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Pricing for neighbors

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by eyes&earsopen, May 3, 2006.

  1. eyes&earsopen

    eyes&earsopen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    First of all I. just would like to say hi to all. I am in my second yr. and not doing too bad, in large part because of some of the discussions on this site. Just had a quick question and was looking for some feedback.

    I don't really approach neighbors for biz, I do my yard and my truck with a sign is parked out front while I'm at my full time job - that's about it. However, a new neighbor recently had another LCO mowing her yard and another a few houses down brought in a different one to mow the yard for a house he has been trying to sell. I might have dropped the ball on new lady, but the house for sale guy has not been around in quite some time. I was bothered by the new lady because I felt like if she was interested in me she would have got the number off my truck. Turns out the guy who does her yard also mows a dentist office down the street. I tend to believe that she already knew this guy or a mutual friend put her in contact with him, neither his 20' enclosed trailer nor his truck have any numbers/name on them. I never spoke to the lady when she moved in because a guy was there at first and I just assumed he would be doing it. Plus after I figured out who actually lived there I didn't want to walk across the street now that I knew there was the chance for biz over there. Nobody on the street is too neighborly. Long story short, the LCO cut it twice and today she cut it on her own. So I might not have missed out on a long term customer.

    Second scenario I got a call from a recently widowed female who lives down a street that deadends into my house. She wanted an estimate and she told me that she would be getting at least one more. I quoted her for $35 - her back yard alone was 6500+ sq. ft., but I didn't want yet another LCO in my backyard. I didn't hear anything back so I called her. She said that one guy told her $50 and "some guy who must be new" (her words) told her $25. I would've re-negotiated down to $30, but for $25 I'd watch the other guy do it. I normally would've said $40 or so but I tried to stay a little low because I don't have any windshield time involved with her yard, plus she wanted to contract for the season. For consolation, she said that I was very fair and $35 was what she was looking for, but now facing life on a single income $25 was the way to go. She also said if she was displeased with the guy's work she would call me. I told her that I could respect that and good luck.

    I know everyone on here stresses "keep your prices up or right" but I feel like you gotta be reasonable for you neighbors. After all there isn't a lot of travel time involved. Plus in the end you don't have to deal with a bunch of LCOs working right under your nose.
  2. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 798

    Sounds like your doing ok. If your neighbors hired someone else instead of you, it was probably because this guy already cut for someone she knew. And he probably got the reccomendation.
    But if you wantes you could always make a few flyers and pass out in your neighborhood, or have a sign made up and stick it out at the end of your drive.
    I personally do not like working for neighbors. for the simple fact that if you have a little family time scheduled and they see your truck in the drive sitting, they want work done now, while your not doing anything in their eyes.
  3. JJLandscapes

    JJLandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 682

    the more neighbors you can get together the better even if u have to sacrifice a few dollars.... you save alot of time and once the other neighbors see you slowly taking over the block they tend to switch also as long as you do a same or better job
  4. eyes&earsopen

    eyes&earsopen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    The day before the other guy cut her yard I noticed as I was leaving for work that there wasn't a lawn mower in the garage. I came home that night and put together a flyer, I was waiting for her to let out her dog and I was going to go over and inquire about her yard. As I was finishing up some stuff on my computer I heard an engine going - I looked out the front window and it was a guy running around her lawn on a Gravely.

    I don't focus on neighbors either, but then again it bothers me a little bit when I miss out on "bunnies".

    I'm not too worried if I acquire another 3-5 lawns I will be removing my truck mags anyway. I plan to just work off of referrals from that point on. Things aren't going too well, but due to some other circumstances I have to scale down what I planned to do this year.
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,451

    I don't want to be sitting in my listening to another business mow my neighbors period. In some cases you can't get them regardless I have one that I agreed to meet the price of other guy($20) and she said well I work with the guy so I really can't change.
  6. eyes&earsopen

    eyes&earsopen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    I was hoping for some feedback on the widow. If I had to do it again I wouldn't change much, I felt like was right on. I just was thankful for her honesty and letting me know some info about my competition and their pricing methods.
  7. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Messages: 7,425

    ...this may not be helpful at all, BUT...I HATE working for neighbors AND relatives, yet somehow, I ALWAYS end up doing it and usually regret it. Isn't there some witty proverb, old maxim, wise saying or chinese proverb about keeping friends, relatives, neighbors and business seperate? If their ain't there should be.

  8. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    I've matched a few prices from previous LCO's for some neighboors and all I usually hear is "I'll keep it in mind". My work speaks for itself but even though some customers love the work I do, my neighboors seem to stuborn to give me a shot. I consider it a loss for them.

    BTW: I estimated 2 neighboors out the other day and they liked the prices. Just when I think that I am going to land them, two 12 year old kids from the neighboorhood got both of them. They are doing each property for $15.00 a cut and that is almost half of what I am charging. (I charged then the same amount as last years LCO charged them). Go figure.....?????

    BERTPCP LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I also try to stay away from family and neighbors, although neighbors can be easy money..
    Some people do not realize the difference in cuts, are the kids also doing trim work, and they are definately not insured so if they break something who will pay for it? I guess when people can save money they forget about the details!!
  10. Frosty03

    Frosty03 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Sorry, but I don't do widows.

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