Whats my problem!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by DynaMow, Apr 4, 2006.

  1. DynaMow

    DynaMow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 570

    Heres the deal. Read this and give feedback on your thoughts please.

    OK I am 45 yrs old, been trying to establish this service business since age 42. Now all my time before that from 15 to 41 (26 years) I always was somebodies employee. I've had many jobs, some good, most not so hot. Well I knew if I wanted a job somewhere I could go apply, interview, and I knew the job was mine. At times during job searches I would have 3-5 jobs being offered to me, my choice. Anyways its not like that when selling my own business. I get nervous, I trust my product and know I offer quality service, and yes I still sell me fine, but with selling my business I have to deal with the money part! In all my jobs I was always an "OPERATIONS" guy, I can make any system run smooth and efficient. Never wanted to deal with the $$$$$ end of things.
    Well this causes me problems, though my prices for service are closer to where they should be today then when I started out, at times I feel I still leave money on the table. especially on the jobs I want more then others.

    Thanks folks, any advice?
     
  2. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    3 years and your saying that you don't feel like your business is established?Why not?
    You feel like your working to cheap or what?You should have had your estimating and charges down by now.I suggest
    #1-you get an accountant
    #2-raise your prices across the board
    #3-Change your estimating methods by doing the following things
    Meet with potential clients then GO HOME and think about the actuall work involved .
    Never give an estimate or price just off the top of your head while you standing there with the cust for the 1st time.
    Always walk the property.Never give a price the 1st time you meet with a client always get back to them later in the day or the next day.
    Know your operating costs..all of them.
    always err to your favor
    if you think your a little low
    on your price..that means you are..give the higher price.
     
  3. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    you just need to do what you have always done. Be the 'operations guy' and hire a money person(part time i would guess shoud be sufficient)
     
  4. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Posts: 866

    first, you need to stop focusing on getting a picture of your client with your camera phone in her bikini as you walk the property! This makes most guys go blank..lol..ok so seriously...If you're not so hot with your verbal presentation skills in a spur of the moment situation, consider making up some preprinted materials with your pitch. This allows you to make sure you get across all the points that you'd like to. As SheShovel said, know your costs and where you create value, estimate your time to service the property, match it to your costs and give them a price along with your pitch materials. Maybe even just a fill in the blank kind of thing. This makes it seem a lot less random than standing there, rolling your eyes up into your forehead and scratching your chin while you decide what to charge. A worksheet does not need to be shared with a client, by the way, just the final results in the form of a proposal or estimate is fine. Thsi will get you past a lot of the feeling like you are "selling" and more into the feel of giving them the facts. In the meantime, see if you can grab some public speaking classes or even practice elsewhere with strangers, like speaking at church or with service clubs. Verbal pitching is a skill that can be learned with practice. In the meantime, communicate with the written word to help you through.
     
  5. EliteImpressions

    EliteImpressions LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 215

    Craig,

    I think you need to take a step back an analyze how you do business. I suggest reading No BS Guide for attracting wealth by Dan Kennedy. Most things are common sense but we dont think of them right away. There is a section on prices that I found very simple but informative. The book is also not boring at all, I finished it in 2 or 3 days. Another book to read is No BS Direct Mail Marketing for Non Direct Businesses by Dan Kennedy. You need to make them want your service before they even speak to you, that way you are not worried about prices since they will pay almost anything within reason. I found this book to be as much as an eye opener as rich dad poor dad. For anyone that has read that book will understand what I mean as well. If you need some ideas feel free to pm me, two heads are better than one as they say.

    Joe
     
  6. DynaMow

    DynaMow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 570

    .....but the advice that you four have given here is solid sound advice. Let me speak to it for a second.

    SheShovel

    I do not feel established because:
    In my business plan it states "earn $1500.00 per week in season scheduled maint." This is my salary,solo - this has not happened yet. I can not grow, hire, or survive until this happens.

    #1 cannot get an accountant until the above happens (my brother is an accountant and he helps out when I get stuck)

    #2 I did raise my prices across the board this season $5 per. Did not lose one account. That tells me they like my service and I was priced to low.

    #3 Always walk property - today I also no more of what to look for when doing that walk. 80% of the time I do go back home, produce the most professional, high quality job proposal any can give. Other times I feel I can give them price right there (mowing only) still go home and produce quality confirmation and thanks.

    "Know your operating costs..all of them.
    always err to your favor
    if you think your a little low
    on your price..that means you are..give the higher price."

    these skills I need to sharpen.

    Lawnservice

    that is a great suggestion, and it is going to be a revision in my bus plan. I need to get a little further first as explained above with the $1500 goal. Thanks

    Greenutah

    again great advice, and I am now going to do that. One of the things that excites me the most about this business is the building of it. I enjoy the creative and artistic part of flyers, letters, proposals, and such. So your idea of printed material should be right up my alley. Thanks.

    EliteImpressions

    "You need to make them want your service before they even speak to you, that way you are not worried about prices since they will pay almost anything within reason."

    I like what you say here and it is going into my mental bank (still lots of room left). Got anymore?
    I have read Rich Dad Poor Dad, maybe I need to grab the one you suggest and reread Rich Dad Poor Dad. Thanks Joe

    I used to work for a guy that would never include anybody in his decision making process. He thought we were all idiots and he was a genius. I told him one day one could get more sense out of 25 idiots then you can one genius. Then asked who the idiot was, I do not work for him anymore.

    SheShovel you are QUICKLY becoming my favorite person on here and remember you chose me as your Ohio thing!

    craig2.jpg
     
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    I remember Craig...gee thanks your a sweet thang!:eek: :eek: :p :waving:

    I hope that shirt is not a prison uniform!!
     
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Systems will set you free. If you are a great operations guy you know the benefits of using systems. Use that same knowledge and design bidding systems and stick to them. The E-Myth by Michael Gerber is a great book about systems. I was in your exact same position 10 years ago with your exact same anxieties. Once I set up the systems it became very simple. I just use systems as my "boss" that wont let me off the hook and sell myself short. I also set up a system to let my clients know what the systems are so I control the selling process and don't jump through their hoops. It just makes things so much easier.
     
  9. EliteImpressions

    EliteImpressions LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 215

    Craig,

    First step to successful advertising is finding out who your customer is. Im not talking about the age and sex. Im talking about their income, what they like to do on the weekend, what motivates them to buy, do they want to feel superior to everyone else, do they want to keep up with the Jones, do they have family, etc. Once you find that out, instead of advertising to 5000 people for a 3% return, you can narrow it down to 1000 and get the same amount of return (not 3% but 15%). Another quote to keep in the back of your mind as far as advertising or other business issues are concerned. "The definition of insanity is doing the SAME thing over and over and expecting to get a DIFFERENT result"
     
  10. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    What your missing is a mind set.
    Its called I'm the best and if they want me its gonna cost them A LOT to get me. they can hire anyone to do the job but the best cost more.
    I like to think of it this way and ofter tell potential customers this
    " if you want a chevy theres plenty around to choose from, BUT if you want a Rolls your choices are limited and your getting so much more with a Rolls than just a chevy"
    And then you have to believe your the best to sell yourself that way. Its not always easy to walk away from a good paying job, but when you convince yourself that your worth way more than the avarage lco thats the type of customers you draw. The ones that want the best and are willing to spend the money to get him.
    And its all a mindset. As long as you do respectable work your customers will think they are getting great work, because thats what they paid for, the BEST.
     

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