Marketing Stategies

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by crs, Apr 23, 2001.

  1. crs

    crs LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    I am considering offering three levels of service: Basic, Standard and Elite. I was wondering if any one else had tried something like this or not and if so how it works. I seem to get customers that want varying levels of service and I thought this might simplify things if I offered one of three choices. I have thought about this quite a bit and don't want to type in all the details right now but I would be willing to share my ideas if any one is interested in hearing them.

  2. site

    site LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    The potential problem I have with this strategy is the impression you make doing the "Standard" service. People don't want cheap service they want deluxe service. I always attempt to give deluxe service and charge a deluxe price. When folks can't afford the job we either do a smaller job that they can afford, or move on. I find deluxe service the easiest to provide, and it helps profits and reputation. Let someone else do standard service.
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    As a small business (I assume), it's hard enough to build an enduring reputation, let alone 3 (one for bargains, one for std svc, etc).

    Further, you'll find that the more you do the bargain service, the more bargain-hunters you'll get, slicing your margins razor-thin.

    Offer quality service, charge for that quality. You won't land every project, but the ones you do land will be good ones.
  4. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,117

    I'll bet you are in your first year. My first year I was always trying to think of stuff like this. Then I learned to 1) find out what the customer wants. 2) Design a plan and price structure to fit that customer. 3) Present this as if you were speaking in front of the most important customer you could ever imagine. 4) Go the extra mile in everything you do and the majority of your customers will notice the difference in which case you will receive referrals and you will start over with #1.
  5. Craig Turf Management

    Craig Turf Management LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    Sell all of your service as 'Elite' and attract a better clientel. Do each job to the best of your ability and always go the extra mile. Charge a fair price for everything that you do. Pretty soon, your reputation will land you more quality work than you can handle.
    Good luck, Bill
  6. crs

    crs LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    Thanks for the input folks. Just to let you know this is the start of my second season full time. I had 30+ residential customers for several years as a side line before I realized I was turning away a lot of $$ to keep a full time job that didn't pay all that much.

    I have found that most customers tend to fall into roughly three categories, and rather than trying to be everything to everybody I thought I might try to let customers pick thier level of service.

    After rethinking things, as one tends to do while running power eqipment most of the day I have somewhat revised my position towards what Barkleymut mentioned in his post.

    Many thanks for the ideas.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I think it's a great idea. We do that very thing. Although I don't offer an "elite". We offer two basic packages. I find one of the two will cover most people's needs. But I always tell my clients that we can further customize the packages if they'd like.

    Our Standard Service
    is designed to take care of everything the turf areas need (weekly mowing, edging, fertilizing, etc.) but everything outside of the lawn is extra or is to be maintained by the client. Our Full Service is designed to take care of the entire landscape. The only things I do not include in the Full Service are aerating, dethatching, and mulching.
    I think this is a VERY effective marketing strategy. Heck, I know it is. We have 150 clients signed up one one of the above packages. Furthermore, I find there are two basic types of clients. One who just wants us to take care of the lawn, nothing more. Another who doesn't want to lift a finger and wants us to do it all. In this way I can effecively market to both of them. I leave a bid for each type of service every time I give an estimate. And I am constantly surprised when people choose the full service and yet on the phone it sounded like all they wanted was someone to mow.

    Another benefit to doing this is that it makes you look like you got your act together. I know for a fact when I am competing against the other local Joes that our estimates come off far more impressive and detailed. Theirs are just hand written on a blank estimate sheet. Our estimates make the statement "We've been doing this for years. Chances are we already know what you want. Here are your options. And if you have an additional request we can add it on."

    I disagree with Site that it leaves an impression that the Standard Service is lackluster. There are a lot of people who don't want all of the extras. What? Are you going to turn them down or tell them, "I am sorry. We don't offer that. But we'll sell you on this bigger, better package if you'd like!!!" I mean, don't get me wrong. Go ahead and sell the bigger package. But if a client wants the standard service and he's in an neighborhood I'm already in every week anyway, I sure as heck and not going to turn him down.

    Besides, at least for me, the biggest profit, per hour, are our standard service clients. We mow, edge, blow, fertilize once in a while, and go. It's quick easy money.
  8. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    Every customer is different, I think you need to address each with custom service. Having three packages wreaks of big corporation strategies. It sounds to much like basic value meal vs. super size vs even more supersized
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I will add too that when you get to where you are running several lawn crews it makes it very easy and uniform if the majority of the clients fit in a defined service package.

    I have found that the simpler I keep it for my employees, the less problems we have. Sure, there are a few clients who have special needs or requests. But since most of them fit squarely within one of our two packages, it makes things very easy.
  10. LakeCountry

    LakeCountry LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I can see where you were going with the service level as your indicator, but your use of loyalty marketing titles is what got sticky. While working at Northwest Airlines I was in charge of Operations for the WorldPerks program. We had a Base, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

    Using those words as differentiators told the customer that they were getting something more at each level. If you used something like Oak, Maple, Pine as titles for different degrees of service it eliminates the idea of better or worse service, but distinguishes your package of services with different names. Your quality is constant, the amount of services only changes...

    Just an observation from an overly active Marketing man...

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