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lost another one

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by jbturf, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    gonna be a higher than normal cancel rate
    for me this year--

    so a long time customer (7 years)calls me last night,
    says i got a qoute from company X and its
    $175 less for the year than your price.(my price was $420/year)
    He asked why the huge difference in price and if
    i could adjust my price for him.

    i explained the (obvious to me/unbelievable to him)
    reasons --getting what you pay for/quality of svc/
    materials used/overall results etc...

    went in one ear and out the other, unfortunately
    and he asked again about price
    I told him i do offer 10% discount for cash

    he paused for a moment and said, thank you for all your
    service over the years, i really like you personally and
    you have done a fantastic job with the lawn- but im
    not using you anymore- good bye click

    its hard not to take BS like that personally sometimes
    but hey , what else is there to do?
    Thank you to company X
    your just gonna make me look good

    ill just wave to him when im treating his neighbors lawn

  2. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    He'll be back!
  3. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I'm sure we'll see more and more people like that this year. Unfortunately, they are willing to lower their expectations to save a few dollars.
  4. gsxr1100

    gsxr1100 LawnSite Member
    from mobile
    Messages: 138

    I see it both ways:

    1) Your prices are higher then average (fixed margin etc)
    2) The other guy is trying to low-ball to get name out there (both same quality)
    3) He is using average/low cost fert
    4) He is not doing what you are
    5) EVERYONE IS HURTING; Plumbers are slow, AC installers are slow and lawn sprinkler people are starting to see the light.

    With the sinking house market, the crappy dollar, high gas prices, etc a lot of people are cutting corners to save $$$ (me included). I got quotes from $3,000 to $4,000K to do my lawn sprinklers. I told all the people that came (quick; hint hint=slow), thanks but no thanks. I know they need a profit etc but with higher prices everywhere, I am doing the same for $1,100. I cannot afford to lose the $$$ since money is tight.

    I was talking to motorcycle dealer and they are taking a bath!
  5. sclawndr

    sclawndr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    The real downside to our industry is the constant low-balling on price. I can't see the logic in taking on unprofitable business but it happens all the time. And I can't really pick just on the one truck guys when ChemLawn is out there doing the same stupid thing. But hey, it's March and the news is always more bad than good.
  6. colawn

    colawn LawnSite Member
    from co
    Messages: 141

    we have a guy trying to sell 6 apps for 150...:hammerhead: Up to 8k we all know how he is doing that... I can't wait until these "customers" figure this one out. Until then I guess I will just have to make the best of it.:dizzy:
  7. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    We have a clown here (with a significant market share) where I live who does buy 4 get one free, and then prices a 5k lawn at $35. So $140 for 5 apps! I learned through my phone book rep last fall, that this doofus had to hire an outside firm to keep him from going under. Poor guy works down to dusk 7 days a week and couldn't pay the bills... Stupid...

    My sales pitch has developed into an educational seminar on apples vs. oranges. I explain how my package is far superior to my competitors.

    I show them all the extras they get with me. Then I explain that my price is my price, but if those extras I do hold no value for them as homeowners, then I'm not the right guy.
  8. group501

    group501 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 174

    March always proves to be a month where you start to question if business is going to take a bad turn. Usually this is a time when cancellations start to come in and are they not evenly paced with new sales. Each time a cancellation comes in you start to wonder if the floor is going to drop out. My experience has been that as soon as the first dandelion pops my phones start to ring and sales far out pace cancellations.

    I have found that when you run a business you have to be proactive as well as reactive. There are many things that we can't control, such as low ballers and a bad economy. However, there are so many people who have been burned by these low ballers that when you explain why your services are priced higher and guarantee that they will be satisfied (in writing) they are generally very receptive to purchasing your higher priced services. These are generally the easiest sale to make.

    Effective marketing is also very important. You can't sit around and wait for the phone to ring, you have to make it happen. Find out what works in your area and do it. With the current economy many people are not doing large scale renovations to their home, are not traveling and are spending alot of time at home. Our services are a cost effective way to improve the curb appeal of their homes.

    Lastly, I think that our services need to be priced at what our market will bear. We were at the very top price point and had to have a price reduction. While the former low baller customers were not too hard to sell we left alot of first timers on the table. This is where knowing your market and being willing to change comes in handy.
  9. mngrassguy

    mngrassguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,167

    Thanks groop 501, could'nt have said it better myself. Hang in there jbturf. This is nothing new in this business and will keep going on for years to come. Every cxl you take is a prospective client in the future. Never burn your bridges. My best (and most loyal) customers are the ones that left for a lowballer and came back after getting educated
  10. Blink74

    Blink74 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    A couple of weeks ago, a full service customer of mine who always tells me what wonderful work we do said she was using a different company this year. She lives in an upscale golf course community where I have a lot of customers. According to her, I was going to loose business in the area because this guy was much cheaper and could do everything. (I don't do tree and shrub treatments) I told her that it was hard to believe someone with that much knowledge and experience was much cheaper than me.

    Well she calls me last week and says, "come back". Apparently the guy was throwing fert around in her flower beds by hand, which she didn't think was right. So she goes out to ask him when he'll be spraying the trees and he replies: "I don't do that, I think you need a license for that?"

    BTW, I'm gonna start studying to do tree and shrub apps. But, I won't do it until I'm certain I can do it well.

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