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Friendly Competitors!?!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GreenMachine102, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. GreenMachine102

    GreenMachine102 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 219

    I run a fairly small business now having only 2 commercial accounts, and 15 residential!, but in the next few years I have to expand, by purchasing a nice ZTR! But I was stuck on the desicion of what to get an Exmark or a Walker???

    So, today I saw a local guy that runs a very large commercial/residential operation, he has 26 accounts in my neighborhood!!!, I have seen him and his crew around, but have never talked to him before, I saw him cutting in the yard butted up to my backyard, so I stood waiting to talk to him on the border of the property, I asked him if he liked his exmark or walker better, he has 3 walkers and 2 exmarks, he said that the exmark is a beautiful built machine, and I love it!, he said "this one is the 26hp carberated model, he said don't go with the fuel injected one because the electronics for the fule injection is underneath, and can get clogged with pine cones etc. very easily, to make a long story short, he said "listen I get my mowers about an hour away from here, and when you get ready to get your mower, i'll take you up their when you go to buy it!!!!! How nice is that, hes a competitor, I couldn't believe how nice he was!!

  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Yep, it's a good way to go. I'm letting a competitor run my W/B to see if he likes it and wants to get one of his own. Who knows, they can still help you out down the road.
  3. bluemoon7

    bluemoon7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    of course.... I ran Toro until I met a competitor running Exmarks....Now I only buy Exmark, this guy helped me bid jobs when needed and we are great freinds....I get along with almost all Lco's I have come across.... only a few I don't like
  4. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647



    You have to. Have to know what others are doing. Like we do here at "LawnSite"

    I have a few protoge's that are allways calling me or stopping buy with their woes and tribulations. I have a couple guys that used to work for me, that are now on their own.

    One unkown concept in this business is that we all have to in some way watch each others back. Let me explain.

    I belong to trade associations. You meet people in the business, you talk and exchange ideas and business practices. Each bosting about how great they do things or you find out how stupid someone realy is.

    As far as watching each others back. I have a group of peers, including those that I described above. We warn each other about problem customers. Those that are late payers or nonpayers.

    Now clients change their service provider for various reasons. We are all fine with that. However. The first thing we ask when we meet the client is who did you have before. If it is someone within out group. I will give the estimate and iform the people that I will contact your prior service provider to inform them that I gave you an estimate, due to the fact that they are friends of mine.

    When talking with my friend. Obviously tell them the obvious. Also if they want to try to work it out with owner. Also and most important. Did they pay you on time

    If they have not been paid. Then call the owner and tell them that I cannot begin service till the prior company has been paid. Now sometimes these companies are not paid at all. The owners call me, then they call someone else and so on. Each going through the same process.

    A few years ago. I had a maintenance customer that we did a landscape for and did not pay the final payment. Then they got behind on the monthly. We informed them we would suspend service till they paid. That came and went and we stopped service. Wouldn't you know it. The next day they called a friend of mine. He called them back and would not start till I was paid. These people called another friend of mine after that. Same thing happened. A couple days went by and by that time I had put the word out about them.

    My customer calls me back like 5 days later. Tells me that they had called just about everyone in the area to service them since I quit the job. No, no I tell them, I did not quit. I suspended service for nonpayment. Those that you called don't want a customer that don't pay same as I wouldn't want that. 2 days later I get the check in full. We continued with service and now today we still have them as a customer.

    They told me a couple times they were amazed at the whole incident.

    Doing this with other companies in your area makes you all more profesional than being cut throat. It also stabilizes prices and prevents games homeowners try to get away with.
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    nope, we have a mutual understanding. u drop, i prosper. is it nice? nope. is it the way it is? yup
  6. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647


    Is that regarding my long winded post?

    If it is. We do this to protect ourselves basicaly from the habitual nonpayer. Can take people to small claims court, and still not get paid.

    Ever since we started this with my group some time ago. It has worked for everones benefit. Now obviously there are those that won't say who they had before, and unless I am told about this particular customer, we take it.

    Have to be decent judge of character when going on estimates. There have been some that when I first meet them I flat out ask them, did they pay the previous company in full and were they ever late.
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    actually, i didnt read your " long winded post". im just telling it like it is.
  8. bastalker

    bastalker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 965

    I pass clients off to competitors all the time...If I dont want em, I just give em a call.:D I have a few, I am helpin out.
  9. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    hey keith, whatsup bud. keith is a deputy in a certain county,does lawncare here in stanly co.and a really straitup fella. to his credit ,he would still give me a ticket ,if i deserved it .
  10. maple city

    maple city LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    I've got a friend who is an older retired guy. Was friends with him before either of us ever started in this biz. He wants to mow a little, for exercise and a couple of bucks. He's to his limit of accounts right now. He's given us a nice weekly mowing account and 2 plowing accounts. When he decides to quit mowing, he'll give us all his accounts.

    Also, a new company started this year in our area, imagine our surpirse when we found out it was an old co-worker of ours. Doubt we'll be passing work back and forth, but at least they wave and say "hi", which is more than the rest in our area do.

    I don't think there's anything wrong with being friendly to other LCO's, just don't let them get too much info.

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