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Laughed for half the day yesterday over one phone call..

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lawnsplus, May 5, 2006.

  1. lawnsplus

    lawnsplus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    I get a call from a recent flyer drop, this guy says "I got my lawn cut last year for $15.00 a week can you do it for that price?" I reply with is it less than 1000 square feet? He says no its over 5000. I said I couldn't even slow down in front of his house for $15.00! He said well I will find someone to do it at this price.

    I finally asked "Why isn't the same guy cutting it this year?" Oh he went out of business was the reply.

    Just makes me laugh when I think about it!!:laugh:
  2. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,822

    The sad part about is that he will find somebody to do it for 15$. 10 years from now, he will again find somebody to do it for 15$. 20 years from now.......
  3. bwilder10h

    bwilder10h LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    I love to mess with people like that and this comment is likely something I would use.

    I told a guy last week that I'd cut his lawn for $30 while he was on vacation for a month :rolleyes: he said "I need it done for $25" and I told him I'm sure he wouldn't have any problem finding someone.

    Two days later he calls back to say he would have it done for $30 and I told him "the price was now $60 because I'd need to cushion myself from the aggravation a guy like him would likely cause me. People who will try to go on a price war over $5.00 will likely cause more trouble than their $30 lawn would ever be worth"

    He didn't like that response much because the line went dead shortly after...:laugh: :hammerhead: :laugh:
  4. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I just love all the optimism on here when it comes to pricing pressures. It's not like this is something that just popped up overnight, it's always been there and in spite of that, you chose to be in the business anyway. It doesn't do any good to complain about it. Yes, it can be frustrating at times but I think it's best just to laugh those off and move on.

    Two gas stations up the street. Arco selling @ 2.93 per gallon, Chevron @ 3.05 per gallon. Both stations are plenty busy. I don't see Chevron whining about Arco undercutting their price consistently by at least 10 cents per gallon nor has it put them out of business.

    Many people don't (or financially can't) care about top quality. That's the beauty of capitalism, no matter how big or small your job there's probaby somebody out there to take it on at a price you're willing to pay.

    There's a lot of people on here that if they had their way, nobody would be able to afford lawn care anymore and then what? I know a woman that can't afford me to cut her lawn but has a $200 per month smoking habit. That's fine, it's her choice. Lawncare is about the last priority on most peoples list. Jack the price up too high and now Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner needs to decide between paying you to mow their lawn or paying the cable television bill. Which do you think is going to win?
  5. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    I don't think I would have doubled the price but I would have definitly tacked something to it. Maybe an extra 15 or so. JMO
  6. Rev. Crabgrass

    Rev. Crabgrass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 120

    It is sad but true. There is someone out there that will take the job at a low price and then find out why everone else charges more. It takes all kinds. Some people just don't care if it looks good or not, to them short is good. Such is life.

  7. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,822

    How do you know they are not whining? You might not see or here them doing it:laugh:
    Whining is better than going postal. In your area everybody may be busy and can laugh it off as you say. In my area (and probably many other areas) it has reached a saturation of lawncare ops where the consumer is in the driver seat. I use to laugh it off and take the next call. Things have changed and it may be a long wait until the next call. Most people now have a friend or a relative mowing lawns to make it even worse. Now when you DO get a call or a referral and they say joe blow did it for what you did it for 16 years ago and they are getting other estimates in that range.. I had 2 estimates recently that went that way. They did each let me do it one time. Then they called around and got the price they wanted--and probably good quality too.
    And why shouldn't they be able to find some one cheap? 60 ads in the paper and phone books and many of them advertising cheap rates.
    For 13 years you wouldn't find me indoors on the computor on a Friday. The last 3 years has led to Fridays off--not by choice.
  8. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I don' claim to know what's going on in other markets. I'm in a rapidly growing part of the Pacific Northwest, right across the mighty Columbia river from Portland, OR and just a two hour drive south of Seattle. Beautiful part of the country and seems like everyone wants to live here.

    What I do know is that there are plenty of lawncare operations around here, most legal, many not. I see them come and go every year. Hell, even I charged far less than I do now when I first entered the market 10 years ago.

    I get plenty of people that are shocked by my $45 minimum, people that want to pay half that rate for a lawn that should cost even more than my minimum. I'm sure they have no problem finding a provider. I just keep saying no, knowing I'm getting closer to getting an account I really want.

    I had three calls yesterday, one from a woman that wanted to know if I could get there within the day (answer was no) another that wanted to know if we could service her place every other week (answer was no) and the last that wants an estimate for ongoing maintenance on a 1.6 million dollar home (answer was yes). Now, there's no guarantee I'm going to get the account but we'll see. My point is, the more no's you hear, the closer you're getting to a yes and the harder you work, the more you market, the more work you'll get. And if that's not the case, if the market conditions and local economy no longer work for you, why would you stick with it?
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,822

    This area is booming too primarily in the service industry. Lots of small service industry companies are popping up. I love the area I live in too. I probably still make as much as what I could make working for the "man" and have the freedoms that come with being self employed. 10s of 1000s of Textile jobs have gone to Mexico and more are leaving every day. They are leaving or they are folding. Not many can compete with China. So you either start some other kind of biz or you try and beat 1000 people who jump on any job opening.
    I am not to the point where I have to give it up. I just have seen a serious backward trend in the past 3 years. I guess too I have gotten lazy because business use to come so easy. Probably need to send out direct mail next year and get more aggressive in advertising...
  10. dkeisala

    dkeisala LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I'm right there with ya. I'm just totally burnt out on the physical part of the job so I figured it was either time to transition or get out. I don't mind the office work, doing estimates, property inspections, client contacts, etc. but detest the field operations. In order to make the transition work, I need to market more, which I've been doing and so far it seems to be working.

    I've found that in marketing, the biggest bang for my buck is in roadside signs. I've done the newpaper thing, we're in the yellow pages, have truck signage, pass out tons of door knob hangers but the most calls generated come from $12.00 18"x24" corex signs that we place in public right of ways. Yes, there's a loosely policed law against placing signs but everyone, from politicians to college house painters do it so I do as well.

    The way I see it, I can work my butt off until my body's total broken down and not able to do it any more or I can market my butt off so I can afford to pay other people to go out there and work for me. Personally, I'd rather run the business than work it. Yes, I still have to work but at least I don't end the day sunburnt, dehydrated and totally beat to death.

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