Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jpmako, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 593

    I have been sitting here for the last couple of weeks getting a chance to reflect on last years business and have done some pre-planning for this upcoming season.
    What is really getting to me is that we are coming out of one of the worst Fall Clean-up seasons ever for my company. Leaves fell very late, and on December 12th there was the complication of Snow to slow down the process even more. So after losing more money in payroll, fuel etc.. for the extra time incurred with an extended leaf season We have not had any measurable snow since the 16th December. I am assuming that most in my area are feeling the same "Squeeze" that I am. On top of all of the above issues we are surely running into a recession and people are not going to want to hear that we have to increase prices for the upcoming season.
    All of these things are weighing heavily on my mind because I can only assume that some if not most of the other LCO'S in my area are going to be "HUNGRY" for new work to make up for their losses in 2007, and the lack of income from winter services. This probably equates to some companies giving estimates for less than other competitors to "get in the door" so to speak and hoping to land bigger jobs to boost their profits.
    The problem with this is that most people are not going to have the capitol to do any major home improvements this year, and reducing prices is going to hurt an already over-saturated market of LCO'S.
    What I am saying with all of this is that I am not looking forward to wasting time on estimates that I know I am not going to land due to the structuring of my business. This is the year to seriously market "Other Services" to your existing client's and try to boost profits by doing more at each location to cut down on travel time and employee windshield time. If you have not already done so it is time to find your niche and perfect it so that you have a leg to stand on this year.

    A couple of hints to help are:
    1. referral discounts are a great way to land new accounts that you generally don't have to compete for.
    2. Offer a variety of services and plans.
    3. Cutting smaller lawns that are grouped together will surely increase your profits.
    4. Mix in other services while your on location e.g. trim bushes or install small plants, fertilize while guys are cutting to avoid a return trip.

  2. jsaunders

    jsaunders LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    I hear you Jason- I 'lost' 10k with the late start of the season this year. The early fall didn't help much but we were able to get to everyone but 3- so not to bad but it was balls to the walls during the fall.

    Have you read the thread by Jim Lewis? It is a great thread that shows we have to raise prices some - but it is still a hard thing to do. but just raising prices $1 will help to keep things inline with inflasion.
  3. Edge08

    Edge08 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I also worry about raising prices every year, even though I've been raising prices 4% every year for the past 10 years. Every year I think this is the year when I go too high and have a customer revolt on my hands.

    But every year the contracts come back with just a few complaints. If someone cancels just because of the rate increase, I finde that most likely they will tell you that and you have an opportunity to make an exception for them if they want to keep them.

    You also touched on another great point. I sell an "extra" to my clients every month. I have a product or service mapped out for each month of the year that I will actively sell through either newsletters, phone calls, or notes. If you are not "mining" your existing clients for extra sales, you are leaving a lot on the table.
  4. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    Good advice. I like the mining analogy. It's true, you may have to expand your services. It's not hard with "how to's" on the internet on just about anything to do with renos, cement, landscape etc...

    Diversify or die...

    Good luck.


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