How Many Prices/Options Do You Offer a Prospect?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Sean Adams, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    The landscaping industry is competitive, right?

    More people are doing this kind of work now than ever before, right? At least that is how many business owners in this industry feel every time they see a new company pop-up. Frustrating.

    What's even more frustrating is when someone calls you for an estimate - any kind of estimate - maintenance, lawn care, design/build, etc... and you know right away they are not merely calling on you. In fact, they openly admit to you they have called upon 3, 4, or even 5 other contractors for a bid. Now the pressure is on.

    You want the job, but you kow your numbers. You know what price you need to charge to do the work. The fear of the "lowballer" or "novice" coming in and underbidding you is a legitimate concern. But its also a legitimate concern that another professional is going to come in and just do a better job at selling the work than you do.

    In a perfect world, all lawn and landscape business owners are very good salespeople. We know what to say. We know how to present things and we know how to make our company stand out from the rest and get the prospect to sign on the dotted line.


    That's not always the case.

    So how do you avoid, or at least lessen the chance that the prospect is going to choose someone else over you?

    Yes, you could promise them the world, give them a ridiculously low price or whatever else you have in your bag of tricks to just "get the work", but that is not healthy for the bottom line of the business.

    What you shoudl consider is the following...

    Let's say a prospect calls you and wants a complete maintenance program for their home - mowing, trimming, edging, shrubs, bed maintenance, mulch, aeration, fertilization, weed control ,clean-ups, etc. The prospect hasn't really indicated some very important things to you that may help you put your bid together - simple things like how nice they want things to look, how often, or even what kind of budget they have to work with. And let's be honest, its not exactly an easy question to ask...

    "Hey Mr. Smith, how much you got to spend on all this work?"

    So what do you do?

    Give the prospect options - I like to provide as many as three options. Let's call them Gold, Silver and Bronze to make it easy.

    You lay out the proposal in a way that gives the prospect three choices instead of one.

    Gold Package - all services done perfectly, on a regular basis, top notch products, top notch results. Mowing weekly and bagged, all beds edged, shrubs trimmed every two weeks, weeds removed form beds weekly, 2 applications of top quality mulch with pre-emergent granular applied, two aerations with overseeding, 6 different fert/weed control apps, leaf removal done weekly, etc, etc, etc..... Price $4,500 for the year

    Silver Package - services done right, as expected with fewer details and steps. Mowing is weekly, not bagged, trimming is done, beds and hardscaping edged as needed, shrubs trimmed 4 times a year, weeds removed once a month from the beds, 1 application of mulch and no pre-m, 1 aeration and no overseeding, 4 fert/weed control apps, 2 fall clean-ups....Price $3,400 for the year

    Bronze Package - mowing is done as needed, not bagged, trimming around obstacles, never any edging, shrubs trimmed twice a year, weeds pulled form beds twice a year, 1 application of mulch, 1 aeration, 3 fert/weed control apps, 1 fall clean-up.... Price 2,000 for the year

    (Disclaimer: I am just doing this as an example, do don't pay attention to the actual numbers as all properties vary in size, needs, etc.)

    Now Mr. Prospect has 3 bids in his hand. He sees that you can provide the service in a multitude of ways and he can look at your options and cross it against his budget. He sees that you want him as a client and are willing to tailor the services to his needs.

    Does he really need to talk to anyone else? Maybe, but seeing the effort that you put into the process and knowing that you are willing to work with him to give him what he wants, needs and can afford goes a long way.

    To read this blog post and more like it, go HERE
  2. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Good post sean. I often find myself being the first responder to give an estimate and people get sticker shock and has contractor b and c estimate less work making me seem more expensive. I will have to start implementing this method
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    It works. Obviously if you get the opportunity to have a discussion with the prospect upon presenting the bid, even better.

    I have seen this to work especially well with both maintenance and design.

    Design/build has so many variables to it and if the contractor does not do a sufficient job explaining the difference between using product A versus product B (quality, warranty, maturity, etc...) then they are leaving it up to the client to decipher these things.

    Never a good idea.
  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,990

    The hard part I'm finding is trying to become full service in a mow-blow town. I can't go charge double what a mow blow guy does because many times clients like price.

    I do see the ability to offer premium apps at good prices here.

    So many of my people like the prepay discount or paying al la carte even if its cheaper than monthly.

    It's all about the sell and hoping a neighbors lawn is close by so you can say...I do me smiths down the street.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    As a client, I like when contractors do something similar to this instead of just giving me one bid. It takes a lot of stress and pressure off me and allows me to stick within my budget. There might be certain things that just aren't that important to me where I can save money on. It also lets me know the contractor is capable of doing other services if I need something done down the road.
  6. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Very good point. We aren't just business owners, we too are consumers and we need to recognize that having options is a nice thing.
  7. xclusive

    xclusive LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,054

    Having packages tiered like that is a good ides. However, I think for a home owner seasonal prices might scare them. Instead give them a monthly number so there isn't as much sticker shock. I know when I meet with people most people want to know what will it cost per month.

    NIXRAY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    I offer a contract price when they can pay in full at signing (usually offer 15% off when this option has been chosen) then I offer a 8 mo price as well as a 12 mo price. Or in other words I guess you could say I offer in house financing or a payment plan. Out of my 8 full service contracts 2 have paid in full 4 at the 12 mo an the other at the 8 mo. So it's a good mix. IMO
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,878

    Subscribing. Will come back to this later. Definitely a great idea.
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    One thing I hate on design build is trying to pick plants for customers, I always take them to the nursrey(sp) and let them pick out their own plants, how do you guys handle this?

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