How are we supposed to compete?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by agrostis palustris, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. agrostis palustris

    agrostis palustris Banned
    Messages: 117

    2 weeks ago I placed a bid for doing the fertilization at 4 fire houses. I was only bidding against Save-A-Lawn and have some GREAT references for the area. I created a printed presentation for the board members and stood in front of them and spoke for a few minutes as to why their lawns would benefit from my program. I put down for 5 apps, 1 of Merit, 1 of Trimec, 3 of PHC 8-1-9. (would have needed 4300 lbs of it), proper liming (figured in for 17,500 lbs of the stuff to cover 116,000 sq ft without having a soil test) aeration, and overseeding. The lawns are all garbage and really should be killed off and re-done. Infested with crabgrass / broad leaf plantain / clover / ground ivy as well as grubs. Please be aware that there were NO specs for the job as it had never been done before. Well my bid came to be $16,100 and I told them that I could budge on my price for the liming if they would wait for a soil test. I believe Save-A-Lawns' bid was around 5 - 6 thousand dollars. All they bid on was 5 apps.
    Nobody from Save-A-Lawn was there for the board meeting. Obviously they got the job.
    I must ask though... how is the right way supposed to win if people don't want to pay for it?
  2. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    Attention K Mart shoppers, reality check on isle 7

    This stuff happens all the time. No one wants to pay for what they actually need, they want a deal, the same as us when we want something done.
  3. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 472

    Creeping Bent,

    in my humble opinion it seems that you failed to listen to the customer and that is why you lost the bid. From your description of the fire station sites the lawns were a mess. Very low end lawns. Obviously a high-end lawn was not their priority. Maybe you would have been better off recognizing this and bid a low end, basic service as your competitor did. Over time you would have had the ability to up sell the customer on the benefit of liming, aeration, etc. Over time you might have been able to move this customer to a highly maintained lawn and its benefits, but you did not give the customer time to move to this conclusion. Your approach may have been right for the lawn's needs, but you failed to consider the customer's needs and you failed. Learn from this experience and you might just win the next bid. Good luck.

  4. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    Well said Lawnstudent!!! I was thinking the same thing myself.:) ;) :) ED
  5. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    I have to agree with lawnstudent. :cool:

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 665

    Often it is true. But not always. Perhaps there was a change in management and the new Mgr wants to spark some curb appeal and was given a healthy budget to do it.

    In residential, it is dangerous to assume that the guy with a mini lawn in a low end neighborhood full of nasty lawns wants the bargain program.
    It is also dangerous to assume that the guy in the $350,000 house in the gated community will pay top dollar.

    The proper way to approach a new sale is to first probe for expectations. Often, the potential client will give you a clue as to their pocketbook limits.

    Simply ask them what they want out of the lawn. Then, explain the turf condition. Then, the cost to achieve it.

    There should be a brief interview BEFORE a bid is issued to determine the expectations.

    Good luck in the future.
  7. EJK2352

    EJK2352 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,150

    How's things in Canton??? All my lawns are TOAST here. I've been doing rain dances, but still haven't seen a good rain in over 3 weeks.:( ED
  8. strickdad

    strickdad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 544

    lawn student, you may need to pay more attention in school, without the lime, the fert will not work....
  9. NC Big Daddy

    NC Big Daddy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    Fert will work without lime.
  10. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Depends on the soil pH. If the pH is low then the fertilizer will not work, just as Strickdad said. You may get use of maybe 25% of the fertilizer that is applied, again depending on the fertilizer that is applied and the soil pH and CEC level.

    If winning the bid means mowing a weed field then I'll pass, let someone else do it...

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