Funny thing today

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by golfnpreacher, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. golfnpreacher

    golfnpreacher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    I'm driving down the road and see two different LCO's pull out of one neighbor, and drive a few miles down the road and they both pull into the same neighborhood. Okay, I'm nosy and followed them in. Both stopped a different houses about a quarter mile apart.

    Now, I starting thinking. Both of these neighborhood were similar in the size of the lawns. I can't swear to it, but I imagine both neighborhood were cut at the same price per lawn. But what if... these two companies, instead of competing with each other, swapped accounts. One cut both lawns in the first neighborhood and the other took both in the second?

    Could it be we work too hard to beat the other guy we don't realize how much more we all could make if we worked with each other. I'm not suggesting we all merge, but instead form something like a co-op. Or do we not trust "the other guy" enough to swap accounts?
  2. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    I know my competition here, as we sometimes work opposite each other in certain neighborhoods. What we consider quality may be something totally different to them. No two people have the same signatures or writing styles, so how can we merge and be the same.?? Equipment--trucks--trailers don't set us apart. It is the heart, the service that is the important thing.
    I had 4 accounts in a gated community in one of our golf courses. This was one of those years that we obtained more than we could handle. 140 lawns a week was just too much to at that time. We knew someone whom was in the business as we watched their crew work, and supposedly learned their quality. We had the boys bid our properties to just mow, and we would allow them to take over these 4 houses during the week while they were in the area. We would handle the billing just as usual, just new faces. We were to keep the shrubbery trimming, mulching, spraying etc. That first month, the customer calls and asks why she hasn't seen either me nor my partner?! I told her that this other company is working for us to maintain their lawn. Well, in a gated community, the neighbors do congregate at meetings and tell stories. It didn't take long before the customers let us go as they aren't stupid on sub-contracting when the quality or the personal familiarity is concerned.
    I can't help but drag a dead cat through the streets here, but I am not about to share my personal talents with others whom I don't know. This forum is another thing, because it is so vast, but if it were more centrally located to my region, it would be a different story.
    Trust is one thing that has to be earned. It cannot be bought!!!
    When we get a new customer, and they learn who we are.........we have a family member to our life. We have had our customers...........90% of them for at least 15 years each. Now, would you be willing to let someone you don't know just sweep this kind of trust under the rug????

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    the other day i pulled up to do some hedge triming and there was a truck and trailer at the neighbors house. i thought nothing of it and started trimming and all of a sudden i see a 48'' bobcat go by. i did a double take cause it the same mower i have, it turns out the guy mowing the neighbors was also mowing the account were i was trimming the shrubs
  4. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    lmao ... !!
  5. 1993lx172

    1993lx172 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,305

    In the subdivision I live and work in there are about five lawn services (not including mine) that have accounts there. And never once have I seen any of them try and take anyone else's account. We have never talked, met or come to any agreement but out of respect for everyone else no one advertises on the other's accounts. I am not a large service like they are, in fact most of you would probably ridicule the equipment I use, how I get equipment from job to job, and so on if you came across me during your routes but never once have any of them tried to take any of my accounts or the accounts of the other's. But of all the services that operate here I have more accounts in the neighborhood and I charge as much as they do so that negates the "low baller" claim.
  6. THC

    THC LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,020

    My truck has HUGE decals saying ***** Lawn Care. I pulled into a ladies house to clean windows and there was a lawn service mowing the yard. Didn't even look at me, turns out he was doing the yard (bagging) for $20 cash and he was a fireman.
  7. golfnpreacher

    golfnpreacher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Maybe I didn't word this correctly, maybe I assumed something that no one else is getting, or maybe I just had an idea no one agrees with.

    I'm not against competition, in fact I believe it is good for business. And I'm not against multiple companies working the same neighborhood. What I am interested in discussing is companies, generally smaller operations - single trucks - that crisscross each other in search of business.

    Has anyone "out there" ever given consideration to them working together, not as a business together, but in cooperation for each others businesses? I know there are exceptions, but as a general example...

    LCO A lives on one side of town and LCO Z life on the opposite side. One day two new customers call, one to A and one to Z, the customer that called A lives on Z's side of town and of course the opposite was true with other other, they called Z but lived in A's neighborhood. Both have the same size lawn and would pay the same.

