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Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Sean Adams, Aug 20, 2013.
Are you kidding me. I saw Nissan Titan is going to start coming with a cummins in '15 I believe
Cummins is set to hire around 500 and restart 2 production lines. Sorry sidetracked.
Ive got a list of guys I can refer customers to for stuff I dont do and they have me on thier list and Ive got a couple of guys that mow and we help each other when needed
Since I quit worrying about trying to make every dime I can Ive found more/better work
There is plenty of business out there and the typical customer is not going to switch from someone they are happy with for a couple bucks. If I do a quality job, charge within the local market price range, and maintain a good rapport, I will continue to have a high retention rate.
At some point, I will take a summer vacation, have an injury, or have an equipment issue that the shop can't turn around fast enough. Maintaining a good relationship with local competitors gives me a stand-by network to tap into for all kinds of situations.
Plus, they call or stop by and warn me when they get stiffed or drop a client for reason so I don't waste time quoting the job, and I do the same for them.
I network with 4 other local companies that do what I don't.
They in turn do the same for me.
I lost a customer recently that decided they wanted a "full service" outfit, which I'm certain was cost generated.
The market is what it is, and there really isn't a "typical customer" anymore.
The middle class market where most of us live and work continues to struggle and the squeeze goes on.
Price shoppers grow by the day, and the client who wants Walmart lawn and landscape is where it's headed.
For residential market wal mart landscaping is a reality NOW! plenty of work, but the margins are so low it's not hardly worth it! We maintain around 50 clients now but it's getting harder and harder every year to keep them happy, jobs are still being lost and wages are either stagnant or going down, and for those that loses their job it's replaced with a lower paying job usually. I feel fortunate to be in a market where people are constantly moving in so there's a good supply of new customers for the most part, so we market to the new home owner and people relocating in, it just made sense for us to go that route. We also sub work to competition and vice versa.
I'm mostly a 1 man show, but I have a buddy that helps me on bigger jobs or when I'm tired. I do maintenance only, but am in the process of getting my applicator's license. I only say that to show that I'm a little fish. I often get asked about patios, retention walls, irrigation, landscape installs etc. I don't touch the stuff. I wouldn't know where to start. I have 2 companies that I refer to customers for this work. They are both phenomenal companies that do very good work, and most importantly, stand behind it. We have a gentlemen's agreement that they will never try to muscle in on my maintenance contracts, and I won't bid theirs (not that they're worried).
This is a very productive relationship for all 3 of us. They get the landscaping jobs that pay good $ and sometimes they'll throw me a smaller job (clean up hedge work etc.) Plus one of them has been kind enough to teach me a lot about turf management and how to bid jobs accurately and fairly.
I agree that there is no need to be a to the competition, as the pie is big enough to go around. If your price is competitive and your work is the best it can be, your good clients won't be too interested in leaving you. As for the ones who might... well they're usually the ones you kinda wish you didn't have to deal with in the 1st place.
I get a very large dollar amount of work from much larger companies in our area. They often make more subbing to me than hadling in house. I have a great 5 day job to do in December that is being subbed to me. Big companies do not view one or two crew outfits as competion. In fact they have no concern for them at all. They are more worried about other 50 plus crew outfits because big beast must be fed. Friend of mine is so big he now employees 3700 full time in this business. So get to know larger companies if possible and ask for some work. You will have to build a relationship which can be hard. One of the companies that gives me a lot of work has done so for 20 plus years some years they give me 100k plus they average million per year themselves so there not a big box but well known.
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I run my business in a small city. A lot of other yard maintenance guys wave to me vice versa. I am even teamed up with another company that will help me out if I am in a pinch and I will help him out as well. I have started branching out further from home now and will do 1 or 2 day clean outs that are an hour to 3 hours away. I have taken my toy hauler and it is used to put equipment in on jobs that are away from home and then I also have a place to sleep if it is an over night job.
I used to refer work to other companies. Not anymore, if a customer wants a service that I am not providing I get three of the service providers to quote for me. I am the client, I pick the best price, then put my mark on it. 'I pay the service providers' not my clients, I also insist that they use magnetic signage on their vehicles stating that they are working on our behalf.
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