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Pro-Discuss Series - Selling in a soft economy & saturated market

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,602

    I'd like to see how this goes. I have a few topics on mind that I'd like to bring to the table with the forum as time allows for me to initiate.

    The name of the first topic is 'Selling in a soft economy & saturated market'.

    I frequently am seeing on this forum where people are whining about what they refer to as "low ballers", including myself. And each time all the replies are of negative tones.

    So ok, how bout we take the bad and turn it into a positive?

    I went from my competition consisting of a new, detached garage, a finished basement, season tickets to the NFL games, the husband's dream boat, etc. Now I'm facing contractors working for beans. Home owners are shopping around, they're all getting at least 3 price quotes. I'm now faced with an influx of so called contractors that are now so called hardscape experts. This past spring was our worst spring ever, swamped with estimates - but all the work was going to 1 particular "low ball" contractor. June?? I don't even wanna talk about June.

    I had to do something. Had to change something. The only way I could possibly lower our prices would be to lower the quality of our product, and this isn't a possibility. I have always been a believer in educating a prospective buyer, but in these times I'm finding that I am having to go over some logistics of the industry to draw client awareness that NO, all contractors are NOT equal.

    I'd like to see if we can get the business minded members to join in and share.

    I'd like to hear what other pros are doing to put theirselves out front in a prospective client's mind. Walk us through your process. A home owner contacts you for an estimate. You go meet with them. What happens at your initial meeting?

    I'd like to see what kind of participation this topic has and then I'll chime in and share what I'm doing.

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  2. jonesy5149

    jonesy5149 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 259

    well im not sure if you mean that is what you have the big flashy things but this year is the year of all things that do not make money or add overhead is out the door... like you have said loads of estimating in the spring but there is all ways the handy man that puts the numbers in the washer.. sooo this year im working up to get in to a small 2 man mowing & clean ups.... i have one truck not doing any thing so it is costing me money and rent me and my equipment out to others.. also i picked up a housing development (25 houses) and did the old no pavement swap for pavers.. keep numbers close to cost and get the money on the fancy stuff.. 2 men dig out 2 men lay and cut.. one drive complete daily. to do the pavers and stay as low as pavement is gross but worked with techo and became techo pro and they give you a big 25% on top of what you get at your supplier.. and that is another good place to get some pennys from them and deals... but it has been the year of getting more paper out and lets in...
  3. Meezer

    Meezer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    What I do is constantly re-evaluate everything I do based on the realities in my market area and my target audience.

    My target audience are the people that live in the gated communities, upscale communities, etc.,. Whenever we do a project in these neighborhoods, we usually pick up at least one more before we're done with the initial project.

    Generally, a lot of these clients already have an idea on what they want, (i.e. Unilock Paver Patio, etc.,) which makes things a lot easier for me. So does having references in the area, etc., which helps sell the quality aspect.

    Lowballers have taken a toll & we're doing okay.

    But what's coming soon will take a greater toll:

    The state & federal govt's hammering my target audience with higher taxes, which means they will have a lot less in disposable income to spend.

    2011 will be an interesting year.

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