Whats your point of diference ?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Maxwells, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. Maxwells

    Maxwells LawnSite Member
    from NZ
    Posts: 73

    Hi Talking with my partner last night about gaining new business. (We do not quote the lowest price) We offer quality reliable work and have over 25 happy accounts -
    The thing is when you give someone the quote and explain that you are reliable etc and some one else comes in woth a cheaper quote why would they change or go with you ? Does anyone have any tips or points of difference when quoting and gaining work ?
     
  2. Maxwells

    Maxwells LawnSite Member
    from NZ
    Posts: 73

    After reading the post about `larry` maybe i should not worry and call myself `super cheap lawn mowing` or low cost lawn mowing - he seems to be doing ok?
     
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Know your customer. Ask yourself..."Do I really want the customer who wants the cheapest guy possible to do the job?"

    I average about $45 per cut between 5 homes on one block. Two years ago another LCO handed out flyers that advertised $35 per cut. Over a 30 weeks season that would be, on average, a $300 dollar per year savings for my customers. All of them have stayed with our company. I asked two of the homeowners about my competition and asked why they chose to stay with us. In general, they said we were reliable...showed up every week...did a good job EVERY week, didn't cut corners...They'll pay the extra money.

    This is what I sell...not my price. If they want to argue price that is fine, but not with me.

    You say you have 25 happy customers...ask them if you can use them as a reference for gaining new work. That way, when you provide the quote you can provide some points of contacts for them. IMO, you come across confident in your work and you do not have a need to explain your price.
     
  4. Maxwells

    Maxwells LawnSite Member
    from NZ
    Posts: 73

    Thanks - confident yes but short of 30/40 customers to make a ok living so just looking at new ways of gaining accounts etc
     
  5. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Are your trucks trailers lettered? Do you send out flyers? Carry business cards with you? Never know who you will run into at the local supermarket or garden center. Take out ads in newspapers, offer coupons in the yellow pages.

    There's lots of things you can do to gain more work. Hands down, by far the best method is word of mouth.
     
  6. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I think its hard, if not impossible to get most people to appreciate the differences in quality from one LCO to the next. Most of my customers, and they certainly are not cheapskates, just want mowing. AFTER I have established myself with them, many of them call for other services. This is one of the wealthiest areas in the nation, and yet I get relative few calls for "full-service". I think most people prefer to "try you out" first before they commit to the whole works.

    It's all in the perception, IMO. The average customer perceives mowing as a simple task, one that any moron could do. So from their perspective, why would they want to pay an extra $10 a week?

    Best advice, stick to your prices, get the customers you can, and don't sweat the rest. Some of those that went with a "better deal" will no doubt call you again when they fire their current LCO.
     
  7. Maxwells

    Maxwells LawnSite Member
    from NZ
    Posts: 73

    Yes have gained 10 from flyers 10 from local paper and other 5 recomendations - The local paper is funny i have tried different types of adds small/big etc none seem to work any better and they cost a bit compared to flyers, that are cheap but take time to hand out. I have just got another 6,000 printed and will start to hand them out . does any size add in the paper work better for you ?
     
  8. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    You should check around Maxwells, there might be a company in your area that distributes flyers. I use 2 different companies, they each charge $25 per 1000.

    Never tried the newspaper, I called a few, and the weekly rates were kind of steep, and you had to pay for a month's worth of ads. I pretty much always see the same LCO's in the paper, I don't know if its effective, or if they just want to keep their name visible.
     
  9. tobias

    tobias LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    Hey there, I just wrote this advice to someone earlier about advertising, hope it helps you out.
    ----------

    Don't fail to put several small ads in the service part of the classifieds of your local newspaper. Keep them running no matter what, change the wording every so often to adjust to the trends of the season (dry weather=more seasonal clean-up,thatch removal focus, wet weather=mow mow mow to stay on top of things) Design a flyer (4x6) and blanket your community with them: Go to grocery stores and get permission from the manager to put them on cars in the parking lot, tack a few flyers to the community services board in all grocery stores/laundromats/libraries/etc.
    If there is a particular section of town you are interested in, consider direct mailing (though this can get pricey) Never expect more than say 1 response out of a hundred and you won't get discouraged so easily. Always have a business card handy for when you are babbling about what you do.. hand anyone that will take one a card.
    Aside from these standard methods, the best possible advice I can give you is to check out a few books on marketing/advertising/small business operation from your local library and read them weekly. You will not only have access to a wealth of information and tactics compiled by persons whose sole profession is Strategic marketing, but the inspiring ideas, informative history with examples of success and failure and clever strategies will keep you motivated. Every day you should ask yourself "What have a I done to make money for my business today?" Just because the phone isn't ringing doesn't mean that there is no work. Research the market, check out (in the paper) how the competition is advertising and what they are advertising, design your flyers, make a plan of action and stick to it doggedly. Clean your tools, prepare your body, make call back phone calls to last seasons customers, all of the above is a form of and contributes to advertising.
    Advertising is one of the single most important necessities of running a business after all, what is the point in having a business/offering services if nobody knows that you do?

    - Tobias aka "Morning Thunder Lawn Service" NC
     
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    I don't use the newspaper, I rarely get calls from newspaper ads. My number 1 method of advertising is the phone book.

    My point of difference is customer service. I try to do what it takes to make people happy with my service. Establish personal communication with your customers, talk to them, listen to what they have to say. That's how you establish loyalty. With loyal customers comes price shopping-proof customers. If they are loyal, they won't care if someone is a couple bucks cheaper. And once you get loyal customers, the referrals come along which are the best way to get new customers.

    Just my 2 cents.
     

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