Yellow Pages

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Guardian, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. Guardian

    Guardian LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 269

    This is my first year in the Yellow Pages. I am already overwhelmed. At first, I was excited - now I'm bothered. I feel I am wasting time and money on poor quality yards and people who want something cheap. I actually have all I can Handle without adding another crew.(not ready to do that just yet)I developed a "Qualification Sheet" so when someone answers the phone, they can determine wether of not we're interested in their business. My question is: What would happen if I refered these calls to another company for a percentage of the initial job (or a flat fee)? Does it seem like a good idea? Do you think anyone would go for that? OR should I accept some and chunk most?
     
  2. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,183

    I've thought about that myself. I think it will work if you set it up with the other guy in advance. I'm going to ask mine not to advertise his business when I send him out. I think I'm going to tell the caller that somebody will be there to talk to them and give them an estimate. All invoicing will go through me I will pay the sub. I've got all I can handle too and I hate to turn down money that I could have a piece of. At the same time it would help somebody get started................of course it could bite you in the ars down the road like it did me...........maybe it's contract time!
     
  3. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 675

    Get with a guy in advance like Homer has said, but get with him and see if you could arrange someway of setting a price say by square footage. Then you deal with the customer on the estimate and then sub out the job to him.

    You could use your current accounts as practice to see if you can come to a price arrangement that you both could agree on ahead of time.

    Or, if you send him out to get the estimate, have him go in unmarked truck and instruct him not to talk to the customer other than to say that he is there to measure and get the proper info for the estimate, then you could get his price add your cut and give the estimate to the customer. Sign a contract and have him mow it. Leave yourself a way out of the contract if your sub quits on you and you cannot handle the accounts on your own.

    Need to find yourself a real LOWBALLER also! With insurance also!
     
  4. Acute Cut

    Acute Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 980

    i guess i dont understand. I am wondering if skookum is joking in his post. I TOTALLY disagree. I would be embarrassed to ask another guy to mow a lawn and tell him "Dont talk or look at my customer". Sad. If you cant take the busness then link up with another guy that needs the money. Work sided by side with the guy. It builds support networking. The availability of equipment to me has almsot doubled since i did this. I send this guy work i cant do or dont want. He and i share our equipment 100%. I dont get a penny from him doing some customer i referred to him, but i get his friendship and that is enough for me.
     
  5. dhicks

    dhicks Member
    Posts: 771

    Guardian, I hear what you are saying and referring bidness to another company for a slice of the pie sounds good on paper. In theory I don't believe that I could refer bidness to another company. I would be consistently wondering if they are doing quality work and representing "MY" interest, ethics and philosophy on what constitues quality work.

    I know it can be done, but I'm getting paranoid in my old years and my reputation in the community means alot to me.
    --Paranoid on the Potomac.
     
  6. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,937

    Guardian,

    You have just experienced a case of bad advertising. If you dont need the work, dont list in the Yellow Pages. A single line in the white pages is usually more than enough. Yellow page adds are more for the installation of landscape, not the repetitive maintenance of a mowing contractor. We can fill up on accounts and be fine for the rest of our lives with pleanty of accounts, while a landscape "installer-only" has to have a fresh customer load year after year. Save the hassles of the Yellow pages to companys doing patios, waterscapes, walls, paving, sealing, powerwashing, etc...

    As for turning down work....I've been doing that for 8 years. I dont have a problem saying NO, or I just jack it WAY up out of their reach.



     
  7. BigEd

    BigEd LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Posts: 299

    What are some of you paying for your yellow pages ad? I know it depends on size of ad,where your at and stuff like that just would like to get in the ballpark on dollar amount
     
  8. dhicks

    dhicks Member
    Posts: 771

    I'd like to know myself what some folks are paying for a typical yellow page ad. I may try one next year just for fun.

     
  9. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 675

    Acute Cut,

    I will try to clarify. What I was saying was that if you go out and estimate a account knowing that you do not want it or need it and you plan to sub it out, then you need to be able to work so closely with your sub on his pricing. If you do not then he might want to charge more than you bid or at least more than you figured he would charge. If you get him to do it for less, then he will eventually resent the account and you in the long run.

    I was implying that if your pallet is full, then you send your sub out letting him bid the price he wants to do the work, then you set your markup and give the bid to the client. You do not want a guy to go out there and spill his guts as to who he is and what is really going on with this estimate. You want him to wear one of your hats, have one of your cards, maybe with his name on there, and he explains to the prospective customer that he is from your office and he is the bidding estimate cordinator. His job is to measure and evaluate for the report back to the office where they will put together a bid or estimate.

    After you get the account, if you do, then when he is mowing it and his name is all over his truck , hat, and shirt, and the client asks him or calls you about this fact, you simply state that to provide the service required you are using this other company as a extension of your services. You handle all problems, etc...

    Personally I see this whole type thing as many headaches waiting to happen, but, that is why I am a one man show. But, if you have a great sub, it could be great.

    Did that clear up my post about not talking to customer alittle more?
     
  10. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 675

    I got shafted this year on my Yellow page listing. I paid like $55 last year for a small 1 inch tall inline display add. First call last Spring paid for ad 110x. I had a few price shoppers but not many. The other few I picked up from yellow page calls were good jobs as well. I feel you need to be listed just for that one chance when that special commercial account is fed up with current LCO and they go letting their fingers do the walking. How else will they find you unless you just happen to hit them on the right day when they are looking for new LCO.

    Anyway, back to shafted. I increased my size ad this year beacuse I wanted to add my logo and add some wording. Now my ad is right at $80.00 a month. Well they put it on the NEXT page with the last couple LCO's. 99% of all the other LCO's are on the other page. I have only had two calls this spring versus about 30 this time last year!I thought about calling the other LCO's on my page and seeing if they have noticed this same result.

    I will be complaining about this to my rep when he calls in September to discuss next years yellow pages. What ticks me off is there was plenty of room if all the bigger display ads were not all on one page, in fact there is two display ads that are not Lawn Maintenace which is the heading.
     

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