    What if these two LCO's had a working relationship and then "traded" these clients off. The customers would both get the same service, the LCO would both make the same money AND would benefit from tighter routes which would increase the profit margin.

    Yeah, I know, that's living in a dream world... but then again I am the golfnrpeacher.
  8. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    That was my point originally!
    Each lco's quality, likeablility,dress,demeanor,and sincerity may be totally different.
    There are 5 LCO's per large street here currently. I know of a couple that resides in this neighborhood, yet the customer likes another LCO that lives somewhere else. ( I will drive an extra 2 miles to a different store to enjoy a clean, well organized establishment over another!) Image matters!!!!
    I don't want to stray off my subject, but there is no love lost with my competition. (E.G.)--No Offense to anyone!! We were approached by a competitor LCO that we have know for years now. He had this idea of work sharing our accounts that we don't have the time for (He Thinks!). He wanted to recruit our shrubbery trimming customers that we mow also, and he would bid the jobs out and charge us for his work. We would carry the note for the 30 day payments. He drives a banged up dually with holes in the quarter panels. His trailer is rigged up and hasn't seen paint in 10 years. He gets out of the truck and cans fall all over the street. Blah! Blah!--He wants a list of our trimming accounts and how much we charge for each. He said--He would hire the appropriate employees to handle the work and he will reside on the site until the work is done..?? Come on here!!! I wasn't born yesterday!!!! He wants to set foot in my hard earned accounts, hire some goof ball boys to hack the crap out of high dollar shrubbery, some of which is topiaries and espaliaries, and I won't have to touch the work at all! Seems good doesn't it?
    I am 39 and have been tought how to trim shrubs and have been holding shears-gas trimmers since I was 17 years old. No one is going to tell me otherwise how to trim something. Call it fear, call it whatever you want, he isn't going to earn my costomer's respect by doing this offer. The customer won't stand for it. They are used to seeing certain people on their lawn and if either me or my partner aren't on the lawn when it is being done, then it isn't getting done--------Period!!!! All new helpers that we hire are introduced to my customers, and the customer gets to know them slowly.
    Now that I have spelled out my feelings of the reality, let me end by saying that--" It seems that it could work in a perfect world, but it isn't going to happen here!!" The only time that something like this works is if the two lco's are brothers, cousins, or whatever! LOL!! had to throw that in there for laughs!
    If a competitor came to me tomorrow that has endured a horrible ordeal, then I would give them the shirt off my back. However, they have to earn their own properties.!!!

    This is the perpetual dog-eat-dog thread!!! Can't trust anyone!!!--It has bitten us on the butt too many times.
  9. trooper8870

    trooper8870 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 241

    I'm a small LCO in the grand scheme of things with aproximately 50 accounts. I have a friend that has a LARGE LCO with about 300 mowing and spraying accounts. I do alot of his shrub work and he pushes business my way. But the same goes for me. I push business his way as well. We work together on alot of things and it works out great. I think we need to have associations of some sort for the legit companies in an area. We are hurting our ownselves by not networking. Believe me, in my area, there is enough business for all of the legit businesses to have more work than they can handle. The folks out doing it for gas money want stay in business. I acquired a landscaping job just today that a guy had done in April of this year. He charged the people 1300.00 for his work and I wish you could see how it turned out. He would not even come back after the homeownwer called him. I quoted the redo at 2550.00 and got it. And its because of the work I do and the very high referance that my friend with the large lco gave me. We need to help each other.
  10. Lawn Pawn

    Lawn Pawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from zone 3
    Messages: 568

    I have only a few of my own accounts.

    I sub cut twice as many for someone that only has a couple push mowers. I would never take one of his accounts even if they asked me.... they belong to him!

    There is another cutter in the area.... real nice guy, that I pass along names to that have turned me down for service.... or too large for me to handle. He is the only other cutter I have ever met around here that seems to take pride in his work.

    So yes.... I can share work with somebody I respect. Having said that..... business is still business and if somebody did steal an account of mine.... Guess I was not doing something good enough.

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