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all apps or nothing?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by CNYScapes, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 916

    Do you guys let customers buy less apps than your standard program, or do you stick to your guns and make them purchase your standard program or see ya later? Im gonna expand my spray division and in the past I have always recommended 7 applications (every 4 weeks) to my customers, but I have let them buy less if they wanted. If I am gonna hire a new guy to expand the spray biz then I want him busy all the time. What do you guys do?
  2. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    In my short stint at Naturalawn, they wanted customers to take all 7 apps or they didn't want them. I thought this was flawed, and still do. Not all customers can afford the full program, but still want some form of service. Do you want them to go to someone who will do less apps?
    The downside is a lot of times the customers with less apps do complain more, and you have to be very honest with them up front that the lawn might not look as nice as Mr Jones down the street on full program. Also, too many service calls will dip into profits.
    I would take on the customers, and if service calls roll in, you can always upsell in the future.
  3. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Do you charge them the same price? The reason most companies don't want a one time apps is because some apps cost more then others, but mostly have a flat app fee for all apps. This keeps mrs. cheapskate from calling and getting pre-emergent, and maybe a broadleaf control, but no straight ferts.

    By the way, Mrs. Cheapskate doesn't do upsells?
  4. LonniesLawns

    LonniesLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from KS
    Messages: 317

    I do not know how I could manage a lawn if I was doing only certain applications. I devise a plan for each lawn that gives it the nutrients it needs. These nutrients are spread through out the year based on when it is most appropriate for the lawn. I canot share this responsibility for the lawn care with a homeowner.

    Although my program is usually 4 applications, I do not do one time applications. I only have customers on my full schedule.
  5. MrBarefoot

    MrBarefoot LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    This year, I compared the margin I was making on full programs to the margin I made from partial programs, and the number of service calls requested by both groups. When I look at the numbers with cold business sense, it is very tempting to cut off the partial program customers.

    We also send out postcards in the middle of the year asking our customers to grade our performance, and ask for feedback to make improvements. Our partial program customers (as a group) where less satisfied.

    My natural urge is to sell applications to people, even if they don't want a full program, but the data makes a good argument (in my case) for my company to end that practice.

    If you can find a way to look at the same data in your company, it may help you make a decision.

    GREENITUP LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    I do not like to give partial programs because each one (of my applications) is timed to build off the previous one. If you let them pick one or two - true you will get some money for it. But when the neighbors see sporadic results on the Smiths lawn because you skipped three ferts and one pre-emergent, they will think "Didn't I see ("your company") out there a while back?" If the yard looks like crap - do you think they will call for your service??? Hard to build a good rep on mediocre lawns.
  7. Pilgrims' Pride

    Pilgrims' Pride LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA.
    Messages: 481


    While there are some who say they'll sell just a few apps and then try to upsell.
    I have an "all or nothing" approach for those same reasons.
  8. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    This boils back to what you are selling, results or labor/chems. Results come from a program. Residentials already have a high marketing load, then when you shave off your "money apps", toss in service calls because they are not on a regular program, they begin to suck away resources(partial programs). As far as being expensive/unaffordable, a 5 program per season(on a 28-32 week growing season) still puts you there plenty of times to stay on top of a lawn, gives you the chance to upsell a "winterizer" if you need to and allows a tech on the property every 5-6 weeks. This also allows 1 tech to handle a larger customer base than a 4 week schedule. Do the 1-2-3 app commercials and charge them on actual costs, leave the less than full program resis on the roadside.
  9. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    we will do less than our full program.

    we stipulate that less than 5 apps we can not guarantee -*no free service calls*
    and a 10% increase in our price.

    We (I) do not judge the customer. For whatever reason they may want less than a full program is ok by us. We do not worry that the lawn may not look so great and the neighbors might remember seeing us there.
    If that were the case....we got plenty of lawns on our full program who are not well maintained culturally and dont look so great.
    We do not take blame for the actions [or lack of action] taken by the homeowner. And its been my experience that the homeowner whos lawn is on a partial program will be the first to admit to his neighbor that its his fault that we dont do a better job of getting results.
  10. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    The 'what we're selling' arguement, results or apps, I do not agree with. Fact is we're in business to make $$$. Again, if we were to take that arguement to the homeowner who insist on mowing his lawn to short and doing a daily 5 min. watering, well then the cancellation rate will go quite high.
    "sorry mr smith, because you wont follow our instructions we will not get the desired results so we wont work here anymore" ??

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