Pricing yourself out of the riff raff

LawnVeteran

LawnSite Senior Member
Sometimes I get an accepted quote and start doing the job, thinking to myself, gettinga guilty feeling when I realize it's going a lot better than I thought and I'm grossing$100/hr. Other landscapers have told me I'm over priced. A run down house where I live is 375k CAD and gas at over $6/gallon, I don't have a fancy government pension for 5k a month (which is what my mom and dad get), I remember all of this and don't feel guilty anymore. People can see how hard we work and almost nobody complains about the price because they are glad they don't have to do it.
Exactly. But then I tell myself. I work for me and screw everyone else lol
 

MowDaddy

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids, MN
Sometimes I get an accepted quote and start doing the job, thinking to myself, gettinga guilty feeling when I realize it's going a lot better than I thought and I'm grossing$100/hr. Other landscapers have told me I'm over priced. A run down house where I live is 375k CAD and gas at over $6/gallon, I don't have a fancy government pension for 5k a month (which is what my mom and dad get), I remember all of this and don't feel guilty anymore. People can see how hard we work and almost nobody complains about the price because they are glad they don't have to do it.
$100 Canadian is about $77 US.
So your right in ball park.
 

Mitty87

LawnSite Silver Member
$100 Canadian is about $77 US.
So your right in ball park.
It's not hard to find a good company here to do work at 1/3 of that price. A lot of them have been in business a long time and do good work, they just don't know any better. It feels like some think they don't deserve financial security or any monetary reward because they do manual labour.

I remember an old boss complaining all the time about not making any money. I asked him why not raise his rate and he looks at me like I just peed on his rug. I've worked for these guys that cut all these corners with labour laws and the taxman, not willing to give their employees a good wage. They risk their future by paying guys as subcontractors and taking a large portion of income under the table , all to save money for their clients.

I wouldn't be surprised if I was one of these guys in 10 years still wondering why I don't make any money and following the same path as the guys I mentioned. It really just comes down to ignorance and a misunderstanding of what a business is.
 

Todd73

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Florida
Always have a mentor. I feel bad sometimes because I feel like I’m gouging people even though they pay with a smile on their face and always love my work.
I thought I had a mentor; my supervisor at the prep school. Before working there, he had, what he claimed, was a successful lawn business for 15 years. Turns out for every one good piece of advice, usually about equipment operation or how to do a particular job, he’d have ten bad about the business side of things. Over time, I realized his “success” was either perceived or because he worked his butt off on volume; NOT because of solid business decisions. We parted ways less than amicably a few months back when I upped the price on his lawn maintenance (he convinced me to do his two lawns at a ridiculously low rate when I first started out using the old “_____ is all I can afford, but it’s TWO lawns” routine) from an over 30% discount to only 23%. He accused me of screwing him on pricing and poor quality. I dropped him on the spot and haven’t spoken to him since.

Moral of the story: Choose your mentor carefully. Validate their claims of success, don’t follow advice blindly, and decide if they’re helping you out for altruistic reasons or if they have ulterior motives.
 

Charles

Moderator, Friend, Angel
Location
South East
I thought I had a mentor; my supervisor at the prep school. Before working there, he had, what he claimed, was a successful lawn business for 15 years. Turns out for every one good piece of advice, usually about equipment operation or how to do a particular job, he’d have ten bad about the business side of things. Over time, I realized his “success” was either perceived or because he worked his butt off on volume; NOT because of solid business decisions. We parted ways less than amicably a few months back when I upped the price on his lawn maintenance (he convinced me to do his two lawns at a ridiculously low rate when I first started out using the old “_____ is all I can afford, but it’s TWO lawns” routine) from an over 30% discount to only 23%. He accused me of screwing him on pricing and poor quality. I dropped him on the spot and haven’t spoken to him since.

Moral of the story: Choose your mentor carefully. Validate their claims of success, don’t follow advice blindly, and decide if they’re helping you out for altruistic reasons or if they have ulterior motives.
I know somebody like that. Huge lawn care business. Always claims to be broke. Not paying his bills on time. But he always drives a newer model monster truck:dizzy:
 

BrendonTW

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Oklahoma City
Agree with your thread @CrystalCreek

My process for selling our services is really geared towards finding the right fit because I put very large amounts of effort into selling to a customer once I realize they are the right customer for us and we are the right vendor for them. So I hate turning in bids that we lose. Not because I don’t like rejection so much as I hate feeling like I wasted my time in something that truthfully never would have worked in the first place.

Note that it is important to distinguish between truthfully never would have worked in the first place VS I didn’t do a good enough job making the customer understand why they needed us. It’s easy to blame losses on “well they just weren’t the right fit”.

Once I find a prospect that meets our criteria for a customer who we want to work for I go full force into selling to them. And you know what? I believe so strongly that they will benefit from us that I don’t even think about price because I know that in the back of the customers head that they aren’t passionate about price or saving a dime. They are passionate about succeeding and building their company. It’s so much better to offer value that can help them achieve what they are most passionate about than it is to play to the “we can save you money here” idea. Sometimes it’s both. Usually we are higher. But my goal is to get the customer excited about us before they are even thinking about a specific job or pricing.

I think it is important in sales to be able to identify the right customer who is willing to pay the price LONG BEFORE pricing comes up.

Sometimes you will think you found that customer and down the road you will realize that they truly only care about price.

But with lots of time in critical thought and sharing thoughts and ideas with other stakeholders for your company you will come up with some really good ways to know, many times before you even meet with the customer, whether they are more or less likely to be someone you want to do business with.


Keep in mind that most of my stuff comes from a commercial background.
 

LawnVeteran

LawnSite Senior Member
I thought I had a mentor; my supervisor at the prep school. Before working there, he had, what he claimed, was a successful lawn business for 15 years. Turns out for every one good piece of advice, usually about equipment operation or how to do a particular job, he’d have ten bad about the business side of things. Over time, I realized his “success” was either perceived or because he worked his butt off on volume; NOT because of solid business decisions. We parted ways less than amicably a few months back when I upped the price on his lawn maintenance (he convinced me to do his two lawns at a ridiculously low rate when I first started out using the old “_____ is all I can afford, but it’s TWO lawns” routine) from an over 30% discount to only 23%. He accused me of screwing him on pricing and poor quality. I dropped him on the spot and haven’t spoken to him since.

Moral of the story: Choose your mentor carefully. Validate their claims of success, don’t follow advice blindly, and decide if they’re helping you out for altruistic reasons or if they have ulterior motives.
I completely agree. I learned the skills through various people and foreman. But I chose a mentor based on his knowledge and his success and creative business decisions. Also they have to be a good person with a good heart.
 

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