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Got a call for an estimate last night

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by meathead1134, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    First off I try to answer 100 percent of my calls and when I can't I call back every single 1 Ok here goes. I get a call yesterday at 4:18 pm while I was cutting grass for an estimate, I was zoned out listening to my mp3 player, I answered the call and she was looking for an estimate. I said ok I call you back when I finish this particular yard (I just started and the signal was fading in and out). I called her back at 6:20pm and spoke with her. She stated she needed someone to cut the grass. I said ok since its on my way home I'll stop by right now. Here is how the conversation went.

    Me: Hello I'm Ken you must (I'll call her Jan) and shook her hand
    Jan: Yes thanks for stopping by.
    Me: Can you show me around the property and let me know what exactly you want done?
    Jan: Ok I need this part of the back yard done, the side done, and the front done.
    Me: Ok no problem.
    Me: What exactly are you looking for? something weekly or a 1 time thing. I need it done as soon as possible cause Mom and Dad return from vacation on Tuesday
    Jan: Just this 1 time (red flag goes up here in my head) I don't cut grass.
    Me: Ok then lets see what I can do for you.
    The lost size was about 11,000 square feet with several trees nothing big not a PITA yard grass wasn't that tall.
    Me: For something like this I can do this for $50.00.
    Jan: silence for a second and her eyebrows lifted. (another red flag)

    I knew she was surprised by my estimate but I din't budge

    Me: That will include cut trim and blow, I'm available tomorrow at such and such time.
    Jan: I have somebody else coming out tomorrow to give me an estimate.
    Me: Ok then thank you (I shook her hand and wrote down the estimate on my card and handed to her.) If you need anything give me a call and off I went.

    Lessons learned
    1. She is looking for the cheapest way out.
    2. I'm not doing charity work here people.
    3. Didn't care she had an estimate in hand 2 hours after her initial phone call.
    4. Looking to have it done as soon as possible with out any regard for people's time

    I strive myself in having good customer service and personality skills. I respond to every inquiry.

    Tell me what you guys think
  2. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    "I want it now!!" Minimum charge 75 bucks, Take it or leave it. one timers mean nothing to me, they think they are doing you a favor. NOT.
    I try to screen them before I waste time and fuel to look, Tell them on the phone, A one time cut minimum is 75, most say thank you and call someone else. no skin off my azz, I'm not in this for onetimers, my business is based around high end full service properties, most onetimers have sh!t yards that wear blades and are hard on the equipment anyway.
  3. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    I wouldn't have told her that you don't do one time cuts. For one time cuts, I tell them I have to have payment in full before starting the service. I tell them to leave a check in the back grill or under the mat. If its there I cut it. If it isn't, no cut.

    About 50% of one time cuts turn into weekly accounts. I'll do them.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Ask those same questions next time while on the phone and save yourself a trip. I used to jump all over every call when I first started and found myself wasting precious time on some loser estimates.
  5. sweatyclippingcoveredguy

    sweatyclippingcoveredguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    You shouldn't of mentioned anything about a one time cut. Those aren't worth it, and you seemed to be promoting it. Weekly cuts are the way to go. If you DO cut it one time, I know I shoot the price boarderline ridiculously high.
  6. Rons Rightway Lawncare

    Rons Rightway Lawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,164

    If your there for estimate, why waste time coming back later to mow? I would have told her the price and then said if she had CASH I would do it for a slightly reduced amount and I could do it right then and there.

    I can not tell you how many one time cuts or cutting arrangements that were supposed to be for only a month or two..... that have turned into full time, long term steady customers.

    I don't like one time jobs either, but if you can possibly squeeze it in, I say just do it!
  7. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Messages: 558

    Since she didnt give you the go ahead then I would have told her should she decide to call you call no later than _____ before you leave out for the morning
    and leave the check(pay before you cut)
    A crisis on thier part does not constitute an emergency on your part
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Once you get enough work that you're happy with the size crew(s) or running solo, you can pull all of your advertising. This will save you "X" amount of dollars as well, not only the time and money you save by running after dead end estimates.

    Others were correct, you need to start asking what they're looking for, and you can tell them a "minimum" price right from the start.

    I don't do residential yards anymore, but people STILL track down my number from other current or past customers so I'll get phone calls once in a while.

    For leaf cleanups, I tell them it's a minimum of $300 for me to do a city lot (10k sq ft), with few trees and few bushes around the house, and goes up from there.

    Obviously that's alot to some people, and I don't like doing cleanups, so I get rid of most estimates right there.
  9. MowerMoney

    MowerMoney LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    I don't care for one time cuts either but I still do them. And vacation cuts. And even a few that have had surgery and only need it cut for a month or so. I squeeze them in when my schedule allows. Some weeks end up a little busier than others. Sometimes I charge a little more than the normal rate. I have found that several people liked the fact that the lawn was getting a better cut than they did themselves and when they find that they CAN afford it, I get them as full time clients. Have also gotten other clients from referrals from these people.

    I just counted my "vacation" customers from this year. 17 clients with total number of cuts resulting in about the equivalent of 3 full time clients (or an extra $3000 per year).

    MANICURED LAWNS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    It wasn't her yard it was her parents and obviously she can't hire you to do it full time unless she's paying you full time. Obviously she was suppose to be taking care of it while they were away and she was covering her own butt. Bid it as you would a weekly customer, chances are you won't lose a dime on it and it wouldv'e takin you what.. an hr at most ( I hope for only$50 ) either was you walk away with $50 bucks whether its a weekly or a 1 time only same amount of energy and fuel used and you were already there why do it tom? Most 1 timers pay cash take it and run. They have nieghbors right? could open up more doors for you and your business nieghbors talk.

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