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Do you get the feeling?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOW ED, Jul 12, 2006.

  1. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Its no secret that its a tough business. I know there is the whole range of owners here, the "so called" low baller all the way to the top shelf "you want how much to cut grass" guys. Some of us may have run the range at different stages of business.
    I must say that today I fall closer to the top end for pricing in my market and that in my mind (and back) is a good thing.
    The feeling I am talking about is that do you ever go out to estimate a lawn, meet the homeowner and get the feeling that you are wasting your time? I have remained pretty open minded about it but after doing this for 11 years I am pretty good at the feeling.
    Its about reading the customer and knowing the situation. I have just completed 2 bids which are mid-summer new homeowner bids. Homeowners who previously did it themselves and now have a much larger lawn that they "think" they need to have someone look at for a bid. One is a 3 acre property with 2 acres of cutting and a mix of heavy trees and open space. The second is a 3/4 acre property worth 1 mil on a hill. I very easily could have bid these low and picked up 2 large accounts right in the middle of the year. In my first year I would have been all over this for half of what I bid last week. Both homeowners know how to mow lawn or have the ability. (one owns a 54"deere and the other has 4 teenagers).
    I have not heard from either since I bid last week. Now I want to prove the feeling wrong but so far I am right. The bids were in line with my pricing and comparable to other similar properties that I do now. Its a customer by customer situation. I am good at this feeling thing.
    Its said that if you are getting 90% of your bids, you are probably underpriced. I certainly am not in this group. I am probably closer to 40% if that. I am not crying by any means because those 40% pay the 100% I am looking for.

    Do you guys ever get that feeling that the bid is a winner or loser from the first contact or are you surprised? What percentage of bids are you closing on?
  2. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    Yes Ed, it does seem like i can kind of feel whether i've got a chance after the first 5 minutes or so. I always make sure I ask enough questions to have a feel for what kind of customer i'm dealing with. I'm new at this, but bidding is getting easier. So far I've got just under 44% of my bids.
  3. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 903

    I believe customers give out tiny body signals, and that the longer you have been in this game the better you are at reading them.

    This can be handy because you know if you have the job or not, even if they say they will let you know. ( you already know,its no)

    Jewellery sellers look at they customers eyes etc to get feed back.

    Your last question, no i usualy know if i got the job and dont get suprised, although every now and then i get one that i thought i didnt have a chance in hell of getting and get it.:) *aussieflag* o.k i am now a senior member respect me every one LOL
  4. PTOhioMower

    PTOhioMower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    Congrats senior member......

    Now Im one post closer!!!
  5. eshreve1234

    eshreve1234 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    I have the feeling on the phone with people. I would say that maybe 5% of people I talk to care about a clean reliable service, the other 95% just want the grass short. I only estimate 10% of my mowing calls in person, the rest I look up their lot stats on the county auditor site and just give a price. 100% of landscaping is done in person.

    As for a closing rate, for mowing its about 30%, landscaping work is closer to 60%.

    On a side note, before I taught him how to fertilize, my old man would call each company in town every spring for quotes, he would literally have 30+ quotes, I wonder how many people got the feeling from him?
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh man I rely on that feeling, I would say it is right 90% of the time, and it's to the point where if I can catch that feeling on the phone before I head out, I don't even waste the fuel to drive out there anymore. Unlike the other poster, I don't give them no price over the phone either, I just thank them for their time, and hang up.

    Yeah they say you never know for sure and that is true, but I did an experiment about two years ago and gave TEN of these customers where I got that feeling a chance, and you know it, nine of them turned out true to the feeling, hence why I say it is right about 90% of the time. I ain't going through this experiment again, I get that feeling for a reason, and I rely on it.

    It is an interesting figure, this 90% / 10% thing. As far as closing, my prices and cherrypicking abilities are such that I would say I close ONE out of every ten phone calls I get (regular customers being the exception).
  7. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,439

    topsites, did you get my pm?
  8. I get that feeling on EVERY quote.
    Agressive selling turns it around though.
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,621

    Some of the time. People who get 3 bids on what should be a 40$ lawn are mainly interested in price. But they might give it to an aggressive salesperson just to get you to shut up. So they can go back to watching Jerry Springer:rolleyes: :laugh:
  10. Idealtim

    Idealtim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 939

    Your right with the statement that ''If you get 90% of your bids, your bidding to low.'' Everything else is somewhat right.

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