bag. A differnt color mulch that only you can get made. There are many things available to use, you just need to think of your own and then hook up with the right ppl to make it happen
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    The best exposure is when someone else is tooting your horn. I am active in associations like The garden conservancy, and local garden clubs. My homes are always sought after for garden tours. That brings media attention this allows you to make connections. Well all of it does. Be prepared for all the attention your about to receive. Have a professional bidding policy and contract, something simple like a performance agreement. When I get called for a bid We send out what I jokingly call a propaganda packet. It has my monthly newsletter I wright, an introduction letter that lets them know what to expect. We do the same thing every time. A sample spreadsheet, this is how I do my bids. My clients are familiar with spreadsheets and it give them a sense of comfort and control, if the cost is to much they can see where the money is going and how to cut costs if they choose. It also has a sample of my performance agreement and my business practices (when time starts and stops, what happens in case of a missed visit, warranties etc. and most importantly, my hourly rates so they have a good idea of the cost before I even get there. I set the appointment for about 1 week after they call I get my packet out promptly and with a little luck if they are not serious they will cancel the appointment and save me time. When I do get there we fill out a customer questionnaire outlining clients likes and dislikes as well as all contact #s, kids name's, pets names. Try to learn as much about what the client expects as well as who is responsible for what. Am I watering the pots? or someone else. I also do a landscape evaluation if I am really busy I often charge for this service or if I get there and realize the place is a wreck form plant nutrition to irrigation to lights I also will offer to do an in depth written evaluation so they know what we are up against to get their property into shape. All these things lead to the undeniable conclusion this is a professional company. While my trucks and trailer are newer and clean I have no advertising, no signs on the truck, we don't even have business cards. I know that will piss alot of guys off and flies in the face of conventional logic. but if you want to stand out you have to be different. I have years of in the field experience but I have followed that up with classes and certifications. Connections are the key, be sure the best architects and contractor's in the area know who you are. Develop a newsletter and send it to them. I even let other Lco's know if they have a pita they can't deal with send em my way. Most pita's know they are, they just want what they want and are usually willing to pay for it. The one thing I caution you about is once you have the attention be sure you are prepared to deliver. I had a client tell me once you sell perfection and the crew does not always deliver. Iwas grateful he told me. All this takes time mostly on your part developing the systems writing the newsletter. I laid the groundwork by doing years of public service on association boards and just being a good guy sharing what I know. Nobody says hire me I do crap work. once you spend that advertising $$ its gone. The systems you develop are unique to your business and will serve you for many years. and for god sake don't send a fruit cake or Poinsettia at Christmas. IF YOU WANT TO STAND OUT YOU HAVE TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY!!
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Seems to me I don't gotta do a whole lot to set myself apart, at least half of them are newer / inexperienced... Not to say they don't do a good job, it's about that balance between profit and quality more than anything, I will not spend extra time to make sure it looks good if they're not paying for it, plain and simple.

    But I did come up with a new one I've been practicing this year exclusively, and for me, it rocks: Regular customers take priority One always.

    Some guy comes up to me and offers double money to cut his grass: Sorry Charlie, regular customers come first.

    The regular customer is LEAST likely to deal with rate increases, and MOST likely to get the work done. The regular customer ALWAYS gets the phonecall returned OR I show up and do something about whatever.

    Who is a regular customer? Those who have been with me the longest and, for the most part, call me more than once/year thou I got a few of those, too. A regular customer is someone who doesn't mickey mouse me around, pays me on time, and as a general rule, is pleasant to deal with.

    Everyone else can feel free to kiss my azz thou from time to time I pick up another regular.
  10. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,933

    I think returning phone calls and dependability are very important. If you want to charge more you have to have a rapore with your clients. Most of us would like to mo and go and never see anyone but their check. Spending time listening to your customers and explaining services and the cost benefit to them helps upgrade services. If you have a relationship where they trust you to do a good job price wont be the only deciding factor. When my son and or wife help me I make shure to send them to the door to collect. My customers love this. It helps with OUR image as a family run MOM and POP lawn service. Thats our niche.for example , one of my customers had her son move back in with her and offer to cut the lawn for free. She stayed with us because she didn't want to loose us when he moves out. If I had crews I would be out daily talking to customers .Selling services!!!! The guy who cut my Mothers lawn way back would show up with 5 or 6 guys and he would come inside for a chat while his crew worked. They had 250 + lawns and he was the guy to call for lawn cutting. People looked forward to his VISITS. they didn't care what the lawn looked like as long as it was cut. he was clearing $800[ 15 yrs ago]a day doing volume work not high end specialty clients.

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