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Negotiating Price In Lawn Care

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jeeperscrow, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. jeeperscrow

    jeeperscrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    I have been thinking about this recently, and it seems funny to me. Someone asks for an estimate, and at the end of the day for most people that is the set price.

    I would say less than 1% of customers debate the price. The rest either say no thanks or yes. I just think that is strange, because if I give an estimate for say $55 per cut and the customer tells me they were looking for more like $50 per cut, then I usually will go ahead and go with $50. Or if there's a big clean up and the customer doesn't like my price of $475 but is ok with $425, well then I usually will say ok $425 works.

    But typically the customer either says no or yes...end of discussion even if we're only off by a few bucks.

    If someone says no, but you know you'd take a little less, how do you go about approaching that subject with the customer?
  2. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    just ask what they want to spend
    Like last New Lawn and landscape install I price it They said no So I ask what they want to spend Then I'll remove items to get to there level or If they cant pay that at one time I'll set up payments That's a good seller point.
  3. jeeperscrow

    jeeperscrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    I like that! Good advice.

    What about the ones that ignore you. Where they're like send me a quote via email...you send it then hear nothing from them for a couple days? How do you open negotiation back up?
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,974

    yes, I agree, but thats also a slippery slope.

    Because in THEIR mind, they want the full monty for the lower price.
    they DONT want less work for less price.

    Thats what bugs me,
    you remove stuff, rewrite to proposal, they sign it, because they don't FIRKKEN read it , they just remember what they talked about the first time and then say "hey, wheres my playground sand"

    No we are just doing the lawn install, you could afford the play ground…

    No we wanted the playground.

    Then you have to argue with them and point at the contract, then they get mad and don't agree you are done, and want to not pay the other 50% and so on and so on..

    I like to ask what their budget is to begin with before I ever give a price.

    If they say "they don't know" I know they are fishing for prices an I give them the highest price possible.

    I'm hoping to get my lawn installed for $5000.

    Ok… its 17000 sq feet, so there is no way I can do that for 5 grand, good day.

    saves me a lot of time.

    Or they might say Im hoping to get my lawn installed for under 10 grand.
    ok you have 17,000 sq ft, let me do the math and see if I can accommodate your budget.

    Doe anyone seriously go out there to say buy a car or a house without knowing what their budget is?

    no they don't.

    so In my opinion, when people ask for landscaping and they don't know what their budget is, I automatically think they are lying, and Id RATHER not do business with them.

    This business of playing poker face…'what's your price? no what's your budget? Go fish" is BS.

    The price is the price.

    Don't make me type it up and present it when you can't even remotely afford it in the first place.
  5. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    I don't do E-mail Face to face only

    80% of the time I go and meet the customer I can sale the job

    This year Im 100% on installs everyone I price I have won Like the last one I was the highest bid still won it
    I did a face to face visit
    I itemize my bid out
    I have a year warranty on all New lawns installs

    The other 2 bids was a price the customer didn't know what they was getting for 1200 or 1400 1 had a 30 day warranty other had nothing
    When they look at my 2200 bid I explain it down to the T It was all in black and white
    I always tell them like on Landscaping I have 5 ton river rock and only use 4 ton I credit them back 1 ton
  6. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    If I rewrite it I go over it with customer before they sign it So we are in the same boat.
    This helps to land first price Since I drop the price say on plants was putting in #5 pots now putting in #1/#2 pots I show them the pot size of the plants they will see the size most of the time They will go with the first price. That's another good selling point

    Everybody is on a budget When you see the sign They start talking (((out there budget))) Most of the time trying to pay it off with one payment.
    I tell them pay me half now and the other half I'll take it in 2 payments in the next 2 months.
    That's a good selling point
  7. WenzelOSLLC

    WenzelOSLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 709

    On little things like mowing or trimming something, the number I give is usually close to what they expect and they obviously wanted me to do the work anyways so they don't try to negotiate.

    If they say no they either want something for basically nothing/don't know the real cost of the service or were just putting feelers out to see if they could get out of doing the honey-do list for just a few bucks.

    Once and awhile I do get the negotiators but they aren't really looking to talk me down as much as they just like feeling like they won/got a good deal. Those types usually just want to knock like $10 off at the end off the month so the bill is an even $100 or whatever. Most of the time I let them have it because it leads to more work.

    On BIG things like a full landscape, I ask what they want to spend FIRST along with what they want. I can usually tell them then and there whether those two can work together. That way when I come back and the big stone center piece is something smaller, they were expecting it. Same with price, if they were expecting to spend $600 then they know what that can buy.

    Sometimes I add a few percent to the proposal just to knock it back off if they ask if there's wiggle room. It could be 2-5% above what I wanted to earn and then when they hesitate I offer to knock some off and they feel better even if its not a big amount. If they don't ask then I get a few more dollars in my pocket. ;)
  8. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    My lawn cutting I give a price and they go with it,I'm usually a little bit more higher they a lot of guys,so if they were to ask and its near other ones ,I might rework the price. Landscaping if they ask for a better price ,I say sure ,but take this part out or something ,then give them a separate price for that ,but higher if its done at a later date as oppseded to doing it now.
  9. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,645

    I very rarely negotiate. The price is the price, if they don't like it then that's fine. My original price is what I have to do to make a profit.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    I give the price so if I do go down I'm at where I wanted to be in the first place.And if they don't say anything ,more profit to me.

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