Follow up after not getting job approval???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mowingtowing, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. mowingtowing

    mowingtowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    Is it OK to follow up with a customer as to why they didnt go with your bid? IE, provide a questionare that has check boxes or options such as: other co. price, higher/same/lower, other co have/dont have insurance, other co has better/worse customer relations/appearence other co. provide more/less service or included more/less in bid, etc.
    Conclude by saying that this questionare would help my company continue to provide competitive bids and services or something like that.
    Anyone every done this?
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    I would think it appropriate for an employee-based operation, more so if more than one employee could be involved in the process, but not really for a solo op, I think as a solo I just have to pick up on the clues, being that I was there and all, is why I'm saying.
    And if they didn't say it at the time, maybe they don't want to, so the letter isn't helping.

    Part of it has to do with my own experiences as a customer of a small operation who did that...
    Sent me a letter asking those questions...
    I'm like reading this letter in disbelief, it was signed by the same person I had spoken to, and I know I told at least someone point blank why I was no longer interested. Granted this company was a 2-person operation, but I'm like dude, where between the two of you are these things getting lost?

    Now for something a little bigger, even 5-6 people I could see it.
  3. cutedge

    cutedge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I wouldn't do a questionnaire, but rather just a friendly letter stating you're happy with their interest in your company/services type of letter. It really goes along way with a customer, they will remember you. Remember, sometimes a price is just to much for some people to pay, no matter what company gives the estimate, it's not in their budget. They now know who you are and sometimes will refer you to friends and/or family. It happened to me a lot.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    First off, yes, there is nothing wrong or unprofessional about asking people for feedback and most people are more than willing to give it.

    Second, I wouldn't make it a letter or a checklist. I would simply call them on the phone and discuss it. In fact, back before I was too busy, I used to do just that. The phone call would go like this;

    "Hi. Mrs. Johnson? Hi. This is Jim Lewis with Lewis Landscape Services. I gave you a bid a week or two ago. I was just calling to follow up." And then I'd just shut up and let them speak.

    Sometimes I'd get, "Oh, yes! Thanks for calling! I've been so busy that I haven't even had time to think about it. In fact, I am glad you called because I am not sure where I put your bid. But it was around $160 per month, right? Tell you what, let's just go ahead and get started. When could you guys start?"

    But most of the time I'd get a response like this, " Oh. Right. Yah, thanks for calling. We actually hired someone else."

    And I'd reply with, "Hey. No problem. Listen, I know we're not the cheapest company. But we've never missed a week of service and we do great work. So if this company doesn't work out, please give us a call." Most people would reply very favorably. And when things didn't work out, I was always the first person they called.

    But you could easily go a step further and ask, "Hey. Before I let you go. Do you mind telling me briefly why you ended up chosing the other company over us?"

    You'll be surprised. Most people really appreciate that you are so interested and will gladly tell you why. After doing this 20 times or so, you'll probably start to see a pattern. And then you can address those issues at the time of the bid and try to prevent it from happening. For instance, if you find that your prices are always a tad higher, than you can switch your bidding to focus more on quality than price. You can end your presentations with, "Well, before I go, I should note that we're not the cheapest lawn care company around. But we show up every week like clockwork, we are licensed, bonded and insured, we pay all of our taxes, we don't use illegal workers, and we're easy to get a hold of if there's ever any challenges that come up. So keep that in mind when you're looking around."

    Or if you find that people are consistently giving you feedback like, "We just decided to go with a larger, more professional company." or "We decided to hire a full-service landscaping company." then you should probably consider what changes you need to make in order to make yourself look more professional or full-service.

    Anyway, great idea. When you are slow, taking time to do stuff like this can really help you learn a lot about where you are in the marketplace. It's an edge that most of your competitors won't have. Because most of them don't have time or take time to figure this kind of stuff out.
  5. smcunningham

    smcunningham LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 775

    Jim Lewis,
    Great reply, good usefull imfo. Something I'll put some thought into doing myself.
  6. fitzg2md

    fitzg2md LawnSite Member
    Messages: 156

    yeah, Lewis...very well thought out reply
  7. mowingtowing

    mowingtowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    I kinda feel that a phone call puts someone on the spot. But if they just havent acted on the bid yet, then its probably ok. In my case, it was a tree that the customer really wanted down because it was leaning. I know she approved another company's offer because we were emailing about something else and she said that her husband decided to go with Company B. Maybe January would be a good time to try to put something together, not now when lawns are starting to grow again, almost time to aerate and nearly leaf season

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