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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by The Lawn Boy Pro, May 9, 2003.
Whats the best way to "warm" new customers up to so-thought OUTRAGEOUS prices like 40 bucks a pop?
-I keep sharp blades. I change them every 8 working hours.
-Contracts, they protect you the customer. I will not work without one.
-Fully licensed and insured.
-References, here they are, feel free to call anyone on the list.
-Gee, look at your next door neighbors lawn.
-I use only the finest contractor grade equipment.
Use your imagination, bring up every positive point about your way of doing things WITHOUT bashing the last guy to have the job.
Good advice. Always take the high road.
The best way to warm people up to an outrageous price like $40 is to build a good reputation as being dependable, honest, and professional. Treat the customer with the utmost respect. Your reputation has to be earned. Do what you say you will do and when you say you will do it, and to the best of your ability. Second, you have to believe that you and the property are worth the money. At your age, you will probably not have an easy time commanding the same money as someone that has been in the industry for along time, that's OK, its called paying your dues.
The average American landscape contributes about 14% to the price of a single family home.... So if you "invested" $2,400 a year in a professional maintenance company (like mine who could increase the value of your home by 5% (roughly $17,500 on a $350,000 home) thereby paying for itself in increased value without even considering appreciation for the next 7.29 years, would you consider that a wise investment... or not???
If they say "or not".... simply walk away.... they aren't smart enough to deal with...
Couple that with testimonials, references, and "posture" and you should get all the "quality" accounts you can handle....
Good Luck, Clay
Remember: In marketing you must always answer the question... "What's in it for me?"
That sounds great and makes a good installation sales pitch. And I agree that a well landscaped and maintained lawn will sell higher. But in these days of tract housing (even high end) where home values are based on the neighborhood, there are certainly limits to a home's increase in value due to landscaping. My family's been in the building business since the depression era. Their homes were always built better and landscaped much better. Still, they had a hard time selling homes that cost even $10,000 more than the ones sitting beside them from other builders.
I think the key to selling value is more appealing to asthetics than finances.
Some people just want it hacked down at minimum cost. Others want it mowed reliably and reasonably well so that they don't get embarrassed about it looking bad, but don't have to have the ultimate look.
Still others want it absolutely perfect, they want to impress the neighbors, they want to win lawn of the month awards. I concentrate on the middle group because I find them the most profitable in terms of time investment vs. price.
It depends on equipment and personnel setups.
For example, a "hack it down" guy wouldn't mind a 62" ZTR on his lawn that you can get in and out of in 15 minutes with a crew of not-so-great mowers. And if somebody quits on you, these customers dont' really care if you're a little late getting back to it. They just figure they've saved the cost of a mowing. These lawns don't pay much, but with the right setup, you don't have to spend much time on them at all.
I concentrate on the middle group, working solo with mid sized equipment, and giving them 100% reliablity and good quality, but not the ultimate in manicured look.
To service the final group of picky homeowners with more cash to spend, you need cheap labor. Because you're often going to have to use smaller mowers to get the best cut quality, pick weeds, spread mulch, pick up sticks, and do labor intensive stuff that just isn't worth as much per-hour as a man on a ZTR. I am not going to do squat labor, anyway, so this group is out for me.
Anyway, research your market, know the prevailing rates, figure out what you need to make, and price accordingly. Time and experience will tell you when you're hitting the right price. Too many rejects, and you're priced too high. Too many accepts, and you may want to raise prices. Present yourself well, speak well, and give a professional appearance. A nice clean reasonably new truck and trailer with decent equipment will bring more than showing up with your trailer you proudly made yourself from the rear of an old pickup truck, murray push mowers, and '83 jacked up 4x4 Chevy with dirt caked on from last weekends' mud bog festival. You might also want to consider putting out the Marlboro you leave dangling from your lip as you speak to the customer, and buying a shirt with a collar and cargo shorts or slacks to replace the AC/DC tank top and gym shorts that you feel are "more me" and make you irresistable to women.