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Not closing jobs.....

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by mrusk, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    I have not closed to a job in over 2 weeks now. I belive i did around 10-11 estimates in the last 15 days. Over 50% of those people said i was to high on my price. Most of them were proably price shopping. I'll admit, not all of the estimates were for decent jobs. Only 3-4 of those estimates were for jobs i would be glad to get, but the would of added up to over 75k. I know what several other companies charge, and i know i am right there in the middle.

    I belive i have a good sales speech that i give the potential customer. I know my product well, and i explain what i do vs what many of my competitors don't do. BTW most of my estimates were for hardscape installs.. no lawns mowing. I know i do good work, and i refuse to lower my prices no matter how many jobs i don't get since i know i am right in the middle. I will not work for free.

    Does anyone else get into ruts like this? It sucks when you drive all over town and do 6 estimates in one weekend and get jack.

  2. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,281

    Yea it does suck...but sometimes if you want/NEED the work you gotta lower the price alittle. Im finding this year that alot of ppl. are shopping b/c they take forever to get back to you. Thats whats killing me this year (Mentally) is that you give an estimate and they take a week and a half to get back to you. It really irritates me when I know the the price is right.

    The hard part is when you have a few days open in your shedule, and have like 5 or 6 big jobs that are pending, and the ppl. keep calling to ask questions, and still say "I'll get back to you".

    Meanwhile you have to find 'Filler jobs' to keep the guys busy, until the 'real work' comes in. I feel your pain man, just hang in there.:walking:
  3. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    How are you getting your leads?
  4. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Have you made follow up calls? I will keep people I do one time jobs for on my cust. D/B list, send them an X-mas card, same promotional material and touch base newsletters that I do for all my regular customers. I did this kind of thing all year, and you would be amazed at the out of the blue calls I get from these one timers to do other work. I am installing a patio and some Canadian Hemlocks for a one timer from last year, not a large job, but adequate. This has repeated itself quite a bit in the last month or so. I am in the process of buying another truck, trailer, mower, and hiring three guys full time, because my schedule is so dang full.
    I guess sometimes ya gotta settle for base hits instead of swinging for the fence every time, and the home runs will come.
  5. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Yes i do follow up calls.

    I'm getting my leads from my ads in acouple of news paper service directory and my direct mail letters.

    Whats funny is the majority of jobs i am bidding are in the 10-25k range. All my estimates for the direct mail letters were over 10k expect the one job i got from that.. a $3300 walkway.

    What else is funny is the one decent lead i got from the news paper service directory was for a $6300 retaining wall. These people are building a new horse barn, and now need 300 face feet more of retaining wall. This 6300 dollor job will be over 15k proably now. Not bad from a news paper ad.

    When i look at the jobs i have done in the past i see a common trait with the customer. First off, they all seem like normal working class people. They all live in decent areas but none of the McMansions. No benzs or bmws. Houses all under 500k.

    I've been doing my direct mailing to houses over 500k, maybe thats whay i am not closing those leads. Out of 8 calls from my letters i got 1 job so far.

    Ahh i guess i am getting second year jitters!
  6. Bay de Noc Lawn Car

    Bay de Noc Lawn Car LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    Try telling the prospect right before giving them the price that your prices are high because you produce a quality product and do not compete on price.

    This will almost eliminate all price objections. payup
  7. CAG

    CAG LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 344

    normally i would say you should be closing most of you jobs if your a good business man.. BUT selling high number jobs like those out of a newspaper add or mailers is tough!! I would just try to follow up with a phone call and ask them if you could meet with them to go over all the info again..
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    This time of year I always have problems with people taking my bids. I find that a lot of early callers are price shoppers, or people curious about the cost of lawn care, not serious customers. I usually get pretty bummed out about it this time of year, too. But every year I get the end of April push, as soon as the yards start growing and people realize they've got to cut their own lawns this season. During that time, people usually take the bids a lot faster just to get it taken care of, and a lot of bigger companies don't have room for new customers then either.

    Then again, if you're bidding hardscapes, it could be that people aren't willing to spend the $$ with the economy the way it is. I dunno. Good luck either way.
  9. ODwyerPW

    ODwyerPW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    With commercial work, I find the ones that are waiting later (right now is WAY too late to be signing good commercial work) are basing their decision soley on price. They've put off the decisions, because lawn care isn't important to them. My good, profitable contracts are always signed in January. They like their places looking nice, they know they need the work done, they get bids early, budget it in, and sign early.

    I find a similar thing with residential. I wont' take on a new residential customer late in the year (past May), unless there are extenuating circumstances (their current provider has gone out of business, they just moved to the house, mate is sick or deceased, etc...). They almost ALWAYS end up being problems. It's something about not really appreciating the value of the service and only "letting you mow their lawn" because they have to.

    I've been doing some new commercial bidding lately too to fill in a little excess capacity we have (underutilized truck/equip). I know what to expect from the "late solicitors of bids, who don't appreciate good lawncare enough to have taken care of it sooner" so I've lowered the bids somewhat. Not doing very well at all at these recently solicited bids. I'm HIGH on everything, as guys who really need work this late in the year are really, really lowering their prices.

    Now, I have a few outstanding proposals that I submitted back in Feb/March that I'm awaiting word on this week...those were not lowered bids. This will be good work. That's key for me. Get as many good bids out in Jan/Feb.
  10. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    I close 100% of referals i get.
    I do find it strange that almost every lead coming in is for a big job.
    Heres the jobs i been bidding 15k composite deck, 15k lawn installation and walkway/patio, 22k paver driveway, 37k paver driveway, patio and retaining wall, 19k sod installation +170 yards of top, 14k teired retaining wall, 10k lawn renovation/sod job. As soon as i met some of these people i knew that no matter how hard i sold quality, it would not matter.

    The 15k composite deck people are still up in the area. They want to have the deck built but it is just out of their price range. They said they know my price is great and want me to build it, they just need to wait another month or too. They were impressed with my knowledge and attention to detail and quality. So i know for a fact i am not blowing these leads because of my sales skills.

    I think i am going to change my newspaper ad to just retaining walls. That should elimnate half the bs calls i get from it. And the only jobs i ever got from it were walls.

    What its coming down to is i'm not getting the jobs i want. I'm out building walls, but nothing fancy. Just walls for people who need there hills held up. I'm looking foward to getting jobs were i get to be creative! But hey, i save alot of time cutting caps with all these stright walls!!

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