How to make a great first impression

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by tiggazee, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. tiggazee

    tiggazee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Hi everybody. First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Zach and I'm 22. I have been in the lawn care business for about two years.

    When I was 15, my dad let me use is truck and the equipment he had to do some lawn care in our neighborhood. I had about 7 customers a week and made $3,000 profit. (haha not to mention my dad paid for most of the gas, repirs, and supplies... it was a GREAT learning experience :) )

    Two years ago, my brother and I decided to buy a set of Crafsmen equipment which included a mower, blower, weedeater, and edger. Our plan was to cut abou 7 to 10 yards every saturday. It worked out fine until us brothers, who spent months telling my dad that we could work peacefully together, ended up getting into a fist fight at a customers house. ya ya ya I know. We decided to go different ways in the business world and I took over the lawn care business. Instead of blabbering on, I'm just going to say that the rest of the season did not go very well. But this time it was actually a GREAT learning experience.

    Last year, after a few months of thinking, I decided to do it again. That year, I only had about 5 definate customers to begin with but was adament about running a successful lawn care business. Since the previous years have showed me that getting customers IS ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM, I decided to buy some commercial equipment right off the bat which consisted of a trailer, Toro 36'' gear drive walk behind, and Stihl weedeater/blower/edger/hedge trimmers. After handing out ONLY 2000 flyers, I slowly but surely started getting too many customers to handle. Here is where I think I messed up. Are you ready?

    When I met my customers on the initial estimate, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. "If you LOOK professional and ACT professional, you ARE professional." I stand by that too. I know that I LOOK professional....Now I want to ACT professional.

    Here is one of my main problems...bagging. When I went and did estimates last season, I asked my customer if they wanted me to bag their yard and most of them said yes....even though I know most of them really didn't care. How do you guys handle this. Do you guys ask if they want it you tell them you will do it for an additional you tell them you don't you try to convince your customers that it is better to be mulched if done properly.....or do you just not bring it up unless they ask.

    Also, I want to be more prepared this season when meeting customers for the first time. I don't want to be the college kid that shows up and asks the customer what they want done, how they want it done, and such. I want to show up at the customers house being the business owner who tells the customer the services I provide and such. I mean of course you have to find out what the customer wants to have done, but my dad told me to "take control of my business" "tell the customer what I do" Does this seem right? reasonable? As you can tell, I'm a youngster that will take any advice I can get.

    How do you guys handle your estimates. Keep in mind that I am basically only doing mowing, weeding, edging, blowing, mulch, small tree trimming, hedge trimming and small jobs like that.

  2. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    When I get new customers I will always suggest that they have be just discharge the clippings since it is better for the lawn (but mainly so I don't have to deal with a trailer full at the end of the day). If they do want you to bag, and you charge a fee for this, then make sure that they understand that.

    As far as meeting with customers you have to be confident about yourself and your services. But don't be pushing services on them that they don't want. Offer them your other services but if they don't want them then don't keep pushing them to go that way. Usually the customer knows what they want to have done and have their mind made up about it.

    STIHL GUY LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 5,226

    i dont bag unless a custoner specifically asks or if the grass is really long and wet
  4. birtchetg

    birtchetg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    I agree with Mowerbrad. Dont push the bagging issue unless the customer specifically requests it, and then inform them that bagging is an extra charge. Its a pain in the rear to do and is not as good for your lawn as leaving the clippings anyway. Remember, most of these people trust you as you are the professional. Just do alot of research on here so you know what you are talking about. Have confidence in your words and do a thorough job.
  5. tiggazee

    tiggazee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Thanks for the advice guys. I know my question was a little vague, but all comments are very much appreciated! If you can, tell me step by step how you guys go about estimating residential maintence jobs. Thanks!
  6. FYS777

    FYS777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,305

    depends were your at and what type of trees are in or around the lawn, here we have a lot of juniper, pine and fir trees, that drop a lot of needles, in the lawns that have these I always bag on these lawn or it will become to acidic, then grass wont grow well.
  7. Dave_005

    Dave_005 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    i never offer bagging and don't do it unless the customer specifically requests it. i have 38 res accounts and mulch all of them.. with the ONLY Bagging being doing the fall clean-ups with the leaves.

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