What can we learn from TruGreen - ChemLawn?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by JimLewis, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    First off, I want to say I don't want this to be a thread for Bashing TGCL. Arguably, there are lots of things we could criticize them for. And those threads already exist. But I am specifically looking for a discussion on what positive things TGCL does that we can and should learn from.

    Obviously, they're the biggest and most successful in our industry - financially speaking anyway. As a for-profit company, they are probably a wonderful example in a lot of ways as to how to make good profit. So what are some of the ways we can learn from them?

    I don't have any insights into the way their company is run or to what makes them so successful. I wish I did. If anyone reading this HAS worked for TGCL for a long enough period of time to gain some good insights, please share.

    But even without knowing about the inner workings of the company, I think there are certain things we can learn from them just at face value. Below are some of the things that stand out to me that seem to be worth learning from. I'm interested in your feedback too!

    * A good solid name that people remember.

    * Uniformity. Every truck, employee, estimate, etc. looks very similar. You can instantly recognize them.

    * Duplication. They seem to be experts at it.

    * Getting full $ out of each customer. Now this is a sticky point with a lot of people because we, as business owners, don't like the idea of being pushy. We think, perhaps correctly, that customers will be offended by us constantly bugging them with suggestive selling techniques. And so maybe we shouldn't go quite THAT far, as to be annoying. But on the other hand, it's often said that one of the biggest flaws of most companies is that they don't advantage of their existing customers enough. I know our company is often guilty of this.

    * Professionalism. From the trucks they drive to the estimate forms they give out to the way they handle billing. Everything about them is run professionally. They don't driver beaters. They don't knock on your door if your payment is late. They don't use cheap estimates printed from their home computer. Now, I am not saying that we can all do all of this right now. But maybe these are things to strive for.

    Those are just a few things off the top of my head. I'd love to hear more. Surely, there are some more things we can learn from this Billion-dollar-a-year company.
     
  2. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    They don't take no for an answer they will call and call and call till they were you down and you take that one treament thats 100% money back guarenteed treatment. and then they work you

    Mac
     
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    Ok. Let me explain again. I am not looking for things they do that we DON'T want to emulate. Let's try to stay focused on what they do that is positive - Things we should learn from them and do in our own business.
     
  4. studentlawn

    studentlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    Convenience, Tru Green Chem Lawn is the most convenient company to hire. Their huge ad in all yellow pages is the easiest to find, their phone number is posted right outside on your neighbors "just serviced" sign. And if the customer is to lazy to call, no problem, becuase Chem Lawn will pickup the phone first..
     
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    One more thing that I know is that they work like car sales mens with the price of a treatment it will start at $100 and when you say no it will be $80 just for today still to high let me talk to my manager he said we really want your business so I can offer it today, right now for $60 plus take an extra $20 off if you let us spray the ornamentals. Its a great deal $100 service for $40.
    But then they charge you $75 for the ornamentals on top of the $40.
    My friends a district manager so I know a few of the secrets and in that above example they would have been happy with half of those amounts

    Mac
     
  6. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    I don't understand what you want. I gave you 2 examples of what they do to get and keep customers. These are the things they do to generate revenue that any one of that own a business could do to some scale. It is not illegal it is the way they operate. and as you said yourself it seems to work real well.

    Mac
     
  7. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,389

    I don't thing anyone needs to bash them. Apparently they are doing something right. I follow Tru-Green and companys like them closely trying to emulate their way of business. You stated that they are a "for profit" company. Exactly what we all should be.


    I think portraying a professional image is a good starting point. I see so many in my area and on this site that fall way short of this goal. Hauling your craftsman mower to a job in the back of a Ford Ranger does not project a professional image. Even if you are a solo operator you need to use commercial grade equipment, drive a vehicle that is designed for commercial work, and wear clothing with you business name/logo embossed on it. All of my trucks are the same color with the same graphics. All my trailers are the same color. All of my workers dress the same in uniforms supplied by us. We present professional bids/bills using the latest industry specific software. We bill monthly. As you said, knocking on a door each week to collect for services is highly unprofessional. I could go on and on about how some LCO's damage their image in the community day in and day out. Tru-Green and ChemLawn are the icons of our industry IMO. My goal is to follow their methods for as long as I am in the business and hopefully grow large enough so that when I am ready to retire I will attract either them or a business like them to buy me out.
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,842

    I was looking for examples of positive things TGCL does we should implement in our businesses.....

    And this is what you consider a positive thing we should all do??? :(
     
  9. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,117

    They are far and away the best marketing company in our biz. No one here even attempts to compete with them on a toe to toe basis. Most LCO's here steer away from those that would be prototypical TG customers. This works to everyone's advantage. The LCO's get the premium accounts that are willing to pay top dollar and TG gets the Wal-mart shoppers who are looking for price not value. Like you said Jim everything about them is professional, they are a huge company with an image to maintain. They also are masters of efficiency. Their rigs are set up to be profit machines. Their routes are tight and numerous.

    I don't know this but I'll bet their spray guys are better at selling than spraying. Ever notice that if you take a mechanic at the Ford dealership and put him on the sales floor he would do miserably. While some greased back hair fella with the slick line about how nice you will look in that convertible gets sale after sale. But he can't show you where the darn oil filter is!
     
  10. studentlawn

    studentlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 117

    The lesson is, it can be a better business descision to spend more money in convincing the customer that they have recieved a good value, rather then actually giving them one.
     

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