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Does anyone / would you only maintain residentail properties?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MacLawnCo, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    In my business plan, ive identified my niche as upper middle class, full maintenance residential properties...which ive done an excellent job of attracting so far. In the future, i plan on staying with this client group, and was wondering if anyone else does this or has ever ran their business with this group of clients in mind? In my mind, it has many benefits that commercials can not match. Does anyone feel this way too?
  2. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    If that is the standard of work you provide.

    Don't think that is all your going to do. You may in the future find higher income requiring your service as well as lower income willing to sacrifice for that nicely kept landscape.

    I don't think it fair to call any group of income a niche, but rather a price structure that you will maintain that homeowners will pay
  3. Dr. Mow

    Dr. Mow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 109

    with res. you do not have to rebid every year and risk losing a good account. Plus just doing res. you can get away with carring less liablity ins. Every year we drop more and more com properties- way to much head ache.We now go for only high profile res. properties, most of our homeowners do not even ask about price, they want customer service, that is where the money is.
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well,......where do I start?.....I guess with the simple approach to begin with. OK you have identified something you are comfortable with. Now how well have you identified this "niche" or group? How well defined is it? How large is the market ect?

    It may seem to you that I am maybe splitting hairs here, but I'm really not. I'm only taking time to point out the true foundation of really successful marketing, which in turn feeds what becomes a very successful business. What you are doing now is good. You are in the stage of exploring your natural markets.

    However, "upper middle class, full maintenance residential" is not quite defined enough to qualify as having identified a niche or target market. I mean, do you have any idea how many groups lie within the upper middle class? Also do you realize almost everyone "thinks" that is a target market? In addition, I'd guess at least 90% of all marketing or business or marketing plans include "upper middle class" as the #1 target.

    Now I'm not saying that the "class" is bad. In fact lets look at why it's such a popular target. Honestly, more money than poor or middle class, but not so much money that they seem as unaccessible as the very wealthy. Good place to start.

    Now to keep it on simple terms, take a look at your current block of business. Identify as many things about each one as you can. Then see how much they have in common. The more the better, you get the picture.

    Study that and see what you find out. This will give you a start at really identifying a market that can be successful for you. Then you can work it, explore and identify others and so on. Because let's face it, having too many eggs in one basket is asking for disaster to strike.
  5. leeslawncare

    leeslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 649

    Get a year to year contract if not longer . I have a 3 year on a res/comm (Attorneys home an office)It's a sweet one to!
  6. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Messages: 776

    I would not suggest that you completely rule out commercial properties. My policy states that I will work for anybody so long as the following conditions are met; 1) the neighborhood is safe for myself and employees 2) that I deal directly with the owner. I look at it like this, if you are doing residential work, you are always going to have a client or two who own their own business. What are you going to tell them? "No, I am sorry, I will work for you at your house, but not at your commercial property."? I know if I owned a business and somebody told me that, I would drop them immediately and go find somebody else. JMHO
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    This year I've been trying to change the mix from 70% commercial 30% residential, to 50/50 in order to get more fall work...and this is the only reason. We do soup to nuts for the commercials(beds, flowers, weed control, landscaping ect) but when fall comes, it's a mow only situation. Maybe it's just bad luck, but the majority of these upper middle class accounts I've added have been a pain in the arse. Things like "why can't you wait 7 days between mowings, I dont like the big mower look on my lawn, when you trim there are 9 blades of grass in the new mulch", and on and on. I do have a few residentials that are not P;sITA but the majority are. I'm rethinking my desire for more residential. Nearly all of our commercials are not price shoppers but rather require the high quality work and reliability. They are rarely a headache for us. Like I said maybe I just happened to land the wrong residentials this season....any of you dislike the residential market? From what I;ve seen here on LS, most of you like this market segment. I'll give it more of a chance but right now I'm not too thrilled with it
  8. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    The PITA homeowners usualy calm down the second year of service. Many in there own little way try to reinvent the way you do business and perform your work.
  9. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    The "upper middle class." Reminds me of my new, favorite TV commercial. This guy is showing off his house, his car, "new, of course," his country club membership, etc. Then he says, "How do I do it? I'm in debt up to my eyeballs!" As he's flipping burgers on his grill, he confides in the camera, "I can barely make my interest payments!"
    This, I feel, is true of many people nowadays. They are house-poor, and will try to get the cheapest guy out there. This, and the fact that many, many LCO's are targeting these people, and lowballing each other, make them a less than desirable target to me.
    Of course, it all depends on your definition of upper middle class, I have some that I mow for when their machine is in the shop, or they are going on vacation. I know a lot of you avoid vacation mowings like the plague. I did one yesterday, the guy was telling me how much better of a job I do on his yard than he does. Pays well, too.
  10. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    My crew and I do about 104 residentials a week and one commercial. I have found residentials to be very profitable. Currently it is putting two of my kids through A&M and making a pool payment plus everything else I need. They are not high end residential either. High ends are house rich and money poor. My advertising is targetted in certain areas but I do not exclude what has been come to be known as low end residentials. Around here anything less than $200k seems to be called low end?? I am looking for what I call the "educated customer." These are the people that have been through the neighborhood kid that only wanted enough money for this weekend's big date, the $20.00 uninsured lawn care ----- with Wally World equipment who misses his schedule on a consistent basis because he has to do too much work to make money, the mass production LCO's with multiple crews complete with language barriers and throughout all this has been using a franchised chemical company throwing 100% quick release fert and charging extra to treat Dallis grass.

    I enter the picture sell them on the value of having a service that doesn't overbook, has had an on time completion rate of not less than 98% in the last 6 years, uses quality slow release ferts with no upcharge to treat the stubborn grassy weeds. These people are willing to pay. They are willing to pay me 20% over the going rate for what I consider business as usual. I figure if I have over 100 customers paying me 20% more than the going rate that is equivalent to running an extra 1.5 crew without all the headaches. There is money to be made in residentials however when talking to the customer that time is your opportunity to also interview him/her to determine if you want them as a customer in your base. In residentials you want to bid every job that comes your way but you don't necessarily want every job you bid. On those jobs you don't want, the bid needs to be high enough so that any problems they cause will not erase the smile on your face.

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